The holidays are here! This is a very special time for all of us to share with our family and friends. From traditions and family recipes to sharing stories and making memories, the holiday season is the time we celebrate with those we love most.
As we age, not all of our family or friends may be able to travel to see us at Thanksgiving. Your parents and grandparents may no longer be able to live safely at home and now live year-round in a long-term care facility. Remember, just because they do not live at home anymore does not mean you should not visit them during the holidays.
Instead, make time in your plans to visit them where they are living now. Let us share with you the tips we give our clients who have loved ones in long-term care facilities to make sure that your visit is as special as possible.
1. Create an atmosphere that makes your loved one comfortable. This will differ with each person. For example, if your loved one is in a wheelchair, pull up a chair next to him or her and sit down instead of standing or hovering. This will create an environment for personable and meaningful conversation.
2. Turn off the television and catch up. Remove the noise and listen to one another as you talk. It is important to spend quality time with the ones that you love during this visit. Share memories, experiences and stories of loved ones. Don’t forget to silence your cell phone as well.
3. Share a meal with your loved one. There is nothing that brings people together like a good meal. You can bring a meal from a favorite restaurant when you visit them or pick up a favorite snack, candy or dessert that you know they enjoy. Keep in mind, however, there may be new dietary considerations you do not know about. To be considerate and safe while visiting your loved one, be sure to first talk to the facility about any and all restrictions that you need to respect during your visit.
4. Stay for craft time! Long-term care facilities have an assortment of activities. Spending time with your loved one during this visit is key and it can help them for you to participate in events that he or she enjoys. Singing, stretching, or craft-making, may all be on the agenda during the holiday. Discuss with your loved one what he or she would like you to participate in.
5. If your loved one is allowed to leave the facility, you may want to bring him or her to your home for the Thanksgiving meal. Before you offer this to your loved one, talk to the facility and his or her doctor. Determine if this is a safe and viable option for your loved one during the holidays. Ask the facility what arrangements need to be made to ensure your loved one has a good visit with you in your home and remember that you need to take precautions to avoid fatigue of your senior loved one during the visit.
You can use these tips to ensure your holiday visits are as special as possible. Remember, do not take the time you spend with your friends and family for granted this holiday season. Instead, use it to share memories, build new ones and grow closer throughout the holiday season! Need help planning for a senior loved one? Do not wait to contact our office for assistance.