Holiday Party Planning Tips for Seniors

holiday party tips for seniors

The major holidays are almost upon us, and what does that mean? Friends, family, good food, and gatherings! Holiday parties are one of the joys of the season. It’s predicted that individuals will spend 25 hours over the holiday season at an average of 11 festive events. That’s a lot of partying!

And despite feeling tired by the end of it all, about three of every four people look forward to the socializing during the holiday season[1].

But what if you’re the one throwing the party? That puts you among the 30% of Americans who intend to host a holiday party in their home[2]. That usually entails the preparation of food, cleaning the home, and setting up for the festivities before the guests arrive – not to mention the stress that can come along with it all.

As we get older, it becomes more difficult to host parties the way we did in our younger years. That’s why we need to make adjustments to our expectations and plans. So before you get into the swing of the season, take a step back and do a few things for you. Avoid seasonal illness as much as possible by washing your hands frequently and taking precautions to avoid the flu and COVID-19. Take the time to get plenty of sleep. Clear your home of clutter. And consider an emergency response solution from Alert1 to give you the peace of mind you need to tackle holiday plans head-on!

Use these tips to make your life much easier when party time rolls around.

Don’t Try to Do Everything Yourself

This is the top tip for a reason. Though there might have been a time when you handled everything about the event and then some, even those with seemingly boundless energy could use some help.

But how do you go about asking others to help? Psychology Today points out that we’re hardwired to help others, but asking for help and accepting it graciously don’t come naturally to most of us.  Learning to ask for help begins with making a very clear and concise request. For instance: “I’d really like to host a holiday party but I can’t put up the decorations on my own. Could you help me with that?”

This is asking for something very specific and that’s more likely to get a positive response.

Delegating certain chores to those who want to help can ease the burden for you and lead to more enjoyment of the party for everyone.

Outsource What You Can

Are friends and family unable to provide the help you need? If that’s the case, there are some things about a party you can outsource to companies and individuals who specifically cater to those needs. This might include someone who comes in to professionally clean your home before the party, a company that provides food and drinks for the event, or even a company that provides outdoor tents, tables, chairs, and dance floors.

Though something like catering a party might seem like a lavish expense, consider how valuable your time and good health really are. Local, family-owned restaurants may be willing to put together affordable party trays, and oftentimes, catering can even be ordered from your neighborhood grocery store! The last thing you want to do is host a holiday party and be too exhausted to actually enjoy time with your guests. Using a vendor can free up your time and energy to truly devote it to your guests and can often be done affordably.

Pace Yourself

When you’re planning an event, make a list of what needs to be done and then break it down into small, manageable chunks. A quick internet search can help you find online checklists for parties that spell out everything you might need to do, from setting your budget to planning out the space, menus, and even party favors. Start your planning early. The sooner you begin, the easier it will be to space out everything on your list as you tackle preparations one day at a time.

Keep It to Small Groups

The larger the party, the more preparation is required, and the less time you get to spend with each person. That can mean that when it’s all said and done, you had a house full of guests but you don’t feel as though you really spent any time with them at all. That can lead to disappointment rather than a happy memory.

Avoid that problem by hosting a party for a small group of people. Consider what your home can comfortably handle. If you have many friends and many family members that you would like to entertain, consider hosting several small events across the span of the holiday season, inviting a different group each time.

Make Your Home Comfortable

If you’re going to host people in your home, make sure the house is clean, clutter-free, and comfortable for your guests. This means making sure there’s plenty of seating, even if that means renting chairs or acquiring a few card tables. It might mean hiring a professional cleaning service to do a deep-clean of your home that you’ve been putting off or unable to handle on your own. And it definitely means clearing your home of clutter – putting away anything stacked on the tables, tucking away electrical cords or other necessities that might be encroaching on your walking space, and paring down what you have on the countertops to only the necessities.

These actions not only make for a more welcoming home, they also make for a safer one. Getting rid of clutter is a top fall prevention strategy and one that could be combined with the peace of mind of medical alert technology. Wearing a medical alert watch, pendant or wristband can give you the comfort of knowing help is always just a button press away.

Make Use of Slow Cookers

The mighty slow cooker is the king (or queen?) of party prep. There’s a reason 11.6 million slow cookers were sold in the United States in 2019[3] – and that’s not including all the millions sold every year since this kitchen helper hit the market in 1971[4]. You can put almost anything in a slow cooker, including warm dips, small finger foods, entrée meats, and so much more.

While you’re making things much easier for yourself in the kitchen, don’t hesitate to go with disposable everything – plates, bowls, utensils, cups, etc. You can even opt for inexpensive plastic containers with lids so that your guests can take some food home with them and make cleanup much easier for you. The less you have to wash and put away, the better.

Ask Guests to Bring a Little Something

Who says you have to do all the work yourself? Potlucks are incredibly popular because every person pitches in a little something, thus easing the workload and the financial burden. Besides that, you get to sample a little bit of everything and enjoy recipes you’ve never tried before. Even if you’re not having a potluck, the idea still stands!

The interesting thing is that even if you don’t ask your guests to bring something, they often will. A recent survey found that 39% of those who attend a party bring wine for the host, 18% bring baked goods of some kind, and 8% bring plants or flowers. Since your guests may already be planning to bring you something and wondering what that should be, simply ask them to bring an appetizer or a dessert or a bottle of wine to easily get those needed items checked off your list.

Wear a Medical Alert Pendant

Wearing a medical alert system with fall detection can impart peace of mind. You can do what you need to do to prepare for the party—in or out of your home—while knowing you have a safety net right there at your fingertips. From the earliest party prep to the cleanup, you can rest assured that trained professionals are always there for you, 24/7, every moment of every day. That’s a comforting thought!

Recruit for Cleanup

Even if you’ve pared down to small groups and used disposable everything, or even if you’ve hired someone to cater your event, you might still have some cleaning up to do when the party is over. But that’s the time when you’re likely exhausted from all the activity and the last thing you want to do is take out the trash!

Ask a friend or family member to stay after the party and help you with some of the cleanup. As the saying goes, many hands make light work , and with a few people pitching in for various jobs, the cleanup is much faster and you’ll have the time to relax before bed while reliving the good memories of your successful holiday soiree!