Thanksgiving is almost here, and this is the perfect opportunity to make the days ahead brighter and festive for the elderly in nursing homes and facilities or those living at home with limited mobility due to a health concern. The Thanksgiving holiday festivities don’t need to be a one-day affair, there are so many ways to scatter some cheer and spread it across the days and weeks ahead of us.
So, what can family members do with their elderly loved ones or senior parents for Thanksgiving this year?
Here are some ideas for the Thanksgiving weekend so caregivers and seniors can explore some activities on or during the Thanksgiving holiday.
Share family recipe secrets
Holidays can be a lonely time for the elderly especially if they are living in an assisted care facility far from their loved ones. Thanksgiving is all about offering gratitude and this is the perfect time to remember some moments that are close to us. Family recipes are often associated with cherished memories so why not revisit the past and share some secret recipes that make a favorite dish special. Sharing anecdotes and thinking about happy times is a great way to recollect moments, jog the memory and self-reflect.
Paint a card
Painting is therapeutic. Creative activities such as painting is a great way to challenge the mind and improve cognitive abilities. You can get a small watercolor sketchbook or notepad, buy some paints and brushes and let the elderly get creative. Creative exercises don’t necessarily need perfect strokes, freehand sketch is suitable for those who can’t make precise lines. If the evenings get chilly, Silvert’s Arm Protectors for Men and Women are perfect to keep arms warm. Gifting one to your loved one will allow them to stay warm and creative.
Thank you notes/ letters
Turn those hand-painted/ drawn cards into thank you notes. Who doesn’t love a kind gesture during the holidays? Send a note of remembrance, include a poem, picture or a written memory and tell your dear ones that they are remembered. For the elderly who have limited hand mobility, caregivers can dive into this creative task and join the therapeutic exercise to help them complete a note or card. Craft based exercises for seniors offer opportunities to work through and combat anxiety, negative feelings or stress.
Share your favorite book
Reading is beneficial for seniors and it reduces stress from daily life and enables one to slip away from the monotony of routines. It is also known to provide mental stimulation and enhance focus. Read a passage from a favorite book, discuss the theme or make a wish list of books to read. Literary discussions are a great way to expand vocabulary, remember some forgotten words, increase knowledge and challenge the mind. For those with limited arm and hand mobility, audio-book apps like Audible and Google Playbooks provide a great way to listen and enjoy the written word.
Create a thankful tree
If you are a caregiver assisting a senior at home or within a group, helping them create a gratitude tree is a great way to promote and encourage positivity. Thanksgiving is the perfect time to recollect and acknowledge everything that one is grateful for. If you are working in a group, members can share notes and celebrate the present. Gratitude notes can be kept in Silvert’s walker/wheelchair pouch, a handy bag that can keep small notes, pen or other handy items readily available when needed.
Share a hobby
As a caregiver are you familiar with the individual’s hobby (or hobbies)? Did they like sewing, weaving, painting, drawing, or sculpting? If your elderly loved one is dealing with physical limitations that don’t allow them to pursue old hobbies or interests, talking about it can potentially help them feel better. What kind of activities can be replaced with old ones and how can they be modified to suit the current situation? Sharing hobbies, creating solutions and finding substitutes means providing possibilities despite the constraints.
Play some games
Classic games are fun, relaxing and they are great for seniors brain health! Games bring people together, they are great ice-breakers and they are perfect for involving kids. Some of the popular classic games you could play with your senior loved ones are Checkers, Bingo, Yahtzee or the good old card games.
What are your plans for the Thanksgiving weekend? Leave a comment and tell us, we would love to hear from you.