The holidays can be a difficult time for many people, especially seniors in assisted living. Of course there are fond memories of Christmas' past, but there is also loneliness and isolation, and extra emotions around memories of treasured people who have passed on.
So what are some ways that we can help make the holidays special for the elders in our family amidst the reality of them no longer being in their own homes?
-Make time for them. The number one thing you can do is spend time with them. In the past, the holidays likely involved socializing and entertaining. No longer having that stimulation can be a contributing factor to the holiday blues. Help your loved one beat those blues by arranging additional visits. Making time to visit will keep him or her connected with the happenings of the season. Much of the holiday magic comes from the experiences had by the children of the family. If possible, arranging a visit with all the family, including the youngest, can awaken enthusiasm and make for a very special holiday.
-Encourage participation in the holiday happenings of their community. Most assisted living facilities have special events occurring around the holidays. Classic holiday movies, Christmas sing-alongs and special meals are all part of the holiday atmosphere. Find out about the events being planned and encourage your loved one to participate in the festivities. And if possible, join them!
-Deck the Halls! Help them get into the holiday spirit by decorating their living space. If possible, use personal decorations from holidays past. They hold special meaning and memories of the many holidays spent together.
With a bit of planning and a lot of love, you can bring the gift of joy to your loved one in assisted living this holiday season.
Speaking of gifts... Check out this list of practical gifts for seniors
-An outing with you to a museum, the movies, out to lunch, the library... anyplace they'd enjoy
-A gift certificate for salon services
-A photo book or other photo gifts
-A tablet or iPad to keep them entertained and connected to family via email or social media
-A box of organized greeting cards with pre-stamped envelopes
-Activity books and crayons for children who visit
-Fresh flower arrangements
-Old time candies
We at Residential Homecare Services want to wish you and your family a holiday season filled with warmth and togetherness. May you keep your heart and mind open to receiving the miracles all around us in every season.