Helping Families Navigate the Holidays
Whether we are celebrating with residents inside of the community or educating families on best practices to celebrate outside of the community, Vice President of Resident Engagement and Memory Care Services, Kelly McCarthy shares tips to make the holidays special.
If a resident is leaving the community
- If residents are leaving the community be sure to talk with their families about holiday plans to ensure a successful celebration. Make sure you know what residents will be leaving, when they will be leaving and when they will be back.
- Hold off on telling the resident that their son or daughter is coming to pick them up. While it is important for the family to communicate this information to the community, telling the resident may cause unnecessary anxiety. Someone living with memory impairment may struggle with the concept of time and be anxiously awaiting being picked up hours or even days before their family is scheduled to arrive.
- Prepare the space: Work with families to make sure whatever space they are bringing the resident to is well lit with minimal clutter to prevent injuries.
Hosting Family Visits
- Timing: Communicate with families the best time for them to come visit with their loved one. We want to space visits out and pick times that work best for the resident.
- Coaching about What TO do during a visit
- Reminisce – holidays are a great time to reminisce about old traditions and share what everyone remembers. Prep families so they come with traditions and memories to talk about.
- Physical contact – Let families know it’s ok to hold hands as they are telling a story.
- Coaching on What NOT to do during a visit:
- Do NOT ask questions that set your loved one up for failure. Let families know to avoid phrases like, “do you remember me?”
- Do NOT repeat questions that you see your loved one is struggling to answer. Let families know that if they notice the resident is struggling, move on to another topic they know the resident is comfortable talking about.
- Do NOT argue with or correct them- gently remind families that if mom or dad calls them by the name of another family member, they may temporarily be misremembering, go along with it and don’t push back.
Who should be part of the visit:
- Less is more: Before the planned visit let families know to avoid overwhelming their loved one by visiting in smaller groups over multiple weeks leading up to the holidays. Large groups and gatherings easily become overwhelming.
- Say hello: Remind families to introduce everyone coming for a visit to prevent any anxiety or confusion around not knowing or remembering someone.
What to remember:
Always remember to share with families that when it comes to the holidays and someone living with memory impairment, it’s more about the journey than it is the destination. The best way to set everyone up for a successful holiday is to do what is in the best interest of the person living with memory impairment, even if it means the holidays look a little different. People with Alzheimer’s and dementia thrive on routine, holiday visits and gatherings tend to throw the best laid routines out of whack.
We hope that by sharing these helpful tips our holiday celebrations and visits continue to bring lots of holiday cheer and a smile to everyone’s face!
Working at a Northbridge senior living community
If you are considering a career in senior living, we hope you’ll consider one of our communities. Our team of associates makes a meaningful difference in the lives of our residents, every day. Because of that, we treat our team like family and we’re happy to offer:
- Competitive Pay
- Flexible Schedules
- Direct Deposit
- Vacation & Personal Days
- Paid Holidays & Sick Time
- Your Birthday Off
- Health Insurance to Qualified Associates
- 401k Company Match
- Tuition Reimbursement
- Ongoing Education
- Associate Appreciation
View our careers website today to view open positions, what a day working at Northbridge is like, and why our associates love to work here.
As a New England senior living company, we pride ourselves in being the local choice for families in need of assisted living or memory care. We look to our teams of associates to truly make our communities home for our residents. Whether that’s a helping hand or a moment to listen to a story, our associates are dedicated and compassionate. With 18 communities in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, we hope you’ll find your home here too. If you already love what you do, and want to love where you work, apply now! We look forward to meeting you.