Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to spend with family and friends and to be grateful for all we have in life. All the generations come together to eat a delicious meal and watch the parades and football games. It can be one of the most enjoyable holidays of the year, but it can also bring challenges in terms of travel, weather conditions, shopping and preparation, or just making sure the food comes out right. Most like to include the entire family in on the celebration, but the individual needs of elderly loved ones could also get lost in the hustle and bustle. Keep in mind that they can tire easily and their appetite may not be what it once was, so don’t get offended if they need to limit the visit or eat less. When it comes to having a senior on the guest list, there are a few ways to make the day enjoyable for everybody.
Here are a few tips:
1. The long weekend is always a busy time and you want to make sure nobody is stressed or left out. Ensure that you plan your get-together well in advance. Will Great Aunt Mary be able to get a ride that can help her with her wheelchair? Can Grandpa John stay awake that late in the evening? Be certain that everyone has transportation, accommodation and availability for an enjoyable get-together.
2. With all the last minute running around a person has to do in preparation for a holiday get-together like Thanksgiving, it can be easy for them to feel rundown. One way to deal with this last minute stress is to remember to stop and take a break. Taking time out to focus on less stressful activities, liking reading, going for a walk,, or watching a favorite TV program - even if only for 30 minutes - is a great way for a person to make it through the holidays with ease with their elderly parents.
3. Keep floor surfaces free from obstacles and clutter and remove or secure area rugs. Each year, thousands of seniors trip over the edges of carpet, or slip on an unsecured throw rug.
4. Walkers and canes can make getting up and down from the dinner table difficult, but seating your loved one at the end of the table should give him or her plenty of room.
5. The stress levels during this time of year can sometimes be higher than usual. That's why it is important to be patient with a senior. To keep stress levels down for an elderly parent, be sure everything is taken care of for them so they can sit back and relax during the day or helping out if they choose.
6. Make sure Thanksgiving dinner is senior friendly. Prepare foods that are easy to chew and digest, such as sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce. The host of the dinner will also need to think about what the senior likes and be sure to put this on the menu. By focusing on these factors, it will be easy to make the senior feel included in the festivities.
7. Using all of the help available during the holidays is a great way to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Calling in an elderly care professional to help care for a senior parent can be very beneficial. These professionals can help get the senior ready for the day, as well as provide you time to prepare for the event. Having this type of help will save the host a lot of time by shifting some responsibilities over to the senior care provider.
8. Think about activities that both young and old can partake in. Plan a group walk, a group meal or a board game. Watch a movie together, share stories, or watch sports. Make sure that you plan an activity that everyone can participate in and enjoy.
9. No one gets to age 70, 80 or 90 without accumulating some interesting stories, anecdotes and wisdom. If you don't get the chance to see elderly relatives often, now's the time to ask questions. You'll be surprised and amazed with what you learn and they'll be happy to see that you're interested.
10. Thanksgiving is the time to go the extra mile and help out those that you love. It may seem like a lot of work to prepare an extra dish or travel a far distance to visit a relative but it will be worth it. Take those extra steps and make sure that your elderly loved ones have a great Thanksgiving.
11. And remember to give thanks. This holiday is a time to consider the things you appreciate in life. Although it may be challenging, it’s important to take time to identify those things for which you’re grateful.