The holiday season is often a joyous time. In senior living communities, we recognize that some residents may experience some difficulties during this time, however. Some may not get to see their family, or this is their first holiday season out of their home, and they miss the traditions they have maintained for years. Senior living communities have the unique opportunity to keep the spirit of the holidays alive and support their residents’ mental well-being. FamilyAssets recently published an article on tips for boosting a seniors mental health, which is crucial to making residents feel valued, loved, and at home during the holidays. One of the tips focuses around the importance of seniors staying socially connected, boosting their morale and overall mental health.
Senior Living communities understand the importance of social connection for their residents, especially at this time of year. They have a chance to bring their residents together through holiday events, arts and crafts, activities, and so much more. SilverAssist spoke with a few partner senior living communities on holiday inspired activities and events that they implement for their residents to feel at home and full of joy during this time of year.
During this season, seniors are likely to reminisce about memories and traditions they’ve enjoyed in the past with their children, family and friends. Heather Bright, Executive Director of Bickford of Lancaster, spoke about the importance of “just sitting and talking with residents to ensure they feel heard and cared for.” Through the simple act of conversation, residents stay socially connected, boosting mental wellness and also giving them a sense of “family.” Conversation and social activities mean a lot to seniors during this time of year.
Joe Giffin, Director of Sales at Five Star Washington Township Senior Living, said their “residents and staff come together and share recipes with each other.” This allows seniors to talk about their traditions and feel a sense of purpose, knowing their traditions can be passed down to future generations.
Brookdale in Tanglewood Oaks recognizes that their “community is their residents’ home and they try to ensure their home is filled with holiday cheer,” said Sales Manager, Shantrice McWilliams-Dolphus. She added that their community “tries to accommodate and incorporate any traditions the residents suggest as well.” This gives residents an opportunity to not only be involved in the community, but to continue their own holiday traditions.
Senior living communities have the opportunity to find unique ways to include all residents, no matter the traditions or holidays that they celebrate. Joe Giffin with Five Star Washington Township Senior Living, understands that “not everyone celebrates Christmas, so we call our event, the Holly Jolly party. We cater to everyone, we invite all the families and friends, no limit on your guests.”
Heather Bright with Bickford of Lancaster, mentions one way they make residents feel included during the holiday season is with a “secret Santa to ensure every person who lives here has presents to open on Christmas morning.” Traditions as simple as opening a present on the morning of Christmas, can make a resident feel happy and valued when they may be feeling sad during this part of the year.
In the spirit of the holiday season, giving back to the community is likely top of mind during this time of year. Volunteering or giving back for a meaningful cause is another way for seniors to have a sense of fulfillment and purpose. One way Five Star Washington Township Senior Living does this is by “adopting a family each year that is local to the township. This year, we adopted a family who had a house fire last month. Their whole house was destroyed and they have two small children. Our residents, families and staff collected what items they needed and tried to spread joy during these hard times.”
Making this season shine a little brighter for the seniors in your community will not only spread holiday cheer, but also boost their mental wellness.
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