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Thanksgiving Tips for Seniors

October 06, 2018 - Helpers Care - in category General

Healthy and Engaged Seniors During Thanksgiving 

Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends, and being thankful for the blessings in our lives. For many seniors, it can also be a time of loneliness. Help your loved one stay engaged and feel the joy of this beloved holiday by creating new happy memories of togetherness and love with these helpful tips.

Thanksgiving Dinner with Family

Plan A Healthy Menu Together

Food is the centrepiece of Thanksgiving, so start your celebrations early by planning a great menu for the big day. When you include your loved one in menu planning, you give them something fun to concentrate on and a way to express their creativity.

This is a perfect opportunity to connect and grow closer through a shared love of holiday delights. Ask them about their favourite family recipes and which foods they’re looking forward to the most. You can also take some time to teach them about healthier menu options they might not be aware of.

Encourage a food adventure by trying some healthy foods together. It’s fun to taste-test new foods as a team. Lay out some of your healthier suggestions and make a day of rating these new foods and deciding which ones deserve to be on the table during the feast. For even more fun, work together to make some totally new recipes.

Here are some healthy and delicious substitutions to get you started:

  • Pearl barley or riced cauliflower instead of white rice
  • Mashed cauliflower instead of potatoes
  • Roasted sweet potatoes with cinnamon instead of sugar-heavy yams
  • Whole-grain bread instead of white rolls
  • Applesauce or pureed prunes in place of butter in baked goods
  • Ground turkey instead of ground beef for casseroles and stuffing
  • Herbs, spices, citrus juice, and vinegar instead of salt
  • A variety of leafy green vegetables instead of plain iceberg lettuce

Honour Their Traditions

For seniors, one of the most difficult aspects of the holidays is missing out on family traditions. You can help by setting aside time to honour family traditions, even if some family can’t be there to join you.

Ask questions and be present in the moment. Encourage them to share all their beautiful memories with you. Then, recreate favourite centrepieces, plan similar activities, and make time to watch movies together.

Beat the Boredom with Fun Activities

When the weather turns sour and it’s hard to get out and about, turn your loved one’s attention inward. Spruce up the environment with festive decorations and lively music.

If they’re fond of crafts, there are many simple but exciting projects that can be completed in just a few hours. Adding a new decoration every day leading up to the big event keeps elders focused and engaged while adding colour and cheer to any environment.

  • Make festive garlands from felted acorns and leaves
  • Create turkey-themed decorations from foam balls and craft feathers
  • Arrange artificial flowers into small bouquets
  • Write thank you letters and decorate with festive stickers and stamps
  • Make a thankful tree out of paper, then add one card each day with things you and your loved one are thankful for
  • Cut fall-coloured leaves from construction paper, foam, or fabric and tape to the windows
  • Paint small gourds with colourful patterns

Keep Moving

It’s tempting to indulge in all the delicious sweets and savoury foods this holiday inspires, but it’s important to keep moving, too. Join your loved one on a walk around the neighbourhood if the weather is nice. If you must stay indoors, play some energetic games like charades or have a dance-off to some favourite tunes.

Combat Loneliness and Depression

It’s not uncommon for seniors to feel isolated during big holidays, even if you’re able to spend time with them. As fun as Thanksgiving can be, it’s also stressful. Planning, shopping, and cooking all take time and energy. It can be tough to keep up with your loved one’s needs, too.

But you don’t need to worry. A caregiver can help your loved one with daily needs as well as holiday celebrations. They provide shopping assistance, meal planning, food preparation, and help with errands. Most importantly, a caregiver from an experienced homecare agency can provide companionship and support.

Whether you are able to join your loved one for this special day or aren’t able to make it in person, having a trusted homecare provider on your side can make a safer, more enjoyable holiday for everyone.

 

The Helpers Care Team

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