For those seniors living at home, the holidays can both be a time of great pleasure and also of great stress. Some elderly parents or loved ones may worry that they will be left out of the family meal preparation or other traditions that might begin to become more difficult for them mentally or physically. This can cause them undue sadness and worry which can be prevented with a little effort and planning.
Despite your aging loved one requiring elderly care at home, there are ways that you and the rest of the family can include them for Thanksgiving this year such as:
Your senior may not be able to cook an entire Thanksgiving meal like they use to, but you can probably find something that they can do to feel included in both the prep and conversation that happens around the chopping block. Can they toss the salad, arrange the rolls, or help stir ingredients together for one of the yummy side dishes? Think about how they can feel important and let them take part in the meal preparation so they can be included all around.
Give them an important job
Nothing makes seniors feel more loved and needed than giving them a special job that they can feel good about. Many seniors love taking care of people, so give them a small job or task that allows them to do just that. Choose a task that isn’t too labor-intensive but one that they will enjoy and can easily handle.
Ask them for input
Let your elderly parent or loved one have some input on your meal and plan for the day. If they are unable to physically be as involved as they like, letting them feel like they have a say in something can help. Ask them for a special Thanksgiving recipe they know or have them direct how you can dress the turkey the way that they like. Think about ways to involve them and to utilize the immense knowledge and experience they have to offer.
Seat them at the head of the table
Make your senior feel as valued as they are by giving them the seat at the head of the table. Even if this isn’t something typically done in your family in the past, start now! Seat them with an announcement that since they are the foundation of the family, their seat should reflect their importance in the family meal. Maybe even offer up a special toast to the head of the family on this special holiday.
Many families forget to include extended grandparents in family photos, and Thanksgiving is a great opportunity when the whole family is together to get some pictures that you can treasure forever. Before the meal, when everyone is gathered, take some time to get family pictures and place your senior in the center. But don’t leave the pictures on your phone forever! Make sure you get a copy made and give to them to display long after the meal ends.