Celebrating the Holiday Season with Seniors
The Christmas holiday is just a few days away and most of us are excited to spend much needed quality time with family and friends. Although this is a season of celebration, it is important to remember that the holiday might look a lot different for the senior adults in your family.
It is an unfortunate fact that there are quite a few groups of people who will experience feelings of sadness and loneliness this time of year. Senior adults who no longer live at home are one of these groups. The staff at senior living facilities do a great job of creating a festive environment for their community members, but it’s not quite the same as celebrating the season at home surrounded by family members and other loved ones. Some seniors who live in an assisted living facility may be able to travel to other places for holiday events and gatherings, but unfortunately there are others who cannot. If your senior loved one is unable to travel this holiday, it is still important to try and find ways to help them enjoy the season in stress free and heartfelt ways.
The recommendations below may not be the preferred way to celebrate the holiday season with your senior loved one, but they can help to ease some of the depression and stress that can come with spending the holidays away from home. These suggestions can help to remind your loved one that you still love and care about them, and how much they are appreciated.
For most of us, the holiday season is a time for celebration as we gather together with family and friends. Unfortunately for many seniors, it is a reminder of those who are no longer with them to celebrate the holidays. It can also bring to the forefront the fact that they can no longer participate in certain holiday festivities, and that visiting friends and loved ones is no longer a possibility. Instead of talking about all of the events that they aren’t able to attend, help keep their spirits up by focusing on the good memories of holidays past. Talk about the good memories you have shared throughout the years, and let them know how important they still are in your life and to your family. Be thankful and gracious for any gifts you receive from your senior loved one. It may seem trivial to you, but to them it probably matters a great deal.
Make Time for Special Holiday Visits
If your senior loved one resides in an assisted living facility and is unable to visit you for the holidays, why not bring the party to them? Most facilities have special areas designed specifically for larger family gatherings and events. These areas have most likely been decorated for the holiday. Show up for the event a little early to add a few decorations of your own to give the space a little more feeling of home. There’s no need to make it complicated – special table linens and a small tree with a few favorite ornaments will work nicely. A family gathering with a few special touches may be exactly what your loved one needs to lift their holiday spirit.
You could also consider hosting a white elephant or secret santa gift exchange. Your senior family member will love the fun and excitement that comes with watching everyone opening their gifts.
Organize a Community Event
If time or distance makes it impossible to visit your loved one at the facility where they live, there are still ways to help brighten the holiday season. Contact a local school and inquire about having their student choir sing Christmas carols to the senior community. A local preschool may be willing to bring the children to do holiday themed arts and crafts. If you have children or grandchildren who are taking part in holiday programs at their school, record the event and share with your senior loved one so they also feel included.
You could also consider hosting a holiday themed event for your loved one’s assisted living facility in the public dining area or other community space. Christmas themed treats like cookies and beverages will brighten everyone’s day. Knowing that you hosted this event for them will make your senior loved one feel special and proud. Not only does it help them to spread holiday cheer, it also helps others within the community to remember that there are people who are thinking about them during the holiday season.
Remember the Reason for the Season
This time of year can get very busy and stressful for everyone, and it’s easy to get wrapped up in all the hustle and bustle that the holidays can bring. We get pulled in so many directions that seniors may find themselves at the bottom of the “to do” list. It’s important to remember that your senior loved one now has a lot more time on their hands to think about all they are missing out on and their loved ones who have passed on. Your senior family members need your extra love and support during the holidays. After all, spending extra time with your senior loved one is a great reminder about what the holiday season is truly about.
Terrace Ridge offers a discerning residential environment for those who, for whatever reason, should not live alone, but do not require skilled nursing care. We are happy to help create a memorable and stress free season for you and your senior loved one. Contact us today to learn more.