How do I bring holiday festivities into my older loved ones’ facility?

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There are a few ways to bring holiday cheer to your loved one living in residential care facilities. [Source: Shutterstock]

Over half of Australians say they will spend Christmas Day enjoying a meal with their family at home, but what about loved ones in residential care?

More families are increasingly bringing festivities to loved ones in care – particularly for those with high care needs or limited mobility – even opting to participate and help out in activities put on by their facilities. 

An estimated 40% of Australian older people living in aged care don’t receive regular visitors so why not consider spending part of Christmas Day at your loved one’s facility, participating in activities, talking to other residents and making an impact?

Josef Casais, a Facility manager at TriCare’s Jindalee Aged Care Residence said a day out at a big family gathering during the holidays isn’t always a carefree event. 

“The aged care facility is considered a home by its residents and the staff work hard to make Christmas enjoyable, so there’s no reason to feel guilty about them being there at Christmas,” he said. 

For those visiting loved ones at their facilities, consider these tips to bring the holiday spirit to your family members:

  • Help decorate their rooms with familiar trinkets or family traditions. Familiar smells from your  home can be recreated with essential oils or home-cooked gifts 
  • Book a communal area at the facility and bring a small number of relatives for a gathering. Consider that too many people may be overwhelming and make it hard for your loved one to hear once everyone starts talking 
  • Give thoughtful gifts such as homemade picture frames and cards or a favourite Christmas recipe
  • While visitors can stay as long as they desire, keep in mind that your loved one may start to get tired so be sure to check in with them and make plans to leave once they are ready 
  • Work around their routine which has been established for them to help them maintain function and reduce stress
  • Fire up the Spotify account or CD player and play familiar tunes that will bring back memories for your loved one 
  • Don your loved one’s room with happy photos from the past or from family members living far away. If they’re up for it, take some photos on the day for your keepsake
  • If you can’t be at the facility, phone calls and FaceTime sessions can be enough. Maybe you could help facilitate a call between those in the facility and loved ones living interstate or overseas 

Are you visiting any family in a residential care facility this holiday season? Let us know in the comments

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