Last Updated on June 24, 2022 by ashley.davis
Independence Day 2022 is almost here! While planning your 4th of July activities and events, make sure to include the elderly members of the family. Some may live in assisted living or nursing homes and miss out on the festivities. So, it will be an excellent opportunity to make them feel connected with their families and bring some much-needed joy into their lives! Though not all traditional activities are suitable for them, they can still participate in adaptive activities and be a part of the celebrations.
Independence Day celebrations include patriotic displays, parades, fireworks, family events, and other activities organized throughout the United States on the 4th of July. Besides schools and colleges, most offices remain closed during this Federal holiday. If the 4th of July is on the weekend, the previous Friday or the following Monday will be a holiday.
So, if you are trying to figure out which things to do on 4th July that involves your elderly relatives, read on! We have some great ideas to celebrate Independence Day with seniors at home or in a senior living!
History of the Independence Day
Independence Day – or the Fourth of July – is a patriotic holiday for Americans worldwide. Celebrated annually with gusto on July 4, it is one of the most significant holidays in the US.
During the second year of the American Revolutionary War in July 1776, 13 North American colonies of Great Britain announced themselves independent from the United Kingdom. On the 2nd of July, Congress voted in favor of independence from Great Britain. However, two days later, on the 4th of July, the Declaration of Independence was formally signed, and thus, America was born. Since the year 1776, Americans have celebrated the day with deep joy and respect.
Philadelphians were the first to celebrate the anniversary of Independence Day in 1777. However, the actual name “Independence Day” was not a part of it. Independence Day celebrations had only become common after the War of 1812.
From 1812 onwards, the 4th of July gradually became Americans’ most important secular holiday. However, July 4 was not declared a paid federal holiday before the 20th century.
Festivities of the Fourth of July
Just like the signers of the Declaration pledged their vows to secure American independence in 1776, the 4th of July remains a day for committing the country.
Many families display the national flag of America outside their homes or buildings. In addition, some families arrange small picnics where they have barbecue parties. Watermelon and hotdog eating competitions are also quite common.
Many sports events are arranged throughout the country. You can also see fireworks from all the communities. Some even make it a point to take a vacation to spend the day on some beaches or resorts. All these activities beautifully manifest the vibe of this historic day.
The national monument that is highly associated with Independence Day is The Statue of Liberty. In 1876, France gifted this historic sculpture to America to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of American Independence. Reading about the inspiring story of this monument is another thing you should do on this Independence Day.
Independence Day Activities for Seniors
Seniors have a deep emotional attachment to this historic day. Therefore, it will delight them to participate in any arrangements to commemorate the day. Apart from taking them to the parades or festivities of the 4th of July celebrations, there are other fun and exciting things you could introduce to them. Some fun things to do on the 4th of July for seniors can be:
- Arranging a sports competition (volleyball, table tennis, tennis, etc.) or even a kite competition can be a great idea to start the day.
- Another good idea is to prepare a simple patriotic dessert with red, white, and blue jello.
- Playing American geography games or any other classic board games. Of course, any game or activity that brings seniors together for a light-hearted conversation should also be excellent.
- The day should end with watching a patriotic movie.
Indoor Activities for Independence Day
These ideas mentioned below include some indoor Independence Day activities for seniors.
- Decorate the house with homemade crafts like paper flags, paper stars, balloon flags, etc.
- Prepare traditional foods along with family members, such as hot dogs, baked cookies, and potato salad.
- Read patriotic quotes and inspiring stories to the grandkids about American independence.
- Seniors with mobility issues can watch 4th of July programs on TV, such as parades and fireworks.
- Watch patriotic movies with the entire family and close friends.
- Play indoor games and quizzes.
Outdoor Activities for Independence Day
There are also many things to do on 4th July for older adults who love being outdoors. However, when you decide to go outdoors, make sure you bring sufficient food, water, and a portable chair for them to rest and stay energized during the activities. Here are some 4th of July ideas for seniors who love outdoor activities:
- Arrange a backyard barbeque where seniors can participate or just do people-watching.
- Organize a patriotic sing-a-long competition with karaoke sets. It will surely bring back some fond memories from their younger years.
- Have an outdoor picnic at the nearby park to spend some time in nature and enjoy some traditional 4th of July foods such as hotdogs or hamburgers!
- Active seniors can attend a local parade with friends and family.
- Visit the local senior center to check if they have planned any activities for the 4th of July.
- Plan an outing to local landmarks and museums to learn the history and significance of July 4th.
This 4th of July celebrations and fireworks might be somewhat limited or have a different look due to the distancing concerns regarding the Covid-19 situation. However, you still have the opportunities to show how much you love your country.
4th of July Crafts for Seniors
Making different crafts can be a creative and mentally stimulating way to celebrate Independence Day. Below are some great 4th of July crafts for seniors:
Home décor items
You don’t need a lot of things to make your patriotic crafts to decorate your home or living space. All you need is –
- A hot glue gun
- A bit of burlap
- Every red, white, and blue art supply you can get your hands on!
