July 4th Tips for the Senior Community

July 4th is right around the corner. As usual, it will hot, humid and the banks close on that day! So, get your sunscreen, water and cash well before the holiday!


July 4th is traditionally a time when friends and family get together for barbeques and fireworks. If you are planning on taking your senior to an out-of-doors July 4th activity, be sure and bring a chair [unless they are in a wheelchair] and seat them in a cool, shady spot. Encouraging them to drink liquids as well as helping them with bathroom breaks will go a long way toward keeping them comfortable.


If you are attending a fireworks display with a senior who has Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, you should limit their time at this type of gathering so they do not become agitated. Fireworks can be a source of the aforesaid agitation. While it is possible they will be exposed to the noise from firecrackers whether inside their home or else at a gathering with others, make sure your loved one is not alone at that time. I think it’s safe to say here that it is important to “cushion” their exposure to the loud noise.

Perhaps a set of passive noise-cancelling headphones [which insulates the ears from external noise] with some soft music or an audio book would be helpful for this. I did a cursory review of some of the passive noise-cancelling headphones available and you can purchase a decent set for under $20. Or if you opt for what is called “ear defenders” [which is a type of noise-cancelling headphones used at construction sites or other high traffic noise areas] then you can find an adequate pair for around $50.


Though you senior may only take a passive part in a gathering, they still enjoy being around others and just people watch (which is, believe it or not, a favorite activity of older adults). Or if you choose to have a low-key gathering, why not have a big dinner [Sonny’s Barbeque if you don’t want to cook or do not have the means to barbeque) or a simple hot dog and chips with lemonade. Together, you can eat and watch a fireworks display or July 4th parade via TV. Finding a great July 4th movie can also be fun. Here are a few movie suggestions:

Yankee Doodle Dandy - A true flag-waver, this movie stars James Cagney as entertainer, playwright, composer, lyricist, actor, singer and dancer George M. Cohen, who boasted he was born on July 4, though records indicate the actual date was July 3, 1878. Considered by many the father of Broadway, the film chronicles Cohen's life and features all-singing, all-dancing musical numbers that would have made the subject proud.

Johnny Tremain - One of the oft-forgotten films about the Revolutionary War, this one through the eyes of a young boy forced to put aside his selfishness and dreams of personal fortune in favor of higher ideals. While far from perfect, this Disney movie has more depth than you might expect in its themes about the impact of war on the lives and futures of youth.

The Devil’s Disciple - Based on the 1897 play by George Bernard Shaw, this film features Dick Dudgeon, a New England revolutionary mistakenly arrested by the British in place of a local reverend. Dudgeon nobly conceals his true identity, as he cannot bring himself to cause another human to suffer. The reverend’s wife, Judith, is moved by Dick’s actions and mistakenly interprets them as an expression of love. In spite of his protestations she finds herself drawn to him. When taken before British commander General Burgoyne, Dudgeon is willing to die for his principles. But at the last minute, he is saved to become a revolutionary leader. The film also features brilliant performances by Laurence Olivier, Burt Lancaster, and Kirk Douglas.

Regardless of your choice for celebration, the important thing here is to be safe and enjoy being together with your loved one on this special holiday and to be grateful for the independence we enjoy in the U.S.A.


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