As we start the new year, many of us are reflecting back on our holiday gatherings and celebrations. Being together with aging loved ones may highlighted the need to adjust some traditions to better accommodate those whose health, memory or needs have changed.
At Calyx Living, we welcome families who want to bring their traditions to a resident and can also offer assistance in navigating this special holidays and milestones throughout the year. We also share some learning from caring for residents and families during any festive event or season.
Keep your loved one involved
Physical or memory challenges can make it difficult for your loved one to play their traditional role in your family’s celebrations. Consider engaging them in other ways. Invite them to sit with you while you prepare the meal. Enlist advice on ingredients or ask them to tell a story about a time they made that particular dish. At Calyx Living, we encourage families to use our professional kitchen as a fun option for including their loved one in the cooking and baking leading up to a special milestone. Sometimes just making sure your loved one can hear the laughs, smell the aromas and see the festivities is enough to make them feel includes. This creates a way for families to stay connected and adjust to changes without dwelling on the ways they used to gather.
Acknowledge challenges and adjust
Seniors can feel isolated if they aren’t able to engage with their family in traditional ways. Consider how you can meet them where they are. If hearing loss is a challenge, reduce background noise and remind family members to speak slowly, clearly and directly to a loved one. For those with memory changes, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, keep things simple and try to schedule your gathering around their typical routine. Discuss activities that may be appropriate: opening gifts, watching children play or assisting with simple baking. If a loved one has moved into a memory care community like Calyx, consider bringing the gathering to them. At Calyx, we’re happy to arrange space for families to gather together. This option can help facilitate a good visit a loved one’s safe, familiar environment and with support from professional care givers.
Be present and flexible
Time together, as simple as it is, can be enough. Calyx Living always encourages families to embrace time spent together, even if it looks and feels different from years past. Birthdays, anniversaries, changing seasons or holidays can be difficult times especially if your loved one has lost a partner, experienced health changes or is experiencing memory loss. Don’t force gatherings, traditions or busy days packed with what may have once been fun activities. Enjoy time together, however that looks. Take the opportunity to step out of life’s normal pace and just be. Even if you have concerns about your loved one’s age, declining health or memory loss, try to enjoy what is, right now.
As you spend time together, you may realize that your loved one needs more attention and care than what you or your family can provide. The team at Calyx Living is experienced in helping families navigate these changes and can offer guidance in what questions to ask, care options to consider and even an analysis of at-home vs residential care costs. We’re here to support you during family celebrations and holidays or whenever your family may need.