Celebrating Holidays With Seniors in Assisted Living

christmas wreath on brick home exterior

Helping Seniors Share in Holiday Festivities

Look for Simple Ways to Celebrate the Season Together


When a parent or loved one is in assisted living, you must plan in advance for how you will celebrate the holidays together. Some seniors may be more comfortable remaining in their assisted living community while others may be up for an outing to a family member’s home. The most important thing is to make your loved one feel included in special traditions and celebrations throughout the season.


  • Ask your loved one how they would like to celebrate. Give your loved one a chance to express their wishes. Maybe there is a particular tradition or activity that they hope to partake in. Perhaps there are traditions that they are comfortable with skipping. Some seniors may wish to be included in offsite family gatherings but worry that they will be a burden. Talk through their concerns and consider the best, and safest, way to facilitate your loved one’s participation.
  • Check the assisted living facility’s calendar of activities. For example, at McGregor Assisted Living, we plan a full slate of holiday activities, crafts, and celebrations for residents. How can you and your family participate? While you may want a parent to join you at home for your normal celebrations, also make an effort to join your loved one for celebrations at their home.
  • Decorate your loved one’s room. Consider buying and decorating a small tree, hanging a wreath on the door, and setting out a few familiar decorations around the room. Young children could color holiday-themed pictures to tape on the walls. This will help your loved one feel connected to the joy of the holidays when they are alone in their room.
  • Help your loved one shop and wrap gifts. Even if they cannot get to the store, many seniors cherish giving gifts to their family members, particularly grandchildren. Volunteer to shop for your loved one or help them select items online. You can provide wrapping paper and supplies and wrap the gifts together. Similarly, if sending holiday cards is important to your loved one, offer to address and mail them or even help write them. 
  • Make time to reminisce. Many seniors enjoy looking through old photos, watching home videos, and sharing stories about family. This is especially true if seniors have lost a spouse. Remember that older adults may be prone to feelings of sadness and loneliness during the holidays. Simply giving your loved one the space and opportunity to talk and express their feelings can make a big difference.


We hope these ideas help you prepare to share the joy of the holidays with a parent or family member in assisted living. If we can provide any additional advice or ideas, just let us know.