There’s no question that having a loved one in a senior living community can change holiday dynamics permanently. For many families, it can feel challenging to keep established traditions going strong, especially when their loved one is living in a different environment.
However, this doesn’t mean you still can’t celebrate the holidays in a special way. You just need to learn how you can make your visit special and memorable for years to come.
Read on to learn how to turn holiday visits with your loved ones into special memories.
Send Holiday Cards
Sending holiday cards seems simple, but the feelings they bring to your loved ones can last for the rest of their lives. Holiday cards are also a tradition for many people, helping to bring in the holidays with memories, updates, and new family pictures.
You can consider sending multiple cards throughout the holiday season. You might also think about creating an invitation and then sending special updates to make the entire mood more festive.
Encourage any extended family to send holiday cards as well. It can become a key part of your visit, allowing you to look through the cards together.
Communicate With Staff
Communicating with staff before your visit will help you bring the most holiday cheer possible.
First, the staff can ensure your loved one is ready to go for the big event. This includes wearing a favorite outfit and making sure they have any supplies they might need.
You can also ask the staff about the holiday celebrations they have planned. This is so your event won’t cause your loved one to miss any community celebrations. Remember, community events are essential to senior living communities and help your loved one stay connected.
Finally, keep in mind staff members can help you come up with unique ideas for visiting family members that may help inspire you if you’re trying to create new traditions.
Check the Menu and Bring Their Favorite Treats
Food is an essential consideration at any holiday event, and your loved one being at a senior living community makes this no different.
First, you should check with the facility to see what’s on the menu on the day of your event. Many senior living communities plan delicious holiday meals for their residents, and it may be something your loved one will enjoy.
In that case, you can consider having a meal at the community and bringing a special treat for afterward. You can also bring a traditional holiday dish your family member loves. The best way to do this is to portion it into individual containers so they can store it away and enjoy it over a few days.
Make sure to talk to the staff about this to determine the best plan of action. You can even talk to a dietician for ideas if your loved one has specific nutritional requirements.
Overall, older adults need good nutrition as they age and also may have a tougher time chewing and swallowing. Learning more about this will help you create a dish that has the perfect balance.
Help Your Loved One Get Into the Holiday Spirit
If your loved one is healthy enough, consider taking them out to get them into the holiday spirit.
It’s not uncommon for older adults to feel removed from their usual holiday traditions when they no longer live at home. But this doesn’t mean they can’t get into the holiday spirit and enjoy their new surroundings.
You can take them on a drive to enjoy Christmas lights and enjoy a meal at their favorite restaurant. A bit of shopping and a meal at home with the family are always wonderful ways to lift spirits.
If they’re feeling energetic, a walk in the park or a short hike can be a fun way to spend the day bonding while enjoying nature.
In addition, older adults can have an increased risk of depression, and it can be difficult to pick up on initially. You might notice your loved one feels sad, fatigued, or may have feelings of hopelessness. Spending one-on-one time with your loved one will give you the opportunity to talk about how things are going.
This will give you a chance to get a good idea of their overall mood in general.
Have a Holiday Music and Game Day
Games are a fantastic way to boost mood, memory, focus and encourage social time. If your loved one is in a memory care facility, playing games can be just what they need for the holiday.
But you don’t have to stop at only playing games. Your holiday event can include music, arts, and crafts.
If you’re thinking of a game day, talk to the staff first. There may be specific art or game-related events scheduled during the week. You can plan your holiday visit around this schedule to make things more comfortable.
Remember, if you have a game you used to play, don’t be afraid to bring it with you. This can be cards, chess, or even a board game.
Art activities like painting and drawing also allow you to create artwork your loved one can keep after you leave. It will serve as a treasured holiday reminder that may even turn into a new tradition for next year.
Find a Personalized Senior Living Community for Your Loved One
Understanding how you can make holidays just as special in a senior living community helps ease the burden you may feel about your loved one needing extra care.
If you’re looking for a senior living community for your family member, you don’t have to look further than Inspired Living. Our culture focuses on holistic care, allowing us to take care of every resident as a whole person. Taking care of the mind, body, and spirit allows our community members to live to their fullest potential.
We offer various options like an assisted living community, memory care community, and short-term stays.
Make sure to contact us today to get more information about our programs and schedule a tour.