by Heather McCallum – Activities Director
Feeling at home is without question, one of the most important things for seniors making the transition to a retirement community. For some residents, it’s fairly easy. For others, it takes more time and effort. If you have an elderly parent or other loved one making that transition there’s something you can do that just may make a new residence feel more like home.
Social gatherings—whether with family or friends—are one of the things most of us cherish about our homes. We build memories around these special occasions–whether they are birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, or some other special event. Just because someone moves into a retirement community doesn’t mean they have to give up their host or hostess privileges. You may need to make some minor accommodations, but it’s important to keep some traditions and events going—even if the environment has changed some.
Encourage your senior parents or loved ones to host small gatherings in their apartments or rooms. It doesn’t have to be a big production—and you’ll want to limit the number of attendees to a manageable amount. Just keep things simple—and let the seniors be the host (as much as they are able). It’s not about putting on a big spread. It’s about having friends and family with you to celebrate.
If you want to have a slightly larger group—and maybe a little more elaborate offering of snacks (or even a meal)—many retirement communities have a guest dining room that’s available for that purpose. Or you can check with the staff about setting aside a section of the main dining room for your party. It also gives proud grandparents an opportunity to show off their grandchildren!
You may have to do a little bit of advanced preparation to make things run smoothly. And it’s a good idea to let the staff know what you have planned (they may even want to help!). But nothing will make someone feel at home quite like entertaining others and welcoming them into their new home. And a housewarming party (even if it’s in a small apartment) is a great way to kick things off.
If you’ve got a parent or loved one making the transition to retirement community living, don’t forget the gift of hospitality.Any ideas for a senior-appropriate party?