Tips on How to Help Seniors Feel More Included at Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is only a few short weeks away, and while many people are understandably excited about this holiday, this family gathering can also bring a lot of stress to seniors. Thanksgiving can be loud, crowded, and feature some events that not all seniors can participate in. This is even more evident in seniors who may be physically incapacitated or those who may have different stages of dementia.
Therefore, it is important for families to be prepared to help their senior loved ones during this holiday and make a little extra effort to ensure that they feel included. Here are a few tips for you and your family to consider.
Plan the Meal According to Your Loved One’s Schedule
Start at a time that works for your senior family member. Thanksgiving meals can typically be quite flexible, with many people eating in the middle of the afternoon. Make sure that the meal time works with your senior loved one, so they can enjoy their normal bed time or nap time and still get to enjoy all of the festivities.
Do Multiple Activities
Plan multiple activities. If you are a family that likes to do a Turkey Trot run in the morning or play football, this can be a great tradition, but it isn’t always one that seniors can participate in. While being active on a day that is all about eating is a great tradition, if your loved one can’t participate, add some other activities that they can be part of as well. A leisurely family walk, Cornhole, yard games or cards are all great activities that seniors can enjoy too.
Let Seniors Help With Meal Prep
There are many seniors who used to host Thanksgiving and ultimately gave up the responsibility when they got older. However, it doesn’t mean that they can’t help at all. It can be difficult for seniors to feel completely shut out from the meal prep. Give your senior loved one tasks to help with and let them make decisions, even if it is what type of flowers are on the centerpiece, what flavor pie is being made, or whether there are onions in the stuffing. Some seniors may still want to make some dishes, others may want to set the table, while some are just content with sitting and chatting while the meal is being made. Either way, they should always feel involved.
Thanksgiving can be a wonderful holiday for everyone in the family, and a great opportunity for families to get together and spend quality time together, especially when they live far apart. However, not all seniors always feel included in this holiday. Keep these tips in mind to make sure your Thanksgiving is one that everyone enjoys and everyone can make the most of this year.
- Lori Thomas has decades of experience as a caregiver. Her writing for SeniorAdvice.com is informed by years of research as well as hands-on family experience caring for her now late mother, who had chronic health issues for most of her life. Lori is an integral part of the SeniorAdvice.com management team, acting as Vice President of Marketing and Chief Editor.
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