As the season of gratitude nears and we plan festive gatherings, it’s of utmost importance to give special attention to the seniors in our families. Everything from meal preparation and house accommodation to family conversation plays a key part in how their holiday goes. Even a small thought or chat about these things with elderly family members can go a long way. It’s not something to stress about this season, just to pay attention to. Use and share these tips and make Thanksgiving easier for senior relatives, and yourself too!
Make Plans That Make Sense
Don’t get caught up in the commotion of having the best Thanksgiving ever and forget that Pappaw will need a ride home or that Uncle Joe will have a very hard time going up the stairs at your sister’s house. Plan ahead and think things through. Remember to serve an early dinner that will allow seniors to enjoy themselves and have time with the family before their early bedtime. Also, be aware of their disabilities when choosing the location of your celebrations – sometimes it’s better to take the party to them instead of carpooling all over town. And if you are having a few elderly relatives over, be sure to seat these guests at the end of the table, so they will be able to access it easier.
Serve Nutrition-Rich Recipes
As we age, our nutrition needs and taste buds change and our bodies metabolize food differently. Because of this, it’s important to be conscious of healthy meal choices, replacing high-fat foods with healthy alternatives, and reduce the amount of sodium used. Instead of saturating food with salt, use more seasoning. This can prove to be healthier and tastier, as seniors’ taste buds may not be as sensitive anymore.
Make protein a priority for elderly relatives and also be mindful of dietary restrictions. Be carefully when planning the day’s menu and avoid foods that are hard to chew or swallow. Tough and dry foods can present problems to older individuals who have dentures and reduced saliva.
Relax and Reminisce
If a loved one has dementia, sometimes it can be hard to engage them, as their short-term memory may not be at its best. But this doesn’t have to prevent you from having meaningful exchanges. Talk about old memories, partake in a game they enjoy and don’t be afraid to laugh a little. Maybe even have family albums on hand and share some smiles together. Studies show that time spent with grandchildren is beneficial and a social life leads to longevity, so don’t just be satisfied with their presence—do something fun together with the whole family!
Talk and Take Notice
If there’s anything you’re unsure of, talk to your family members! Ask your elderly aunt or father-in-law what foods they like and games they play. It will make planning so much easier on yourself.
It’s also important to take notice of changes in your older relatives at the holiday season, as this is often when things like Alzheimer’s are first detected. Sometimes there are subtle behavior changes and other times personality changes or newfound anxiety and questionable decisions become apparent. If signs do emerge and you need help, consider talking to a Home Care Agency about assistance.
Here at Freedom Home Care, our clients’ care is our top priority. Offering a variety of services—from post-hospital care and supportive care, to daily home visits for meal preparation, personal care and companionship—we strive to be an extension of your family. If you’re in search of a “Home Care Agency Near Me,” give us a call at 847-433-5788.