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Engaging the Elderly in the Thanksgiving Celebration

November 01, 2023

Holidays can cause a lot of stress for older adults and their families. Traditions can bring up past and painful memories. Also, having the family together can highlight declining health issues and loss of independence in senior loved ones; but seniors should never be left out of the holiday festivities. Even if your senior loved one can’t help out like they used to, there are many ways they can still contribute. Here are some ways you can involve aging loved ones in Thanksgiving this year.


1. Help Picking the Thanksgiving Menu
Aging loved ones might not be able to make their signature dishes anymore, but they can help you build a mouthwatering menu. They have years of experience with Thanksgiving meals, and might have a list of tried and true recipes. Also, seniors may have special dietary restrictions, or may have trouble eating certain foods. Being part of the process, seniors can remind you to make sure to take these considerations into account when menu planning.


2. Shopping for Ingredients
There will be lots of ingredients that you will need for a traditional Thanksgiving feast. Ask your loved one to help you write out your Thanksgiving shopping list, and make sure you don't forget anything. And invite your loved one to go to the store with you, if they are able, to help you manage your grocery list, find items in the store, and provide company while you shop.


3. Helping with Meal Prep
If a senior can’t cook safely anymore, that doesn’t mean they can’t still contribute to a dish. Ask your aging loved one to help hand-wash produce or dump pre-measured seasonings into a bowl. Many seniors can still help with safe and simple tasks.


4. Tasting Dishes
Your loved one can help you taste test each dish to make sure the seasoning and texture is just right, and that the taste is flavorful. And who doesn’t love being a taste tester?!


5. Setting the Table
Ask your aging loved one to help set the table. If you are using glass dishes, you can set those out on the table first, and then have them help arrange the place settings. Your loved one can put their own personal touch on the table setting.

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