It’s family reunion season and plenty of time for family gatherings. Often, reunions are geared to focus on the entertainment of younger family members with activities such as water sports, family talent contests, and lawn games that tend to keep kids and young adults active and engaged. We can encourage our aging parents to participate in family reunions by ensuring that activities for seniors are included in the events.
A family reunion is a terrific time to honor our Greatest Generation by highlighting key events and plans for seniors. It’s easy to make simple adjustments to the events so that the elder generation is involved:
1. Interview special guests
Arrange for an interview panel where younger members of the family interview seniors about their life experiences, travels, careers, and early family life. The inter-generational focus is a great way to introduce far-flung family members to one another in a short time period.
2. Introduce activities for seniors with the junior set
Team and partner the younger generation with seniors in the group for competitive events such as trivia games. This type of activity allows the strengths of each generation to shine!
3. Record military and career milestones
Seek out websites for help in gathering and recording key historical information. The Veterans History Project, sponsored by the U.S. Library of Congress, is an excellent place to begin your project.
4. Vary the pace of the reunion
In addition to high-energy games and events, set aside time that allows family groups to re-connect and share new memories for the next reunion.
5. Provide accessible facilities
In addition to providing activities, games and interaction options, ensure that the reunion site is accessible to everyone. Wide sidewalks, ample parking and easy-to-access facilities are key to a comfortable event for aging parents. Additionally, check that seating accommodates the needs of your guests and that a good sound system is in place if the area is large.
It’s easy to get started planning a family reunion with your aging parent in mind by researching one of the many websites dedicated to reunion planning. Additionally, several websites can assist with tools for family history documentation.