Thanksgiving is very often the one holiday a year when the whole family can get together. Therefore, it can be challenging to find ways to keep everyone happy and entertained.
That means planning. The younger ones need to have activities that keep them busy and out of the way. The seniors in the family may also have special requirements, so you need to be prepared.
Thanksgiving Preparations with Seniors
The first thing you need to consider is the needs of your senior loved one. It’s important that you have everything that will make their visit comfortable and enjoyable.
It is important that you know what types of foods they can and cannot have. There may be issues with digestion, health concerns, allergies, chewing, or likes and dislikes.
Make sure there is a wide selection of food choices to make everyone happy. There may be people who no longer eat meat or dairy, and you may need to provide alternatives.
Figure out in advance how your loved one is going to get to the festivities. Make sure that they know who is coming to get them and when. This included double-checking with the person who is picking them up and taking them home.
Do you need to book a cab? Arrange a family member to pick them up, or go and get them yourself. If they are taking public transit, make sure someone knows what route they are taking, what time to expect them and someone is there to meet them.
It’s best to be in contact with them before and during their trip, even if it is family. Call to make sure they are ready, in the car, have everything they need, and if they are arriving on schedule.
If getting around is difficult for your loved one, then you need to make accommodations for them in your home. Get a ramp if needed, even if it is temporary, or make arrangements to get a wheelchair into the home.
If they are in a wheelchair or use a walker, clear away furniture, loose carpets, and other clutter that may trip them up. Make sure they can sit at the table, don’t leave them off on their own.
They need to be able to use the bathroom, as well, so make sure they will be able to get in and out and have enough room to navigate the space with their wheelchair or walker.
Keep in mind that they may feel left out if they are not able to hear or see very well. Make sure they are included in conversations and that they have their hearing air or glasses.
Also, remember if they do wear a hearing aid that a lot of noisy conversation or children shouting is just noise. You may need to assist them through the conversation to make sure they know what is being said.
Make sure they can see the dishes on the table and where everything is if they have sight issues. Have someone capable sitting beside them, just in case they need a hand, but don’t be too obvious about it.
Be sure to invite them to help, join in activities, and that they feel a part of the entire event. A good way to make them feel needed is to prepare one of their signature dishes.
Ask them to help you or make it like they always did. It’s important that they feel needed and useful. Even something simple that they can help with in the kitchen or with the grandkids will go a long way making them feel good.
This includes any activities that are planned. Maybe a football game in the backyard, make sure they have a front row seat, if they want, or let them play if they are able. If you have a quiet moment together, just sit and chat to find out how they are doing.
If they have a caregiver or require assistance, then you need to make arrangements for that. Their caregiver may be with their own family for the holiday so it will be up to you and your family to make sure they get all the help and assistance they require.
It’s up to you as host and family to make sure they enjoy themselves and are included in all that goes on. If they need a nap, or want to leave early, then you need to make sure their wishes are met.
If you are worried about your senior loved one over the holidays, consider a medical alert system. Help is available at the press of a button 24/7 should they need it. This allows you peace of mind to focus on celebrating with your loved ones.