When the time has come when your loved one has transitioned to assisted living or memory care, it becomes obvious that they can’t celebrate the holidays the way they used to. But that doesn’t mean you have to scrap your holiday plans altogether. With some simple changes, everyone can enjoy the holiday season with the people they care about most.
Depending on your loved one’s condition and preferences, they may be able to participate in various holiday celebrations. It’s important to talk to your loved one’s doctors, nurses, and caregivers to determine what type of celebration would be most appropriate.
For example, if your loved one needs only personal care or daily assistance, and you are confident that you can manage their condition, you may speak with their caregivers to see if they can join the family at home for the holiday festivities. And don’t forget to discuss your plans with your loved one to see if they actually feel up to attending, even if it’s only for a few hours. If your loved one is concerned about being taken care of, reassure them that you are well able to fulfill their needs and that the entire family is looking forward to seeing them.
If your loved one needs memory care, however, taking them home for the holidays may not be the best option. Disrupting their environment and their routine may cause unnecessary stress and disorientation. Speak with their caregivers to find out whether they enjoy and can participate in festive events, or whether they would prefer a smaller, more intimate get-together at their memory care community.
When your loved one doesn’t seem to know or care that the holidays are approaching, you may be tempted to skip the holiday celebration and stick to your normal visiting routine. But even if they don’t care about the holidays, your loved one would still love to visit with their family and friends. If their community allows a few guests at a time and your loved one does well in medium or even larger gatherings, consider bringing the celebration to them! Plan a group visit with other family members to bring the holiday joy to your loved one and their neighbors in the community. If your loved one prefers a quieter celebration, you may consider splitting up the family visits into smaller, more manageable groups that they will enjoy. And for family living far away, you can arrange video calls so everyone can chat for the holidays.
Once again, the intensity of your holiday celebration will depend on your loved one's needs and preferences. Some people enjoy holiday lights, music, and decorations. Others may become agitated or disoriented by these things. Some activities you could try include watching holiday movies, singing holiday songs, and admiring holiday lights and decorations. You can even include your loved one’s new friends from their community!
Be sure to speak with your loved one’s family and friends to ensure that any gifts for your loved one are appropriate. Comfortable clothes, photo albums, and recordings of favorite music or movies are all great ideas. Advice specifically against any gifts that may be inappropriate or dangerous, because things that your loved one used to enjoy may not be appropriate for their current needs.
At a memory care or assisted living community, a few simple adjustments can be the difference between a frustrating holiday and an enjoyable one. Use these tips to make sure everyone has an amazing holiday season.
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