Thanksgiving is a special holiday that is focused on enjoying good food while being surrounded by your closest family and friends. However, for some families, celebrating with a senior may come with some safety concerns, especially if your elderly loved one has any type of mobility issues or other health concerns.
That being said, we have come up with a few of our best tips for celebrating this Thanksgiving holiday with your senior in a way that is both safe and leaves them feeling involved and a part of the celebration!
Involve Them in Picking the Menu
If your senior loved one was the person who always hosted Thanksgiving or did a majority of the cooking and preparation in the years prior to moving into their assisted living community, odds are good that they still want to be involved in some way.
While they may not be able to prepare each and every dish, by helping to plan the menu, they can still be involved in a big way. Even if they have some mobility issues that prevent them from fully taking part in the kitchen or helping set the table, this will be meaningful to them. This is also a great time to let them include any family recipes or special dishes to make sure they remain a family tradition.
Keep Your Home Clear of Any Trip Hazards
If your home is going to have lots of visitors this holiday season, including little ones or pets, it’s especially important to make sure that your senior loved one is safe when taking part in the hustle and bustle and socializing with others.
The first step in doing this is cleaning up anything that might be deemed as a fall or trip hazard, such as baby gates, decorative rugs, or clutter. If your senior uses a wheelchair, make sure that there is enough space to accommodate them to get around. This may include rearranging a sofa or end table, but it is worth it to make sure your loved one can get around.
Also, be sure to give your senior a spot at the head of the table. This will be especially helpful if they are a wheelchair user, or if they need to get up, they won’t have to squeeze out beside people. Plus, this is a direct reflection of their position as the matriarch or patriarch in your family, as the head of the table is traditionally where the oldest and most respected person sits.
Have Them Assist with No Bake Dishes
If your senior loved one really wants to be involved and if they don’t, they will have negative feelings about the whole affair, give them a simple task to help with. Of course, knowing their physical limitations will be instrumental in determining what they can or can’t help with. But even if it’s something simple like making a garden salad or helping to prepare the cranberry sauce, a little will be sure to go a long way.
Just be sure to talk to your senior beforehand and communicate what they may want to do or be involved in, that way it isn’t a surprise on the day of and results in a negative outcome. Having clear expectations in advance will help to ensure this holiday is a safe and enjoyable one.
Let Them Help Cut the Dessert
Other than the turkey, the true star of any Thanksgiving meal is the desert. Pumpkin pie, spice cake, banana pudding with vanilla wafer cookies – either way, you can’t wrong.
If using a knife and carving the turkey simply isn’t an option for your loved one staying in senior assisted living in Bountiful, that’s okay! They can still be involved by helping dish up everyone’s favorite sweet treats. This will be especially true if little ones are around, sure to delight in grandma or grandpa handing out a big piece of pie.
Skip Football and Bust Out the Board Games
Playing a game of pickup football in the yard is a time-honored tradition for many families. However, it obviously isn’t the easiest activity for a senior to participate in. Rather than having them sit on the sidelines and just watch, opt instead for a round of board games.
Does your senior have a board game they love, like Monopoly? Or you can keep it simple and bring out dominos or a game of cards. This would be a great time to have your senior show you what they’ve learned playing with their friends at their assisted living community. Plus, if the weather is less than enjoyable, it’s an excellent way to stay inside and let the whole family take part.
Keep the Visit to a Manageable Time Frame
For your loved one who resides at senior assisted living in Bountiful, having too much social interaction or exposure to noise and crowd might overwhelm them or leave them totally worn out. You want their visit to be a positive experience and to create memories that will last. So while you may want your senior family member to stay all day, it might actually be detrimental.
If you’re not sure what your loved one’s limits are, make sure you have a conversation beforehand. This will make sure that communication is clear and that everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Celebrate at Bayshire Barton Creek
If you have concerns about your loved one traveling or being able to navigate around a home, don’t worry! You can always bring the celebration to them. Contact your loved one’s senior center and discuss what accommodations they are making for the holidays, especially because of COVID-19, and if they will be hosting any sort of activities or events for Thanksgiving.
Here at Barton Creek, you are always welcome to review our resident activity calendar to see what is available. We offer a variety of activities and celebrations for our residents and invite you to check it out.