The holiday season is all about spending a great time with family and friends, enjoying great food, and creating memories. This time of year is a great time to connect with family to create a fun and meaningful holiday season.

In this episode, Senior Living LIVE! Tips to Get the Most Out of the Holidays, Melissa is joined by Paula Schatz, Sales Specialist with The Arbor Company, to share tips and tricks for seniors to maximize the holiday season. Paula will share great insights on fun things that can be done during this season of love and joy both at home and in a senior living community.


Video Transcript

- Hello everybody and welcome into Senior Living Live. My name is Melissa. As always, I hope you are having a fantastic day today. Well, the holidays are right around the corner and no matter what holiday you and your family happen to celebrate we are here to give you tips to help all of you and our seniors, of course get the most out of the holiday season when it comes to food, family, and fun. And we've got the right lady to help us do that here today. Joining me with some awesome tips is Paula Schatz. And Paula, I know some of the ideas that you're going to give us today come from personal experience. We're gonna find out about that as we dig in a little bit about you and find out a little bit about your background and what you do for the Arbor Company.

- Thank you, Melissa. I'm happy to be here today. So I'm a sales specialist with Arbor. I've been with Arbor about three and a half years and in my role, I actually help out while we're recruiting for a new sales director in any one of our 40 communities. So it's a lot of fun. I get to meet a lot of new people and really enjoy time across the country in a number of Arbor communities.

- We are so fortunate to have you, of course, with the Arbor Company, and out of all of the people at the Arbor Company, you are the one selected to talk about this topic. So let's get it started. We'll begin with family, that aspect of the holidays, what could that look like for someone who is living in a senior living community or for family members of a loved one who just happens to live in senior living?

- Yeah, there's so many great opportunities. So for a family that's already in senior living, maybe it's coming in to participate in one of the great resident activities that are already scheduled. It could be a choir within the community that the residents are gonna perform. Maybe it's an intergenerational activity with the local preschool coming over to sing Rudolph or one of their fun songs for the seniors, it might just be coming in and helping the senior decorate. Maybe it's making a wreath for their front door or helping them to decorate their apartment. And you know, one of the really cool things is for somebody that's considering making a move to senior living, this is a fun time of year to check out senior communities, ask to see what their engagement calendar looks like and how you can participate.

- And it also helps that all of the communities are beautifully decorated as well. I love that aspect of it, walking into a beautiful community that is made even prettier by the decorations for the holidays. So great tip there. So we go to the next F, which is food. Give us some ideas of how food can be a tool to really make this a fabulous holiday for everybody involved.

- Yeah, so again, the holidays are a great time to ask grandma if she will finally share that recipe for the zucchini bread or pumpkin roll, or maybe it's grandpa and asking him what is the secret ingredient that he puts into the dressing every year. And you know then it's just kind of asking them to supervise and allow the adult children or grandchildren to actually do the mixing. Do all of the measuring, get the ingredients together while grandma and grandpa are sharing the recipe hopefully and we can get a chance to record it some way. I know not everybody still uses recipe cards but you can record it on your phone. There's a lot of different ways that you can record that recipe. And a lot of times, the food aspect is something that, again, is very traditional for a family and really means a lot.

- Do you find quite often that people within communities, maybe they happen to celebrate Hanukkah, that they may come to the chef there at the community and say, hey, can you make this for us? Do you get people who like to do that, to share what what they have?

- Absolutely, and it's really cool too because the Arbor communities actually have a chef talk or you know, a time every month that the residents provide input to the chef. So not just at the holidays, but more specifically at the holidays can really bring something to light of something that again, has been a tradition for them that they'd like to share with others.

- Yeah, that's fantastic and and that's really what the holidays are all about is sharing time and whatever we have with other people. So, great tips there so far. So gift giving, okay, so depending on what kind of family you happen to belong to and how that has looked traditionally over the years, it could be unique. Some give no gifts others perhaps want to limit what they spend which makes sense and some go all out because that's what they've always done. So what are some tips for each of those situations, Paula, and how about those who are kind of on the fence when it comes to gift cards?

