Traditions are very important for all of us. They’re what bind us together, strengthen our family memories and are what we look forward to year after year (think: holiday dinners, summertime picnics and the like). As the years go by, our traditions naturally adapt and shift as families grow and change. Anytime there’s a big life occasion, our traditions will flex to fit ... and as some fall by the wayside, new ones are embraced, too.
“Moving to senior living is a big life change, and often requires families to change old traditions or create new ones,” says Ashley Lodi, Executive Director of Azpira at Windermere. “This is actually a wonderful thing. It’s a great way to turn the page and begin a new chapter of life in an exciting new place. You may find that new traditions are a great way to jump-start your new lifestyle, while also adapting some of your favorite traditions so they better fit the active, independent you.”
Why Traditions Matter
Do traditions really matter in today’s day and age? Shauna Cavalli, LPC posits this question in a recent blog post, “Do Traditions Matter? 4 Reasons Why Traditions Are Important for Families.”
“In a world that is always changing, ever progressing, have traditions become a thing of the past?” she asks. “Traditions are thoughts, actions and beliefs that are meaningful and thus are repeated in some form. They matter even more in today’s world because they form a foundation of support and security in an insecure world. They are something consistent that can be counted on when so much around us is shifting and changing. It’s not the ritual itself that matters, but the meaning it carries that makes traditions so valuable. Traditions represent a critical piece of our culture. They help form the structure and foundation of our families and our society. They remind us that we are part of a history that defines our past, shapes who we are today and who we are likely to become.”
Traditions also establish a sense of belonging and comfort, as they bring families and friends together and encourage the building of memories. In turn, traditions allow us to share our values, give us a chance to say “thank you” for the good in our life, honor those we care about and create context for meaningful moments.
“It can be hard to change or start new traditions because it’s not what we’ve done before,” says Ashley. “Seniors who are the matriarch or patriarch of a family may feel some angst or receive some pushback about starting new traditions from family members. For example, it may not be possible for Mom or Dad to host a big Thanksgiving dinner now that they’ve moved to a two-bedroom bungalow. Family members may need a chance to mourn the change, but also need to realize that this is an opportunity to create a new tradition that better reflects the new stage of life that everyone is in.”
How to Create New Traditions
We adapt and change traditions all the time – think of times when family members have moved away, or passed away, or gotten married or had children. Through every event, family traditions have had to shift to shape the changing reality. Starting new traditions in senior living is just one more iteration of that.
“New traditions are a great way to break from what once was and instead give everyone a chance for a fresh start,” says Ashley. “Instead of trying to recreate what you’ve always done – like cooking an enormous holiday feast, which only will cause stress and angst and comparison – launch a new tradition that improves upon the old tradition. You may discover that it’s not those details and trappings that made the old tradition so important ... it’s the memories you’ve built and the people you spend that time with.”
As you’re thinking about creating new traditions in senior living, here are some tips to keep in mind:
Start small. In other words, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater – and don’t tackle changing the biggest traditions just yet. Instead, start with something small and attainable. Instead of holding a backyard barbecue for the 4th of July, for example, try something different – going to a parade and then have something catered in to munch on afterward.
Find opportunities to increase your circle. New traditions can mean bringing new people into the fold, too. If you’ve just moved to senior living, you may find that you're making new friends left and right. Getting together with new friends and starting your own traditions can be a fantastic way to make things feel different without being too scary.
Remember the meaning, not the motions. Traditions, at their heart, are all about creating memories and meaning with the people we care about. Don’t get so hung up on the exact details ... think about the meaning behind the actions, and adapt traditions to better reflect your new normal. For example, catering a Thanksgiving meal instead of slaving away in the kitchen yourself. Think of this as a chance to make your traditions a little easier, giving you and your loved ones more time to spend together.
“Starting new traditions in senior living is a great way to set up a routine that will have you looking forward to the days, weeks and years ahead,” says Ashley. “Sure, it may be difficult at first, and some things that you think might be new traditions will fizzle out, leaving room for something else. The benefits you get, though, will be many: happiness, entertainment and so many opportunities to make meaningful moments.”
“At Azpira at Windermere, we believe that your senior years are a time to be celebrated, and there are so many opportunities to find and make new traditions to cherish. We’re here to help you live your very best life by providing you the assistance you need as well as the freedom and opportunity to set new goals, forge a new path in life and live well, age well and be well!”
For more information about how to start new traditions, or to schedule a visit to Azpira at Windermere, please contact us at 407-347-6856.
Live Well. Age Well. Be Well.
At Azpira at Windermere, located in Windermere, FL, 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.
Step outside your apartment and you’ll experience a community offering thoughtful and award-winning VIVA! Programming that is proven to enhance your life spiritually, mentally and physically. Azpira’s team of specially trained wellness professionals are passionate about building unique relationships with every resident and guiding seniors as they set new goals, forge new relationships and live life at their own pace.
Azpira is all about creating an environment that is ahead of the curve in wellness, fitness, spirituality, technology and preventative care. As the times and technology are changing, so are we. Residents and their families, along with a Resident Care Manager, will meticulously build a wellness plan that addresses medicine distribution, fitness objectives, nutrition needs and socialization goals.
Get excited about life at Azpira at Windermere. Our team is eager to guide you on the path you want to live -- whether it’s enjoying your own city, exploring new ones, spending time with old friends, or spearheading a program of your own, this is your time to live the life you want with the luxury you deserve.