Think “Outside of the Gift Box” to Make Merry Memories with Your Aging Loved Ones

Grandson showing grandmother a drawing on video call

Like so many happenings this year, holiday celebrations are looking much different this season for families everywhere. Even at Encore’s Assisted Living and Memory Care communities it’s not “Christmas as usual,” but we’re finding ways to spread good cheer through decking the halls, playing carols and holiday crafting—and you and your families can too!

Pull on your holiday sweater, abandon your online shopping cart—just for a minute—and pause to reimagine new family holiday traditions for everyone’s health and safety. Making merry memories is possible in these challenging times with a little pre-planning…and, perhaps, some Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa magic.

Encore Assisted Living and Memory Care team members spend quality time throughout the year with older adults and their families and, with their years of experience, gleaned some thoughtful advice on how families can spread good cheer this most unusual year.

Encore Tips for Merry Making

Plan Ahead – Get the extended family on the same page for planning holiday celebrations with grandma and gramps. Set up a group text, email or phone call to discuss everyone’s expectations, share ideas and come up with a plan that works for all.

Sleigh Gift-Giving – Wrap and drop-off presents on a loved one’s front porch. If you’re not too sneaky, you may enjoy some spontaneous face time from a social distance! For folks far away, shop online and have packages delivered.

Get Baking! – If you have more time at home, then you likely have more time to spend in the kitchen baking—cookies, fruitcakes, pies and cakes! Box up the holiday treats and deliver to friends, family and neighbors for a super sweet surprise.

Organize a Holiday Parade – Car parades celebrate graduations, birthdays and anniversaries, so why not plan a Christmas drive-by cruise? Decorate the cars with garland and tinsel, dress in holiday attire, blast some traditional jingles and parade by grandma and grandpa’s house with glee!

Create a Better Virtual Gathering – After everyone waves and says hello on screen, avoid the awkward “what’s next?” moment by planning an activity that you all can do together even while apart. Try organizing a simultaneous holiday toast, present opening or dessert dining experience to share and enjoy on-screen laughter and smiles.

Ring a Loved One – A simple phone call can brighten someone’s day. You can share memories from holidays past, let them know that they are deeply missed and give them something to look forward to by making a date to get together as soon as it is safe.

Be a Matchmaker – While grandpa may not be looking for a romantic connection, he may enjoy connecting with a long-lost friend, pastor or priest or former co-worker. Behind the scenes, arrange a surprise phone call or virtual visit as an extra-special gift.

As you can see, there is no need to be a bah humbug this holiday season! These tips brought to you by Encore Assisted Living and Memory Care can help you and your family create a holly, jolly holiday and hopefully inspire more ideas on how to enjoy what is, even in a pandemic, the most wonderful time of year.

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