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Planning a Family Reunion: The Best Ways to Involve Seniors

Posted on Monday, June 26, 2023
by AMAC, D.J. Wilson
Planning a Family Reunion

Family reunions are memorable events that invite all generations of a particular lineage to gather to celebrate their heritage. It is important to make family members welcome and to include older members in all aspects while planning a family reunion. Allow senior members to dictate their level of participation and how active they wish to be.

Let seniors share their stories

Most elderly members of the family appreciate acknowledgments and can help make family reunions successful. They often hold a wealth of knowledge of family history and are often pleased to share their memories, and lessons learned, and remind us of what it was like in days gone by.

Here are five great ways to include senior members of the family in reunion planning:

1.Include interested senior family members in the planning process. If they have time and are willing, delegate some tasks to them. For example, ask senior family members to help with arrangements or invitations to your family reunion. Or tap into their creative side and ask them to oversee table centerpieces, party favors, or do some baking for your family event. 

2. For large family reunions, create a welcome table to greet guests. Ask friendly senior relatives to help with parking or to man the table to welcome arrivals, hand out name tags, and answer questions.

3.Create a family time capsule. Ask senior family members to contribute specialty items related to your family’s history. Examples:

  • copies of photos of family
  • old newspaper clippings
  • dated technology
  • special artwork
  • copies of family trees
  • old cards or letters
  • a favorite story
  • a lace handkerchief or items bearing special significance

4.Create a family heirloom cookbook. Have senior relatives share their favorite family dinner and dessert recipes that have been handed down from previous generations. Senior relatives may help compile larger collections of sharable recipes by contacting other family members for their contributions. Be sure to put the recipe collections online or bring printed copies of your family cookbook to hand out to reunion guests.

5.Designate a storytelling hour. Ask senior members of the family to share tales of their childhood, special events, or recent favorite memories. Reunion guests will enjoy seeing photographs. If possible, consider creating an accompanying slide show or sharing old photos and memorabilia with them. Senior family members might enjoy taking turns narrating to provide personal eyewitness accounts of their experiences.

Connecting older and younger generations at your family reunion

The list above features clever ways to actively include senior relatives in family reunion planning and event activities. Not only is it important that all ages are welcome at your family gathering, but it’s vital to include everyone in the planning and day’s events. Rather than simply inviting older family members to the reunion as attendees, also invite them to be involved. Having extra support and allowing senior family members to contribute and share their experiences is a total win. Family involvement, including that of senior relatives, ultimately serves to connect generations and strengthen family bonds.

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