The transition from life in one’s own home to moving into an assisted living environment can be especially hard around the holidays. Memories from seasons past may bring about a woeful nostalgia for seniors and their loved ones that challenge the joy of the season. But, just because some things have changed, doesn’t mean happy new memories can’t be made. Decorating for the holidays can be a wonderful way to help your loved one feel more at home in their new Dial Retirement community. An infusion of old and new traditions can help make the holidays brighter for the whole family. Here are some ways you can celebrate with your senior:
- Bring their favorite treats. Nothing warms up a space quite like the delicious smell of sugar cookies or other holiday favorites.
- Hand-made decorations from the kids. Some of the most cherished works of art are those done on construction paper with glue, crayons, and cotton balls. Have the kids in your family help make decorations for your senior, or better yet, plan an afternoon of holiday crafts for the family to make while visiting your loved one.
- A CD of holiday music. If you have the time, a hand-selected compellation of your loved one’s all-time favorite tunes might just make their day.
- Simple, but festive items, such as: jingle bells hanging from door knobs, garland draped over the mantel, a few favorite figurines, a poinsettia plant or hanging wreath.
- Framed family photos. Now is the perfect time to provide your loved one with new family pictures. You could also have old family photos restored and framed. This may be especially good for seniors coping with memory loss to be able to have some recognizable images around their new homes.
- Deck the halls, safely. For loved ones with Alzheimer’s or dementia, it’s especially important to keep safety in mind when choosing holiday décor. For example, instead of lit candles that can pose a fire hazard, or twinkling lights that can be dizzying and disorienting, try using flameless, battery-operated candles for that warm, holiday glow. You can even purchase items such as light-up menorahs to help celebrate Hanukkah worry-free.
- Include other seniors. When planning visits around the holidays, be sure to ask if there is anyone in their senior community that they’d like to include. They may have friends whose families have passed on or are unable to visit, and an invitation to spend the holidays with your family could mean the world to your loved one and their companions.
However you choose to celebrate the season, nothing tops the gift of togetherness. Enjoy one another’s company, and Happy Holidays!
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