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7 Senior-Friendly Thanksgiving Activities For Elderly Loved Ones

7 Senior-Friendly Thanksgiving Activities for Elderly Loved Ones

Thanksgiving is a special time to spend with grandparents and other elderly relatives you don’t often get to see, and it’s a chance to strengthen bonds and make memories.

Given the rush and busyness of everyday life, it’s sometimes hard to make time just to sit, talk, and enjoy the company. So when you have gatherings, you’ll want to make the most of them. What can you do to involve your elderly loved ones in the celebration and show them you value the time with them?

Thanksgiving Activities for Seniors at Your Celebration

There are plenty of Thanksgiving activities you can partake in for elderly loved ones. Here is a list of seven we found to be the most light-hearted and festive.

  1. Create a gratitude tree
  2. Arrange or decorate the table
  3. Play dinner games
  4. Listen to music and sing
  5. Decorate a pumpkin with the grandkids
  6. Research genealogy together
  7. Just be together

These activities aren’t just for the seniors. Everyone can participate, have fun, and make new holiday memories!

1. Create a Gratitude Tree

A great Thanksgiving activity for seniors and everyone else is creating a gratitude tree. Gratitude has been shown to:

  • Enhance positive emotions
  • Increase empathy
  • Boost self-esteem
  • Build mental strength
  • Improve physical and psychological health

Furthermore, grateful people sleep better. All these benefits will make your senior loved ones happy in the moment and even after the event is done.

It’s so easy to make a gratitude tree or several. Here are the steps:

  • Put a branch in a vase.
  • Make a leaf template to write a simple message on
  • Use the template to cut leaves from construction paper or use white paper and color
  • On each paper leaf, write something you’re thankful for
  • Put a ribbon or string through each leaf and hang it on the tree
  • Decorate the tree with strings, ribbons, or other art supplies.

Your gratitude tree can serve as the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving banquet. If your loved ones are visiting, send the tree home with them as a reminder of your happy holiday event.

2. Arrange or Decorate the Table

Arranging and decorating a table together is a great Thanksgiving activity for elderly loved ones because it gets them involved with holiday preparations.

Plan colors and themes and add some candles or a wreath. Even little positive experiences like this strengthen connections between family members and benefit your senior loved one’s overall well-being.

3. Play Thanksgiving Dinner Games

Dinner games make great memories. To play, someone starts with ”I am going to a Thanksgiving dinner and bringing….” Then, they name something. Use the alphabet or introduce a theme. For example, “I am going to a Thanksgiving dinner and bringing applesauce.”

The next person says, “I am going to a Thanksgiving dinner and bringing….” They mention what others previously named (“applesauce”) and something new (“blueberries,” for example). And so it goes.

If your elderly ones have trouble remembering, introduce an element of charades to help them.

4. Research Genealogy Together

Learning about your family origins is fun. Make discoveries together! Your elderly relatives are a treasure trove of family information and can entertain with stories about them and your ancestors.

There are also many online genealogy resources, and some have documents. Imagine finding a copy of your grandfather’s draft card with him!

5. Decorate a Pumpkin with the Grandkids

You don’t have to carve a pumpkin; instead, set out paper and art supplies so senior relatives can help the kids create pumpkins—and memories! Your children’s participation in Thanksgiving activities for elderly loved ones strengthens the bonds between them and gives your senior loved ones moments they’ll hold onto forever.

6. Listen to Music or Sing Together

Music and memory often go hand-in-hand. With online music libraries, find your loved one’s favorite oldies and the words online so you can sing along. 

Listening to music together is an excellent way to bond, and there’s nothing more beneficial to your mental health than belting out a tune!

7. Just Be Together

Just being together and sharing memories, laughter, and stories is meaningful. With online streaming, you can watch old movies that your elderly relatives saw long ago and would enjoy seeing again. Ask them about past events they remember. Relax by a fire or around the dinner table once the meal is cleared. Cherish the “together” moment!  

Host a Virtual Gathering

Sometimes, not everyone can be together for Thanksgiving. If that’s the case for you and your family, hold Thanksgiving festivities through an online video platform. You can still have fun at a virtual holiday gathering.

There are some video communication devices seniors can use fairly easily. For example, the GrandPad is a simple, secure tablet. View Clix allows live video calls and picture sharing.

For those with disability or hearing loss, Konnekt Videophone is a great, simple choice compatible with iPad, tablet, mobiles, and PCs. Though Google Nest Hub and Amazon Echo Show may require more tech know-how, they and Facebook Portal are good ways to connect and share messages and video calls.

You’ve got lots of options, so connect and build some holiday memories with your senior loved ones this Thanksgiving!

If you or your family member is considering in-home care as part of a plan to age in place, contact Family Matters In-Home Care today for a free consultation.  Our team is dedicated to supporting your family and helping older adults enjoy life in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible.

Some of the services offered by Family Matter In-Home Care include: Alzheimer’s & Dementia CareBed & Wheelchair Transfer AssistanceCompanionshipHousekeeping & Meal PreparationPersonal CareRecovery Care, and Transportation.

Serving the San Francisco Bay Area and Greater San Diego, Family Matter In-Home Care has offices throughout California including: Campbell, CARoseville, CASan Marcos, CA, and San Mateo, CA.Share This

Carol Pardue-Spears

Carol has worked in the healthcare field for more than forty years. As a Certified Nursing Assistant, she worked for El Camino Hospital in the cardiac unit, Los Gatos Community Hospital, The Women’s Cancer Center in Los Gatos and several home health and hospice agencies. Carol founded Family Matters in 2002 to fill a deficit she witnessed in high-quality, in-home services and care.

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