Sunnyside Manor’s Tips for a Senior-Friendly Thanksgiving
Every year at Thanksgiving, generations of families come together to celebrate, enjoy each other’s company, and share in family traditions. That makes Thanksgiving an ideal time to honor the seniors in your family.
Whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving in your home or visiting with family, there is plenty you can do to make Thanksgiving enjoyable and meaningful for your senior loved ones.
Tips for a Senior-Friendly Thanksgiving
A few special considerations for the meal, environment, and activities can go a long way toward making the holiday safe, fun and meaningful for everyone.
Simple modifications to the menu can make a meal easy for the seniors at your table to enjoy.
- Reduce salt. Many seniors, particularly those with heart conditions or high blood pressure, do best with a low-salt diet. Reduce the amount of salt you use in recipes – remember you can always add more at the table!
- Prepare a favorite dish. Ask senior loved ones about their favorite dishes, of if there is a family recipe that they’d like to share. A special dish makes people feel welcome and brings up wonderful memories.
- Bite-sized pieces. Be mindful of portion sizes that may be challenging to manage for those with arthritis or other limitations. Smaller pieces of turkey, bread, stuffing, and pie make it easy for seniors to load up their plates!
Before welcoming a senior loved one into your home, take a quick survey of your surroundings for potential challenges.
- Remove trip hazards, such as wires, decorative items, and pet’s toys that may be difficult to see. Be sure to clear hallways and stairwells.
- If your loved one uses a walker or wheelchair, check for narrow pathways, especially around furniture, that may not accommodate their devices. Ensure that they will have easy access to restrooms and comfortable seating.
- Clear entryways of leaves and other debris.
- Check the restroom, and make sure that essential items are all easily within reach.
- Arrange seating at the table so that senior loved ones have comfortable, supportive chairs, and can easily sit down without navigating tight spaces.
- If you’re traveling during the holiday, visit your senior loved ones in their home for special time one-on-one. While visiting, be on the lookout for signs that your loved ones may be having difficulty at home, like expired food in the refrigerator, spaces in disrepair, or decreased attention to cleanliness. These changes are often gradual, and may not be as noticeable to relatives who are close by.
Holiday activities that include and honor your senior guests will help make them feel special, and make great memories for everyone.
- Many families take time for each person to talk about what they’re grateful for. Honor the seniors at your table by beginning with the eldest person at your table. (And, be sure to mention them when it’s your turn!)
- Enlist their help. Holidays can be emotional, especially for seniors who are no longer able to host. Enlist their help with tasks that match their abilities, whether that is folding napkins, stirring the gravy, or making place cards.
- Start a conversation. A few simple questions can make seniors the stars of the day and get generations talking! Start by asking about holiday traditions when they were children. Ask about their favorite meals as kids, the chores they had to do, or their favorite subjects in school. Invite others, especially kids, to share answers to the same questions.
All of us at Sunnyside Manor are grateful for the residents and families that are part of our community. From our family to yours, we wish you a very happy Thanksgiving!
The all new Sunnyside Manor, located in Wall NJ, is the area’s premier senior living community. It features three distinctive neighborhoods: Independence ‘Plus’ Assisted Living, Recollections Memory Care, and Skilled Nursing.