Celebrating Christmas with a Loved One in a Nursing Home

Having a loved one residing in a nursing home can be stressful on them as well as their busy friends and families, especially at Christmas. Added in to the mix of every day life is shopping, baking, gift wrapping, holiday parties – it can make visiting a loved one in a nursing home seem more of a guilt ridden burden than the precious memory building celebration that it should be. Like all busy events preparation is the key to success. Preparing for Christmas with your loved one in advance takes away the anxiety and hurried feelings often felt during this occasion; allowing you to truly enjoy the season and the person.

Preparing Their Room:

A few weeks before the holiday take in a small tree and decorations for the nursing home room. Thanksgiving afternoon can often be a perfect time for this; adding an extra holiday visit in as well. When you are gathering decorations think apartment, or better yet, dormitory sized items. Be sure and let the resident help decorate or at least help guide you with directions. If you are at all crafty spending a few hours with them either helping or watching you create decorations for the little tree is an even better option. An online website can be created for providing the information about the training room. You can search on the website cna training near me. Plenty of training room facilities will be made available to you.

An addition or alternative to a tree is the long blooming poinsettias or Christmas cactuses. They can give joy even longer into the next year. Although most nursing homes allow and encourage this always ask the nursing staff for any regulations on artificial and real plants

Another way to bring the spirit of sharing is to leave the resident with a dish of sugar-free candies to hand out over the next few weeks to staff and friends who drop in. Sugar-free options will prevent any incidents with dietary restrictions.

Help Them Shop:

Confinement can be a very difficult thing for the disabled or elderly. The independence they once had is gone and the simple pleasures of gift buying and giving are missing from their lives. If it is possible to have a shopping day outing with them it will be rewarding for you both. Even on a meager income, or perhaps with an early holiday cash gift from family, they can give a few gifts to friends, family and nursing staff. Dollar stores have popped up all over the country and with a little thought every one can be given something from the loved one. The shopping and gifting will build their holiday spirit and their self worth. If an outing is not possible then bring in a few catalogues for them to place orders from a few weeks before the holiday. For a really fun alternative create an on-site store for them. Buy an array of items that they can “shop” from for gift giving. Remember to keep the receipts and return what they did not select. Since gift wrapping may be difficult for them remember to bring easy to use gift bags and tags.

Plan An Outting:

If at all possible retrieving the nursing home resident for a day visit at home is the ideal way to celebrate Christmas. The activity can be strenuous on all so planning and help will make the day run smoothly. Although it can be tiring it is so very rewarding. If a whole day visit is not possible then perhaps plan a Christmas Eve visit or a holiday dinner out for a few hours of gift exchanging and celebrating.

Including Others:

There is no greater meaning during the season of gifting than sharing with others. Ask the nursing staff about using a common room and help the resident host a holiday party for every one. Be sure and let everyone know the host is your loved one and not you. It builds their self-esteem and socially they will be the hit of the floor and the season!


Including children is not only appropriate but preferable at Christmas. Children have a natural instinct to be drawn to the elderly and disabled in a way adults cannot feel or understand. Preparing the child a bit for the experience may be necessary but once they are there children by nature will become the holiday spirit. The residents will enjoy the added gift of children in this season. Be sure to take coloring books and crayons to share with the kids and the residence!

Gift Ideas:

Residence of small shared spaces and with dietary restrictions can be hard to shop for. A few ideas are:

* Coupon book of visits- this shows your commitment to regular participation in their life.

* Coupon book of outings – if it is possible to get them out then a coupon book with regular visits home, shopping, or even spa days will be appreciated.

* Books and music on CDs along with a CD player or a fully loaded Ipod with their favorites.

* Room fresheners are always appreciated in a hospital scented nursing home. Be careful of strong, allergy inducing fragrances. For added ambiance the scented battery powered candles available now are a great gift. Don’t forget the extra batteries.

* Movies on DVD and a DVD player hooked up for them.

* TiVO or DVR if the nursing home allows it.

* Magazines subscriptions, newspaper subscriptions from home, and books.

* Treats to share with others. It seems more like home when they can offer a snack to a visitor.

Regular Visits:

The advent of holiday season can be made easier and more comfortable for everyone when the nursing home resident is visited throughout the year and not just on holidays. Time restrictions, distance, other responsibilities and sadly, even an aversion to the institutions themselves can create excuses for postponing regular visits until the holidays. In the spirit of the season create a calendar that includes regular stops to see the loved one in the nursing home year round.

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