WAYS TO ADAPT TRADITIONAL 4TH OF JULY ACTIVITIES FOR SENIORS
When older adults are included in group celebrations like 4th of July, they feel engaged in life and connected with family and friends. But some traditional activities might not be well-suited for seniors.
We’ve rounded up over a dozen ideas for adapting those traditional activities so older adults can join in the fun while staying comfortable and calm.
Activities for seniors who enjoy going out
Many seniors still enjoy traditional celebrations like going to a relative or friend’s house for a lively barbecue. Others love to see live fireworks in the evening.
6 ways to make these activities senior-friendly:
- Limit direct sun exposure by seating them in a cool and shady spot.
- Bring a light jacket or blanket to keep them warm at night.
- Standing is tiring. Make sure they always have a comfortable seat that supports their back. Bring a cushion, portable chair, or wheelchair if needed.
- Bring their favorite beverages and frequently encourage them to drink so they’ll stay hydrated.
- Take regular bathroom breaks to reduce or eliminate the chance of an accident.
- For seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia, limit the time spent at large gatherings to reduce the chance they’ll get agitated, anxious, or angry.
Activities for seniors who prefer to stay in
Many older adults aren’t able to leave home anymore, but would still enjoy participating in holiday celebrations. A wonderful way to enjoy the 4th of July is to bring the festivities to them!
5 great group activities
- Throw a backyard barbecue at their house. Your senior can participate when they want or just people-watch. This lets them join the fun, but keeps them from getting overtired or overstimulated, especially important for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia..
- Have a patriotic sing-a-long! Play a karaoke soundtrack from your computer or mobile device – try America the Beautiful, My Country ‘Tis of Thee, This Land is Your Land, or Yankee Doodle Boy
- Ooh and ahh together while watching the fireworks broadcast on TV.
- Watch a fun, lighthearted movie classic – like Singin’ in the Rain.
- Play simple card games or classic board games.
4 ways to have fun with food
Involve your older adult in cooking and food preparation as much as they’re able and willing. It’s another way to feel like they’re contributing and are included in the group.
- Make traditional foods like hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad, and coleslaw.
- Prepare a simple patriotic dessert — try one of these Jello recipes or these colorful fruit skewers.
- Involve them in fruit or veggie preparation or ask them to assemble prepared salad ingredients in a big bowl.
- Organize an ice cream social. You could even make it a sundae bar by including a variety of toppings.
1 way to get crafty
- Create paper flags and other decorations to hang everywhere! Try this fun star wreath.
Time to Race
A good old-fashioned race will inspire lots of fun and laughter. Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Potato Sack Race: Bring back the classic potato sack race for your Fourth of July celebration. Get in the holiday spirit by choosing red, white, and blue garbage bags, or decorate your own potato sacks with the image of the flag or the Statue of Liberty. Then line up the bagged participants and send them hopping and laughing toward the finish line.
- Abraham Lincoln Spoon Race: We named this Fourth of July game for one of our nation’s founding fathers, and it’s sure to be a hit. Divide the kids into two teams, and designate a starting point and finish line. At the starting point, place a bowl of pennies and two spoons or ladles (one for each team); at the finish line, place two empty bowls (one for each team). One at a time, one person from each team must fill the spoon with as many pennies as possible and then race to the finish line to discard them into the team bowl. Here’s the catch: Any dropped pennies must be picked up and returned to the spoon, and the player must return to the starting point. The first team to transfer all the pennies to the bowl at the finish line wins.
- Flag Relay: Fill two large plastic buckets or bins with sand, and insert small American flags. Use the same number of flags as participants. Designate a starting point and a finish line, placing the buckets at the finish line. Split the kids into two teams, and have them form two lines at the starting point. On your “go,” the first person in each line races to the bucket, grabs a flag, and marches back (for safety reasons, don’t allow children to run with the flags). The next person in line cannot go until the previous person has returned with his or her flag. The first team to capture all of its flags wins.
- Party Activity: Build Sand Castles
A beautiful beach and some summer sun are all you need for the perfect 4th of July celebration. Keep kids occupied with fun 4th of July activities by having them build sand castles. Top the peaks with American flags for a festive finish.
4th of July Quotes and Poems
Where liberty dwells, there is my country.
Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits.
You’re a grand old flag,
You’re a high-flying flag,
And forever in peace may you wave.
George M. Cohan
Those who won our independence believed liberty to be the secret of happiness and courage to be the secret of liberty.
Louis D. Brandeis
This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.
My country, ’tis of thee,
Sweet Land of Liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims’ pride,
From every mountainside,
Let freedom ring.
Samuel F. Smith
One flag, one land,
One heart, one hand,
One nation evermore!
Oliver Wendell Holmes
If our country is worth dying for in time of war, let us resolve that it is truly worth living for in time of peace.
America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood,
From sea to shining sea!
Katharine Lee Bates
God bless America,
My home, sweet home.
“We look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. The first is freedom of speech and expression everywhere in the world. The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way everywhere in the world. The third is freedom from want… everywhere in the world. The fourth is freedom from fear… anywhere in the world.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt in his speech on The Four Freedoms delivered to Congress on January 6, 1941
“The secret of all those who make discoveries is that they regard nothing as impossible.” — Justus Liebig, renowned chemist in the 19th century
“Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all others.” — Winston Churchill, former Prime Minister of Great Britain
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson, American poet
— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author of The Little Prince
“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.” — Unknown
“The future doesn’t belong to the faint-hearted. It belongs to the brave.” — Ronald Reagan, from a speech given on January 28th, 1986 concerning the Challenger tragedy
“America is best described by one word — freedom.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower in his message to Congress, January 9, 1958
“Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful — a meaningful friend or a meaningful day.” — Dalai Lama, head of state and spiritual leader of Tibet
“America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.” — Harry S. Truman, January 8, 1947
“Not to believe in the possibility of permanent peace is to disbelieve in the Godliness of human nature.” — Gandhi, Indian nationalist leader
“Americanism is a question of principle, of purpose, of idealism, or character; it is not a matter of birthplace or creed or line of descent.” — Theodore Roosevelt, 1909
“In this outward and physical ceremony we attest once again to the inner and spiritual strength of our Nation. As my high school teacher, Miss Julia Coleman, used to say: ‘We must adjust to changing times and still hold to unchanging principles.'” — Jimmy Carter in his Inaugural Address delivered on January 20, 1977
“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift; that’s why they call it the present.” — Unknown
“The struggle of today, is not altogether for today — it is for a vast future also.” — Abraham Lincoln in his address to Congress delivered on December 3, 1861
“Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.” — John Lennon, “Imagine”
“Never, never, never, never give up.” — Winston Churchill rallying the people of Great Britain during World War II
“Nothing is hopeless, we must hope for everything.” — Madeleine L’Engle, author of the children’s book A Wrinkle In Time
“If anyone tells you that America’s best days are behind her, they’re looking the wrong way.” — George Bush in his 1991 State of the Union Address
“Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” — Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin
“I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.” — Thomas Jefferson in a letter to John Adams in 1816
“When you come to the edge of all that you know, you must believe one of two things: There will be earth upon which to stand, or you will be given wings to fly.” — Unknown
“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” — John F. Kennedy in his Inaugural Address delivered on January 20, 1961