Surveys done by caregivers and associates at our assisted living facilities have been finding that some of our seniors prefer spending the holidays with their peers at Poet’s Walk over spending it back home with their families. Often times, they suffer from feelings of disconnect and isolation due to the fact that they don’t feel a connection or relate to anyone or anything around them. Depression tends to peak for seniors during the holiday season, so it is crucial that we take the initiative to make them feel a sense of belonging when they come home for the holidays. Here are some tips on how to make their time back home more enjoyable.
Make an Effort to Listen
One of the biggest complaints that we hear when asking seniors about their times back home with their families is that they didn’t feel heard or noticed. This issue is rather universal amongst senior citizens as made evident by it being the number one tip to enhance a senior’s holiday experience, according to Aging Care. An easy way to solve this problem is to make sure that you put in a real effort to bring them into the conversation. Ask them about their day, what they’ve been up to, what’s new in their world, how they’re feeling, anything to make sure that their voice is being heard just as much as everyone else’s at the table.
Plan Events That They Can Enjoy (or even be the focus of)
Just like when you have small children over, you should plan events for the day that senior citizens can enjoy as well. Whether that’s fun and games or storytelling or going through old photos, there are plenty of family-focused activities that seniors can enjoy this holiday season.
Encourage Them to Bring Something
Whether it’s an old photo album they’ve been holding on to or a simple pastry for dessert, allowing your senior loved one the opportunity to contribute to everyone’s good time will give them a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. It will also allow them to feel like their voices and contributions to the holiday are being appreciated by watching their loved ones enjoy what they brought to the table- literally.
Celebrate the Holidays Twice by Planning a Visit to Poet’s Walk
Who says a holiday celebration should be limited to once a year? Mixing your loved one’s birth family with their new Poet’s Walk family is a great way to combat the depression and loneliness they commonly feel. Alicia Del Rosario, Executive Director for Poet’s Walk Round Rock, strongly recommends holiday visits, “We always love to encourage families to visit their loved ones as much as possible and the holiday time is obviously no exception. With all of the decorations, recreational programs, and specialty meals that are offered during the holiday season, there’s arguably no better time to plan a trip to your local community and meet all of your loved ones’ new friends and their Poet’s Walk family.” This holiday season, plan a trip to a Poet’s Walk location near you to visit your loved one in their element and celebrate the holidays two times instead of just one.
This is the most wonderful time of the year and one that should be enjoyed by everyone. These simple modifications to your holiday plans can make a huge difference in your senior loved one’s experience of coming home for the holidays. Whatever you celebrate, we here at Poet’s Walk, A Spring Hills Memory Care Community hope that you enjoy your holiday and look forward to hearing all the fun stories your loved one will bring back with them after they return.