If it’s your loved one’s first holiday season in a senior living community you may be wondering what to expect. What family traditions will you be able to continue? What festivities will you need to adapt to your loved one’s new environment? How can you ensure they still feel included? How can you make senior living holidays extra special for them? We can help with these tips.
- Do Up the Decorating – Whether you incorporate decorations they once used at home or you purchase new ones suited for their new residence, make sure to help your loved one get holiday-ready with plenty of decorations to get them in the spirit.
- Check With the Community – Most senior living communities plan a variety of events for residents during the holiday season. Check there first to see what activities your loved one might enjoy, which ones may be similar to your own traditions, and which ones your and/or other family members can join in on.
- Prioritize Family Traditions – Your family likely has all kinds of holiday traditions, and while it may not be realistic to think you can recreate them all with your loved one in senior living, that doesn’t mean you can’t focus on a few of the ones most important to them. Perhaps you had a cookie-baking day, went caroling, drove around to see the holiday lights or always attend a special Christmas church service. If your loved one is able, you might take them for an outing(s) to do some of those things this year, too.
- Give Gifts Differently – If your family has always given each other bunches of gifts at the holidays, you might consider a different approach, especially where your loved one is concerned. They likely don’t have a tremendous amount of room for extra things, and, likely what’s most important to them is your time and attention. So perhaps this year, do less in the way of a tangible gift, and more in the way of experiences like extra visits and outings.
- Get Creative With Get Togethers – If it may be too overwhelming for your loved one to attend a big holiday gathering, or your entire family can’t have Thanksgiving or Christmas with them in the community, you can still get together with a little creativity. Have different groups of family members go at different times and/or attend different events at the community. You can also set up video chats and do things like watching holiday movies or opening presents together virtually.
- Send Them Your Love in Senior Living – If it’s not possible to see your loved one as much during the season or to do as many of the traditions as you usually do, you can make the holidays special by sending care packages with their favorites during this time of year. Maybe it’s treats from a local bakery, a favorite meal from a local restaurant, seasonal flowers, or cards from the grandkids; any or all they’re sure to love!
- Reminisce About Past Holidays – Reminiscing is another important part of the season. It’s always fun to get out the old photos and tell stories about holidays past. It can also be a great way to remind your loved one how important they always have been, and still are, to your family. If you have holiday photos digitally, you might upload them to a digital frame that could be placed in your loved one’s residence to enjoy. Or, bring over photo albums and go through them together.