We recently shared some of our tips for caregivers during the holidays and ideas for holiday gifts for older relatives, including those who live at home, have limited mobility, and elders who reside in retirement communities.
Traditions and celebrations are an important way to make a person feel at home in an Assisted Living Facility or Nursing Home. How can you make the holidays special for a loved one who lives in an assisted care facility?
- Consider planning an outing together. Perhaps you can take your loved one to a holiday performance, a shopping trip or a special lunch. If you are concerned about handling your loved one’s needs during the outing, ask the facility about transportation assistance and/or consider hiring a home health aide/senior concierge to attend with you. Check with facilities about accessibility, such as accessible seats and handicapped bathroom access at an arts center or restaurant. Find out about getting a disabled parking permit if you are doing the driving.
- If you live at a distance, hire a senior concierge to take your loved one on an outing or help with gift shopping (or completing holiday cards, wrapping, etc.).
- Check with the facility about bringing in baked goods or food items and make arrangements to provide special treats when appropriate. Food is often associated with family memories and comforts of home and if your loved one no longer cooks, he or she may really miss those traditional holiday tastes.
- Plan a family dinner/celebration at the facility. Most facilities can offer a private dining room that you and your family can reserve to hold a family gathering, dinner or lunch. You may be able to have the facility cater the event or bring in outside food/have family members contribute a dish.
- For families at a distance, create a “live” card such as a video or DVD of the grandchildren, or set up an opportunity to Skype or video-conference with family members. Make sure your loved one has updated family photos to post in the room or create a photo memory book.
- There are several websites and catalogs that offer specialty items for those with limited mobility and items that work well for nursing home residents. Buck and Buck is one we like and they provide free labeling on all clothing.
How can you help other senior citizens at the holidays who may not have family or support systems?
- Check with your local Assisted Living or Nursing Home about volunteering. Is there a local “Adopt a Grandparent” program in which you and/or your kids can participate? Can you arrange for your church choir or other group to participate in a project at a local facility? (Remember, this is great to offer at other times of year too.)
- Find out if your community has a program such as a gift tree for elders. Some giving tree programs include both young families and elders, that you can “adopt” to buy needed items. Some nursing homes or community organizations for elders may offer this opportunity or be able to link you with someone in need. For example, locally we have the Hillsborough County Elves for Elders program and Pinellas County’s Elves for Elders (see an article about this and other holiday giving opportunities).
- If you are able, take some time to visit relatives, neighbors and friends who reside in facilities (or are homebound). Maybe your older neighbor moved to a local Assisted Living this year. You may be surprised to learn that many of the other neighbors don’t visit and this may be an especially hard time for him. Perhaps you can offer to drive another older neighbor who would like to visit too.
EasyLiving, Inc. offers a variety of supportive home health services for residents of Assisted Living and Nursing Home Communities. Our senior caregivers can provide transportation and concierge services, extra help and support and even travel escort for family members to travel locally and long-distance to be with family at the holidays. CONTACT US for more information and help today with all your eldercare and assisted living services in Florida.