The days are getting shorter, temperatures are dropping and Thanksgiving is quickly approaching! This means it's almost time to bring the family together for festivities, food and of course, the iconic parade.
Do you have a special senior in your life who is celebrating with you? If so, there are plenty of Thanksgiving activities they can participate in, ranging in the level of skill and physical activity required.
Today, we're sharing seven ideal ways to entertain your senior relatives and help them enjoy everything that this season has to offer. Read on for ideas and inspiration just in time for your big gathering!
1. Make a Gratitude Craft
The big life changes that accompany aging can exacerbate feelings of anxiety and sadness. This is one reason why it can be rewarding to help your loved ones remember everything they're thankful for in their lives. You can get elaborate with this craft and create a gratitude tree, creating a "trunk" out of a simple stick and asking them to write a separate blessing on each leaf. Or, you can just write each one on a piece of paper and put them all in a box.
Either way, you'll create a collection of their most prized memories and recollections. This way, they can open it or look at it long after the turkey is gone. This can help quell feelings of isolation and hopelessness, triggering emotions of gratitude and reflection instead.
2. Record Their Stories
Few holidays encourage seniors to open up and share about their lives like Thanksgiving. One of the most special and important things you can do is ask them to share their special memories, and record their recollections. To make them more comfortable, create a family storytelling circle, encouraging everyone to discuss some of the things they're thankful for or the most meaningful moments in their lives to date. This way, they don't feel isolated and are more willing to participate. Then, get out your smartphone or recording device and press "play"! These are memories you'll cherish forever, and you might even hear a few stories you didn't know about until now!
3. Create a Festive Playlist
Some of the most classic tunes about thankfulness were created in the mid-1900s, including Ella Fitzgerald's 1949 hit "Early Autumn." Chances are, your special senior will recognize plenty of the tunes on this Thanksgiving playlist. Turn it on in a central location, where you're sure they'll hear it. Then if they're physically able, invite them to cut a rug in the living room! Or, they can listen along and reminisce from anywhere they feel comfortable. Research shows that musical activities have many cognitive benefits for seniors, including memory enhancement. So, press "repeat" as many times as necessary and let them take a trip down memory lane.
4. Watch a Kid's Performance
Have your children been practicing a special Thanksgiving song or skit for their school class? If so, invite them to perform it in front of the whole family, including the seniors in attendance. This is sure to delight kids of all ages and is a great way to help the youngest generation interact and make memories with the oldest. Remind them to project their voice and speak clearly! This is a low-key way for them to get used to performing in front of an audience and also thrills everyone in attendance.
5. Create a Centerpiece
You don't have to go overboard with this craft, but there are plenty of DIY Thanksgiving centerpiece projects that take minutes to pull together. You'll need to complete your tablescape anyway, so why not invite your beloved seniors to help you? To keep the tasks accessible and simple, check out kid's crafts. A simple glass vase filled with corn kernels and a votive candle makes a striking impression with minimal cost and hassle! You can also turn a gourd into a celebratory turkey by adding a few decorative touches. Be sure to keep their specific abilities in mind when you're making your selection.
6. Host a Recipe Competition
Does your grandmother have a prized pumpkin pie? Did you grow up with your grandfather's prized roast turkey on the table every November? A few weeks before Thanksgiving, choose a handful of these iconic dishes and assign designated family members to recreate them on the big day.
Then, when Thanksgiving rolls around, ask the seniors to taste each dish and share their feedback and guidance. This is a great way to learn firsthand from the pros and also al
lows the entire family to keep these invaluable meals in rotation for years to come. Take notes for next year!
7. Decorate Pumpkins Together
The Halloween season might be long gone, but that doesn't mean you can't still enjoy all the fall-related fun that pumpkins bring! Before your get-together, choose enough small pumpkins for everyone who will be in attendance. Then, gather a few decorating supplies, including paint markers, felt, glue and other accessories. Help your senior decorate his or her pumpkin and add it to your family pumpkin patch!
Remember: You're only decorating the outside of the pumpkins. You don't need to carve them for this activity!
Enjoy These Thanksgiving Activities Together
While the above list of Thanksgiving activities is meant to help you integrate your loved one into the holiday festivities, we understand that sometimes, that isn't possible.
This is one of the busiest, most active times of the year and you might not be planning to celebrate the holiday with a big family meal.
That's why we're here.
We're proud to offer premium in-home care services to seniors and those in need. We're dedicated to serving Bakersfield, CA and the surrounding Kerry County region. We'd be honored to ring in Thanksgiving with the senior in your life, right in the comfort of their own home.
They've spent so many cherished holidays inside of those walls, and we'd love to make another alongside of them. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.