If it’s the first year that a senior loved one is in assisted living (or other senior care setting) for the holidays, be prepared for a potentially emotional experience.
Whatever the reason for the move, you and your loved one must confront the difficulty of dealing with this first holiday in a new place.
Many families bring their loved ones home, but sometimes this is not an option based on the individual’s health and stamina. For some, meeting skilled care needs in the absence of a nurse or transporting someone who is wheelchair-bound poses the problem.
However, most residents who leave the facility will not spend the night at their family member’s home. Returning that evening may be the hardest part of the day for you and your loved one.
Consider these tips:
1. Be sensitive. Know that this will be a bittersweet time for your loved one, and for you. Be honest about your feelings, your sadness, and show extra love to your family member (hold her hand, kiss his cheek, say “I love you” frequently).
2. Be supportive. Ask your loved one how you can make the holidays as bright as possible despite the changes that have taken place.
3. Be available. You may feel guilty or sad about a visit in assisted living instead of at home, but don’t let that keep you from visiting at all.