One of the hardest parts of adjusting to having a family member in assisted living is navigating the first holiday. The change in surroundings and family dynamics can bring up mixed emotions, especially if mom always used to host Christmas dinner in the house you grew up in. Fortunately, it’s the people who make the holidays special, not the location. Your loved one may be living in a community now, but they’re still able to celebrate the holidays with you. There are tons of different ways to make Christmas feel special, even if it’s no longer celebrated in your loved one’s home. Our assisted living team at UMC at Pitman put together some ways to celebrate the upcoming holidays if you have parents who are new to our independent lifestyle community in Gloucester County.
Hunker down and watch classic holiday movies. Classic movies like Miracle on 34th Street, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation can bring back past memories for your loved one. Viewing them as a family might remind them of you and your siblings excitedly opening presents under the tree, or even holidays they spent as little kids. A holiday movie night is also a great tradition to start if mom or dad has mobility issues. Make an event out of it and get your immediate family over to their apartment – and don’t forget the movie theater-style popcorn and fresh baked holiday cookies!
Get their apartment holiday-ready. Just because your loved one is no longer a homeowner, doesn’t mean they can’t decorate for Christmas. They can still go all out with decorations even if their space is smaller. Instead of having one big Christmas tree, opt for a few smaller ones to place throughout their assisted living apartment. The best part about decorating an apartment vs. a house is that clean-up will be much easier come January!
Encourage them to celebrate with their new community. Many assisted living communities, like UMC at Pitman, have a lot of fun seasonal activities planned for the holidays. Encourage your loved one to get involved, and if possible, join them for a holiday event or meal on site. From Christmas PJ day, to holiday movie night to Christmas cookie bake-offs, there is an activity to interest every resident at Pitman.
Blend the old with the new. The holidays will look different, but some things don’t have to change. If you always helped dad buy gifts for the family, make sure the same thing happens this year. If mom always loved to decorate sugar cookies with the grandkids, bring them over to her new apartment and make a day out of it. Blending old traditions with new will help everyone transition to this big change in no time.
Spending the holidays at UMC at Pitman
As we mentioned above, we have a ton of festive events and activities planned to get your loved one into the holiday spirit. Not to mention, any of the activities offered can be modified to accommodate mom or dad’s needs. The most important thing for us, is that all of our residents, short-term and full-time, enjoy the holidays in our community!
For more information about our assisted living services for seniors at UMC at Pitman in Gloucester County, please contact us today or visit our website at: https://umcommunities.org/pitman
This blog was originally published at https://umcommunities.org/pitman/blog/preparing-for-the-holidays-in-assisted-living/