Memorial Day is considered the beginning of summertime, with many friends and families gathering together to enjoy time together and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. I always bear in mind that for those who have lost a loved one in the fight for freedom, the holiday weekend may be a painful time. We honor the sacrifice made by you, your family, and your soldier.

For those who are coming together for the summertime’s various holidays and celebrations including Memorial Day, graduations, family reunions, the Fourth of July and more, they likely have certain traditions they will be observing. Perhaps it’s a potluck dinner or a cookout by the pool. Aunt Joan will bring her famous potato salad and Grandpa Fred will make his legendary barbecue ribs. Maybe there are even sparklers and fireworks involved!

Those warm-weather gatherings may look a little different this year. In some areas of the country, COVID-19 numbers have increased substantially, so certain precautions may be wise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people gather outside if possible in order to maximize air quality. If you must gather indoors, the CDC advises opening windows to increase air flow within the building.

>> Related: Some Like it Hot: Keeping Seniors Safe in the Summer Heat

Making new traditions in a CCRC

For those who are considering a move to a senior living community, such as a continuing care retirement community (CCRC or life plan community), there is sometimes a concern that the family and holiday gatherings they have traditionally hosted at their home will have to come to an end. Maybe you’ve always hosted Thanksgiving for your extended family and can’t imagine ending that custom.

But just as we need to make some minor adjustments to adhere to the CDC’s guidance, CCRC residents can make some simple tweaks to ensure family traditions can still continue in their new home.

For instance:

  • Many CCRCs offer spacious residences, which can in fact accommodate certain family gatherings. Independent living units have full kitchens, so you can cook as you always have if you would like.
  • CCRCs often have an array of communal indoor and outdoor gathering spaces, some of which can be reserved for private events. A family potluck may be the ideal option for these venues!
  • Some CCRCs will allow use of their commercial kitchen space for private events, like family gatherings, enabling you to prepare your favorite traditional meal en masse if desired.
  • Alternately, some CCRCs offer catering services, so you can order food for your family gathering and save time and hassle on food preparation.

Keep in mind that there is something to be said for passing the torch as well. It is okay to relinquish hosting duties or put a new twist on certain traditions to accommodate your current situation. And remember: Teaching adult children and grandchildren how to prepare favorite family recipes or perform holiday rituals so they can be passed along though the generations is a time-honored tradition too.

>> Related: You’re Ready for a CCRC…But Your Adult Kids Aren’t on Board

Family traditions are about family

Just as COVID has required us to reimagine certain family gatherings, so too can new senior living situations. However, the key is to remember that the most important element of any family gathering is not a certain food item or location; it is the quality time spent together with loved ones.

What do most look forward to with your family gatherings?

Photo: Askar Abayev via Pexels

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