As the winter months approach, seniors may find themselves feeling a bit isolated. In order to make sure they avoid the holiday blues, here are a few Thanksgiving activities for seniors to remind them that they’re an important part of the family.
The Head of the Household
If you’re like most American families, your parents or grandparents have traditionally hosted Thanksgiving. Now, another member of the family may have taken over those duties, leaving your elders feeling like guests. To avoid this, engage seniors in the process of cooking and presenting the Thanksgiving meal in ways that are within their capabilities.
For example, give the reigning patriarch or matriarch of the family the honor of sitting at the head of the table. This prime seating will not only make them feel recognized as the head of the family, but they will be able to help carve the turkey if they are physically able to do so. And make sure to include your senior loved ones in mealtime conversation.
Try to give at least a few of the preparation responsibilities to your loved ones. If one of your elders isn’t able to make their favorite recipe anymore because of health limitations, ask them to be there in the kitchen with you to supervise and offer helpful hints.
There are many different ways that families celebrate Thanksgiving after eating. If your family likes to play a game of touch football, activities for seniors during the game include serving as coaches and referees, which will keep them involved without risking an injury. For something less physically taxing, try watching a movie. Let your elders pick out a favorite film, and settle in together.
If your seniors have traveled a considerable distance and are staying the night, this is a great opportunity to have them spend some extra time sharing about past holidays. Get out the photo albums or scrapbooks and have a multi-generational gathering to reminisce about the “good ol’ days” and the many good times to come. This is a great time to create a new page with all the generations present.
Family caregiving extends beyond providing basic physical needs. It also involves reassuring your senior loved ones that they are an important part of the family and that their contributions to celebrations are appreciated. Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to show your love and respect, but don’t forget to show it all year long by keeping your elderly family members involved.