Thanksgiving is a holiday filled with good food, gratitude, and family togetherness. For seniors with Alzheimer’s, family holidays can be stressful rather than satisfying, and some activities may be unsafe to perform. Here are five safe Thanksgiving activities seniors with Alzheimer’s are sure to enjoy.
1. Performing Simple Cooking Tasks
Your senior loved one may not be able to prepare, baste, and cook the turkey, but he or she can still help out with pre-Thanksgiving cooking tasks. Mashing the potatoes or stirring the green bean casserole may help your parent feel productive and useful. In the days before the holiday, ask your loved one to help you prepare some simple side dishes like smashed sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce. If your parent’s hand-eye coordination needs some practice, ask him or her to stir the creamed corn casserole or arrange sugar cookies on the baking tin. If your loved one has a favorite family recipe, let him or her assist you as you prepare the dish. Assisting with meal prep may jog your loved one’s memories of family gatherings from years past.
Performing daily tasks while simultaneously managing the symptoms of a serious illness can be challenging for seniors. The Naples live-in care experts at Home Care Assistance are available 24/7 to make sure your loved one has the care he or she needs to remain safe and comfortable while aging in place.
2. Making Thanksgiving Decorations
If you go overboard with the holiday decorations, your loved one might find it overwhelming. When caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s, it’s best to stick to minimalist holiday décor. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t get into the holiday spirit. With a few craft supplies, you and your loved one can make some simple holiday decorations. Try gluing fake autumn leaves on mason jars or creating garlands out of twine and acorns. For seniors who enjoy organizing objects, buy some autumn-themed vase fillers like miniature pumpkins and acrylic leaves. Have your parent arrange the vase fillers in clear glass vases and use them as centerpieces.
Even if you take the necessary holiday precautions, your loved one may end up feeling overwhelmed by the festivities. Before the big day, prepare a soothing space your parent can retreat to when feeling overstimulated. Many seniors with Alzheimer’s find coloring to be soothing and anxiety reducing. If your loved one enjoys artistic pursuits, find a Thanksgiving-themed coloring book he or she can scribble in. Get a set of your parent’s favorite coloring medium, whether it’s pencils, crayons, or markers, and have a playlist of his or her favorite songs ready to go.
If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of Naples senior care. Our caregivers provide transportation to and from medical appointments and social events, nutritious meal preparation, assistance with daily exercise, and help with everyday tasks like bathing, grooming, and light housekeeping.
4. Arranging the Table
Ask your loved one to help you arrange the Thanksgiving dinner table. Depending on your parent’s motor skills, he or she may be able to help you spread the tablecloth, arrange the placemats, position the plates, and set the silverware. If your loved one helped you craft the centerpieces, make sure he or she is in the room when you place them on the table. Your parent may feel great knowing his or her hard work is being displayed for everyone to admire.
5. Spending Time with the Grandkids
Thanksgiving gives aging adults the perfect opportunity to spend time with the youngest members of the family. Make sure to facilitate some quality time between your loved one and the kids attending the festivities. Plan activities they can all enjoy, like a cookie decorating marathon or a fun movie.
The days, weeks, and months following an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can be challenging for both seniors and their families. However, these challenges can be made less stressful with the help of caregivers trained in professional Alzheimer’s care. Naples Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one enjoy the golden years while simultaneously managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. To create a comprehensive in-home care plan for your elderly parent, give us a call at (239) 449-4701 today.