Helping Seniors Have a Successful Thanksgiving
For most, Thanksgiving is a time to gather together with the entire family to share a meal and reflect on life’s many blessings. The oldest to the youngest family members take time out of their busy lives to join around the table and reconnect, giving thanks for everything good that has occurred over the past year.
Enjoying the festivities of Thanksgiving, however, can be difficult for senior adults and can pose unique challenges. When seniors are far away from family members, struggling with physical or mental challenges, have special dietary needs, or a host of other issues facing older adults, finding joy in the season can be hard.
It is important for family members tasked with the responsibility of helping senior loved ones to find special ways to help them celebrate. We’ve listed below a few helpful tips to ensure a successful Thanksgiving celebration with seniors.
Location and Transportation
Choosing the best location that is right for the senior is one of the most important considerations for a successful Thanksgiving celebration. In the past, a multitude of other factors were likely taken into consideration as to the location of the celebration, but ease of travel should now be a priority for senior family members. If the event can be hosted in their home, even if they can no longer prepare the meal themselves, it may be a good option. Doing so removes the issue with transportation altogether.
If your senior loved one is living in an assisted living or nursing facility, it’s important to organize safe and easy transportation to and from the hosting location to help reduce the anxiety and stress they may be feeling about the upcoming holiday celebration.
Make Room for Accommodations
When a large group of family members comes together to share the Thanksgiving meal, space can quickly become very limited. It is important to keep this in mind to ensure there is enough space for your senior loved one to comfortably enjoy the festivities. While this may not be an issue for younger family members, seniors often have issues with balance and mobility making it harder to move around easily in tight spaces. When a senior requires the use of a walker or wheelchair, tight spaces can lead to feelings of embarrassment or discomfort.
Offer Healthier Food Choices
Foods that are traditionally served for Thanksgiving meals are typically very rich and savory, full of fat, and include sugary desserts. While it’s still fine to serve these tasty dishes, it’s also important to keep in mind any dietary restrictions your senior loved one may have. Their food restrictions may be a result of heart problems, diabetes, or other recent illnesses and health issues. Offering healthier food options is a great way to ensure the senior doesn’t feel left and encourages healthier choices for the rest of the family as well.
In years gone by, it is very likely that your senior loved one prepared and hosted the Thanksgiving celebration in their home. It is important to keep them engaged in the planning and preparation process even if they can no longer host on their own. Ask for their input when planning the meal, and if they are able they can also help prepare it. Seniors can add to the occasion by helping make decorations or seating place cards. They can also be encouraged to send handwritten notes to family members who aren’t able to attend the festivities to help them stay connected.
Physical or mental limitations do not mean your senior loved one wants to be a passive bystander at family gatherings and events. They feel needed, appreciated, and gain a sense of purpose when they are included in the planning of Thanksgiving festivities.
Thanksgiving is a special time of year for families. We come together with family members from far and wide to give thanks for each other and all the blessings in our lives. At Terrace Ridge Assisted Living we understand that it can also be a trying time for families with senior members. We offer many services to help make this time easier for everyone including scheduled transportation for outings, assistance with bathing, dressing, and personal grooming for the event, and a large private dining space. Contact us today to learn more.