These should be more than enough. Patriotic paper chains, teddy mascots, snack pots, star wreaths, pinwheel rosettes, tissue paper firework banners, and paper flags are a lot of craft options to give your house a patriotic decoration. Patriotic artworks
Patriotic artwork is a great craft idea to celebrate the 4th of July. It can be as simple as painting the American flag or cutting out dollar bills into shapes of liberty bell flowers. You can also arrange an artwork competition among family members or fellow residents of assisted living. independence day activities
Seniors can use old jars or molds to create a batch of homemade candles on Independence Day. They are easy to make and also make it to the 4th of July gift ideas list! All they have to do is fill the jars with paraffin wax melt before adding wicks as required. They can also add colorful dyes to personalize them.
Knitting or Crocheting
Another excellent 4th of July craft for older adults is knitting or crocheting patriotic patterns on hats, socks, shirts, or any other clothing or household item. These patterns can feature fireworks, different US states, or any other imagery associated with 4th of July. Not only is this activity fun, but also relaxing and stimulating. Knitting can help reduce anxiety and blood pressure and boost cognitive functioning.
4th of July Letters
Writing a letter to retired military personnel or public servants who have served in our armed forces can be a fitting 4th of July craft idea. Not only will it allow older adults to put their thoughts on paper, but they will get the chance to show appreciation for all the sacrifices these men and women made to make America an independent nation.
Indoor and Outdoor games for seniors on 4th July
Indoor Games for seniors on 4th July:
Red, White, and Blue Concentration” Game: It’s a simple group game where everyone gets 5 seconds to announce a red, white, or blue object in sequence. The game is perfect for seniors as it incorporates faster mental processing and concentration.
Charades: Playing a game of Charade with American-themed words and phrases can give a fun and patriotic spin to this classic game.
Bingo: Printing out patriotic Bingo cards and playing with the whole family is one of the most common and fun indoor games on Independence Day.
Trivia and quizzes: 4th of July trivia and quizzes are enjoyable and competitive games that can keep everyone engaged and stimulate the brain.
American geography challenge: American geography challenge is an excellent indoor game to test memory and American geography knowledge.
Patriotic Puzzles: Patriotic jigsaw puzzles are one of the great sit-down games for senior citizens on Independence Day. It is great for mental stimulation and, at the same time, quite fun!
Outdoor Games for seniors on the 4th of July:
- Kite flying: Kite flying is an excellent way to keep seniors active on Independence Day. With the weather being so lovely, there’s no better time than now! It’s one of the most fun and exciting games for the 4th of July.
- Firework Bingo: Nothing beats an evening with friends, family, and fireworks! Firework Bingo is one of the best fourth of July games. It’s fun for everyone and always ends with a bang!
- Hide and seek: Hide and seek is the perfect outdoor game for seniors to play on 4th of July. It is low impact and requires limited movement so that anyone can participate!
- Giant Jenga: Giant Jenga is another fun game to play with family to celebrate Independence Day. This game requires hand-eye coordination, which is beneficial for older adults.
- Lawn Darts: Lawn Darts is a game that seniors can play on the 4th of July. It is an easy and fun way to get together with friends for some backyard competition!
How to make this Independence Day more senior-friendly
We all know that Independence Day is a big celebration. But many people don’t realize or forget about the difficulties older adults might face while outdoors on this hot summer day. However, there are ways to make the 4th of July senior-friendly. Here are some ways:
- Make sure your fireworks are senior-friendly – no loud noises or explosions.
- Have a variety of food options that are easy to eat and won’t leave a mess.
- Plan activities that don’t require too much movement or energy.
- Plenty of seating, portable chairs, and wheelchairs are available so seniors can rest when needed.
- Have plenty of cold drinks and water on hand to stay hydrated in the summer heat.
- Avoid direct sun exposure and make seating arrangements in a cool and shady spot for the elderly.
- If you’re planning on watching the fireworks, bring a light jacket or blanket to keep them comfortable during chilly nights.
- Stay close by and help them to get regular bathroom breaks.
- Large gatherings can trigger agitation or anxiety for seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia. So, plan a low-key 4th of July celebration with friends or family.
Celebrating July 4th in A Senior Care Facility.
The 4th of July is a time to celebrate our nation’s birth and all it stands for. There’s no need for seniors in assisted living, or other care facilities should feel left out on this occasion. Many nursing home and assisted living facilities host special events on July 4th, often with food, music, and games.
It’s also a wonderful opportunity for senior living residents to socialize and enjoy the company of their friends and family. So make sure you visit your elderly parents or relatives on the 4th of July and spend quality time with them.
If you cannot visit, send flowers, cards, or other independence-day-themed gift items to brighten their day. It will make them feel connected with the family even if they stay apart.
Happy 4th of July to all the seniors who have contributed to making this a country we pride ourselves on!