Ask any random group of people what their favorite time of the year is and it’s a pretty good bet that they will say it’s the holiday season. More songs have been written, more stories told, more movies made about this time of year than about any other. One popular song even calls it “the most wonderful time of the year.” For most people, the holiday season is a time of family gatherings and merrymaking, of shopping and gift-giving, of peace and goodwill, and of deeply cherished memories.
If the holiday season is our favorite time of the year, it is especially beloved of the elderly. They, more than anyone else, have a wealth of memories of seasons past, of all the many times when they gathered together with family and friends to celebrate—memories of the many traditions that made the season so special: presents under the tree, eggnog, stockings hung by the fireplace, milk and cookies for Santa, kisses under the mistletoe, carol singing from door to door. For the elderly, especially those with failing memories, these special memories never fade. They are the milestones that mark the passing of the years on the long journey of their lives.
Making the holiday season especially memorable and enjoyable for the elderly as a way of establishing a sense of continuity between the past and present in their lives. We believe that each celebration will add another milestone to the ones that have already been set up over the course of their long and productive lives.
The elderly love to join in the singing, since music has a power unequalled by any other human activity to establish a sense of community and belonging, and the music of the holiday season is especially powerful in achieving this.
It does not take much to make the holiday season a very special time for the elderly members of our community. Happy Holidays!
Veena J. Alfred, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer and Administrator