For many people, the holiday season is a fun time full of festivities. As a person ages, this experience can change. Some face physical limitations that make it difficult to do the things that they once did. Elderly people may not be able to go trick or treating on Halloween or plan a big family dinner at home on Thanksgiving.
Others face mental health challenges. The holiday season can be a reminder of loved ones who are gone. They may think about the things they can no longer do or people they can’t see. Depression is a serious risk for seniors. It has a direct impact on their wellness and health.
The cooler weather and mobility concerns create hazards when celebrating outside of an assisted living community, including:
- Outdoor slips and falls in wet or icy weather
- Fatigue can cause health problems and increase fall risk
- Trying to navigate in spaces that aren’t safe for seniors
- Lack of support for activities of daily living during parties and events
- Arranging safe transportation for seniors who cannot drive
Assisted living communities are designed to help elderly people fully enjoy the holiday season with minimal risk. Moving into a retirement home doesn’t mean a person can no longer participate in the festivities. In fact, they may have access to even more gatherings, parties, and events than they did before.
What do assisted living communities have to offer seniors during the fall holiday season?
A Safe Place for Parties, Gatherings, and Dinners
Assisted living communities are built with the needs of seniors in mind. They have safety features like railings, better lighting, non-slip surfaces, and more.
The average home doesn’t have many of these features, or if they do, they may be inadequate for an aging adult with mobility concerns. Planning or participating in an event on-site means seniors can have a great time with less risk of injury.
Fall injuries are a serious concern for seniors. Around three million older adults go to the emergency room annually for a fall injury. More than 800,000 are hospitalized due to this type of injury.
One out of five falls leads to a serious injury while most traumatic brain injuries are caused by a fall. Preventing an injury during the holiday season should be a top priority for seniors.
A Full Events Calendar for Seniors to Explore
Many seniors face physical struggles as they age. Loss of strength and stamina are common, even in adults who have no other health conditions. Those that do may have more extreme limitations and additional medical concerns.
Being able to celebrate at the assisted living facility provides a great alternative to trying to attend events that may be difficult for seniors. Most facilities plan a full event calendar this time of year. Everything from group activities to parties, clubs, and dinners are usually included. There’s no shortage of interesting and fun things to do during the holidays in assisted living!
Social Opportunities that Reduce Depression and Isolation
Depression and isolation are serious concerns for seniors. Over 34 million people over age 65 in the United States suffer from depression. Many develop the condition due to chronic illnesses like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, cancer, arthritis, or heart disease.
Older people also tend to face more losses in their lives. Many of their friends and family may have passed on. Approximately one-third of widows and widowers meet the criteria for a depression diagnosis in the first month after the loss of their spouse. Half of them remain clinically depressed after a full year.
Assisted living can’t change the pain of loss, but it gives seniors a new opportunity to rebuild their social circles and avoid isolation. These facilities bring peers together to make friends and bond.
The holidays can be a difficult time because of the many reminders of loss. Assisted living helps to combat the problem with social gatherings and other positive activities that help older people heal and make new memories.
Staff Who Can Assist with Activities of Daily Living
Seniors who live at home or go to someone else’s house for the holidays may still have to handle activities of daily living on their own. Unless family members can assist or someone is hired to provide support, they will be on their own to do things like groom, dine, and go to the bathroom.
These tasks can be a real challenge for people with health conditions or mobility limitations. Yet, they are essential to staying healthy and comfortable.
Assisted living staff are trained to provide support for activities of daily living all year round. When celebrating on-site, residents can still access the services they need so they can take care of their needs and get right back to the celebration.
Holiday Meals Are Prepared for Everyone in the Facility
Food is closely associated with holiday events. Parents and grandparents who used to prepare a big dinner for the family may not be able to do that anymore.
Assisted living communities often plan special menus for holidays. Residents can enjoy a tasty seasonal treat even if they can no longer bake or cook as they did in the past. Families can rest easy knowing that their loved one is getting a delicious, nutritious meal every day.
Assisted living chefs can accommodate dietary needs as well. Family and friends can bring in treats but should keep in mind that doctor’s orders should be followed.
Less Risk of Holiday Financial Fraud
Sadly, senior citizens are commonly targeted for financial fraud. People in this age group tend to have accumulated assets and may not understand online banking and personal finance. This is especially true for people who are in the early stages of dementia and may be more vulnerable.
Scammers amp up their efforts during this time of year, some even concocting holiday-specific scams.
Seniors in assisted living tend to have closer monitoring. Their expenses are usually more condensed because they live in a facility that provides everything they need. Staff should also be trained to monitor for signs of financial abuse and fraud.
Families should remain diligent but can feel more confident knowing that their loved one isn’t left alone at the mercy of scammers should they call.
Spending the holidays in senior living homes can improve the lives of elderly people. Pinnacle Peak Assisted Living Home is available to discuss your loved one’s needs. Get in touch to learn more about how we make the holidays extra special for our residents.