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Here's to You -- Senior apartment living: New traditions in a new home

During the week between Christmas and New Year's, it is the tendency for most to be "home for the holidays'."

Like Dorothy, we all can relate to the adage "There's no place like home."

For seniors who have lived in their houses for 30 or 40 years, the thought of a holiday season in a new apartment may seem gloomy. Many of the tenants at WindSong will be spending their first holiday away from "home' this year. How do we make new traditions and happiness in a new home - especially after years of doing things a certain way?

-- Hold on to the basics.

Just because the location of "home" has changed, doesn't mean you have to stop doing the things you've always loved. Maybe you're known for decorating a beautiful Christmas tree for all to admire. What's to stop you in an apartment? You might need a smaller tree or you may need some extra help, but that's nothing to worry about. Keep up your tradition!

Perhaps you've always hosted a gathering on New Year's Eve. No need to change plans - you'll actually have more room to host if you live in WindSong. With many beautiful common spaces available for tenants to use together or for their own private parties, there is no shortage of space.

-- Strength in numbers.

Many seniors find that the holidays can be even more joyous at a new apartment - since there can be lonely moments and memories at home. With a bountiful activity calendar, tenants are able to be much more involved and busy with friends while living at WindSong. Even tasks like wrapping presents turned into a fun event when tenants decided to get together and have a Wrap Party in the craft room. Buses were boarded by residents from all across WoodsEdge to enjoy the area Christmas displays, extra trips to the Paul Bunyan Mall were scheduled, musical performances were plentiful and a beautiful Candlelight Service was held just before Christmas Eve.

"We never miss an opportunity to celebrate," said Sandy Hennum, director of Recreational Therapy & Volunteer Services for the WoodsEdge campus. "The residents throughout WindSong, Neilson Place and Trillium have been so busy this season - attending our Christmas parties, afternoon teas, joining in with caroling and enjoying classic holiday films in the theater. It is such a special time of year for all of us here."

Hennum explained a new concept on the campus, a "Noon Year's Eve Party," where residents will be treated to fun events earlier in the day, including a special meal hosted by Chef Ed.

-- Find joy in the simple things.

Many seniors find themselves in situations where they live far away from family, their families are busy with other plans or they have virtually no family left. Even for those who do have family members close by, holidays can be difficult, especially with memories of loved ones who have passed. If this is a situation you find yourself in, it is very important not to isolate yourself. Even if it seems difficult, try to reach out to others. If you're living in a senior apartment complex, many of your neighbors are experiencing similar feelings. This will make connecting easy and fulfilling.

Don't forget to find joy in the small things - the lights on a beautiful tree, writing Christmas cards to old friends or singing along with your favorite holiday tune on the radio. If you've moved to an apartment, don't feel that just because your address has changed, you have to change your traditions - hold on to what makes you happy. You may have to slightly alter the way you do things, but celebrating the season in a joyous way is what makes this time of year special to all.


Hayley McKeon is marketing coordinator for WoodsEdge Senior Living Campus, at 333-6211.