Statistically, women in living senior homes identify themselves as Christians. According to a recent Gallup poll, American women are substantially more religious than men at all ages, regardless of ethic group.
Because nearly 1 in 5 men state no religious affiliation, and 80% of seniors in retirement homes are women, the odds are high that the majority of the population in retirement homes – that are non-Jewish affiliated – regard themselves as Christians.
Many of these seniors take their faith seriously, so special care is needed to ensure that Christmas is a memorable event. They expect love, selflessness, family, food and worship.
Every family has special Christmas traditions. It’s a time to come back home and reconnect with all the seasonal scents, sounds, and feelings.
Residents desire tradition, culminating in the candle light services on Christmas Eve, followed by a visit from Santa Claus on Christmas morning. But, today, Christmas appears more like a mall, due to fire code compliance, corporate standards, and staff disengagement, than a loving senior living home.
It's is a labor of love. Let’s involve residents and families in decor and preparation, in creating activities to help bring back its magic.
Here are some tips to excite the senses and bring back great memories:
- Bring in carolers for special visits
- Play old favorites – Bing Crosby, Gene Autry, Andy Williams, Nat King Cole, Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra
- Release warm, fragrant, spicy fragrances of oranges, cloves, cinnamon and pine
- Decorate with mistletoe, warm blankets, links of paper for the tree, popcorn garland, and wrapped presents to connect with Yuletide
- Hang fresh conifers on mantels and up the staircase railings
- Take special care with the Christmas tree with all its decorations
- Ensure that every resident creates ornaments, or help them to pick out their favorites and place it on the tree
Practice Extreme Hospitality: Many residents must spend their Christmas – not in their own home or with loved ones – but in a senior residence.
It’s not their original home. But at this point in their lives, they’d prefer turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, and pecan pie – instead of gold, myrrh and frankincense.
But you never know :)
Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Night.