When many people think about Christmas they think of presents, trees, family – and traditions. Many times these traditions turn into expectations, and we may find ourselves upset if these traditions have to change. But, as you get older it may be harder to travel to visit family out of town. Or, you may have loved ones that have passed away, and you feel you are facing the holidays alone. This doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the holidays. Even if you can’t be with family this Christmas, there are new ways you can celebrate.
One in five people over 65 do not drive, which makes it very hard to see out-of-town family. If you have a smart phone or tablet arrange a real-time video chat with family you couldn’t visit this holiday season. Programs like FaceTime and Skype make it possible for you to have video conversations. If you aren’t sure how to do this, ask a family member or friend who is more tech-savvy to help you. Often, it’s just as easy as making a phone call!
Celebrate With Friends
Call friends that live nearby and ask to be included in whatever they’re doing. Offer to bring your best dish to the gathering. If a friend extends an invitation to join in on their festivities, don’t be shy about accepting! Most friends love opening their home during the holidays and expanding the celebration. It works for everyone! You may even have friends who are in the same position. Remember that you are not the only person without extended family during the holidays. Get together with friends and have fun!
Start New Traditions
If you can’t be with family, or are just celebrating this holiday season with your spouse, start your own traditions. Cook your favorite meal for Christmas dinner – this will be a lot easier since you are only cooking for two. Putting energy into creating new traditions will make you miss past traditions less.
Continue To Share Family Stories
One of the best parts of family gatherings is reminiscing about stories and past events. If you have no living relatives or can’t be with family during Christmas, bring the family album along with you to a friend’s house. Share with them funny stories and photos from the past.
Spread Holiday Cheer From Your Home
If you cannot be with family this holiday season because you are home-bound, you can still participate in the joy of the season. Christmas, as we all know, is about giving to others. Buy a box of cards and address them to troops stationed overseas. Or, if you are able to get out of the house, volunteer at the local soup kitchen or homeless shelter.
Anticipate New Traditions
Another way to avoid spending the holidays alone is by living in a community, like SpringShire. At SpringShire you will be surrounded by friends and neighbors, many of whom may face spending the holidays alone as well. You will live close to these new friends, making holiday gatherings easy and stress-free! And the best part is you can choose to cook or let the SpringShire chef take care of it for you.
Spending the holidays without family can be tough, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a wonderful Christmas.
This Monday, we would like to introduce you to the newest member of the SpringShire team, Jamie Carraway.
Jamie is the Sales Assistant for SpringShire. She is a native of Greenville and has lived in the area her whole life. “I love calling eastern North Carolina home and having the chance to experience the many wonderful local attractions with my family,” she says.
Before joining the SpringShire team, Jamie was an Account Manager for a local staffing firm and has several years of experience in Healthcare and Human Resources.
“I am excited about this opportunity because I get to see first-hand the development of what will be such a unique and beautiful community for this area,” comments Jamie. “I am also excited to meet the wonderful residents that will be calling it home,” she continues.
Christmas is around the corner and the holiday fun is just getting started! Stores are filled with decorations, trees and lights, and our calendars are filled with holiday parties and gathering with family. At SpringShire, we want you all to have a wonderful Christmas! Most importantly though, we want everyone to stay safe during their celebrations. We have compiled a list of holiday safety tips to help you make this Christmas season one of only happiness and good memories.
Holiday decorating can be a concern as you age. You may not be able to climb a ladder or lift bulky boxes full of wreaths like you once could, but that doesn’t mean you can’t put up the beautiful decorations you love!
Here are a few holiday safety tips to help you “deck the halls.”
- Use simple decorations that won’t cause clutter. Make sure that you have plenty of room to walk and move through your home safely.
- Keep extensions cords along walls or behind furniture to avoid tripping.
- Remember to never attach more than three stands of lights to a single extension cord.
- Use non-slip grip on any holiday doormats.
- Whether you use a real or artificial tree, set it up far away from any source of heat and be sure not to block access to any exits.
