Pumpkin pie, turkey, glowing fireplaces, and twinkle lights are all just around the corner! While the holidays are exciting, each passing year brings change, and your gathering table may look different. Whether your dearest family or friends have enhanced care needs, or limited mobility, or reside in memory care or an assisted living community, all that matters is you spend time together! Here are some helpful tips to host a gathering for all this season:
1. Choose a flexible event time.
Consider hosting an event with an open house concept rather than a firm mealtime. This may help all your guests to join the fun when they can.
If sundowning is a concern for a guest with Alzheimer’s disease, plan your event earlier in the day. If the party will be better for everyone after plenty of shut-eye, shoot for a later time.
After the last two years, we are all aware that it’s important to reduce the risk of spreading an illness. As we age, we may not rebound from a common cold like we used to. For the sake of all, sometimes canceling plans is necessary—even during the holidays. Have a backup plan to reschedule your celebration in case sickness arises or your loved one is having a bad day.
2. Offer food and drinks for everyone’s palate.
Be sure to offer drinks that can help everyone stay hydrated as well. If alcohol is served, consider moderation. Offer alternative non-alcoholic beverages for those who don’t drink or can’t partake due to health or medication interactions.
3. Be mindful of a lengthy guest list.
Large groups with excessive noise may be too overwhelming for some. Think about breaking up your holiday into smaller parties, if that would work better for your guests.
Provide your visitors with a quiet place to rest during the event—especially if you have a large group; it may help them enjoy the occasion longer.
If you have extended family and friends attending your celebration, knowing everyone’s name can be a challenge, or unfamiliar faces may cause anxiety. Consider wearing name tags or doing introductions among the group to help everyone feel comfortable.
4. Reconsider traditional gift exchanges.
Think about drawing names or starting a new tradition with a white elephant gift exchange to help reduce the number of gifts everyone needs to bring.
If some of your guests cannot shop or gift wrap, offer to help them if it’s an important tradition you’d like to keep alive.
5. Accommodate care needs.
For friends or loved ones leaving their residential community for the day, be sure help is available. Whoever helps should be comfortable and capable of safely providing all the assistance they need to enjoy the day. Think ahead about their medications and mobility, and if needed, who can assist them with personal care in the restroom. If supporting those needs makes anyone uncomfortable or increases the risk of injury, consider celebrating on-site at their assisted living or memory care community.
6. Choose a comfortable location.
Look for a space that allows freedom to move around safely without clutter or stairs, and that has an accessible restroom.
For those who reside in a residential care community like assisted living or memory care, reconsider hosting a holiday event at their former home if they may find it upsetting. If your loved one or friend prefers not to leave their residential community, or it poses too much of a safety risk, bring the party to them!
Most memory care and assisted living communities offer comfortable gathering spaces to celebrate special occasions, provided you reserve a space ahead of time. By choosing to bring the party to them, you will also have the help of caregiving staff to meet their needs as well.
At Edgewood, we love hosting family events, which can be the safest option in some cases! If you’re interested in getting together with your family member who lives at Edgewood, please reach out to your local community. We’d love to help make this year’s event a safe and memorable occasion. Contact us at email@example.com to get your plans in motion.
Edgewood’s Elephant in the Room Series is our way of addressing delicate (but important) subjects that are often left undiscussed between families and their loved ones. We know aging and change, in general, aren’t easy for anyone, which is why we are dedicated to ensuring your family is equipped with the tips and resources you need to care for loved ones entering their golden years. Click here to see more Elephant in the Room blog topics.