During this time of year, residents may have increased feelings of isolation and loneliness. Luckily, there are a few things senior living providers can do to help.
By Josh Studzinski, Director of Marketing, Caremerge, (a Senior Housing Forum partner)
For most, the holiday season is full of joy, celebration, and time spent with the people you love. However, for residents of senior living communities, there may be increased feelings of isolation and loneliness. Luckily, there are a few things senior living providers can do to ensure their residents are able to spend this time indulging in the joys of the holiday season.
Generate Some Ideas
Regardless of religion or holiday preference, this is an exciting time to celebrate 2017 and look forward to a fabulous, fun-filled 2018. Here are few tips for how to make that happen:
1. Plan activities that bridge the generational gap. Intergenerational activities are an excellent way to bring in family members, local elementary school students, and others to your community. Invite grandchildren or other young visitors to participate in a coloring contest or create art to be displayed throughout the community. Set up craft stations that allow the residents and their young loved ones to create holiday decorations together. Since many school children are on break for extended periods at this time of year, this is a great time to help build memories and bridge the gap between generations.
2. Take advantage of technology. Share photos of your residents participating in holiday activities through HIPAA-compliant communication channels. Families will enjoy seeing their loved ones in those happy moments. Encourage families to send photos that can be shared with residents so they feel a part of the activities happening beyond the walls of the community. Taking advantage of technology and HIPAA-compliant messaging will help everyone feel more closely connected.
3. Involve the surrounding community. Invite local organizations or businesses to participate in helping your community decorate and prepare for the holiday season. One idea is to create or participate in a Gallery of Trees, which is a fundraising event whereby an organization hosts a showcase of holiday trees decorated by area businesses. Contributing a tree that is decorated by residents is an excellent activity that also raises awareness within the surrounding community.
Caremerge has developed a platform that empowers and engages families, residents, and staff. To learn more tips and tricks to leverage technology and decrease social isolation, join Caremerge and Gardant Management Solutions for a discussion about engaging families during the holiday season. Click here to register.
Other Helpful Resources
Here are some organizations that offer resources for matching seniors with volunteer needs:
Create the Good: an AARP website that lets you search for volunteer opportunities by zip code.
Serviceleader.org: A website that offers specialized resources for volunteers, volunteer managers, nonprofit leaders, staff, and instructors, faculty, and researchers.
Generations United: An organization that seeks to improve the lives of children, youth, and older adults through intergenerational collaboration, public policies, and programs. The site includes resources on intergenerational learning activities, programs of distinction around the country, and activity guides.
Whether it’s inviting others to join community events, making residents feel a part of family activities they are unable to attend, engaging the larger community to come to your own events, or creating your own activities or programs, you can help spread the holiday cheer with these simple tips.
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