There was a light dusting of snow on the ground in Arvada. But hearts were warm at the assisted living community where Bettina lived. Today was Thanksgiving! Normally, Bettina celebrated Thanksgiving with her family. And this year was no different. Her nephew promised to come pick her up and take her home to their family dinner. They knew just how she loved her cranberry sauce – the jellied kind. And her favorite pecan pie for dessert. But today wasn’t the only day to celebrate. All week, she had gotten together with friends from her assisted living community to celebrate together. There were fun decorations everywhere and the smell of pumpkin pie, turkey and gravy filled the hallways. Friends, family – community.
Seniors across Colorado look forward to Thanksgiving and the following Christmas festivities with great anticipation. It might be the only time they get to see some of their family. And of course, it’s always fun for them to receive gifts, even small ones. It’s the season they are reminded that their family cares for and loves them. In fact, this may be the time of year that fills seniors with hope and expectation to get through the entire year. Of course, its always important to stay connected with your senior and celebrate each season and holiday year-round. But the magic and warmth of Thanksgiving and the Christmas season touch the hearts of seniors and children alike. Here are some ways you can make sure your loved one remains healthy and included this year.
If your loved one has the opportunity to live in an assisted living or nursing home, they likely have many tools available to them to keep them interested all year long, with an abundance of social events as well as mental and physical fitness activities. For those with Alzheimer’s or dementia, a Memory Care program may be just the resource they need at their senior community to help give them mental stimulation. Senior communities can give your senior the chance to live life as independently as possible while having a community of friends as neighbors. Your senior’s community is likely decorated for each holiday, with seasonally appropriate activities for residents to participate in. Find out what’s on the schedule for this month, and encourage your loved one to be part of all the festivities this year!
Family. No matter what living situation your senior calls home, you should know that family will always mean the most to them. They’ll be proud to introduce you to their friends or caregivers. They may keep pictures of their children and grandchildren nearby. A visit from family members can brighten up any fall or winter day, especially if you bring along their favorite homemade pie! You may also consider inviting Grandma or Grandpa to your family Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner this year. Although many Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted, just remember to keep your loved one as safe as possible by limiting their exposure to anyone who might be sick. It’s also the flu season, so be vigilant about keeping seniors protected from sick family members, especially children. Talk to your senior’s caregiver’s and doctors to see how to best accommodate and include your loved one this year.
Virtual Visits. If you don’t live close to your senior family members or if you are sick, you can still connect by phone calls, video visits or a nice holiday card. Staff and caregivers can assist your senior in facilitating these calls if needed. If you would like to connect with your senior on a regular basis, find out what technology could be beneficial to give as a Christmas gift this year. Do they need an upgraded smartphone? An iPad or laptop? With virtual technology, your whole family can be involved in wishing Grandma a merry Christmas no matter where you are in the world!
This year, bring the warmth and love of the season to your elderly loved ones in the way that is safest and best for you and your senior. Sometimes, it’s the small things you can do to remember them and show love that brings them the most joy. That home baked apple pie. A video visit with the grandkids. Encouraging them to attend a holiday activity with their friends. Stay safe and healthy this year and help your senior enjoy life to the fullest!