Maintaining Traditions – Tips From Paula Harder

Visiting family over the holidays often fills us with a mix of emotions. The hectic build up of getting everything together, packing, traveling, and the flurry of parties can be stressful. But at the same time, it’s wonderful to see everyone and catch up. Adding in the potential concern about your loved one’s safety and happiness, and you’re officially on an emotional roller coaster.

When taking all these feelings into consideration, there is also the question of “Should we go visit Mom or Dad at their community or bring them home for the day?” Every family’s situation is unique, but it may help to ask yourself:

  • Where would Mom or Dad feel most comfortable?
  • How long can Mom or Dad be engaged before getting tired?
  • What will the atmosphere in our house be like?
  • Will I have a quiet place for Mom or Dad to rest?

For some families, celebrating the holidays at their parent’s assisted living or memory care neighborhood is a great fit. The associates are there to help with their physical needs, there are celebrations, and this has most likely become the place that Mom or Dad feel most at home.

Whether you are celebrating the holidays at home or in a community, here are a few tips to maintaining your family traditions:

  • Less is more. You’re still celebrating the joy of the season even if your visit is only 15 minutes.
  • Keep your favorite traditions, but in small doses. Spread them out, one at a time, over several days or visits. Keep the number of people visiting or participating to a minimum.
  • Plan ahead for the time your loved one will be with you. Keeping in mind clothing needs, rest areas, quiet areas, transportation needs, restroom needs and medications. Have a back-up plan and be okay with changes at the last minute
  • Coach other family members ahead of time on what to expect and how to make the most of the moments you will have together.
  • Remember to enjoy the holidays yourself as well. If you feel stress so will your loved ones.

To find out more about celebrating the holidays at our communities and what we have planned this year, contact the community nearest you!


By Paula Harder
Vice President of Resident Programs