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10 Ways to Help Your Residents Beat Loneliness this Christmas Season

Christmas can be a very lonely time for nursing home residents. Yes, there are extra visitors and activities, but for those without families, or with families who fail to visit or write, the season is very bleak and depressing.

As a caregiver, you can see which residents do not receive visitors and will probably feel lonely or left out during the Christmas season.  Here’s a list of several ways to make those resident’s Christmas be merry indeed!

1.  The most cherished gift of all is your TIME!  Arm yourself with 20 questions and spend some time really getting to know your resident!  Especially ask about personal experiences, like “What is your favorite Christmas memory?” Or, “What was Christmas like in the 40’s? (30’s, 50’s…)”

2.  Ask your friends, family or church to adopt a resident.  They can visit and bring gifts to the resident.  Just be sure to coach them as to what kinds of gifts are acceptable!

3.  Residents love getting mail.  Send a thoughtful card to say Merry Christmas!  Even better, help your resident make a handmade card to send someone.

4.  Play Secret Santa.  Drop various, anonymous gifts by your residents rooms when they aren’t paying attention.  Its fun to get the gift and even more fun to try and guess who the Secret Santa is!  On Christmas day, let your identity be known.

5.  Help a resident decorate their room for the holidays.  Use some of your decorations from home or buy new ones from the dollar store.  Tinsel always brightens a room.

6.  Bring in the Christmas music!  Use your CD’s or tune the radio to Christmas music.  Or even have friends or church come in for a night of Christmas caroling.

7.  Read “The Night Before Christmas” to a resident or a group of residents.

8.  Share Christmas treats with residents whose diets aren’t restricted.  For those who can, let them help decorate shaped sugar cookies with icing and sprinkles for the rest of the residents.

9.  If the care center allows pets to visit, bring your well behaved dog with you. Residents in nursing homes rarely have animal visitors and many will be excited to see a dog. Let your dog smell the resident and let the resident pet and love on your dog. Dogs are great therapy for nursing home residents!

10.  Remember, focus on what this season is really about: love and gratitude – not presents and parties. You can still fill yourself, and others, with the same feelings of love, friendship, and compassion that are at the core of the holiday season if you just look!

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