Thanksgiving can be one of the most enjoyable holidays of the year, but it can also bring its share of challenges in terms of travel arrangements, weather conditions, or just making sure the food comes out right.
You’ll likely want to include your entire family in your Thanksgiving celebration, but the individual needs of your elderly loved ones may get lost in the hustle and bustle of the occasion.
“In order to make a holiday gathering more successful, it’s important to take into consideration the unique needs of elderly loved ones,” said Diane Byrne of Juniper Communities. “Keep in mind that elderly people can tire easily and their appetite may not be what it once was, so don’t get offended if they need to limit the visit or eat less.”
Here are a few ways to ensure your family’s Thanksgiving gathering is safe and comfortable for your elderly loved ones:
Keep floor surfaces free from obstacles and clutter that could cause a fall and remove or secure area rugs. Each year, thousands of seniors trip over the edges of carpet, or slip on an unsecured throw rug.
Walkers and canes can make getting up and down from the dinner table difficult, but seating your loved one at the end of the table should give him or her plenty of room.
Not only carve the turkey, but be sure to carve out time to spend with your loved one and include him or her in the activities and conversation. During the meal, try to bridge generation gaps by asking each other to share something, such as the first President they remember, or a famous person who made the biggest impression.
And remember to give thanks. This holiday is a time to consider the things you appreciate in life. Although it may be challenging, it’s important to take time to identify those things, even the smallest, for which you’re grateful. Studies have shown that gratitude can relieve depression, lower blood pressure, improve immune function and facilitate more efficient sleep.