Although Christmas decorations have been abundant in all the retail establishments, Thanksgiving weekend seems to be the official beginning of the holiday season. And that brings lots of angst to family members who are dealing with a loved one in a rehab/long term care facility. Every situation is different, but if you are considering bringing your loved one home to celebrate, you might give thought to the following:
- How accessible is your vehicle for him? Can he easily maneuver getting into and out of a vehicle? How much assistance does he require and is it something you can provide?
- Once you have arrived at home, how accessible is the home? Are there steps to access? If your loved one is in a wheelchair, can she easily maneuver within the home? More importantly, can she get to and use the bathroom?
- This might be a good time to look at the home for furniture placement and remove extraneous throw rugs that could be tripping hazards.
- Be sure to check with the staff to determine if there are any dietary requirements that need to be adhered to outside the facility.
- Even in the best of weather, it’s not a bad idea to plan to bundle up for the transport from the facility to your home. Your loved one is accustomed to rather constant room temperature and any significant change could be tough on them.
Unfortunately, for some residents (particularly those with dementia) anything out of the routine can cause anxiety and confusion. As hard as it may seem, the best alternative in some cases is to keep your loved one in place. That prospect causes some anxiety and guilt for family members who are trying to maintain some normalcy for their loved one. My experience tells me that all facility staff is cognizant of the holiday spirit and will do everything to make the holidays seem like home.
Most facilities will serve typical holiday meals, provide decorations and even a holiday party or gathering where family members can come and celebrate with their loved one. If bringing your loved one home is not an option, consider taking advantage of all the facility offers to keep the holidays cheerful and full of holiday spirit. Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!