Celebrating the Holidays in Assisted Living
It may be hard to believe, but the holiday season is here again. While this brings with it a lot of favorite traditions, like decorating, buying gifts, singing favorite songs and gathering ‘round a meal with family, it can also bring a lot of changes if you or a loved one have moved to Assisted Living in the past year.
“Change can be hard, especially at the holidays,” says Beth Covault, Director of Community Relations at Azpira Place®of Breton, a senior living community in Kentwood, MI. “Moving to a new space like an Assisted Living community can cause family traditions to evolve, change and shift, and it can mean a lot of coordination on everyone’s part.” But it can also be a joyful time full of new opportunities, she says.
“The holidays are, at their heart, all about celebrating with the people we care about and not the specific foods we eat or carols we sing or gifts we give,” Beth says. “The most important thing is to ensure that your senior loved one is included in the celebration.” This is especially important if this is your loved one’s first season in an Assisted Living community.
“This is a great opportunity to rethink some of your family’s traditions and create new ones,” she says. “It’s an excellent opportunity to get back to the basics and truly value spending time with each other instead of getting stressed out about expectations.”
Here are some ideas to help you and your loved ones make the holiday season very merry, whether you’re doing a big gathering or a small intimate affair.
Make time for tradition.
We all have traditions that are non-negotiable. Maybe that’s spending an afternoon baking your grandmother’s secret cookie recipe. Or perhaps it’s a much beloved game that your family has played every year. Whatever your most important traditions are, it’s important to find ways to keep them to help carry on those special memories and meaningful moments. Even if you can’t make every single one happen, poll the family and see what ones will work best with your loved one’s new reality.
Adapt your old favorites.
Has your loved one always held a large holiday party in the family home, but can no longer be the host? Consider instead having an intimate gathering with close friends, or rent out a community room to hold a smaller-but-still-fun party. Always enjoyed watching a live performance of the nutcracker but traveling to one is risky this year? Stream a version of a live performance or one of the new film versions and make it an event in your living room. With a little creativity, there are many ways to keep the spirit of your favorite activities.
Deck the halls.
Putting up holiday decorations is a great way to bring cheer to an Assisted Living community apartment. Pick out some meaningful items – stockings, particular ornaments, a small wreath or anything else that might evoke memories from holidays of yore – and use them to add joy in the new space. For added fun, consider throwing a little “party.” Put on an album of favorite holiday music, grab some friends and family members and turn the event into a festive occasion. Don’t forget hot cocoa and cookies afterwards.
Hold a holiday movie night.
There are many, many favorite holiday movies that are available on-demand (or show on network TV at certain times). Older adults may enjoy re-watching favorite films from their youth, such as White Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life and others – it’s a great chance to reminisce about holidays past and how they celebrated growing up. But holiday movies don’t have to all be from the past. There are many newer and just-as-great holiday films out there that are beloved of all ages (we’re looking at you, Elf). It also can be just fun to switch on the Hallmark Channel or flip over to Netflix and discover a new family favorite.
Rethink gift giving.
Gifts are an important part of the holiday season. However, that doesn’t mean that gifts have to be things. Seniors often don’t want anything for the holidays, mainly because they’ve probably pared down many of their possessions when they’ve moved to an Assisted Living community. Shopping for gifts for family members may also be difficult, as they may not be as mobile and able to get to stores. Instead of buying gifts for everyone this year, consider drawing names or donating time (or money) to a worthy charity. Remember, the best gift you can give your senior loved one is time together.
Coordinate with the community
Assisted Living communities are incredibly jolly during the holiday seasons. Not only is the community decked out in its festive finest, but there are all sorts of events and parties that are often open to friends and family (in fact, it’s greatly encouraged for family members to attend). Take a look at the events calendar or speak with your senior loved one’s events director to see if there are any celebrations you can coordinate your activities around. Special concerts or meals, religious services or performances can all be a great reason to get everyone together with your senior loved one.
Because the community is now your loved one’s home, why not invite their new friends for a small gathering? Reserve one of the community rooms or open your loved one’s home for cookies, punch and other holiday foods. (Obviously, ask your loved one if this is something they would be interested in.)
Enjoy the reason for the season.
At its heart, the holiday season is all about spending quality time with those we love. For older adults in an Assisted Living community, this can be more meaningful than any gift or holiday light display. By bringing your beloved celebrations and traditions into their new home and taking part in the activities held by the community, you’ll be helping make this holiday very merry for everyone in your family.
If you have any questions about celebrating the holidays in Assisted Living, or to learn more about life at Azpira Place® of Breton, please contact us at 616-259-5526 .
Live Well. Age Well. Be Well.
At Azpira Place® of Breton, located in Kentwood, MI, we’re redefining how seniors Live Well. Age Well. Be Well. Our lifestyle is far from “typical.” Our vibrant and engaging Assisted Living and uplifting A Knew Day® Memory Support inspires our residents to live passionately with purpose, every single day
Each day, our residents find the person-centered support and care they need, all while enjoying an inspiring and engaging lifestyle. The need for care or support doesn’t stop our residents from wanting to be active, involved or engaged, and it especially doesn’t keep them from obtaining the lifestyle they desire and deserve. With a variety of spacious private apartment floor plans, constant access to good company, exciting services and amenities, delicious dining experiences and life-enriching programming, residents never have to worry about having nothing to do. There’s always something waiting for them just outside their door! And best yet, if they desire space and privacy, there’s also plenty of room for that, too! Spend time outdoors in the sunshine, read a favorite book in the library, take your pet for a walk or simply relax in your private apartment, the possibilities are endless!
At Azpira Place® of Breton, residents never have to worry about maintenance, housekeeping or the tasks of homeownership. We created our community so our residents could have the peace of mind of care while focusing on what really matters, what makes them who they are. With engaging VIVA!SM programming by Pathway to Living®, residents can spend their newfound time learning something new, enjoying an old pastime, taking up a new hobby, starting their own classes and clubs or focusing on their health with our wellness programming. Experience the lifestyle you deserve and discover the key to what helps Azpira Place of Breton residents Live Well. Age Well. Be Well.
To learn more or schedule a personal visit, call us at 616-259-5526.