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Elder Care Activities: Creating an Advent Calendar



Elder Care in Westport, CT

Caregivers-in-Merion-Station-PAKeeping your aging loved ones' mental and emotional health high is a vital element of your elder care plan. One highly effective way to do this that you can enjoy with the entire family is doing crafts together and building excitement about happy things to come. Studies have shown that just looking forward to something wonderful that is going to be happening soon can dramatically reduce feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress, and make you feel overall happier and more in control. During the holiday season, a fantastic way to combine both mind-boosting activities is to make an advent calendar.

Taking its inspiration from the candles of the advent, an advent calendar counts down the days until Christmas, giving your family something enjoyable to do each day that sparks a little bit more excitement about what is to come. While there are many different types of advent calendars readily available in the marketplace, making one together gives you something to do together to stimulate your minds, foster creativity and imagination, and build precious memories. As you bring out your calendar to use each year, it also allows you to reminisce about making it, helping you to stay connected to your loved ones and to your children when they are at the age that they are now.

If you do not have children, or if they are too young to make crafts, this project is also great for your loved ones to make with their home care provider. 

What You'll Need

  • Large canvas. These are readily available in craft supply and fabric stores
  • 25 paper mache boxes in various sizes. These are also easy to find in craft stores and often come in sets that feature several in different sizes
  • Mod Podge Gloss Finish
  • Acrylic paint in your choice of color for the background of the calendar
  • Water
  • Christmas-themed scrapbook paper
  • Cardstock in colors that coordinate with the scrapbook paper
  • Number stickers
  • Embellishments such as rhinestones, stickers, die cuts, and buttons
  • Paintbrushes
  • Craft glue
  • Hot glue
  • Craft knife
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Double-sided tape
  • Small chocolates such as chocolate coins or sticky notes
  • Bowl

What to Do

• Mix two bottles of acrylic paint in your choice of color in the bowl with enough water to give it a soupy, but not watery, consistency. It should be thin and runny but still have a slight paint consistency

• Paint the entire canvas with this wash, applying several coats to create a consistent, even color and allow to dry completely. Remember that this is the background of the calendar, so look for a color that will not clash with the colors you choose for your papers, but that will make the boxes "pop"

• Once the paint is dry, lay the canvas out flat and start arranging the boxes on the painted surface. Rearrange them and play with the layout until you like how it looks

• Carefully mark the bottom of each box with a number and write that coordinating number on the canvas where you placed the box so that you can remember the positioning of all of the boxes when it comes time to put the calendar back together

• Arrange your scrapbook papers on the tops of the boxes so that you can look at the patterns and decide where you want each one. No two boxes beside each other should have the same paper. You can cut down larger pieces to fit on smaller boxes to save paper and create a more consistent look

• Mark the pieces of paper and the tops of the boxes so that you can remember which pattern goes where

• Place each lid on its corresponding paper and use the craft knife to cut the paper to the right size

• Using the same paint and water technique, paint each of the boxes inside and out and allow them to dry completely. You do not need to paint the entire lid of the box because you will be adding paper. The boxes can all be the same color or you can mix them up for more variety and visual interest

• Use the Mod Podge to decoupage the paper pieces onto the lids

• Allow the papers to dry

• Cut circles out of the cardstock to use as bases for the numbers for each box

• Embellish the boxes as you desire, adding ribbons, rhinestones, stickers, or anything else that you would like

• Glue one circle onto each of the boxes, changing up where you put them so that they do not all look exactly alike

• Hot glue the boxes into place on the canvas according to your pre-designed layout

• Add the number stickers to the circles, making sure that you mix them up so that they are not all in a row. You want to be able to "hunt" a little for each number each day

• Use double-sided tape to tape a chocolate coin into each box and put the lid on. If you do not want to use chocolate, put a sticky note with a nice seasonal message, joke, or suggestion for an activity to do together inside

• Prop your calendar up somewhere where everyone can see it, and enjoy throughout the month of December.

If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Westport, CT or the surrounding areas, please contact SYNERGY HomeCare of Fairfield, CT at 203-923-8866.

Jay Kiley
Jay Kiley

Jay Kiley has spent well over 30 years providing world class customer service to clients around the world. Whether it was during his career in banking as a senior officer with Fortune 500 companies or working with some of the wealthiest people in the world with the Superyacht Rigging Company he owned with his brother; customer service was and is first and foremost.

As the Regional Developer of SYNERGY HomeCare in Connecticut Kiley again puts the customer’s needs first. Working with the  five SYNERGY HomeCare Connecticut offices, Danbury, Bristol, Stamford, East Haven and Fairfield, which he owns with his wife ,Laurie, he has lead the SYNERGY CareTeam to tremendous growth and continued success. Knowing firsthand how health, aging and memory care issues can take a toll on a family, he is a very hands-on owner. He makes his cell phone available to all clients and their families providing more than just care, Kiley provides solutions to his client’s care needs and peace of mind to their family. 

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