In Community, Lifestyle

Hosting in Your Retirement Home for the Holidays

Whether this is your first or fifteenth holiday season in a retirement community, you may find hosting your loved ones a bit daunting. Questions may come up such as… should we decorate this year? What about food? How will we manage shopping and exchanging gifts? Have no fear, there’s absolutely no reason you can’t pull together your family’s favorite holiday traditions with manageable effort. Let’s discuss some helpful ways you can host this Christmas, while also taking advantage of the benefits offered in your active retirement community.

Deck The Halls (And Even Your Doorway If You Like)

If you haven’t already done so (many of us are a little behind), let’s look at some tips on putting up some holiday home décor. Whether you or your loved one resides in an Independent Living, Assisted Living or Memory Care setting, holiday decorating is welcome! At Beacon Hill, we love to spread cheer throughout our community with festive décor. And as those that live here know, we encourage you to do the same. Arranging your favorite seasonal items in your home will usher in a sense of comfort and joy.

Here are some helpful suggestions for adorning your new home this holiday season:

Christmas Trees – If it’s part of your family tradition, find just the right new place to put up your tree! On the floor or on the tabletop, you may want to consider opting for an artificial tree labeled “fire retardant.” (Fresh trees can pose a fire hazard if not watered regularly.) And, if you’re decorating for a senior with a mobility issue and/or dementia, you might want to choose ornaments made from wood, plastic, or cloth since they won’t break if accidentally dropped.

Holiday Lights – Whether you select warm white, vibrantly colored, or a blend of both to cheer up your home, lights add a lot of cheer. Check out some suggestions here. Consider avoiding animated or color-changing lights if your loved one has dementia. These have shown to cause disorientation in some people with cognitive decline. An important point to consider – if you choose electric lights with a cord, make sure to tape the cord securely out of the way where it cannot cause a fall.

Garland and Wreaths – Wreaths, besides being festive, are also a wonderful DIY holiday craft idea for seniors. These lush green decorations may be hung generously, provided they’re away from heat sources and are tightly secured. Avoid blocking walkways or railings that are used for stability, but feature them where they can be seen and enjoyed.

Fabulous Holiday Feasting

At Beacon Hill, our very own award-winning culinary team consistently delivers such exceptional cuisine that many of our residents forgo home cooking during the holidays, opting instead for our own seasonal dishes. An array of our delicious meals can be enjoyed in any one of our multiple dining venues – including a private dining room. If you prefer, you can also have the whole meal prepared outside at a friend or family’s home, and brought in to share in your residence or in a reserved dining room. To inquire about private dining at Beacon Hill, call 616-245-9179 and ask to speak with dining reservations.

If you are planning on cooking Christmas dinner at home, you may need a little help getting that accomplished. Beacon Hill does offer shuttle service to local grocery stores. Another option that seems to be gaining fans and takes the difficulty out of food shopping altogether, is grocery delivery. Delivery companies like Shipt allow you to create a shopping list online from your favorite store. They shop your list and deliver your groceries right to your door – sometimes within the hour! If you’re interested in trying Shipt, they’re currently offering two weeks of delivery for free, plus $15 off your first order.

Happy Holiday Gifting

Tis the season to gift loved ones who are eagerly anticipating your thoughtful presents. Should you enjoy the hunt for the perfect gift, go out and have fun collecting those perfect holiday finds. If, however, shopping for that thoughtful gift is anything but appealing, or not possible for you, there is another way – online shopping!

Shopping online allows you to search the world for those perfect gifts right from the comfort of your home. Most online stores offer free or discounted shipping and returns during the holiday season. Plus, when shopping from home, you can easily compare prices without changing locations, thus saving time and money!

Not sure what gifts to give? Here are some suggestions we’ve come up with for seniors and their caregivers:

  1. Fresh flowers and fruit baskets
  2. Online classes such as knitting, photography, painting and language acquisition
  3. Gift card for a manicure, haircut or style, dinner (in or out of house), or for Amazon (so they can do more online shopping!)
  4. Skid-proof slippers
  5. Wireless earbuds (to talk hands-free from anywhere in their residence without a cord)
  6. A full-spectrum lighting device to cheer up dark winter months
  7. A memory book filled with family photos and collectibles such as tickets, invitations and other gems saved through the years.
  8. An essential oil diffuser with fragrant oils such as lavender, peppermint, lemon and cinnamon
  9. A back sponge with a handle for easier cleansing
  10. A book of crossword puzzles, word searches and/or brain teasers

There’s no shortage of creative, practical and thoughtful gifts seniors can enjoy or give to their loved ones. Just try to think of something that matches the personality of the person receiving the gift, and look online for creative ideas. Truth is, there is a gift that is better than any listed online to date, and is perfect for everyone – the gift of meaningful time with friends and family. Precious memories with loved ones will fuel the momentum of lasting joy throughout the year.

It’s A Wrap (Gift Wrap, That Is)

Gift wrapping is somewhat of an art. It’s also a wonderful activity to do with friends during the holiday season. Why not put on a tea kettle and get a few of your community friends together for an afternoon of wrapping? You can order your supplies online for delivery and have them at the ready when the wrapping starts. Still sound like a lot of work? Then, why not take advantage of those stores that offer complimentary gift wrapping during the holidays? Just like online shopping, you can indulge in online wrapping, which truly is a gift in itself.

Then, after all of the gifts are opened and smiles line the faces of your family and friends, don’t forget to request help cleaning up and putting everything back in its place. And, if you’re hosting grandchildren or someone else’s little ones, ask everyone to pay special attention to finding and collecting any residual toys such as tiny cars, and crayons that have been left behind. We believe wholeheartedly that teamwork is the dreamwork during holiday cleanup. 

Have Yourself A Merry “New” Christmas

Hopefully these thoughts have helped you see that hosting the holiday season in your retirement community can be all you expect and more. Enjoy your family and loved ones this season, while also enjoying all the benefits of living in an active community. From the decorating, to the food, and every gift unwrapped in between, there really is no place like your new home for the holidays.


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