How to make your loved ones feel included during the winter months

Winter can bring a lot of challenges for residents of a long-term care or retirement home. The cold weather comes with health and safety risks. Outdoor activities, out-of-home excursions and socializing can drastically slow down. Friends and family members of residents can make their loved ones feel more included during the winter months by putting in extra effort to let them know they’re loved. This can look like a lot of different opportunities to reach out and spend time. Especially over the holidays, it can be easy to feel a sense of loneliness when the rest of the world is husting and bustling, so residents rely on their support systems to keep their spirits up. Interactions mean so much more over the holidays, and quality time can make a huge difference in the overall enjoyment of a resident experience.  

Here at Omni, we encourage strong family bonds, active social plans, and opportunities to expand life beyond the resident community. This comes in many forms and can be facilitated by those closest to a long-term care or retirement resident.  

Plan extended in-person visits 

In-person visits are an integral part of keeping families and friends connected over the winter. It can be challenging to find varying activities when limited to a certain space, but we love seeing residents and their families and friends get creative! One suggestion is to plan extended visits. Rather than popping in for an hour, visitors can plan to spend an entire day at a home with their loved ones. This provides an opportunity to reconnect while also giving the friends and family members a glimpse into the everyday life of their loved one living as a resident.  

You want to ensure that this time is engaging and well-spent. Keep in mind what your loved one enjoys doing throughout their day and try to make your plans around their schedule and needs. Engaging activities can include bringing different board games or puzzles for some down time, or activities like drawing or crafts. For some more personal ways to spend time, you can bring in old photo albums or home videos to reminisce on and tell stories about. One of our favourite suggestions is for the families and friends of residents to join their loved ones in resident activities, such as sitting down for coffee with their friends within the home or joining them for dinner alongside their neighbours. This provides a warmth that a quick visit doesn’t, bringing you into their everyday lives and giving them the opportunity to show you their favourite parts of their home and the friends and community they live amongst.  

Plan virtual activities  

If in-person visits are hard to make happen or you live too far away from your loved ones to visit often, virtual activities have made it so that people can still provide love and support from afar. We often see family and friends scheduling a video call for when people are all together to include their loved ones in the family holidays and traditions — grandkids facetiming Grandma while they’re at Thanksgiving dinner, friends calling to catch up on a birthday, etc. Virtual visits, although not quite the same, show that you care to take the time during a busy life to spend your energy and love on the resident you’re visiting with. This fulfillment from family and friends can bring so much joy and love into the lives of a long-term care or retirement resident and is imperative during the winter months to maintain a sense of community and family. 

At Omni, we empower residents to live life to its fullest potential.  

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