The holidays are a wonderful time of year, where families and friends gather to share the old times and the new. At SHAG, our communities celebrate the holiday season in a variety of ways. There are holiday parties, visiting singing groups coming to communities, viewing trips taken to see the holiday lights, and of course shopping excursion planned throughout the season. Another tradition is the decorating of doorways. For example, at Alderwood Court, over 70% of our residents took part in decorating their doorways, making the community a truly festive home. The top 15 decorators were rewarded with gift cards, just our way of saying thank you. Here are some of the decorative doors and “Santa Jay” judging the day!
While we love all the fun that holidays bring, we know well that for seniors the joy of the gatherings and holiday season can be a mixed blessing, as eager anticipation can give way to additional stress. The staff at SHAG have come up with some helpful holiday tips to make the season a joyous one for everyone.
“Many of our residents will say the best gift of all is spending time with family and friends,” adds Jay Wooldord, CEO of SHAG. “Unhurried and uncomplicated time spent together can mean the most and it creates memories to last all year long. Give the best gift of all – your time.”
Tips to help seniors make the most of the holiday season (and any time of year)
- Think Ahead: Before an event begins, put yourself in your senior’s shoes. Do they have difficulty walking or remembering names? Plan ahead to make adjustments that can rectify the situation making it more amenable. It can be as simple as moving some furniture and making nametags.
- Share a Holiday Tradition: Have the senior share something special during the holiday season with you that is from their own holiday memories. Be it a favorite cookie, decorations, arranging a centerpiece or a favorite movie or song that you can engage them with to share.
- A Quiet Spot: Many seniors live in environments that are relatively quiet, with a limited amount of activity in a day. Think about how much stimulation may be in your environment. Loud family gatherings can be a bit much, so a quiet place to sit down may be a good refuge, then again they may love the noise!
- Recognize their limitations: Encourage older family members to take it easy and pamper them for a change but let them help with smaller, less complicated tasks if they want to participate.
- Listen to their stories: Many older relatives live in their memories. Encourage them to talk about holidays gone by. If they keep albums, ask to see the pictures. They may have some wonderful traditions from their childhood that you can incorporate into your own family’s plans.
- Cook a favorite meal together: Prepare a dish they loved as a child or once prepared as a holiday tradition. Involving them in the process, instead of making it for them, let them feel helpful and needed.
- Take a Ride Around Town: Many seniors don’t drive as much as they did, but they’d love to see the holiday decorations put up by the retail stores and over zealous neighbors.
- Make It Easy to Get Around: If a senior is coming for a visit, remove slippery throw rugs and other items that could present barriers to a senior who has difficulty walking or balance problems.
- Stay In Touch All Year: For seniors it’s so important to let them know you are thinking of them, especially to those who are alone. Seniors today are of the generation that loves the simple things: a note in the mail, or a phone call. Invite them for a cup of coffee; it doesn’t have to be much it’s the thought that counts.
Happy Holidays and a Joyous New Year!
From the entire staff at SHAG and our many communities, we wish you and all those close to you...
- A joyous holiday season,
- A new year of happiness,
- And may peace, prosperity, and hope be yours in 2018!