- If you use an artificial tree, be sure that it is labeled as fire-resistant.
- If you have heavy decorations, want to decorate the exterior of your home or need things from the attic, consider hiring help. Contact a friend, handyman or local youth group to see who may be available.
- Turn off all lights and decorations before you go to bed.
One of the best things about Christmas is reuniting with loved ones. Many times this involves traveling. In fact, according to the United States Department of Transportation the Christmas/New Year’s holiday periods are among the busiest for long-distance travel.
Here are tips for traveling this season.
- Plan your route ahead of time and add in extra time for bathroom breaks and to stretch your legs.
- Give yourself plenty of extra time to get to your destination. You don’t want to feel stressed or rushed.
- Make sure to pack clothing appropriate for the weather. If you are traveling a long distance, check the weather of your destination.
- Pack two days’ worth of extra clothing and medication, just in case.
- If you can, avoid traveling during peak traffic times.
We all dream of a white Christmas, but during the holiday season, it is important to remember that weather conditions can pose a safety risk. In fact, 31 percent of all senior falls are caused by accidents or environmental conditions, which can include slipping on icy steps, sidewalks or walkways.
To help prevent falls and keep your home as safe as possible, follow these simple tips.
- Check the strength and safety of any handrail you may use to enter your home. If it shakes or wobbles, have it fixed.
- Add a rubber mat inside your entryway to wipe of shoes and avoid an indoor fall.
- When walking outside, where there may be frozen ice on the sidewalk, walk empty-handed for better balance.
- Wear snow boots with flat heels and rubber soles for safer walking on ice and snow.
- Use rock salt, ice melt or sand to dissolve ice on steps and the path leading to your door.
The holidays are meant for joy, laughter and celebration, for spending time with friends and family, and for making memories that last a lifetime. Follow these safety tips to ensure that those memories are good ones and your Christmas is perfect!
Holidays are about family and reconnecting with loved ones we may not have seen in a while. If you are like many families, you spend more time with your parents and/or children during the holidays than any other time of the year. If you are visiting elderly parents you may notice that they are not getting around as easily as they once did. Or, if you are a parent hosting a holiday dinner, you may come to realize that cleaning, decorating and preparing a meal is a little harder than it used to be.
As families gather together to spend quality time, share meals and gives thanks, the perfect opportunity presents itself to discuss some weightier topics we sometimes try to put off – like plans for aging.
Here are tips for family conversations about future living plans.
1. Begin the conversation before circumstances force you.
Bringing up the topic of future living plans, whether you are a concerned son/daughter or are a senior yourself, can be hard and even emotional. But, it is important to have this conversation before circumstances force you. If you are thinking about your plans for the future, talk to your family now. Moving to a retirement community while you are active and healthy will allow you to enjoy the wonderful amenities, live a maintenance-free lifestyle and make new friends. Additionally, at SpringShire, making plans for the future now will allow you to pick your ideal home. You will not be put on a waiting list, which is often the case at other retirement communities. By making plans at SpringShire now, you will not feel rushed – you will sign now and move later. This will give you the time you need to sell your home and pack your things without pressure.
Children, if your parents are getting older and haven’t brought up their future plans yet, bring this up with them while they are still able to live safely on their own. This gives you the opportunity to discuss the future in a non-threatening, hypothetical way. At SpringShire, residents will move to the community while they are still active and healthy. But, they will have the assurance that if something were to happen to them they would be able to remain in their community and receive assistance.
2. Ask the right questions.
For children, the most challenging part of the conversation may be getting your parents to realize that they will need assistance sometime in the future. They may have the false notion that moving to a retirement community may mean they are giving up their independence in some way. Assure them that a move to a maintenance-free community, such as SpringShire, will make their day-to-day life easier and allow them more time to do the things they enjoy. Ask questions like: “How’s the house? It must be hard keeping this place in good shape” and “Do you need help with household chores?”
