Thanksgiving is a wonderful time for families to get together, enjoy each other’s company, and celebrate gratitude for their many blessings. But the change in routine and extra activities can be very tiring for seniors – and especially overwhelming for those living with brain diseases like Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Here are some tips for making the holiday enjoyable for everyone:
- If your senior relative is hosting the gathering, make sure they have plenty of help. Get together ahead of time and make a meal plan. Maybe you can talk your senior host into just providing space for the gathering and letting everyone else bring the meal (don’t forget to let everyone know about dietary restrictions). If they insist on cooking the turkey, they may need help wrestling a big bird into the oven.
- Make a plan not just for the meal, but for cleaning the house and setting the table as well. It’s a great time to engage the family teens, many of whom will have the day off on Wednesday and could be a big help with fall clean-up, inside and out. Younger kids can be engaged to help with setting the table before the meal and helping to clean up afterward.
- If you are hosting, be sure to reserve comfortable seats for your visiting seniors. Keep major walkways free of obstructions. Assign someone in the family the job of keeping an eye out for fall hazards and making sure the seniors are comfortable and have any help they need moving to the restroom and to and from the dining table. They may also need a quiet place for a nap at some point during the day.
- While seniors usually love young children, their toys can create a major fall hazard for everyone, and their noise can be overwhelming. If possible, set aside a separate room for the kids to play with their toys and make a rule that the toys stay in that room.
- Plan a few conversation starters that include everyone at the table. Share memories of Thanksgivings past or ask everyone to share their proudest moment. Engage all generations with questions like, “If you could be any animal, what would you be?” or “If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you travel?” The young people can share their dreams, and older people can share stories of the past.
With a little advance planning, you can ensure everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. It’s also a good opportunity to see how the seniors in your family are managing. If you think it might be time to look at getting some in home care, call Assisting Hands serving Columbus, OH for a consultation. We can help you arrange the appropriate level of care. We provide home care from a few hours a week to 24/7. Our home care professionals are fully trained, and we are in the process of certifying all our caregivers in offering compassionate dementia care. Get in touch today.