Tips for Planning a Thanksgiving in Assisted Living
Thanksgiving is a holiday that celebrates gratitude and family. When your loved one is in an assisted living facility, you can still plan a meaningful family holiday. With some careful preparation, you can even incorporate some of your own family traditions while creating new ones.
Taking some time to plan your celebration thoughtfully will allow you to consider your loved one’s abilities and limitations and coordinate with the assisted living facility to make sure everything you plan is in line with their rules.
By involving your loved one in the planning process, you can also make sure you don’t leave out any traditions that are near and dear to their heart. Here are our tops for planning a Thanksgiving celebration in an assisted living facility.
Talk About Their Preferences
First, talk to your loved one about their preferences. Ask them what their favorite parts of Thanksgiving are and how they love to celebrate the holiday. You might find out that there were some parts of the holiday that your loved one didn’t care for very much.
If your loved one has any physical or mental challenges, be delicate about making suggestions. You don’t want to overwhelm them or make them feel insecure about how much they can contribute. Instead, try presenting a few options and letting your loved one choose from those rather than making them feel like they have to do the bulk of the planning.
Consider the Location
Many assisted living homes have a community room, family room, or outdoor space where friends and family can visit loved ones. On Thanksgiving, it’s possible that these spaces will be crowded with residents and their families.
Ask someone at the assisted living facility what Thanksgivings have been like there in the past so that you can get a sense of what constraints you will be under. If your loved one is mobile and healthy enough to leave the facility, arrange transportation to your home or the venue, and consider that your loved one may not have the energy to stay the entire time.
Make the Space Look Festive
You can help your loved one get into the holiday spirit by making their room or apartment in the assisted living facility look festive. Set up a cornucopia, hang garlands of fall leaves, and put out any cherished family holiday mementos.
Putting out vases of beautiful fall flowers and incorporating a ceramic turkey figurine can make the space look more cheerful and holiday-ready.
Incorporate Family Traditions
Holding your Thanksgiving celebration at an assisted living facility or memory care facility does not mean you can’t uphold some of your favorite family traditions. Many seniors feel depressed around the holidays because they can’t take part in the holiday traditions they have been celebrating for decades. Ask your loved one what their favorite Thanksgiving traditions are, and find ways to incorporate them into your celebration.
Make a Gratitude Tree
Making a Gratitude Tree will help your loved one focus on the positive things that have happened over the last year, both for them and for family and friends. Get a small fake tree or collect some branches in a vase or jar.
Cut out leaves from cardstock or construction paper using fall colors like orange, red, brown, yellow, and tan. You and your loved one (and any other family members who live nearby) can write down things they are thankful for on the leaves. Then, you can hang them from the tree with ribbon or yarn.
Before the Thanksgiving meal, you and your family can pull leaves off the tree and read from them aloud.
Watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade or the Football Game
If watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or the football game was always part of your family’s Thanksgiving traditions, try to keep that tradition. If your loved one doesn’t have a television in their assisted living apartment or room, ask someone at the facility how to coordinate the event.
It’s possible, given the holiday, that they would be willing to set up a television in a common area or put the parade or game on in the theater room. If not, consider bringing a laptop or television over for the day so that you can watch together.
Ask About Events the Assisted Living Home Is Hosting
Most assisted living and memory care facilities hold special Thanksgiving events for their residents. Look at their November calendar or ask a member of the staff what events are coming up.
Ask your loved one if they want to participate in any of the events, and if so, if they would like you to accompany them. It’s possible that they would like to take part but don’t want to go alone.
Compile Family Recipes
If you and your family have a treasured set of Thanksgiving or holiday recipes that you would make each year, you should try to keep that tradition alive. Ask everyone in the family, including your loved one, to send over their favorite family recipes.
You can then compile them into a family recipe book. Making copies of this book is also a great holiday gift idea for the whole family.
Host a Video Call With Other Family Members
If there are family members who can’t make it to you for the Thanksgiving meal, schedule a video call. It might be easier to schedule the call for earlier in the day before other family members get busy with cooking.
Keep in mind that after the meal is over, your loved one may want some peace and quiet or may be tired. Make sure you have the right technology available, whether it is a smartphone or computer, as the assisted living facility may not have the technology you need.
Bring Over a Meal or Have It Catered
If your loved one isn’t well enough or mobile enough to travel to a family member’s home for Thanksgiving, you can bring the meal to them. You can make dishes at your own home ahead of time or have the meal catered by a local catering company.
Some restaurants even offer special take-out Thanksgiving meals for families who don’t like to cook. Try to make everything as simple as possible for your loved one, and don’t put any pressure on them to prepare for the meal or clean up afterward.
Share Memories of Past Holidays
Before dinner or during your video call with loved ones, share your favorite memories of past holidays. You can bring out photos and videos of past holidays and ask your loved one about holidays they celebrated as a child or young adult.
Sharing memories can spark conversation and also be an important element of memory care for people who are in an assisted living Alzheimer’s care facility.
Watch for Cues Your Loved One Is Tired
While preparing and hosting your Thanksgiving celebration with your loved one, watch for cues they are tired or need some space. You don’t want to exhaust them or wear them out. Check in with them every once in a while to see how they’re holding up. Many elderly people, especially people with health issues, may not be able to handle a marathon day of events and activities.
Request Assisted Living Placement in Southern Arizona
If you think your loved one is ready to transition into an assisted living home or assisted living memory care facility, our team at Placita In Home Care can help. We offer free assisted living placement services to families in Maricopa, Pima, Pinal, and Cochise Counties.
We will work closely with you to evaluate your financial and geographic needs as well as your loved one’s health and your preferences. Our goal is to help you find an assisted living facility that works for you and your family.
We offer placement in Alzheimer’s care facilities, dementia care facilities, assisted living hospice care, and assisted living joint replacement care. To schedule a consultation for in-home care or assisted living placement in the Tucson or Phoenix metro area, call us today or fill out our contact form online.