Bringing home the Christmas spirit: Making the holidays bright for loved ones in aged care

Dec 20, 2023
Whether through a warm gathering, a thoughtful gift, or a brief but meaningful call, these simple gestures can create lasting Christmas memories for our loved ones. Source: Getty Images.

With the festive season in full swing, where 56 percent of Australians are gearing up to savour a Christmas Day feast with their families in the comfort of their homes, an important consideration surfaces—how can we extend the joy of the season to our beloved family members and friends residing in aged care facilities?

Whether to invite our loved ones into our homes for the day or visit them at their residence becomes a focal point in our holiday plans. While navigating this choice can present some challenges, it’s important to note that there are numerous thoughtful and inclusive ways to spread the Christmas cheer for those in aged care.

By fostering a sense of connection, warmth, and shared celebration, we can make the holiday season a truly special and memorable time for all, regardless of the chosen setting.

With this in mind, join Starts at 60 as we discover meaningful gestures and activities that embody the true spirit of the season, making a positive impact on the lives of our loved ones in aged care during this joyous time of year.

TriCare’s Jindalee Aged Care Residence Josef Casais explained that when putting together Christmas family get-togethers, loved ones should consider a range of factors.

“Some residents will thrive on the opportunity to visit a family members’ home and participate in family celebrations and catch up with children and grandchildren, whilst others will find it stressful, tiring, and even a little frightening,” Casais said.

TriCare has found family members are increasingly bringing the festivities to their loved ones’ facilities to make it more enjoyable — and even help participate in the festive activities planned by the Aged Care Facility.

“We always do something special for Christmas, this year we will be hosting a Christmas party with an entertainer singing festive songs, as well as residents making edible Christmas treats that they can share and gift to their families on Christmas Day,” Casais added.

“Families are most welcome and encouraged to join in on the festive spirit — their support is appreciated.”

He also recommended several delightful ways for family members to bring the Christmas spirit to their loved ones in aged care.

  • Help decorate their rooms with familiar trinkets or family traditions. Sometimes even smells of home can be recreated with essential oils or home-cooked gifts.
  • Book a communal area at the facility and bring a small number of relatives for a gathering – too many people may be overpowering and make it hard for the elderly to hear when the family get chatting.
  • Give thoughtful gifts such as homemade picture frames and cards or a favourite Christmas recipe.
  • While visitors can stay as long as they desire, keep in mind that perhaps limiting your visit to about an hour will ensure loved ones are not too tired.
  • Work around their routine which has been established for them to help them maintain function and reduce stress.
  • Pop some Christmas tunes on your Spotify account that will bring back memories for your loved one – Think Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby.
  • Photos, photos and more photos – some from the past; some from family members far away or even just general Christmas photos from around your community.
  • If you can’t be at the aged care residence, phone calls and Facetime can be enough.

Whether it’s a cosy gathering, a heartfelt gift, or a brief yet meaningful phone call, these simple gestures can create lasting memories for our loved ones while ensuring they feel the Christmas spirit long after the decorations are put away.

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