3. Identify the what-ifs.
Children, if both of your parents are still alive, ask what will happen if one of them is gone. Would they like the home to be sold? Should the surviving parent move to a retirement community? If so, what kind and where? These questions can be hard, but asking them now can prevent stress and confusion in the future. You can bring up this topic by saying, “Mom and Dad, I know that each of you are okay right now, but what should we do if that changes?” Explain to them that in a retirement community, like SpringShire, if one of them requires medical assistance they will be able to remain in the community with their spouse nearby. If they were not living in a retirement community this could be a completely different scenario – one parent may have to live away from the other to receive the help they need.
Parents, you should also talk to your children about the what-ifs. Tell them that moving to a retirement community, like SpringShire, with onsite medical care will allow you to remain independent for as long as possible.
4. Suggest a time to visit a retirement community.
Once you begin the conversation, suggest touring local retirement communities. Schedule an appointment while family is in town for the holidays. The SpringShire community will have beautiful living options as well as impressive amenities. Those looking to move to SpringShire are sure to get excited about the Fitness & Aquatic Center, spa, Movie Theater, library, and more – and everyone will have peace of mind knowing quality medical care and transportation is available within the community. We invite you to contact our Information Center, (252) 317-2303, to schedule a time to stop by and see our virtual tour and beautiful property.
5. Be prepared.
If you are having this conversation with your children, tell them why you are excited about moving to a retirement community. Explain to them how this will improve your quality of life as you age. If you are having this conversation with parents, be ready to offer information on retirement living communities in the area and the maintenance-free lifestyle that is offered. If you would like to learn more about active, maintenance-free living at SpringShire, we encourage you to contact us for more information. We would love to help prepare you for this important conversation.
6. Be supportive and understanding.
Children should remember that these decisions are ultimately for their parents to make. Show them that you will be supportive no matter what they decide. Being forceful or pushy may only make things worse. You should remain upbeat and supportive, even if you are frustrated.
Parents, remember that although this is your decision it will also affect your children’s lives as well. Be honest with them and have open communication about your wishes, but also be willing to listen to their concerns and questions. If you want input on where you live, it is better to discuss before it becomes an emergency.
Last Thursday, the SpringShire team gathered with future residents for a Friendsgiving celebration. We had a wonderful time celebrating the upcoming holiday season and enjoying a Thanksgiving meal with new friends and neighbors. We can’t wait for many more holiday celebrations together!
Today, SpringShire would like you to meet Advisory Board Member Andrew Ross.
Andrew is the Coordinator for Lifelong Learning Programs at East Carolina University. ECU Lifelong Learning is an educational program for adults 50 and older who have a desire and joy for learning and personal fulfillment. Andrew works to create opportunities that stimulate cultural learning, promote social interaction and broaden horizons in many creative ways. Courses through ECU Lifelong Learning are taught by experienced professionals, many having strong tie to the ECU community.
SpringShire has partnered with ECU Lifelong Learning to bring these opportunities to our future residents. “The relationship between SpringShire and the Lifelong Learning Program is an exciting one,” says Andrew. “Our program can provide great learning opportunities on top of the ones offered on site at SpringShire, and we in turn look forward to the potential growth our program could see as a result of the influx of future residents,” he continues.
“I am excited about working on the Advisory Board with other professionals in the aging community to continue to make Pitt County a prime location for older adults,” comments Andrew.
Prior to his work with ECU Lifelong Learning, Andrew has worked at the Fountains at the Albemarle in Tarboro and the Pitt County Council on Aging in Greenville. “Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) offer invaluable services to residents and I am happy to be a part of the formation of SpringShire, Greenville’s newest CCRC,” he says.
A native of just outside of Charlotte, NC, Andrew received both his Bachelors and Masters Degrees from East Carolina University. Andrew has called Greenville his home for almost 10 years and is excited to be back at ECU.
At SpringShire, we are excited about upcoming programs and continuing to work with Andrew.