If you have a parent or loved one in assisted living, finding ways to celebrate Thanksgiving might feel like a daunting task. Seniorly's got some expert advice on how to make the holiday fun - and stress free - for everyone.
As Thanksgiving approaches, many of us find ourselves juggling the excitement of hosting the holiday with a desire to make it equally special for our senior loved ones who, for various reasons, can't join us in person. This time of year can be especially challenging for adults, who may have an elderly loved one in an assisted living or senior living community. So if the stress of making sure this Thanksgiving is special for the entire family is taking its toll on you, we've got some ideas to keep the holiday simple and focused on the important things; friends, family, memories and of course - food!
Thanksgiving can sometimes stir up feelings of nostalgia and a sense of loss for older adults who live in senior living communities. Many of them have spent years hosting big Thanksgiving gatherings, and the move to a more structured living environment can make them miss the old days. For those dealing with health issues or limited mobility, the thought of not being able to help in the kitchen, decorate, or gather around their own dining table with family can be discouraging. So we've got some great tips to help those family members stay connected, full of positive emotions and truly enjoy Thanksgiving this year.
As a reminder, most assisted living communities will plan for Thanksgiving activities on the day itself, so consider planning the celebration with your loved one before or after the official holiday. This way, you can balance your own plans with making sure your loved ones get family time - all without creating the added stress that so often accompanies family holidays.
Get into the Thanksgiving spirit by organizing a some seriously fun thanksgiving activities together with kids. So visit the craft store, grab some construction paper and glue dots, and plan for a relaxing and fun Thanksgiving holiday celebration. Here are our top 10 activities that are especially good for doing with children:
If your loved one is in a memory care facility, or has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or dementia, the plan for celebrating may look - and feel - a little different. For everyone involved. It's natural for the holidays to feel a bit bittersweet, and for family members to experience a sense of ambiguous grief. While it's important to connect with your loved ones caregivers for their input, there are a few recommendations to share: Keep the gathering small and the atmosphere calm to prevent overwhelming your loved one with dementia.
Celebrating Thanksgiving with a parent or loved one in assisted living is all about creating a warm and special experience. While they may not be able to join you, there's still a way to honor the holiday and make it memorable by focusing on connection and comfort. By keeping things cozy and heartfelt, you'll find that Thanksgiving in assisted living becomes a time of togetherness and joy, ensuring your loved one feels cherished and connected during this special holiday.
Marlena del Hierro is Vice President of Partnerships and Seniorly’s Lead Gerontologist. Marlena earned her Master of Arts degree in Gerontology from San Francisco State University and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Development from California State University. She also serves in an advisory capacity for Jukebox Health. As Seniorly’s first employee, Marlena is a vocal advocate for evolving the aging paradigm, and is a frequent contributor to public discussions about aging. She has served as a resource for media outlets like WGBH, FOX News, CNBC and the Today Show.
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