- Yeah, so you know, for me, one of the things that I always enjoyed as a child growing up at Christmas time and during the holidays was pouring over the hundreds of catalogs that come in, right? I mean, when I was small it was the Sears Wish Book and now there's all different types of catalogs. So you actually can spend some time as a family going through the catalogs and creating those old fashioned gift ideas. What is your wishlist? I think that takes a lot of the stress off of, how do I decide what type of gift to get for each person on the list? And it can also, you can set limits with that too. We've started a program where we still ask our children and grandchildren for lists each year. We ask them for something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read. So it's just kind of been a cool thing to see what they come up with. The little ones, again, they will look at their catalogs. Maybe it's the American Girl catalog that came in and just circle things in there. Please send this to Mimi and Poppy and let them know that this is what I like for Christmas. And so that can be a lot of fun and that again, it can be a different way than the gift cards or a gift card to something that they specifically are interested in. So clothing can kind of be difficult sometimes. So maybe it's a gift card to their favorite clothing store. Let them pick something out, maybe even go with them to go shopping after the holidays to select that clothing item.

- Yeah, those are all really great. I like the catalog idea because it just seems like everything we do happens to not be something we can touch or see. It's online. And so to be able to feel that and to sit down and to put the phones away and the computers away is a wonderful idea. And I think a lot of people are gonna take note of that. So thank you for that. So that of course helps with buildup, right? To the big day.

- Absolutely.

- Of whatever holiday it happens to be. But we are always in this buildup it seems like for the holidays, the second that Halloween is over, and then it all comes to an end, Paula, and then everybody goes back to their busy lives, right? So that can be a really tough time for everyone but especially our seniors. So what are some ways that one can fend off the post holiday blues?

- Yeah, so I think there's a couple of cool things. So January, especially for those football fans, maybe you plan an afternoon and you have your own Souper Bowl SOUPER, and watch a game over a hearty soup that you guys have all, again, as a family put together, not a football fan, maybe it's taking one of the kids' games that they got at Christmas or a puzzle. And again, just planning a family afternoon to put that puzzle together or to play that game and just really, it's all about the planning at that point. Not to let the holiday season and all of the time together, the great time together at that point just to be forgotten. So now you wanna continue that and just schedule time with the family, doing things that they would normally have done while they were home.

- Yeah, so the holidays are special but they're no less special it seems like than any other time of the year because you're continuing that commitment to be with your loved ones. So I like that idea and I think that, as you said, it takes planning and that can be difficult for a lot of people with busy lives, but you gotta make time for it, especially for your loved ones. So finally, what is one family tradition that you've managed to still keep up with for a loved one who perhaps is living in senior living?

- Yeah, so one of the things that we always enjoy doing is trying to find out ways to give back, right? So maybe one year it might be the shoebox ministry where you're filling shoe boxes for children that will go with toys and toiletries that go around the world. Maybe it's working with the Angel Tree through Prison Fellowship Ministry and helping provide gifts to children whose parents are incarcerated. It might be something as simple as picking up food for a local food pantry. And again, it's a great way to do this together as a family. Pulling all of that together, wrapping the gifts together and just deciding as a family, who do you really wanna help this holiday season?

- Yeah, that's great. That's great. We certainly hope that these tips help all of you watching, Paula, excellent ideas. We are so grateful that you took the time to be with us.

- Thank you so much for inviting me.

- Absolutely, anytime, you've got a spot on our show so come on over time now if you, you're absolutely welcome and if you are watching, you enjoy this video with Paula, head on over to our website, We've got all kinds of videos just like this one, all about senior living. And the best part, they're available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and they are all free. As always, we appreciate you being a part of Senior Living Live. Have a great day everybody.

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