Support Ideas for Seniors Spending the Holidays in Senior Living!
The holidays can be a lonely time of year for many groups, and one of those groups is seniors who live outside the home. While many senior living options do the best to keep the festive spirit, it isn’t the same as a holiday at home surrounded by family. Unfortunately, it isn’t always an option to bring the seniors you love home for the holidays, especially if they are in a skilled nursing facility, so you have to come up with other options to make their holiday stress-free and heartwarming. These ideas may not be the solution that we would all love, but they will help ease the stress of the holiday season and remind your seniors that they are still in your heart and in your mind.
Keep It Positive
The holidays can be a depressing time for a lot of people, especially seniors. It tends to serve as a reminder about who is not there to celebrate anymore and how they cannot go to where everyone else is gathering. Try to keep things upbeat by only talking about happy memories, and don’t spend too much time talking about your holiday plans away from them. Remind them that they are still an essential part of your life and your family, and be gracious and thankful for any gifts you receive from them, because even if it seems minor to you, it may be a massive gesture for them.
If your senior can’t come to a Christmas get-together, bring the part to them instead. Many assisted living, and nursing homes have a room that you can use for an event. The room may already be set up for Christmas, but if it isn’t, show up a little early with a tree and some decorations to make the room feel like Christmas at home. A big family get-together may be just what your loved one needs to make it through the holiday season with cheer in their hearts. This is the perfect opportunity for a secret Santa or white elephant gift exchange as seeing so many people open gifts will surely bring joy to your senior’s heart.
Organize an Event
If you can’t make it to your loved one’s assisted living home, it doesn’t mean you are completely helpless; there is still a lot you can do to make their season bright. For example, work with a local school to see if their choir can visit the home and sing some carols or have a local preschool visit to do some holiday arts and crafts. Another option
is to live stream holiday events like school plays and concerts if you are looking for a socially distant event. Even sponsoring a holiday-themed soiree in the community space with apple cider and Christmas cookies will remind not just your senior but all the seniors that there are people out there who love them and are thinking about them during the season.
Send a Gift Package
Organizing an event may not be an option, but there are other ways you can let your seniors know you are thinking about them. Compile a care package full of all sorts of things to bring holiday joy. Of course, any goodies will likely be loved, but homemade items will help to bring back those happy memories of holiday baking. It doesn’t have to be just consumables either, add some other items to bring holiday cheer like a classic Christmas film or album that they can enjoy.
Support the Staff
Sometimes the best way to support your loved one over the holiday season is to support the respite care staff that takes care of them. In partnership with their facility, these caregivers are already doing a lot to make the holiday comfortable and happy for the one you love. There may not be a lot you can do to support them in their position, but you can let them know that you appreciate the care they give. Whether it is a gift card for coffee, a care package, or just a heartfelt letter letting them know how much they are appreciated, any support you give them will be passed on to the people in their care.
Make Them Feel Loved
The holidays are often a time when seniors reflect on what they don’t have more than what they have. Help them feel loved and be in the moment by creating new memories with them. Organize a picture campaign where all family members, not just the immediate family but the extended family too, send recent pictures to your senior. The pictures will probably brighten their day, but if you are close enough to visit and help make a collage they can hang in their room, that is even better. Along with the picture, have them send a brief Christmas letter highlighting only the most positive things in the past year. Add things like births and graduations and omit the more somber parts of the year. Unfortunately, many people in assisted living and skilled nursing homes are too familiar with Christmas cards being reminders of people who have passed and other unfortunate events of the year. At the end of the letter, add a personalized touch, so your loved one knows that they are being thought of and not just sent a generic letter that you send everyone else.
The True Meaning of the Holidays
As we go through life, it is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays as we are pulled in so many different directions. The seniors that we care about have only time to think and reflect on the holiday season’s good and not so good. It helps to pause and think about them in this busy time, as they can use our support, and we can learn something from them about the true meaning of Christmas. If you are worried about a senior spending their first year in an assisted living facility or have any other questions about how we can work together to give them a stress-free season, contact us with any questions or concerns you may have.