Easter and Passover: Times of Renewal

Posted on March 28th, 2013

Categories: Aging Advocacy,Caring For Elderly,Easter,Gifts,Helping Seniors,holidays,In-Home Care,Resources,Springtime

TulipsFor Christians, Easter is a very holy holiday.  Easter also represents a time of renewal.  We associate Easter with the coming of Spring and new life.

As caregivers, it is important to understand the religious needs of our elderly loved ones every day.  Special religious holidays such as Easter often hold personal memories and traditions.  For those seniors living in assisted living or nursing homes, there will be religious services held in their community.  If your senior is able to attend services with you, then be sure to plan accordingly.  Make sure you have a “Plan B” in mind in case your loved one finds the services, crowds or outing overly stimulating.  Plan your exit before you enter!  Finally, for those who are unable to get out, many churches and parishes have volunteers who will come to their home and meet the spiritual needs of the day.

Many Easter traditions are also non-religious in nature and can be shared with elders in preparation for Easter time.

  • Easter lilies are wonderful to bring to your loved one.  They smell lovely and are the traditional floral symbol of Easter
  • Have the grandchildren go over and dye Easter eggs together.  If dyeing the eggs is too difficult, decorate with stickers instead
  • Bring an Easter basket to your senior. Think of creative contents like Springtime magazines or seed packets if you senior can’t have candy
  • Try to make sure that your loved one eats some of the foods that were traditions in your family’s celebration in the past

For our Jewish friends, Passover is a very holy holiday as well.  Passover is also a celebration of birth, rebirth and the coming of Spring.  It is the celebration of the Hebrews being led by God from enslavement in Egypt.  Passover encourages people to take responsibility for their lives as well as their communities.  What better way to contribute to the world than by caring for our elderly loved ones!  Invite a lonely elderly person to your seder.  Allow them to participate as fully as they are able in the rituals of the seder.  Share in the rich traditions of Passover.

It is interesting that both Easter and Passover signify renewal and life.  And yet so many of our elderly friends feel on the periphery of life.  Caring for the elderly should also include spiritual care.  Helping seniors to celebrate their religious traditions is an integral part of caring for their basic human needs; it supports their dignity.

“Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn’t anyone who doesn’t appreciate kindness and compassion” Dalai Lama.