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Planning A Stress-Free Family Thanksgiving

Planning a Stress-Free Family Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is considered one of the most meaningful and joyous holidays as it celebrates family traditions and togetherness. However, planning and hosting holiday gatherings, or even simply attending multiple events can quickly become overwhelming and stressful. This can be especially true for seniors, who may not handle stress as well as they used to. Family members and caregivers can help keep senior loved ones relaxed and stress-free this holiday season by following a few guidelines. Here are some helpful tips for planning a successful Thanksgiving gathering.

Keep family gatherings short

While it’s important to include senior loved ones in your Thanksgiving celebration, keep in mind that for some older adults it can be taxing to spend the entire day around a lot of activity. If this is true for your loved one, arrange to have a family member bring them to the celebration for a few hours rather than making them stay all day. Also, if possible, have someone host your gathering who lives close to your loved one as traveling long distances can also take a toll on some seniors.

Plan senior-friendly activities

It’s important to plan something for your loved one to do during the festivities that will allow them to feel included. Consider their strengths. If they enjoy cooking ask if they would like to help you in the kitchen. Simple board games, cards and classic movies are also go-to favorites.

Provide a quiet retreat

Highly stimulating environments may increase stress levels for some seniors. If your family gatherings tend to get noisy or there are energetic young children running around the house, it might be helpful to offer your senior loved one a quiet, comfortable space where they can rest. Whether it’s a recliner in a quiet corner of the living room, or a guest bedroom where they can take a nap, taking a break can prevent them from becoming overwhelmed and allow them to relax and enjoy the day.

Limit options

This can be especially helpful for seniors who suffer from dementia as they can become overwhelmed and agitated when presented with too many decisions. Try setting out place cards so your guests don’t have to figure out where to sit at dinner and you can ensure that your senior loved one is seated comfortably. Offer to make your senior loved one a plate of food so they don’t have to worry about reaching for heavy dishes or deciding what to put on their plate.

While Thanksgiving is a time of celebration, some older adults may experience feelings of depression. Loneliness due to the loss of loved ones and past traditions can make the holidays a difficult time for seniors. Make sure your senior loved ones feel loved and included in your family festivities, while also being considerate of any limitations they may have. The holidays should not be a time of anxiety for anyone – especially seniors. Start your Thanksgiving planning now to ensure a stress-free holiday.

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.


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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