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From the Neighborhood Press

Celebrating the Holidays with Loved Ones

It’s Christmas time. For centuries, many have celebrated the 12 days of Christmas – actually Christmas Day till Epiphany, January 6th. Christmas brings a message of peace. Hope and love. Family is at the heart of this special time. Seniors look forward to the holidays, often for months. And for other seniors, the Christmas season brings back memories of precious years gone by. This year, be sure to put your elderly family members at the top of your list when planning gifts, holiday treats and special events. Here are some ideas for making Christmas extra special for them this year.

Connect. If your senior lives in a retirement community or receives supportive care in an assisted living home, find out the current recommendations for visiting by calling the hospitality desk. Health concerns can change on a daily basis and can affect visitation rules or requirements, so be sure to check in. If visiting in person is not an option, keep in mind that you can connect with your family member by phone or have a video visit. Grandma or Grandpa would be delighted to see the grandkids and your holiday decorations even virtually. Plus, they will know you thought of including them. Find out if your loved one’s assisted living home offers the technology and assistance to facilitate this kind of video visit. Staff is often happy to help, especially during the holiday season.

Cards & Gifts

Gifts, even small ones, are ways to make your senior feel appreciated and remembered. It’s not too late to find something fun and special. The whole family can be involved in a little shopping trip just for Grandma. Cards are also a great way to show how much they mean to you. Everyone in the family can write a little message on the card. Perhaps include some comments about the new year, and let them know that you’ll continue to be there for them.

Helping them decorate. If you live near your elderly loved ones, it may be possible for you to help them create a Christmas feeling environment in their home. It doesn’t take much – a small wreath, some colorful bulbs and candy canes, and of course a way to play some Christmas music in the background. Maybe they have some meaningful ornaments or a family nativity scene they would love to display. For many seniors, the holidays are a welcome change to their everyday life. It’s a special time of year – and you can help them create the atmosphere to celebrate the season. If your loved one lives in an assisted living home or is part of a memory care program, make sure to check with their caretakers and find out what decorations would be appropriate for their living situation.

If you would like to include your elderly loved ones in your family celebration, check and see what the current CDC guidelines are for family gatherings this year. Your senior may live in a retirement community or nursing home, and many of these senior communities have their own requirements or restrictions to keep their residents safe according to state regulations and CDC recommendations. Since health conditions change quickly in every region, you will need to keep on top of these changes on a daily basis.  If your elderly relatives won’t be able to make it to your Christmas dinner celebration, you can always bring some of those tasty treats to them. Homecooked food and Christmas desserts are special and they’ll love it. Make up a plate of that Christmas ham, or put some holiday cookies in a colorful tin and make a special delivery. They will be so happy that you thought of them and brought part of your meal to share.

It’s the time of year to share the love and warmth that the Christmas message brings. Many seniors in their retirement years are excited to share this time of year with family and look forward to the festivities and good times they remember each Christmas. With just a little effort, you can help your elderly family members or friends celebrate the season and bring them joy and comfort. Sommerset Neighborhood wishes you and your family a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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