It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and for most, the holidays also tend to be the busiest time of the year. Assisted living communities are no different – decorating, parties, plays, outings and family visits always fill the days with seasonal clamor.
The holiday season lends itself to parties and celebrations with family and friends. It’s also a time of reflection and reminiscing and renewing old acquaintances. It is a very special time of the year. But holidays can also be tough when experiencing them without those we hold dear.
Spending the holidays alone can be tough at any age but especially for our seniors. Preserving cherished traditions and activities can be an important outlet for residents during the holiday season when depression rates tend to escalate. Providing opportunities for engagement and interaction is priority.
Although some residents are able to leave their communities to visit family, many remain in place. Some polls have shown that up to 80% may stay in their assisted living communities through the holiday season. For many it’s a matter of convenience and reassurance that they will receive the care they need in the comfort of their own home. For residents with memory issues, the change of environment can be just too overwhelming. For others, family may not live close enough to visit during the holiday season. Therefore, it is imperative the assisted living communities provide activities and opportunities for residents to engage and embrace this wonderful time of year.
Some holiday activities stretching from Thanksgiving to New Years Day could include cookie baking, carolers, sing-a-longs, plays, gift wrapping sessions, shopping trips, community Christmas lights tours, family nights and visits from Santa. This bustle of activity typically plays out amongst a setting of Christmas trees, holiday music, menorahs and decor.
Taking the time to make this holiday season special for each of your assisted living residents, as well as staff, should be at the top of your priority list. Residents, families and staff may not always say how they can tell you went out of your way to make each event and day special, but I am saying it now. Thank you for the long hours planning, preparing and creating wonderful memories for everyone that you care for this year! You make a difference!
Kim Broom is FHCA’s Director of Clinical & Regulatory Services. She can be reached at [email protected]