The holiday season is a time to visit with family and share traditions that have carried on for generations. When you have a loved one in a nursing home, memory care facility or assisted living facility, this can be a stressful time as you try to determine the best way to maintain the holiday spirit.
This year, it is especially difficult, as the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about worries of passing the virus on to loved ones at high risk for morbidity if they contract it. If you are facing this difficult circumstance, it is best to use your wisest judgment when visiting loved ones and follow all CDC guidelines to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. If you are visiting family at a care facility, there are several ways you can make the holidays a little brighter as you share time with them. Consider these tips for making the holidays merry for loved ones in nursing homes.
Acknowledge the Holiday
If you have a parent or loved one spending their first year in a care facility, talk about it with them, and acknowledge that you understand that this is a big change, and you are there for them. Let your loved ones know that you are doing your best to make their holiday joyful, even as they transition into this phase of their life, and they will likely be grateful that you are doing all that you can to keep the holiday spirit alive. If you find that your loved one would rather not talk about the situation, don’t press the issue. Simply being there for them and allowing them to lead the conversation is the best thing you can do.
If you wish to plan a party to celebrate the holidays in your loved one’s nursing home, be sure to plan and make the staff aware of your plans. Most care facilities are open to the idea, but it needs to be well-planned, as the residents are typically on a routine schedule. You can plan for the decorations you will bring, foods you can share, and activities for everyone to enjoy.
Choose Foods Wisely
Speaking of sharing foods, there is nothing quite like family recipes to keep holiday traditions alive. Be sure, however, to discuss this with the nursing home staff, as you don’t want to bring foods that could harm the health of your loved one or anyone else who may share in your holiday plans. Your loved ones will appreciate having food that reminds them of holidays past, and they will be grateful that you took the time to prepare something that they love.
Choose Gifts Wisely
Certain gifts will come in handy for assisted care patients and others that will do them no good. A few popular ideas for nursing home patients include:
- Magazine subscriptions
- TV and movie DVDs
- Framed family photos
- Warm, comfortable clothing
- Address books filled in with family and friend’s contacts
- Calendars with family dates marked
- Notecards and stationery
Include the Family
If the care facility allows it, and you follow proper guidelines, bring a few other family members with you for your holiday visit. Individuals who live in these facilities miss their loved ones dearly and often don’t have visitors as frequently as they would like. There may be restrictions on how many individuals can visit at once, but even if the visits are brief, your loved one will appreciate every moment.
Create a Card Shower
Card showers are a great way to bring holiday cheer to those in assisted care facilities. You can share your loved one’s address and ask friends and family ahead of time to send cards to them, or you can collect the signed cards yourself and take them to the home when you visit. Many residents would enjoy reading the cards with you and appreciate the help with opening them. You can also arrange the cards in their room in a place where they can see them clearly, rather than simply stacking them on a pile.
Offer to Do Their Holiday Shopping
Many assisted living residents would still like to buy gifts for their family and loved ones, even though they cannot go out and shop. If your loved one wants to give gifts over the holidays, you can offer to do their holiday shopping for them and wrap the gifts. This helps them maintain a sense of being included in the holiday festivities, even if they cannot be with their loved ones. If the family is planning to visit them over the holidays, they can get their gift at the care facility, and if not, you can offer to deliver the gifts. If you do this, be sure to take pictures with the individuals after they open their gifts so that you can show your loved one the next time you visit.
Helping loved ones transition into their new life in an assisted care facility can be a difficult task. Still, with a little ingenuity, you can help to ensure that they have a happy holiday in their new surroundings. You will be glad you took the time to make their day brighter when you see the look on their face. Reach out to Rocky Mountain Assisted Living today if you have any questions about making your loved one’s holiday a little merrier.