Celebrating the Holidays with Senior Living Residents
When we think of festive holiday celebrations, we tend to picture several generations of family members gathering under one roof. The reality, though, for many American families is different. Today’s families, especially larger, multi-generational groups, likely do not live in the same residence—or even in the same state.
Families with elders who live in senior living communities might wonder what’s best at the holidays: bringing their loved ones to a family member’s home or celebrating at the senior community itself. The answer depends on various factors, but many families are surprised to learn that celebrating the holidays at a community can be a good choice for everyone. In fact at our communities, many residents remain during the holidays rather than visit a relative’s home. For memory-care residents, most stay at the community.
Holidays Are Festive Times at CiminoCare Communities
Many residents prefer the convenience, comfort, and safety of staying in their own home—while having the peace of mind that they’ll continue to receive proper care during the holidays. We know that many residents—perhaps the majority—will spend the holidays with us, and our staff step up efforts to make sure residents, families, and friends enjoy the holidays at our communities.
In fact, holidays are busy times at our communities with holiday-themed activities including decorating parties, holiday baking, sing-a-longs, and festive meals. Groups from nearby schools or churches might perform special programs. Residents are encouraged to socialize with each other as well as with visiting relatives and friends.
Tips for Making Enjoyable Holiday Visits
We hope you participate in some of the activities organized by our staff at your loved one’s community. As you’ll discover, there may be a great many fun-filled celebrations to choose from!
Here are some ideas for quieter, less group-centered activities that you can tailor to your loved one’s preferences and abilities.
Help decorate their living space. The staff organize decorations of common areas, but residents might enjoy displaying well-loved family decorations in their own living spaces. Search your attic for some favorite festive trinkets, ornaments, and photos of holiday gatherings, and bring these mementos with you when you visit.
How about holiday cards? Writing holiday cards to family and old friends is a tradition many seniors enjoy. Offer to bring boxes of new cards and to help them address and seal envelopes, and drop them in the mail.
Enjoy favorite foods and treats. Communities offer delicious meals and holiday goodies to residents, but your loved one might crave certain foods or desserts they’ve enjoyed at the holidays. Either prepare foods and bring them over, or bring the ingredients and make them together.
Bring a photo album. Make a scrapbook or photo album of holiday photos from the past. Or create a digital slideshow you can share on a tablet or laptop. These images are sure to bring back memories—even for those with Alzheimer’s and others dementia, who may have long-term memories that are still vivid.
Sing favorite holiday songs. Bring a favorite CD with traditional holiday tunes—or make your own “mixtape”—and play it throughout your visit. Just listen, hum along, or sing together in full voice! This activity is fun for everyone, including individuals with memory loss because these cognitive diseases often do not diminish a person’s appreciation for music.