Thanksgiving is almost upon us, and we can breathe a little easier for the first time in several years. Most families are back to gathering and getting together without worry, and we are gearing up for a wonderful time with loved ones. If you have a parent or family member who lives at an adult residence or an assisted living community, you can bring them to your home for Thanksgiving dinner this year. While we know they would love to visit with you, you should keep some of these tips in mind.

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Preparing your Senior Loved One for Thanksgiving Dinner

Holidays can be a very lonely time for seniors, especially those who live in adult communities without family nearby. But sometimes, families live in close enough proximity to pick up their loved ones for the festivities. Here are some things to keep in mind.

  • Invite them to dinner in advance, and remind them often about your plans. The fact is that seniors can sometimes become confused or anxious if their daily schedule changes abruptly. Even if your parent is not a memory care patient, be sure they know you will pick them up to join you for the holiday. If they keep a calendar, be sure to mark down the date as well. You may also want someone from the residence to remind them on the morning of your arrival.
  • Keep their fears in mind:  The last few years have been relatively quiet and uneventful for many assisted living residents, so attending a big party may be overwhelming. If your loved one is nervous about being in a crowd, having trouble remembering names and faces, or is even still concerned about their health, be sure to accommodate them at your home. Set them up in a quieter part of the house, such as a den or sunroom, but make sure that someone is always keeping them company. Even if they don’t have any anxieties, assign someone to make sure your loved one is not left alone without anyone to speak to – it can make them feel left out and sad.
  •  Remind family of your senior’s challenges: If your senior loved one can’t remember names or faces, prep family members and friends about the situation. People should introduce themselves in a non-aggressive way, such as “Hi, Grandma! It’s me, Mary – I know I’ve changed a lot since you last saw me!” Don’t embarrass them, but use clues when you speak with them – identifying your relationship and your name – and giving them an “out” if they don’t remember you.
  • Accommodate any dietary restrictions: Thanksgiving dinner can be filled with rich and heavy food choices and maybe have too much salt or sugar for your loved one. Please speak with the staff at their residence about any current dietary restrictions to not upset their stomach or make them ill.
  • Keep watch as the party progresses: While your Mom may love the party for the first few hours, it may become overwhelming after a while. Look for signs of confusion or fatigue. If they plan to go home in the evening, ask them if they want to leave and have someone bring them back. If they are staying with you, invite them to rest in their own bedroom and permit them to exit the party gracefully.

Bringing your Mom or Dad home for Thanksgiving is a beautiful gesture that everyone will surely enjoy. Take just a few moments to plan, and you can ensure it is a positive experience for your loved one.

If your loved one lives at A Banyan Residence and you want to bring them to your home for the Thanksgiving holiday, let us know today. We will do what we can to help.