With its big family get-togethers, loud conversations and football cheers, and general familial rowdiness, Thanksgiving can be a little overwhelming for someone who suffers from dementia. Just the same, it can be emotionally challenging not only for the senior, but for their caregiver as well.
But, it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are a few things you (the caregiver) can do to help make the holiday easier and more fulfilling for both yourself and your loved one.
What a Caregiver Can Do
Thanksgiving is a time when most families get together and when that happens, there may be an instance where a family member offers to help you. If that happens, take them up on their offer and make sure you let that person know just how grateful you are for their help.
Of course, since many family members may be coming in from out of state, they may not have seen grandma or grandpa since they started suffering from dementia and the change can be startling. To help minimize any accidental “reactions” try to prepare family members for the experience. Tell them about any noticeable physical or emotional changes, the potential outbursts, and the loss of memory. The more they know, the better it will be for everybody.
In the event that your loved one starts having an episode, keep your patience and calmly talk them through the situation. In addition, if your loved one has any special dietary needs, make sure they are adhered to by whoever is making or hosting the Thanksgiving dinner.
Lastly, don’t forget about yourself. Enlist some help from family members so you have a chance to enjoy the holiday too. If you entirely disregard your own needs for those of your loved one, you will suffer from caregiver burnout – so take care of yourself!
Tips for Seniors Alone at Thanksgiving
If you are a senior who will be spending Thanksgiving alone, there are a few things you can do to help make the holiday merrier.
For starters – don’t dine alone. Plan a meal with other seniors who don’t have anywhere to go for the holiday or attend a community meal at your Savannah retirement community’s senior center. Dining with others can go a long way toward making the holiday more fun for all involved, especially during a holiday that is pretty much centered on togetherness.
Next, it can be easy to overindulge on this day, but seniors really have to watch what they eat and drink. Overeating can lead to health problems ranging from the uncomfortable (heartburn) to the dangerous (heart attack). Drinking too much alcohol can be even more problematic, especially if you have diabetes or you take any medications. Eat as healthy as you can and drink in moderation (and only if your doctor says it is ok) and you’ll enjoy a healthier and happier holiday.
Thanksgiving at The Marshes of Skidaway Island’s Savannah Retirement Communities
Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays at The Marshes of Skidaway Island. Our culinary team prepares a delicious and healthy meal for all of our residents to enjoy and our community dining rooms are abuzz with spirited conversations and laughter. There really is nothing like it and it makes for the perfect introduction for those moving to our Savannah retirement communities. Here at the Marshes, we wish you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving.
To learn more about The Marshes of Skidaway Island or to schedule a visit to our luxurious campus, please call us today at 800-889-6238.