The holidays can be a joyous time full of cheer. The lights, the ornaments, the carols and music… It can all make for a fantastic celebration of old family traditions. But this time of year can also lead to an emotional time, as christmas for seniors may lack joy as a result of changes in their mobility and surroundings, according to A Place for Mom, a referral service for seniors.
At Regency Retirement Village, our residents enjoy the company of peers their age, avoiding the type of isolation that can cause homebound seniors in a house to feel lonely during the wintertime. Assisted Living and Memory Care residents take part in scheduled activities during the holidays, while also enjoying special dinners and trips.
In our senior living community, activities can range from Christmas parties with singing Santa to recitals or caroling by local children. Residents may find themselves making Christmas cookies, bringing a little cheer to nursing home residents with Christmas cards, watching holiday-themed movies, and worshipping together to celebrate the birth of our Lord.
Choirs and carolers may the Christmas spirit truly come alive. It’s not unusual for musical performers to visit and entertain us year-round, but particularly during this festive time of year. We take account of activities happening in the community such as Christmas parades and open house events.
Outings might include bus rides through the city to see an array of beautiful neighborhoods lit up for the occasion, as well as live nativity scenes in some cases. Participating in canned food drives can enhance the good feeling we get from helping out the less fortunate. Non-perishable food items like snacks (cookies, candy, chips, crackers) and canned goods that do not have to be cooked or heated (Vienna sausages, fruit or deviled ham) can make a difference between hunger and happiness.
In addition to Christmas, we also celebrate Hanukkah in our community.
Seniors who may feel they have little to offer family can create crafts as part of the planned activities, personalizing something for a loved one, which can be far more meaningful than a generic item simply bought at a store without much thought. A painting class at Regency can be a great opportunity to create something to share with a special someone. Some possibilities include a scrapbook, an ornament, even a family story written down on paper or recorded on video or audiotape.
Seniors love receiving gifts such as calendars, gift baskets of food, bathrobe and slippers, electronic picture frames, activity books for visiting grandchildren, an iPod loaded with music from their generation, a reading lamp, puzzles, games, personal toiletry items, clothing, blankets, socks, perfume, decorative items, and gift certificates to their favorite stores.
The greatest gift of all, however, is time.
During the holidays, we want to be surrounded by family. At Regency, we encourage residents’ families to visit or, alternately, pick up their elder family member for a dinner, a community performance or a family get-together. For those with long-distance relatives, they may still be able to connect virtually over Skype, FaceTime or Facebook Live with a computer, laptop or phone.
When family does visit our community, our dining room staff and team of chefs work hard to offer something special.
For seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s, experts say caregivers should take steps to avoid becoming overwhelmed because their stress and anxiety can imprint on the senior. Family traditions (singing songs, baking special treats, etc.) can not only reduce stress but trigger familiarity.
Seniors can enjoy preparations for upcoming festivities by doing such tasks as wrapping presents, wiping the table, rolling cookie dough, and such as this. Beware of too much decorating or other forms of sensory stimulation, which can cause a senior with dementia to feel disoriented.
Once Christmas ends, Regency residents get to ring in the new year with dinner and entertainment as well.
Whatever the season holds for you, Regency Retirement Village is honored to celebrate these special times with you and your family.