The holidays are a time to spend with family and loved ones—shopping, decorating, baking treats and cookies. One of the best things about this time of year is partaking in annual holiday traditions. Whether they’re classic, quirky, or sentimental, holiday traditions and rituals allow us to connect with our family and celebrate with a warm feeling of nostalgia.
If you have a parent or family member spending their holiday season in a senior living community, these traditions might look a little different this year. And unfortunately, COVID-19 restrictions and precautions may affect these traditions even more.
There’s no need to bah humbug, though! Just because your family member isn’t at home for the holidays doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate the season in meaningful ways. HarborChase Senior Living is sharing some tips on celebrating and honoring holiday traditions with a family member in assisted living. We also want to highlight ways to make these celebrations safe and socially distant!
Deck the Halls
One of the classic holiday traditions is “decking the halls with boughs of holly,” otherwise known as decorating the Christmas tree, hanging mistletoe, and filling your home with festive holiday decorations. While your family member in assisted living may not have a whole house to decorate this year, they can still spruce up their space with holiday decor!
Bring your loved one some festive cheer by sending them a care package with holiday decorations like poinsettias, holly garlands, stockings, and even a small tree. If your parent lives in a community that is allowing visitations, we encourage you to go and help them decorate. Simply having a few small decorations in their new space will be meaningful and put your family member in the holiday spirit.
Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire
When you think of holiday traditions, it’s impossible not to think of delicious foods. Some families like to go traditional—decorating sugar cookies and roasting a turkey or ham—while other families have their own unique traditions of foods and holiday treats.
While senior care and assisted living communities provide quality, nutritious meals, there’s simply nothing like having a home-cooked meal featuring your favorite traditions. Bringing or sending your family member their favorite holiday dish can be a great way to liven their spirits and send them some tasty holiday cheer.
I’ll Be...Online for Christmas
It can be hard to spend the holidays away from home, especially if it’s your parent’s first year in assisted living. To make matters worse, the COVID-19 pandemic has restricted large group gatherings and celebrations. Fortunately, because of COVID-19, the way we interact with others has shifted to a virtual setting.
If you’re unable to see your family member in person this year for the holidays, there are still several ways to celebrate virtually! Whether you use FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, or a simple phone call, you can include the senior in your life in all your holiday celebrations.
Joy to the Community
You may be worried that because your family member is not visiting home for the holidays, they won’t feel the holiday cheer. But the holidays are a festive and joyous time in senior living communities, too! Communities decorate their spaces, prepare festive holiday meals, and host special programs and events (which will likely look different this year).
One of the best things about the holiday season is sharing joy and goodwill with others. Keep this in mind when sending your family member baked goods or decorations by sending extra for their friends, neighbors, and the community caregivers. Be sure to especially thank the caregivers for their hard work and dedication during the holiday season.
The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
Holiday traditions are an important part of the holiday season. If this is the first year that your parent or family member is in an assisted living community, it can be emotional when you realize the holidays might not look the same. However, just because your family member is in assisted living doesn’t mean you can’t honor your holiday traditions - it gives you an opportunity to make these traditions more meaningful, and maybe even create new traditions! After all, the holidays are health, happiness, and being with those you love (even if it is virtually this year).
We understand that senior living can be overwhelming and confusing for those not familiar with it. If you have a family member who is new to independent living, assisted living, or memory care, HarborChase Senior Living can provide help, answers, and resources. Visit our blog or our free downloadable resources for more information on senior living!