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6 Ways to Celebrate the Holidays After a Move to Senior Living


Alissa Sauer

It’s hard to believe that the holidays are here again! For many families, this holiday season may look a little different as a senior loved one has moved from their home into a senior living community. This may mean that family traditions are changing and evolving, that holiday responsibilities are shifting, and it may mean rethinking your entire holiday schedule. However, with this new season comes a new opportunity.

Learn how you can make the most of the holidays with a loved one in senior living.

6 Ways to Celebrate the Holidays After a Move to Senior Living

While a move to senior living is certain to change some family traditions, it can be a great time to rethink some of the things your family has been doing for years. It can be a time to eliminate “stuff” and truly value each other’s presence, spending time together instead of stressing over your typical holiday to-do list. We have put together some ideas to make this holiday season the best yet – even if it looks a little different! 

1. Plan festive outings

If your loved one is willing and able, consider attending local holiday events. Many communities do light shows in the evenings or holiday plays at a local theater. Consider attending a local show or even plan a drive to see home holiday decorations while listening to holiday music.

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2. Prioritize the traditions that can continue

Maybe your cookie-making time is non-negotiable. Or maybe the time spent prepping for a special dinner is really important to family bonding. Whatever those really important traditions are, think outside of the box to find a way to keep them. Invite your loved one to your own home for holiday baking, or invite her out for those Black Friday sales. Even if you can’t make every important tradition happen, think through the most important ones and pick a couple to make happen this year.

3. Consider renting a local home for the holidays

If your senior loved one’s home was the gathering place for the holidays and no one else is willing or able to offer their home for holiday events, consider renting a local place. Websites like Airbnb or have rental houses all over the world and they can often accommodate a large group of people. These houses usually have kitchen items, laundry, and whatever else you need to set up for the holidays.

4. Rethink gift-giving

If your family has been purchasing gifts for every family member, this may be the year to stop as you have just spent a lot of time downsizing for a move to senior living. Consider picking a name or matching up family members so that you are buying for fewer people. Less time stressing over gift-giving can also mean more time spent together, enjoying the holidays.

5. Value the presence of family

The holidays are a great time to spend together, bringing family from all over the country to visit. Realize that this year may mean less ‘doing’ – especially for seniors in assisted living and memory care. Place a priority on being together, valuing each other’s presence. Watch holidays movies, play a board game, or enjoy a nice dinner out.

6. Participate in community events

Don’t forget to check in with your loved one’s retirement community! They are sure to have planned really fun and engaging activities throughout the season. From ornament making to caroling and special meals, there is something for every resident and every family member. This can be a great way for your loved one to make new friends and having you involved with holiday events can help your loved one feel at home. Check in with our communities and ask about their plans for the holidays. 

How will this year’s holiday season look different for your family? What changes have you made to keep holiday traditions alive in senior living? Share your experiences with us in the comments below.

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