Having the grandkids visit their loved ones in assisted living can be an exciting time for seniors and children. Finding the right activities to entertain the children and be compatible with the senior’s level of mobility and independence can be challenging. It’s not always easy to plan a vacation for seniors. Especially for those with mobility issues. Therefore, we’re looking at ways that you can make your next senior staycation with grandchildren fun for everyone.
Preparing For Your Grandkids’ Visit
The community director or activities director of your assisted living facility may be a great resource to help you plan your staycation. They can help you reserve the private dining room for your family. This is perfect for a celebration lunch or dinner. In addition, they can find times and locations during the day when you and your grandchildren can use the community common areas for games or crafts.
Also, the community director may wish to know if you’re planning certain activities. For example, a scavenger hunt. They will need to know if you’re planning to swim in the facility pool with your grandchildren. Perhaps some of your friends have had similar staycations and can offer fun suggestions. Of course, the activities director can help facilitate the arts and crafts.
For the Parents
Mom and Dad also need to prepare before the staycation. Older adults may get tired more easily and need a break. Consider this when scheduling events. In addition, remember to include the following:
- Review visitation rules and hours at the assisted living facility with your children, including any Covid precautions
- Check with a loved one or their caregiver to see if there are any mobility concerns that children should be aware of
- Remind smaller children about being careful of others in the AL facility (no running, watch for people in walkers, etc.)
Always remember that when you and your children are visiting, you are in someone else’s home. Ensure that your children understand that some places, like private quarters, are off-limits.
Host a Campout
Who says a vacation for seniors has to include traveling to a far away place? Bring the campout in with an indoor camping experience. If your grandchildren are older and you feel comfortable having them spend the night, placing a tent in your apartment may be fun. This allows them to bring their sleeping bags. If the children are younger, or if an overnight visit isn’t possible, you can still enjoy all the fun of camping:
- Make smores by heating marshmallows placed on graham cancer squares in the microwave
- Tell scary stories. Talk about the differences between what was scary when you were a child and what is scary to your grandchildren.
- Make flashlight animals
If your community has an outdoor firepit, you may be able to roast hotdogs or marshmallows outside. Then, you can tell your scary stories around the fireplace as it gets dark.
Create Scrapbooks Together
Sometimes a vacation for seniors can be one created right at home. Crafty kids and adults may consider scrapbooking together. Parents can help kids take pics in the months leading up to the visit. Kids and grandparents can make the scrapbook together, so grandma or grandpa has a memory book of important things.
Visit Local Museums
There may be more museums in your area than you realize. Many libraries have local archives, with displays of pieces of local history or exhibits. Often, they highlight some of the notable events in town. Or, take a day trip to one of the larger museums in your area. Some may have picnicking areas on their grounds. In fact, there are many perks for senior visitors:
- Many museums have senior discounts, or seniors may get free admission as a Medicaid participant
- Many have rental scooters for seniors with mobility issues
- Try to go during the week when it’s less crowded
- Many museums may have virtual tours if the grandparent cannot physically go
Call ahead to the museum to ensure that there will be a scooter available. Also, check for areas to eat. Then you can plan to stay a few hours.
Christmas or Hanukkah in July
If your loved one cannot visit you for the holidays, or vice versa, consider hosting a holiday celebration when they visit.
- Cook a meal together or have one delivered and eat in the facility’s private dining room.
- Bake and decorate sugar cookies and make hot chocolate
- Decorate the senior’s apartment with holiday decorations (maybe even have cotton bunting for fake snow)
- Senior tells stories about the grandkid’s mom or dad when they were little
- Look at old holiday photos
- Write letters to Santa
- Make ornaments together, like painting ones or stuffing things inside empty ornament balls (sold at craft stores)
Activities for Less-Mobile Seniors
A vacation for seniors with mobility issues can be very challenging. But not a stay-cation! Your senior staycation doesn’t have to be a whirlwind of activity. Seniors with mobility limitations, or those who tire easily, can still have plenty of fun with more low-key activities.
- Have a movie marathon with popcorn and other movie snacks
- Consider renting a portable movie projector for a big-screen experience
- Do a puzzle together and turn it into a frameable artwork for the senior’s room
- Paint something together, like mugs that grandpa and grandkids could exchange as a souvenir or porcelain decorations
- Read together – look for choose-you-own-adventure books that kids can participate in, or the senior could read the grandkids a favorite book of theirs from when they were a kid
- Color together – have adult coloring books for older kids and seniors, and perhaps splurge on some nice colored pencils. Grandkids and seniors could color and talk together
Go on a Scavenger Hunt
- If the senior has good relationships in the community, have the grandkids ask other residents for items in a scavenger hunt.
- Design an outdoor scavenger hunt where items could be checked off a list together or photographed if the assisted living community has walkable grounds
- It can be set for many levels, including preschoolers, with a simple word and picture. You can create with clipart in the senior living facility computer room and printed out on paper.
A Vacation for Seniors – It’s All About the Celebration
Many senior living communities have a private dining room where the family can have a private, celebratory goodbye meal. Grandparents and their grandchildren may be able to use the facility’s kitchen to make a special dessert together or even a whole meal. Remember, take plenty of pictures to commemorate the event. In the end, this can be a vacation for seniors that is memorable for everyone!
If your family is considering transitioning a senior loved one into an assisted living facility, Assisted Living Locators can help. Senior living advisors work with your family and your aging loved one to find the right community. They focus on those that provide the level of care you need. In addition, they know which communities fit your lifestyle preferences and budget. Of course, they know which ones will be perfect for a stay-cation with the grandkids! Contact us today to learn more about this free service.