Making Memories: Celebrating Hanukkah with Your Senior Loved One

Hanukkah, which begins on December 10 and ends December 18, is normally a fun time to gather together as a family and celebrate our shared history. However, the celebration may look very different this year, especially if you have a loved one in senior living, says Mike Silverman, Chief Executive Officer of Heritage Pointe, a senior living community offering exceptional lifestyles in the Jewish tradition.

“Because of the continued risk of coronavirus and the at-risk population living with us, Heritage Pointe’s Hanukkah celebrations will not be open to non-Resident members,” he says. “However, there are still safe, socially distanced ways for you to celebrate this holiday with your senior loved one, even if you have to be physically apart.”

Mike says that Heritage Pointe will be holding the festival at the community while maintaining safe social distancing standards and ensuring the health and safety of the Residents. “This is a blessed and important holiday that many of our Residents look forward to, and although we will need to make changes in order to keep everyone healthy and safe, the heart of our celebration will hold true.”

If you won’t be able to spend Hanukkah in-person with your senior loved one – or even if you are – here are some ways you can make the festival meaningful while still socially distancing.

Decorate. No Hanukkah celebration is complete without decorations. Consider offering to help your loved one decorate the house with paper banners, dreidels and other festive touches. If you’re not able to physically be near your loved one, consider sending them a care package of decorations. One fun idea would be to send the materials to make some decorations, and then hold a decor-making party via Zoom or FaceTime.

Bring them into the kitchen. One of the best parts of Hanukkah is the delicious food. Brisket, kugel, latkes and sufganiot are just some of the drool-worthy creations that will be spread across tables throughout the Festival of Lights. While preparing food together in the kitchen may not be possible, you can still “invite” a senior into the kitchen as you prepare traditional foods. Set up an iPad or large tablet and hold a video chat as you prepare your favorite Hanukkah cuisine.

Tell stories. Few things are more fun than sharing stories of holidays past. This Hanukkah is a perfect opportunity for you to ask your senior loved one to regale you with stories from the past. Your senior may also wish to talk about the history of the holiday.

Video chat, video chat, video chat. Nothing is more sacred to Hanukkah than the nightly lighting of the menorah and reciting of the traditional blessings. Unfortunately, many of us will not be able to spend all eight days lighting candles in-person with our loved ones. This is where video chat really can come into play as it allows your loved one to participate in the celebration with your family.

If you are able to hold Hanukkah celebrations in-person with your senior loved one, remember to follow the recommendations placed forth by the CDC in order to keep everyone at your gathering healthy and safe.

  • Remind guests to stay home if they are sick, or if they have been exposed to COVID-19 within the last 14 days.
  • Keep gatherings small – 10 people or less.
  • Arrange seating to allow for social distancing.
  • Wear a mask and consider providing masks for your guests.
  • Minimize physical contact – avoid hugging, kissing and shaking hands.
  • Wash your hands frequently and consider providing hand sanitizer.
  • Limit the number of people who are preparing or touching the food.
  • Consider using disposable plates and silverware.
  • Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces and any shared items between use when possible.

“No matter how you choose to celebrate Hanukkah this year, remember to give yourself grace and time to enjoy the celebration,” says Mike. “It doesn’t have to be picture perfect. What matters is honoring our traditions and spending time with the people we care about.”ROOTED IN JEWISH TRADITION & CULTURE.

Founded more than 30 years ago, Heritage Pointe provides the highest quality assisted living and memory care services to seniors in Orange County. Welcoming to those of all faiths, Heritage Pointe is Orange County’s only community rooted in Jewish culture, tradition and values.

For those who need some level of support to live their best lives, Heritage Pointe inspires independence and wellness through an extraordinary lifestyle, high-quality care and rich traditions. It’s a trusted, joyful community offering a lifestyle filled with possibilities – wherever a Resident may be on their senior living journey.

Our one-of-a-kind, nonprofit community is open to people of all backgrounds and faiths. Our mission is focused on our Residents and their independence, health, safety, comfort and happiness. Heritage Pointe has deep roots in this community and is committed to providing Residents with the best possible lifestyle and care both now and well into the future.