Keeping your mom or dad involved in holiday activities after they’ve moved into a senior living community can help them feel loved and included. And while some of your traditions may need to change, there are still ways to enjoy the most wonderful time of the year with your loved one.
Assess Their Abilities
You may wonder if your parent will care about or understand holiday celebrations, especially if they have memory loss. While they may not be as engaged as before, spending time with your senior benefits their emotional well-being.
Your loved one may have physical impediments or emotional responses that make it difficult for them to leave their community, so stay flexible while planning holiday events. Talk with your mom or dad’s care team about their daily routine to determine how to work in activities and outings.
Bring the Festivities to Them
If your parent cannot leave their senior living facility, incorporate traditions in their space. That will help get them into a holiday mood without disrupting their daily schedule, which reduces their likelihood of becoming confused or agitated.
Here are some ideas:
- Bring cookies for decorating.
- Discuss gift ideas and wrap presents together.
- Make simple holiday decorations like paper chains, cutout snowflakes and garlands.
- Draw or paint pictures.
- Decorate ornaments.
- Make or decorate wreaths.
- Fill out Christmas cards.
If your parent’s living community has crafting sessions or holiday parties, attend those events with them. It’s an easy way to make them feel included in seasonal festivities without having to worry about travel.
Keep the Celebrations Simple
A flurry of festivities can easily overwhelm an older person, especially if they live in dementia care. Blinking lights, rustling decorations, lots of visitors and changes in daily routines may lead to sensory overload.
If they’re easily distracted by visuals, keep the décor muted and simple. You could opt for a small Christmas tree with paper ornaments or window and door decals. It’s also a good idea to keep family gatherings limited to a few individuals. If your loved one is okay with more visitors, you can increase the size of the party.
Playing holiday music and watching movies can trigger treasured memories, but keeping the volume down will help prevent your loved one from getting overstimulated. If your parent has visitors, you may want to turn the music off completely.
Check in with Yourself
Being a caregiver during the holidays can be hard. You want your loved one to feel included, but you also want them to feel comfortable. Trying to meet both of those goals isn’t always easy. It’s important to remember to take some time for yourself so you can enjoy the spirit of the season, too.
Here are tips to support your emotional health:
- Take a step back from planning. It’s okay to let others set up the schedule and be an attendee so you can focus on spending time with your parent.
- Work as a team. Building a support network will ease your caregiving responsibility. And the holidays are a perfect time for your mom or dad to catch up with relatives from out of town.
- Accept your parent’s mood. Confusion can cause some seniors to react negatively, but that’s not your fault. Don’t feel guilty about their feelings because they’re out of your control.
SavaSeniorCare is committed to creating a nurturing environment to ensure your parent feels loved, especially during the holidays. Call 800-929-4762 or contact us online to learn about our levels of care.