7 Tips for a Perfect Thanksgiving with Elderly Relatives

Posted by Steve Jones

Thu, Oct 8, 2015

Thanksgiving is coming up this weekend and it’s a great time to get together with family members, young and old. There are several aspects of this holiday that make it special, the crisp fall air, the colours of the leaves, and most of all, sharing time with our loved ones. Whether you’re visiting an elderly relative in a long-term care facility, having a big family gathering at your house, or just spending a quiet evening with a parent or grandparent, here are our tips for a perfect thanksgiving.

Elderly Man Sitting in a Field with Loved Ones

1. Plan your time together

The long weekend is always a busy time and you want to make sure nobody is stressed or left out. Ensure that you plan your get-together well in advance. Will Great Aunt Marie be able to get a drive that can help her with her wheelchair? Can Grandpa Albert stay awake that late in the evening? Be certain that everyone has transportation, accommodation and availability for an enjoyable get-together.

2. Be conscious of healthy meal choices

Yes, Thanksgiving dinner is a time to indulge and celebrate but there’s no need to forget about nutrition. Plan out meals that everyone can enjoy, especially if seniors are attending. Think about who can digest what, and if there are attendees that have trouble chewing, remember to make some softer foods.

3. Think of activities that everyone can take part in

Woman Hugging Elderly Woman

Think about activities that both young and old can partake in. Plan a group walk, a group meal or a board game. Watch a movie together, share stories, or watch sports. Make sure that you plan an activity that everyone can participate in and enjoy.

4. Reflect on fond memories that you’ve had together

Thanksgiving is a time to bond as a family. Think about the positive times that you’ve had together and reminisce. If a parent is starting to experience symptoms of dementia, try to reminisce about experiences that happened long ago. Dementia often impacts short-term memory first, so it’s a good idea to talk about those long-term memories that happened years in the past.

5. Stay positive

Sometimes the holidays can be stressful. Preparing the right meal, coordinating transportation and making sure everyone is having a good time, can be difficult. This is even trickier when a loved one is experiencing an illness. Remember to stay positive and enjoy the time that you’re spending together. There’s no need to think negative thoughts. Be present and happy that you’re spending time together.

6. Ask questions

No one gets to age 70, 80 or 90 without accumulating some interesting stories, anecdotes and wisdom. If you don’t get the chance to see elderly relatives often, now’s the time to ask questions. You’ll be surprised and amazed with what you learn and they’ll be happy to see that you’re interested.

7. Go the extra mile

Thanksgiving is the time to go the extra mile and help out those that you love. It may seem like a lot of work to prepare an extra dish or travel a far distance to visit a relative but it will be worth it. Take those extra steps and make sure that your elderly loved ones have a great Thanksgiving.

Enjoy the long weekend and if you have any questions about our holiday tips or care for seniors, feel free to contact us at Qualicare.

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