The holidays are a time for cherishing your family and friends, eating good food and giving gifts to others. Unfortunately, though, they can also be a time of great loneliness for many people. This can be especially true for seniors in assisted living facilities, as they may miss celebrating the holidays at home with their loved ones.
The good news is, even if your loved one is unable to leave their assisted living facility for medical reasons, you can still bring the holiday celebration to them. Here are nine tips to make your loved one feel festive this holiday season.
- Decorate Their Room
While many assisted living facilities decorate the hallways and dining areas, you can also bring the holiday cheer right to your loved one’s room or apartment. Stick to decorations from earlier in their life if they have dementia or another type of short-term memory loss. These will be more comfortable and familiar than recently bought decorations, and they have the added bonus of carrying precious holiday memories from years past.
- Cook or Bake a Special Treat
Food is a crucial aspect of the holidays. Whether your loved one enjoys sugary sweets like cookies and pies or hearty homecooked meals of turkey and ham, taking the time to prepare their favorite dish is a great way to show they are valued and loved. Plan to bring enough so they can enjoy a few leftover meals or share your dish with their friends. Even better, involving your loved one in the cooking process will help improve their confidence and independence, especially if you choose to prepare a family recipe.
- Unwrap Presents
Even if your loved one can’t physically unwrap their presents, they can still enjoy receiving gifts and watching their family members’ eyes light up with surprise. Celebrate this age-old tradition in front of a tabletop tree for wonderful new memories. Consider bringing along grandchildren or young relatives for this event, as their joy is infectious and may put your loved one or other residents in good spirits.
- Feel the Music
Music is renowned for its therapeutic properties. Play some of your loved one’s favorite holiday tunes – whether pop songs, religious hymns or classical music – in the background while you do other activities or join them in song to celebrate. If the assisted living facility welcomes carolers, go door-to-door serenading residents to bring the holiday cheer to everyone in the community.
- Give Presents and Cards to Others
Arthritis, physical disabilities, and dementia may make it impossible for your loved one to write cards, go shopping or send gifts to friends and relatives on their own. However, they may still desire to do these holiday activities. Taking short shopping field trips together can be refreshing for your loved one. Work with them to come up with a list of presents and cards, then help them find those items in-store or pen handwritten notes. Online shopping is a great alternative if you are strapped for time during the hectic holiday season.
- Reminisce About Old Times
Old photographs are an excellent memory trigger that may make your loved one feel more comfortable and involved during the holidays. Create a photo album or scrapbook with your loved one and swap joyful stories about holidays past. You can even add a photo from the day you visit or gift them a camera so they can continue adding memories long after the holidays are over.
- Attend Community Activities
Assisted living facilities frequently host events around the holidays like baking parties, community meals, and holiday performances. Consider attending these events with your loved one if they feel up to leaving their room. This is a great way to meet your loved one’s social circle as well as any other friends and family members who may be visiting the facility for the holidays.
- Check in with Your Loved One
Those who have dementia can get easily overwhelmed by new sensory information. Be sure to check in with your loved one as you put up any pictures or decorations or start to play music. If they do get confused or frustrated, remove the stressor and move along to a more peaceful activity. Remember that it isn’t anything you or they are doing wrong – this is simply a symptom of dementia.
- Make Time for Yourself
You may find yourself feeling guilty that you can’t spend as long as you’d like with your loved one. This feeling is normal for caregivers. While you can certainly spend time with your loved one, try not to spread yourself so thin that you can’t tend to your own needs or the needs of your other family members. You have already made their holiday that much more special simply by showing up and telling them how much you love them.
Celebrating the Holidays at Silver Creek Retirement
Even if you’re there to celebrate the holidays with your loved one, you want to be sure they’re receiving quality care all year round. At Silver Creek Retirement, our kind and patient caregivers provide quality assisted living, memory care and respite care to all residents. Your loved one can choose from a studio, one-bedroom or two-bedroom apartment and can take part in our many activities, like meditation, walking club, fitness class, bridge, arts and crafts, movie nights and more! Call 800-940-0988 or contact us online today for more information about our wonderful community.<< News
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