Connection with Distance Over the Holidays

This holiday season is going to be unlike any other in recent memory. Many seniors in assisted living look forward to the holidays all year, a time for families and friends to gather. Although it's important to protect them with social distancing, there are still ways to stay connected this year.

The holidays have arrived, and the pandemic has imposed a new normal for everyone, especially for residents in residential assisted living.

Now what? For centuries, celebrating the holidays has been marked by bright lights, flashy decorations, grand gatherings, and expensive gift exchanges. This year will be different for many, but different can be more meaningful depending on how much loved ones and caregivers put into the occasion.

Simplifying the holidays can cause your assisted living experience to be warm, treasured and well-received.

Redirecting your holiday plans can be surprisingly rewarding – cutting back on the activities leaves space to place emphasis on family bonding.

In today’s digitally drained society, scheduling planned quality time can prove highly beneficial.

Instead of resisting to need to keep seniors safe, the following 7 steps will show you how to connect with family and friends from a distance, while eliminating stress.


1. Make New Memories
The circumstances of the past are very different from the present, and it’s time to celebrate the holidays in a new way. Most people have holiday memories that leave them feeling short changed despite all their selfless efforts anyway.

So perhaps it’s the perfect time to take a different approach. Wipe away those old memories and create some new ones. The truth is, it’s less than likely that holidays were ever as perfect as we remember them anyway, most memories get skewed overtime.

2. Watch A Series of Holidays Movies
The list of holiday blockbusters is endless – find funny family movies that everyone can enjoy together. Watching movies together can become a new tradition in your residential assisted living home.

Create your own sense of happiness. Find a funny, imperfect and touching holiday movie that is sure to make your seniors feel warm inside and fill your home with laughter.

3. Be Grateful
Everybody wants to remove the masks, stop social distancing and allow life to return to normal, but that’s not realistic. We have to embrace our new normal and reflect on all the things we really have to be grateful for. Perhaps you’re grateful for surviving society’s recent setbacks.

Appreciation helps people adjust their attitude and focus on the things that are really important. Gratitude has a way of pushing our problems into the distant background. Be grateful for the little things.

4. Communicate with Loved Ones
Communication is critical for seniors, especially those who feel like they are running out of precious time. Make the holidays about giving and sharing love – this starts with communicating.

Set up a zoom conference call, FaceTime connections, or Skype sessions that will allow family members to dialog with elderly loved ones face to face.

5. Simplify Your Plans
Instead of stressing over decorations, online shopping and signing Christmas cards, focus on what matters during this holiday season. By skimping on some of the thrills and frills, family members of individuals in residential assisted living can invest more quality time into the people they love.

Let health, sanity and a stress-free experience be the hallmark of this season.

6. Be Present
The absolute best present you can prepare to give anyone for the holiday is the gift of your presence.

Caregivers, family members and loved ones can spend uninterrupted quality time enjoying a cup of pumpkin spiced coffee and some conversation. This is what the holidays have been to most seniors for years. This is priceless for seniors in assisted living – it strengthens relationships and builds lasting memories.

Eat some popcorn, make some coffee or tea, play some soft music and reminisce over a picture album. Being present is priceless.

7. Be Proactive
Plan ahead in order to eliminate unwanted stress, knowing that you will have roadblocks to the traditional festivities.

Don’t attempt to allow one-person handling everything alone – the coming holidays will demand some creativity.

Caregivers and loved ones should anticipate all the things that will be needed to help make this holiday joyous.

Remember, friends and relatives love helping, but they are sure to be unclear about what’s needed during a holiday with a pandemic overcast., so inform them and help give guidance if needed.


Is there actually such a thing as holiday perfection, and is it possible to achieve while social distancing to keep seniors safe and healthy? Instead of seeking holiday perfection, as society is inundated with the usual retail images, start thinking differently.

As opposed to trying to recreate picture-perfect images of the holidays, be open to trying something new to create family connections during the upcoming holidays that require social distancing.

Remember, the vast majority of advertisements, music and blockbuster movies sugarcoat the holidays. It’s not the reality that most experience anyway. During the current pandemic, these images are feeding expectations that are impossible to meet.

We place a lot of pressure on ourselves to meet or exceed these high expectations, but we can make this season extra special for those in residential assisted living. You can run yourself ragged trying to carry on old tradition during a new era, but what for?

Make this holiday season special by creating connections despite physical distance.

After all, holiday perfection is all about making stronger human connections.


Preparing for the holidays just got easier in residential assisted living. Assisted living owners, operators and caregivers must be prepared for any season throughout the year.

The Residential Assisted Living National Association provides the research and resources needed to help leaders in the industry provide the best care year-round. The organization also provides a platform that allows owners and operators to put their assisted living homes on a national map.

In addition, members are able to read useful online blog content, get legal support, secure groups purchasing discounts and so much more.

For a free membership, visit RALNA.

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