Tips for Celebrating Spring with Seniors in Assisted Living
The holidays are a time of celebration, especially for families. If one of your family members is living in an assisted living community or nursing home, it can be difficult to know just how to celebrate spring and summer holidays. Especially here in New Orleans, where tradition is so important, our loved ones can have a hard time accepting that a change in their living situation, whether it’s temporary or permanent, means a change in how they celebrate holidays. As family, we need to embrace this change and create a sense of holiday spirit wherever they are.
At Notre Dame Health System, we’ve come up with some creative ways to get festive both in a resident’s new space and with the whole family out and about.
In the resident’s space, families can:
- Decorate their family member’s room. This is a great activity for family members of any age; whether you or your kids have some creative talents, everyone can pitch in to hang wreaths, write cards and even create holiday-themed tree or other plants to add some greenery to the space.
- Plan video chats and phone calls leading up to the holiday to make sure your loved one feels included in the planning of all holiday events. Often, our oldest family members are used to hosting our biggest holiday events like Easter brunch or a 4th of July BBQ. By remembering to ask their advice on meal prep, recipes and general planning, we can help them feel important and needed even though their address has changed.
- Take part in the assisted living community’s planned events. Whether the program offers an Easter egg hunt, church service or simple BBQ, spending time together within your loved one’s new community will help them continue to adjust to their new space while also bonding with their new friends. Many of our facilities like Chateau de Notre Dame, Wynhoven and Our Lady of Wisdom offer special religious services and family meals that are open to all.
Outside of the resident’s space, families can:
- Let them cook their favorite dish as part of the big family meal. If your loved ones are well enough to come to festivities outside of the assisted living community, then let them help! As much as they’re able, give them a chance to cook one of their signature dishes. Then, this tradition will live on even as other things may have changed. At Notre Dame, we always allow our residents to spend time with their families, especially during the holidays.
- Help family members purchase gifts like Easter baskets and firecrackers and wrap them or set them up together. As much as they’re interested, our older loved ones can and should still be a part of helping make the holidays fun for our youngest.
- Regardless of where we’re celebrating, watching holiday-centric movies and singing holiday songs or hymns is a great way to spread the spirit of the season in a relaxed way. Especially later in the day when energy levels may be lower, less strenuous activities will be critical to helping our loved ones stay engaged in the holiday.