Ready or not, the holidays are quickly approaching — this means spending quality time with loved ones. For those who have a close friend or family member who resides in assisted living, it’s important to find ways to include them in your holiday celebrations while accommodating their needs.
Although the holidays can bring a sense of joy and belonging, they can also prompt the feeling of loneliness.
“Loneliness is a common occurrence with seniors; especially for widows and widowers,” Vickie Weuve, LifeCare Consultant at Cottage Grove Place said. “Family members play a huge role in a senior’s life. Taking time to visit them keeps the individual engaged and makes them feel like they are a part of something.”
In addition to Weuve’s sentiments, statistics have proven loneliness can impact mental and physical health. In fact, according to a recent study from the University of California, seniors who reported feeling lonely had a 59% higher risk of mental and physical decline.
When elderly loved ones reside in assisted living, leaving their retirement community can sometimes be challenging, or even dangerous to their health; which makes it difficult for them to travel to someone else’s home to celebrate the holidays. However, there are various ways to bring holiday cheer straight to their door.
Here are a few simple, yet meaningful, ways you and your family can celebrate the holidays with your loved one in assisted living:
· Create a holiday scrapbook featuring mementos and photos from past celebrations
· Reminisce about past holiday memories, get out old photo albums and share stories. Ask what their most memorable Christmas was or what gift they were most excited to get as a child
· Have a cookie-baking party in their home
· Bring decorations and help your loved one decorate their home
· Have a holiday movie marathon featuring all of the classics
· Organize an informal Christmas carol sing-along
· Throw a holiday card party: assign everyone a task, such as decorating cards, stuffing envelopes, writing out addresses, etc.
· Decorate personalized holiday stockings; one for each family member
· Make a gingerbread house
· If you have children, bring some holiday-themed children’s books in and have your children read them out loud to your loved one
Another way to celebrate the holidays with your loved one in their retirement community is to take advantage of the holiday-themed events put on by their community.
Cottage Grove Place is a retirement community that offers all levels of care. This means some residents choose to leave during the holidays to stay with family or friends, while others stay within the community.
Cottage Grove Place staff ensures the community has plenty of holiday-themed events and activities for residents who choose to remain within the community during the holiday season.
On December 10th Cottage Grove Place will be hosting a slew of activities during their Cocoa and Carols event that residents, as well as their friends and relatives, can participate in.
At this event one musical act will be performing holiday favorites at Cottage Grove’s very own Cottage Grill; a second musical performer will be in Cottage Grove’s Assisted Living Memory Care building. If residents and their families just want to enjoy a holiday snack, pie, cocoa, along with other holiday treats will be served throughout the community.
According to Weuve, research shows that living in a senior retirement community improves a person’s quality of life; which contributes to living longer as well.
“Retirement communities offer many different kinds of activities that will help people stay active and engaged in life,” Weuve said. “This is especially important for those who live alone.”