Auburn Hill Senior Living in Midlothian, Virginia

How To Celebrate The Holidays In An Assisted Living Community

Schedule a Tour Today! Nighttime winter street scene decorated for the holidays with snow on the ground.

Loneliness and isolation are a year-round concern for many senior citizens, especially during the ‘most wonderful time of the year.’ Seniors often report feeling socially-isolated more so during the holidays. And while those living in assisted living communities are surrounded by friends, neighbors, and a team dedicated to their well-being, it can still be a difficult time of the year for some seniors. 

That’s why it’s important to prioritize the seniors in our lives around the holiday season. Plan to visit often, invite them along on holiday outings, and of course to holiday celebrations. If this is their first year in an assisted living community, maybe you can create some new traditions together to commemorate this chapter in their lives. 

In the spirit of bringing holiday cheer to your senior loved ones this year, here are some great tips for celebrating the season. 

Deck The Halls

There’s nothing quite like pulling out holiday decor and filling your living space with beautiful reminders of the season. Plan a date with your senior loved one and go all out helping them decorate their home. If possible, include decorations that hold sentimental value (such as ornaments made with children, an heirloom star for the tree, etc.). Crank up the holiday music while you decorate and make new memories with your loved one. 

Check out this great holiday ornament recipe that doubles as an air freshener that will have your space smelling like Christmas in no time.

Be sure to designate a central location to display holiday cards from friends and family that are sure to start rolling in come December. Make sure it’s somewhere that your loved one will see it often and be reminded that they are cherished this holiday season.

Create Your Own Holiday Theater

Compile a list of your loved one’s favorite holiday movies (and maybe throw in something they haven’t seen before) and plan to have a movie marathon night with your loved one. Don’t forget the popcorn! If you want to kick it up a notch, plan on bringing homemade holiday baked goods (like cookies!). Invite other family members, friends, and neighbors within your loved ones’ community to make the night extra special and memorable. 

A Night On The Town

There’s no shortage of community holiday celebrations in most towns across the country. Plan to get out and enjoy one (or more) of these celebrations with your loved one this year. At the very least, plan to do a driving tour of the town just before Christmas to take in the lights and sights with your loved one. 

Attend a concert, catch a musical, or attend a lights festival.

Even if you don’t attend a scheduled holiday event within the community, plan to go out to the mall and get some holiday shopping done with your loved one, get a holiday manicure, or even just grab lunch and walk around and take in the hustle and bustle of the season together.

Join In Community Events

Assisted living communities are just that… communities. They often have several holiday activities and celebrations happening this time of the year to keep residents engaged in the community and help combat feelings of isolation and loneliness. Ask your loved one for the schedule and get involved. They will likely appreciate some company for one or more of the scheduled activities, so plan to accompany them.

This is especially important and helpful if this is your loved one’s first year in their assisted living community. Having a familiar face can be comforting and help them feel safe enough to get out of their comfort zone and form connections with their new neighbors.

Organize A Gift Exchange

Opening gifts together is one of the most well-loved traditions enjoyed by most families. If you and your loved one share a love for this tradition, plan to keep the tradition alive by scheduling a day to exchange gifts with yourself, other family members, or friends. If your loved one has grandchildren, get the children involved in shopping, making hand-drawn cards and craft items for their grandparent. You should also share some items that the grandchildren would enjoy receiving from their grandparents.

There are few things in life that top the joy of watching children open gifts during the holidays. Your senior loved one will surely be delighted to participate in this activity. 

Plan A Holiday Feast

If possible, plan to have your loved one attend a holiday dinner at your home around the holidays. If the loved one will be safer remaining within their assisted living community, you can also plan to bring the dinner to them and share it within their private living area. 

Holiday meals are a great time to reminisce, make new memories, laugh, and have fun together with the most important people in your life. Be sure to include your senior loved one in these festivities in any way possible.

Make Long-Distance Less Lonely

If you are states away from your senior loved one during this holiday season, you can take away the pain of the miles with a little help from technology. Video chats via FaceTime or Skype can be planned to do a virtual gift exchange, family dinner, or even enjoying movie night “together.” Seeing the faces of your loved ones in real time can ease the loneliness of being separated from them throughout the holiday season and add to their joy this year. 

Take A Walk Down Memory Lane

However you interact with your loved ones this holiday season, it’s always heart-warming to bring out the old photo albums and reminisce together. Better yet, use the holidays as an excuse to create digital backups of all your old photographs and compile them into a digital photo frame that your loved one can display on a slideshow in their home. 

Not only does reminiscing with your loved one help improve their memory, but it also feels good for both of you and helps you strengthen your bond. 

Making the move to memory care can be daunting for your loved one. This year (and every year) make sure to create new memories and traditions together in whatever way feels best for you and your loved one’s unique situation. 

Be sure to carve out time to bring holiday cheer to your loved one living in assisted living this year. You won’t regret it! 

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When your loved one is ready to enjoy life in a community that is lively, welcoming, and inspiring – we’ll be ready to say WELCOME HOME!

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