With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it is easy to get swept up in the hectic nature of the holiday. As we run around, making plans for a well-cooked turkey and the perfect pumpkin pie, we can forget about those in our community who may need our attention during this season, especially those living in nursing homes. If you have a loved one in an assisted living or skilled nursing facility, you may want to consider ways to bring the holiday spirit to them. Here are a few ways to include your loved ones in the festivities, even if they can’t join you in person.
- Kids can bring joy and a holiday spirit anywhere. If your loved one has grandchildren, great nieces and nephews, or just family friends, you can organize a visit, complete with decorations for their room, and maybe even a little celebratory dessert, if their doctor allows.
- Keep the phone calls coming. It is easy to get distracted, but mark your calendar if you need a reminder to make a weekly phone call to someone who may be spending the holiday season away from home.
- Cards can send someone a smile when they need it. Many of us don’t think much about the stack of holiday cards we send out each December, but if there is someone in your community or family who might appreciate a little more than the standard card, consider adding a personal note and photos. This might only take you a few minutes to finish, but it could help your loved one feel more connected to your family.
- Gifts can be tailored to your loved one. Your family member may be living permanently in a nursing home, and could use some basics, such as pajamas, simple clothes, or even some preferred toiletries. They might also like something to keep them entertained – a photo album filled with family photos they can share with others; a board game to play with the other residents, or even a magazine subscription to entertain them.
Don’t underestimate your ability to make a difference in your loved one’s life, especially around holidays filled with traditions they may be missing. It might take a little time or effort on your part, but giving your loved one extra attention at this time of the year can be a great way for you and your whole family to celebrate.