The holidays are a special time to celebrate with family and friends. If it’s your senior parent or loved one’s first holiday season in a new assisted living community, it’s especially important to make sure they feel included in the festivities.
Due to health or safety concerns, many older adults need to stay in their assisted living communities over the holidays. Family members may not be able to assist older loved ones with daily care tasks, and most homes aren’t equipped with the fall prevention and safety features found in assisted living communities. As a result, it’s often much easier and safer for families to visit older loved ones in the comfort of their assisted living community. If you’re wondering how to celebrate the holiday season with older loved ones in an assisted living community, try some of these tips and ideas:
Decorate their space
Bring some extra holiday cheer to your loved one by decorating their space with festive décor such as poinsettias, stockings, gifts, holiday cards, or a small Christmas tree or wreath.
Watch holiday-themed movies
Many families have the tradition of watching movies together during the holidays. For older adults, re-watching favorite films can be a source of comfort and bring up fond memories of the stories they grew up with. Luckily, it’s easy to bring this holiday tradition to your loved one’s assisted living community. Some favorites holiday-themed films include It’s a Wonderful Life, White Christmas, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Miracle on 34th Street. You can also take turns reading a favorite story or poem aloud, such as A Christmas Carol or Twas the Night Before Christmas.
Create a holiday craft together
Crafting is a fun and relaxing activity for people of all ages, and it can even offer health benefits for older adults. Studies show that engaging in creative activities helps stimulate different parts of the brain and may reduce the rate of cognitive decline. Doing a simple craft activity can also improve the dexterity and strength in older adults’ fingers and wrists. Bring arts and craft supplies to your loved one’s assisted living community and choose an easy project to create together, such as handmade holiday cards, paper snowflake cut-outs, or popcorn garlands and ornaments.
Celebrate as a community
In assisted living, the holiday season is a festive and lively time! Most communities host fun holiday celebrations and get-togethers for residents and their families to enjoy together. You can expect festive décor, holiday performances, socials and activities, and of course, meals that families are invited to attend around the holidays. There may also be special religious services scheduled, allowing residents and their families to worship together at the community.
The holiday season is a perfect opportunity to spend quality time with a parent or older loved one who lives in an assisted living community. Whether you bring favorite traditions to them or embrace new traditions and take part in the activities hosted by their community, there is no shortage of ways to make your holiday celebrations fun, festive, and memorable!