Honoring Past Traditions and Beginning New Ones with a Loved One in Assisted Living

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If you’re a longtime Chicago native, it can still sting to think of Marshall Field’s. For over a century, the beloved department store was an integral part of life here in Chicago, and the center of many families’ holiday traditions. While movies largely pay homage to winter window displays in Manhattan, those of us in and around Chicago know that there was nothing like the Christmas windows down on State Street. When the iconic store changed hands in 2005, it came as a shock and a heartache to many.

In the time since, holiday traditions have evolved here in and around Chicago, IL. There are new meeting places, new stores to shop in, and new things to see. Families new to the area and those who’ve been here for generations have crafted new traditions. And though different, they’re still full of the love and sense of family and friendship that people used to feel when they met under the Field’s clock.

Changes like these can be the toughest part of adjusting to life in an assisted living facility—for our loved ones who have moved in, and for those of us who love them. It’s tough to say who misses Christmas Eve at Mom’s house more—Mom, who used to spend the week getting the house ready, or her children and grandchildren, who always looked forward to the familiar decorations and the feeling of love all around. We have people and places we instinctively associate with the holidays, and it can be difficult to cope when they change. But it’s important that we honor our old traditions in any way we can, while continuing to build new ones.

Carrying on Traditions in Assisted Living

Even if the setting has changed, the celebration doesn’t have to. Part of making a successful adjustment to assisted living is coming to see your new surroundings as home. During the holidays, we have a tremendous opportunity to aid our loved ones in this process. Displaying cherished decorations in your loved one’s new home can help bridge the gap between where they were and where they are now. That sense of familiarity with their surroundings is key.

But it’s more than just decorations. Finding a way to continue traditions is not just a way to ease your loved one’s transition, but also to help them enjoy the holidays. Did you used to spend Black Friday going up and down to every store in town, priding yourselves after a long day and a thin wallet on having most of the Christmas shopping done? There’s no reason that tradition can’t go on. Bring a computer by, make some hot chocolate, and continue an old tradition in a new way.

Build New Traditions

Remember: Something you do for the first time this year may be something your own grandchildren repeat years from now. And that unfamiliar decoration you just bought may become a cherished family heirloom. Whether it’s posing for a picture in front of the community Christmas tree, video-chatting with relatives across the country while decked out in holiday attire, or doing holiday arts and crafts, you can help your loved one build new traditions that can continue for years to come.

Honor Loved Ones Who Have Passed

It’s not just the settings and activities that change, it’s the people we enjoyed them with. When loved ones pass, it can feel wrong to continue holiday traditions without them, or even to enjoy the holiday season. But in keeping cherished memories alive, we find a path forward. Continuing a tradition even after the loved one who originated it has passed is a way to keep their memory and their spirit alive and a part of the holidays. And helping a loved one to do that, especially if they’re adjusting to that loss as they transition into assisted living, is a profound act of kindness.

Here at Lexington Square, we want to do everything possible to help you and your loved ones adjust to new realities and build new traditions. Download our Assisted Living Guide or give us a call at 630.812.7241 to learn more about assisted living.