Bring the Christmas spirit to seniors

19 December, 2019

Aged Care Pioneer On How To Bring The Christmas Spirit To Seniors

Aged care pioneer Phil Usher has shared his secrets on how families can bring the Christmas spirit to their seniors and get them truly involved in the lead up to this year’s holiday season – without any clauses!

Mr Usher, who is behind the innovative Odyssey Lifestyle Care Communities community at Robina, says our senior loved ones can do more than simply observe and should actively participate in festivities.

“There’s so many times that a family organises someone to pickup Grandma and Grandad and they observe Christmas rather than get involved,” says Mr Usher.

“We want to move away from the ‘stick them in the corner’ mentality and see our seniors getting involved in some all-inclusive, family-friendly projects for the holiday season.

“What’s important is making our senior loved ones feel valued and to provide a sense of purpose.

“What I’ve found incredibly successful in the past is to get them involved in projects that were typical of their era.

“This can include things like a special drink, recipe or a craft-based decorative tradition.

Children will benefit from this too because it’s often something new and in most cases ignites a sense of nostalgia within a family.”

Mr Usher pioneered private aged care in Queensland more than a decade ago with Tall Trees Communities and has seen many festive seasons play out among families and says that the lead up to Christmas is just as important as the event itself.

“If possible, take your parents or grandparents shopping for the younger generations, as doing so gives seniors input into the hands-on aspects of Christmas,” says Mr Usher.

“You can also get them involved with the Christmas card list if they’re up to it.

“Writing was an integral aspect of generations past and by performing an activity they know well it allows our senior loved ones to contribute while potentially freeing up time for other important season tasks.”

For seniors who may not have much family, Mr Usher says that individuals willing to brighten up the Christmas spirit for the elderly can reach out to their local aged care community.

“Unfortunately, Christmas is not festive for everyone. There are many seniors who spend the day alone and don’t receive visitors, which can be incredibly lonely and depressing,” he says.

“Get in touch and let your local aged care community know if you and your family would love to have some surrogate grandparents to spend Christmas Day with and I’m sure they will be accommodating; I know I would.

“When considering the needs of our seniors, we can think beyond our immediate family and come together as a wider community.

“A small act of kindness goes a long way in the festive season.”

Mr Usher is behind the innovative three-tower luxury aged care project, Odyssey Lifestyle Care Communities, currently underway at Robina on the Gold Coast.

The community is expected to welcome its first residents in mid 2020 and aims to provide a brighter future for elderly Australians with a resort style environment and people focused approach.

View 7News Gold Coast video here. 

7News Gold Coast, December 2019.