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Marissa Salvesen

By: Marissa Salvesen on July 31st, 2014

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It's Family Reunion Month! Three Ways to Include Your Aging Loved One

assisted living  |  caregiver tips  |  60-day stay trial  |  Aging & Caregiving

family-reunionThere’s nothing like some good time spent with family to lift the spirits and restore the soul. Family reunions are beneficial to both the young and young at heart because they offer the critical opportunity to connect.

But just because your parent has limited mobility doesn’t mean he or she can't join in on the fun. There’s no better time than now to start planning your next familial fete than during the summer months.

Read on to learn three ways to help your aging loved one participate in the party.

1. Off-Site Success

Even if your loved one has limited mobility, there’s no reason he/she can’t attend the party. However, it’s important to make sure the destination is within your parent’s comfort zone and physical capabilities. Here are a few important items to consider when choosing a location for a family celebration:

  • Is there nearby parking, adequate access and ample seating for seniors?
  • Are there many steps or other obstacles?
  • How much walking would be required? Would bringing along a walker or wheelchair be helpful?
  • Is there adequate air conditioning, shade, and/or ventilation?
  • Are the restrooms easy to access?
  • Would the venue and/or caterer be able to accommodate your loved one’s physical or dietary restrictions?
  • Is there a family member/friend who could provide transportation?

Many seniors become intimidated or overwhelmed by the thoughts of venturing into unfamiliar territory. By considering these factors and keeping the lines of communication open, you can ensure a positive party experience for your loved one.

2. Import the Party

If your parent is unable to leave their home, there’s no reason for him/her to miss out on the fun. Instead, import the party! If your loved one lives at home, consider hosting the party from their house. Or, if your loved one lives in an assisted living residence, inquire about reserving a community room or Country Kitchen area which would be a great fit for hosting a party. Not only is the environment safe and comfortable for your loved one, but he/she will enjoy the opportunity to “host” beloved friends and family members.

3. Try Tech

Perhaps the next big family reunion is out of state or being held in a park on a sweltering, 100 degree July day. In such a case, it may become impossible for your loved one to attend. While this may be disappointing, you can turn things around by encouraging your parent to participate in a different way.

Video messaging platforms like FaceTime and Skype can help your loved one stay in touch throughout the party. Another clever idea would be to make a video during the party and have loved ones record greetings for your parent, or take pictures and compile a scrapbook keepsake. Not only will your loved one feel like he/she participated in the reunion, but videos and scrapbooks can become cherished family treasures.

Key Takeaways

  • It may take some creative thinking and extra planning, but including your aging loved in your family reunion plans is a great way to promote meaningful family connections and memory-building.
  • When choosing locations, seek out senior-friendly spaces. Avoid venues that are difficult to access, lack air conditioning, or are very far from their home or assisted living residence.
  • If you can’t get your loved one to the party, bring the party to him!
  • While your loved one may not be able to physically attend the bash, you can help him feel included by making a scrapbook or video of the occasion.



About Marissa Salvesen

My journey into the world of senior living began when I started working for United Methodist Homes in 2010. Starting as an Activities Director at one of our-winning assisted and independent living communities and then transitioning to Marketing and Promotions Manager for UMH, I now work as the Manager of Mission Development, fostering the Mission and Values of our organization. I love sharing stories about the many ways we build meaningful relationships and enrich the lives of those we serve, and am proud to be part of building UMH’s 140-year legacy of caring. Wondering what makes our communities such special places to live and work? Connect with me and find out!

Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.