Many of our most treasured holiday memories take place at Mom and Dad’s house. So after a loved one has moved into a senior living facility such as an assisted living community, it may feel like you can’t celebrate the usual holiday traditions. Luckily, that just isn't true at all. While locations may have changed, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy everything the season has to offer.
Holiday traditions are usually based around activities that take place in the home, which is why we can feel as though there isn’t a way to celebrate favorite family traditions the way you used to. However, with the right attitude (and with the right tips and tricks up your sleeve) your family can still enjoy the same traditions, just with a slight twist.
1. Holiday Shopping Trips
Going out searching for presents is often a time of bonding for family members. After all, nothing brings a family closer together than navigating the crowds at the mall! But with a loved one in assisted living, it may be difficult to make that trip out to the store. Talk to your loved one about how they would feel about this type of day trip, and consult their physician to see if it’s safe for them.
If it’s going to be too difficult to take your loved one out for the day, take the shopping mall to them! Online shopping allows you to find the perfect presents with only a few taps of a computer. Help your family member search the gifts they want to purchase, or just enjoy browsing around together and seeing what the holiday sales and hot-ticket items are, all from the comforts of home!
2. Deck the Halls
Even if your loved one doesn’t have a large home to decorate after making the move, their senior living apartment still can get the full holiday treatment! Help them make their living space feel more in tune with the holiday spirit by taking time to decorate together. Try things like:
- Setting up and decorating a small, fake tree with bright lights and your loved one’s favorite ornaments.
- Adding blankets, pillows, and other cozy items to warm up the apartment.
- Stringing garland or tinsel around walls.
- Hanging a wreath over their door. For extra bonus points, make it a fun crafting experience and build the wreath yourselves!
- Bringing the outdoors inside with decorations of pinecones, cranberries, branches, and other woodsy elements.
To make apartment decorating even more of a holiday celebration, have several different family members come over, make some yummy snacks and hot cocoa, and play carols that make the day even merrier.
3. Open Presents Together
Giving and receiving gifts is a favorite tradition for families, but it’s one that senior loved ones in assisted living communities can often miss out on. Rather than just call a loved one and fill them in on the joys you experienced together, bring the whole family over for a visit and enjoy opening presents as a group, so no one feels left out!
4. Enjoy a Holiday Dinner
Having a large family meal is often the highlight of everyone’s holiday traditions. When the whole family gathers together to eat, drink, laugh, share stories, and enjoy each other’s company it exemplifies all the reasons that the holiday season is so special.
Assisted living communities know that eating together is a huge part of family tradition, and that’s why they plan and throw holiday parties full of delicious food and treats for families to enjoy with their loved ones. When everyone gathers together in celebration, no one will ever feel left out!
5. Keep Family at the Heart of the Holidays
The number one reason that people struggle to find ways to celebrate the holidays in assisted living is because they are so used to thinking about these activities in a different setting. But just because “home” has a different meaning than what it used to doesn’t mean that the holidays will never be the same.
Much more important than where we spend the holidays at is who we spend the holidays with. Family and friends are what really keep our memories of holiday traditions alive, not the location where they took place.
In order to make the most of the holiday season, spend time with your loved ones, no matter where they are. When the family is together and celebrating, the holidays are always cheerful and bright.