Accommodating Elderly Loved Ones on Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season, and is often enjoyed in the company of family members. If you plan on hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year, it is important to take into consideration the special needs of your elderly loved ones. With assistance from Alastar Family & Senior In-home Care, we offer some helpful tips to ensure your Thanksgiving gathering is enjoyable for everyone.
1. Develop a Schedule that Works for All – It is important to schedule your Thanksgiving gathering well in advance. Spontaneity is often more challenging for the elderly than for younger family members. A wheelchair bound elderly loved one may require special transportation that is unavailable at certain times, or a dinner that ends at 8 p.m. might be a strain on someone who typically prepares for bed around this part of the day. Avoid complications by factoring in the availability and needs of all your guests, particularly the elderly.
2. Be Conscious of Dietary Restrictions – For many, Thanksgiving is a time to indulge and shy away from their regular diet. However, certain dietary restrictions can impact how seniors enjoy Thanksgiving. For example, if someone has trouble chewing, make softer foods. Plan out meals that everyone in attendance can enjoy.
3. Keep Everyone Involved – Whether taking a group walk, watching a movie or playing a board game, it is important to incorporate activities that everyone can partake in. Aging is often accompanied by an increase in the appreciation of quality family time and Thanksgiving activities will not be nearly as enjoyable for your elderly loved ones if they find themselves unable to participate.
4. Take Time to Reminisce – With everyone gathered together, Thanksgiving is the perfect time to reflect on positive memories and bond as a family. Additionally, if your elderly loved one suffers from dementia, discuss older memories as short-term memory is usually impacted first.
5. Keep a Positive Attitude – Coordinating a Thanksgiving meal can be stressful, especially when it requires specific attention to the needs of an elderly loved one. Remember to remain positive and appreciate the moment. Life is finite, and succumbing to negative thoughts ultimately squanders the precious moments we have to share with our family.
6. Engage in Conversation – Seniors are a living treasure trove of experiences and knowledge that they are often more than happy to share. Ask questions that elicit conversation. You will be amazed to discover what you can learn from an elderly loved one and they will often be delighted to see you are interested.
7. Surpass Expectations – Thanksgiving is the perfect time of year to go the extra mile. While it initially may seem like a nuisance to prepare a special dish or travel long distances, this extra effort will ultimately play a major role in ensuring your elderly loved ones experience a great Thanksgiving.