Planning the perfect Thanksgiving can be a large feat, and even more so as you take over the responsibilities from your aging parents. Often, you need to coordinate multiple schedules, assign dishes for the pitch-in, and go to the grocery before shelves go empty. (Your great-uncle still ribs you for forgetting the fried onions for the green bean casserole in 2014!) So how do you keep everything moving smoothly?
7 Tips for a Happy Family Thanksgiving
Celebrating the holidays can require a lot of juggling for any multi-generational family. Here are 7 Turkey Day tips that will keep your agenda in order as you create a comfortable and memorable holiday for all involved, especially your aging seniors.
1. Detail a Plan
As you figure out your travel plans and seating arrangements, think senior-friendly. Do you need to reserve a couple spots in the driveway for guests that aren’t as mobile? Take a closer look inside, too. You might be able to make the living room more wheelchair accessible by removing an end table or two.
2. Meal Options
Making sure there are enough dishes for friends and family with dietary restrictions will help ensure that everyone gets their Thanksgiving fill! Not planning to eat right at 5 pm? You might also consider grabbing an extra half-gallon of apple cider or other appetizers to keep low blood sugar issues at bay.
3. Family Activity
Designating time for a group board game or other activity is a fun and easy way to create new memories. Put out a couple classics, like Yahtzee, Parcheesi, or Sorry! You could even start a new tradition by setting up a tournament. If your family has a competitive spirit, make a game bracket and name this year’s champion after dessert.
4. Stroll Down Memory Lane
This is the perfect time to get out the picture albums. Flipping through family photographs can prompt all kinds of interesting stories. Finding someone to scan and upload the images into a slideshow or photo-video can be a neat way to celebrate, too. Then, everyone can sit around and talk about the pictures together.
5. Stay Positive and Patient
The host or hostess helps set the tone for any social gathering. So, if you want a low-stress and easy-going Thanksgiving, make sure you’re playing the part. There’s nothing wrong with taking a little “quiet time” in your bedroom if you’re starting to feel overwhelmed. Better to have a few minutes to yourself than snap in the heat of the moment—or kitchen, for that matter!
6. Go the Extra Mile
Maybe there’s a forgotten family tradition or a favorite dish your family seniors love. Check ahead of time to see if there’s anything you might have overlooked. Or, flip through the old family cookbooks to see if any recipes have notes. Who knows, maybe baking that traditional fruit cake would be a great dessert!
7. Use the Family China
Thanksgiving is definitely a special occasion, so be sure to get as fancy as you please. Ask grandma the story behind the antique dishes and take time to reflect on how much your family has grown and changed over the years. Giving a toast with the fine crystal always looks so refined, and using the family china shows that you care about the little details.
All of us at Harmony wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving! For other interesting and specialized articles for seniors and their caregivers, please visit www.harmonymoves.com.