A holiday tradition has ended, and you don’t know what to do. Every Christmas, you packed up the kids and went to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for dinner. The kids would open gifts left under the tree. But this year, they live in an apartment in an Assisted Living community.
Is Christmas ruined?
Of course not!
You can continue your Christmas tradition, even if your parents have moved into an Assisted Living apartment. The change of venue will permit you to start new traditions, too.
Get ready for a bigger, better holiday celebration!
Assisted Living communities make a big deal out of holidays. They like to present many activities and events to keep residents cheery and optimistic.
Most hold holiday dinner celebrations and invite the family. Expert chefs will prepare the meal so no family member has to spend time sweating over a hot stove. And it’s rare that there’s not a big screen with the big game on for the family’s sports fans.
Caroling is also big at Assisted Living communities. Whether the community brings in a school group or professionals, your family will have the opportunity to join your loved one in song.
The Activity Director at many Assisted Living communities will even help your parent make a craft or something special for the holiday. Many communities offer an in-house shop or transportation to nearby shops for holiday buying opportunities.
Special services are scheduled during this period for the faiths which celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, and Mawlid.
Your parent can participate in as many activities, including shopping, as they want without you having to lift a finger.
If you prefer celebrating with family only, you can decorate your loved one’s apartment all you like. Put a wreath on the door, a tree in the living room, and jingle bells on the door handles.
Most communities do ask that you consider your parent’s safety and forego candles, items that may block walkways in the residence, and decorations that may fall. Maintenance will usually lend a hand if you need to hang anything safely.
Many Assisted Living communities also have a room you can reserve for your holiday festivities. Some will even cook a meal just for your family…for an added fee, of course.
Think of your loved one!
This holiday may be difficult for your loved one, too. Holidays can be difficult for older people, whether they’re in a new environment or not. They remember loved ones who are no longer here. They mourn past traditions, too.
People with cognitive issues, such as those with dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, may have an especially difficult time. Although you may want to decorate, it may not necessarily be the best thing for your parent. Consider bringing in small decorations one at a time to ensure it won’t confuse your parent.
Unfortunately, this is one of the times when it’s extremely difficult for caregivers to devote extra time. You’re shopping, attending school activities, fighting crowds, and dealing with bad weather. However, the staff at Assisted Living communities do have the time to spend with your parent and ensure they feel loved.
Prevent holiday depression.
7 ways to bring the holidays to your parent are:
- Wrangle them in. Include them on shopping trips. Invite them to school activities. Bring them to the office party.
- Put them to work. Your parents come from a generation that is accustomed to work. So give them something useful to do during the holidays. Explain that you don’t have time to hem your daughter’s dress or you need a table decoration or your daughter needs a recording about one of their past holidays. You may not actually need these things, but you will definitely enjoy them, as well as enjoying watching your parent’s satisfaction.
- Join them in church. You may not be a regular church-goer, but it’s for sure your parent would love to see you there. Better yet, bring along the entire family.
- Take them on a drive to see the Christmas lights. Christmas lights bring out the kid in everyone.
- Listen. Encourage them to talk about past memories. Bring out the family albums if your parent is reluctant to speak.
- Give a staff member several tiny gifts to give to your parent each day from a Secret Santa.
- Send a bouquet of flowers or a candy bouquet or some gift from a florist so everyone in the community will know your parent received a gift. Residents and staff are sure to ask your parent about the gift, and your parent will feel very special.
Put the elf on the shelf.
Too many caregivers exhaust themselves trying to take care of everyone in the family, as well as their business, social and charitable obligations. You may be amazing, but you certainly don’t have magic powers, and you can’t always be the Christmas elf. Try some of these tips to reduce holiday stress.
Have a Merry (Assisted Living) Christmas!
The staff at Assisted Living communities are trained in ways to make the holidays happy for your parent. They do their best to ensure your parent is engaged and happy and take some of the burden from you.