For many of us, the holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year with family gatherings and festive events to look forward to. However, for seniors in assisted living or those in isolation, the holidays may not be as enjoyable.
Learn more about how to bring holiday cheer to your parents and senior loved ones in assisted living this season.
Helping Seniors in Assisted Living Avoid Isolation During the Holidays
Isolation is difficult to detect in seniors and not a topic that is openly discussed. Whether this is due to fear, pride or shame, many seniors become adept at hiding the fact that they are living in isolation. “Neighbors are often the first to flag isolation” as they may be the only people to notice if a senior’s living conditions are deteriorating or if fewer visitors are coming and going, U.S. News reports.
While assisted living communities are a great way to help seniors regain a sense of community and connection, some seniors who live in assisted living residences still experience symptoms of isolation and loneliness, especially over the holidays.
The holidays are the perfect opportunity to engage with parents and senior loved ones and help keep senior isolation in check. Holiday events enable family members to celebrate and relax together while breaking up a long winter season. For seniors at risk of isolation, inclement weather can also inhibit them from getting out, therefore it is important to be conscious of this when planning family events.
Consider designating one family member to pick up and drop off a senior loved one, so transportation is not an issue. Also, if the situation allows, consider inviting a senior to spend a few days over the festive season – this will extend the time that seniors in assisted living are out of their home and allow them to be more social with family.
How to Celebrate the Holidays With Seniors in Assisted Living
Here are just a handful of ideas for activities that families can share as a group with seniors in assisted living:
- Attend a performance of holiday-themed music or dance, such as “The Nutcracker.”
- Create a family scrapbook with mementos and photos.
- For loved ones who live far away, organize a virtual visit using FaceTime or Skype.
- Have a cookie-baking and decorating party.
- Organize an informal Christmas carol sing-along.
- Throw a holiday-card party: assign everyone a task, such as writing out addresses, stuffing envelopes, or decorating cards with stickers.
The holidays are a time to come together in festive celebration. What ways do you include seniors in assisted living in your holiday celebrations or your life? We’d like to hear your stories in the comments below.