Food, togetherness and being surrounded by family are what make the holidays special for many of our seniors and their loved ones. The smell of a home-cooked meal; the taste of a special treat that only a grandparent can make; and feeling safe and secure are traditions that can warm the heart like a cup of hot chocolate. Caregivers understand that holiday meals are a significant part of this time of year and it can be hard on those who no longer have the ability to continue their customs. Often, the family or healthcare professionals step in to recreate cherished moments and bring joy to a time when feelings of sadness and isolation tend to be heightened. With this time of the year approaching we asked Kay, one of our caregivers, to tell us about a seasonal memory of someone she had cared for. Kim, the founder of Graceful Living Home Care Services, also shared her personal story of family traditions…  I remember working with Mrs. C, a sweet lady living with Alzheimer’s. Unfortunately, Mrs. C had no living relatives, but she had us—a team of 3 round-the-clock caregivers.  When Christmas time rolled around, we had to figure out how we would divide our time with her as well as spend time with our own families. We decided that one person would give up the morning with their family, one would give up their evening and one their Christmas night in order to be with Mrs. C.  Although we sacrificed family time, we in return were able to give Mrs. C a special day where we each brought some of our own traditions. The morning shift made a full breakfast (complete with pancakes, maple syrup and bacon) and the evening shift cooked a turkey dinner. We all brought gifts and she was thrilled.   We also helped Mrs. C revive her own Christmas traditions. She was so happy when we pulled out her tree and decorations. She remembered collecting silver bells with her late husband. She shared her stories as we helped her decorate. It was a gift to us to be able to bring joy back into her life.”  Kay, Caregiver    Growing up my grandmother hosted Christmas dinner for the entire family. There was something magical about this time of year at my Nanny’s house. I have fond memories of unboxing her decorations and placing them on the tree. When Christmas day arrived, we knew we were in for a treat. My grandmother had her famous holiday cookies, and we knew we would find peanut brittle in her pink candy dish on the coffee table. The smell of turkey cooking in the oven filled the entire house. She prepared her turkey dinner to perfection—with skill and love. Memorable melt in your mouth stuffing, fluffy mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and generous amounts of gravy. Every mouthful was a delight. As my grandmother got older, the holidays became too difficult for her to manage. My mother and I took over. We were careful to follow our family’s same traditions. My grandmother’s meal and her traditions have been carried on…every year.  I now host Christmas for my family, and I prepare dinner just as it was made for me growing up— with love. I have no doubt my Nanny’s stuffing will live on for generations to come. Kim Forget, Founder of Graceful Living Home Care Services We hope you and yours continue to create various memories around food and love throughout the year. Hearty holiday wishes from Graceful Living Home Care Services!