Community Blog

Tips for Making Thanksgiving Smoother and More Enjoyable for Your Elderly Parent

By Mike Jackson

The challenges that your senior faces can impact each day of their lives, but this impact can become even more pronounced during holidays as they recognize how their struggle affects these traditions and experiences. This can be upsetting and overwhelming for your parent, and negatively influence how they experience the day, and how you do as well. Taking the time to make efforts that will help this holiday go more smoothly and be more memorable and enjoyable for everyone involved.

Use these tips to make Thanksgiving smoother and more enjoyable for your elderly parent:

  • Ensure they have their own space. Their challenges can make your parent feel uncomfortable and uneasy, and they might be embarrassed about some of their needs. Ensuring that they have their own space in which to handle these needs lets them relax and gives them a place to go if they feel overwhelmed or like they need a break. This means setting aside their bedroom or a room in your house if the meal will be in one of those places, or getting a hotel room rather than staying with family if you are traveling for the holiday.
  • Consider an open house. Thoughts of huge, formal family meals might come to mind when thinking about Thanksgiving, but this might not be the best choice if your senior is struggling with new challenges and limitations. Consider hosting an open house style celebration where members of the family can come and visit for a short time over the course of the day so that your parent can see these people but not feel overwhelmed.
  • Address their dietary needs. If your parent is like many seniors, their health challenges and limitations have made it necessary for them to change their diet and follow specific guidelines with what they are eating. This might mean cutting down on their salt or avoiding too much fat or eating soft foods. When planning the Thanksgiving menu, do not just assume that your parent will "find something" on the traditional menu. Instead, specifically find and create foods for them so that they can enjoy some of their favorite flavors of the season safely and healthily.
  • Have their care provider with them. Routine and predictability are crucial when it comes to your parent's mental and emotional health and well-being. Following their care schedule can help to reduce discomfort, tiredness, emotional upset, and more, and enable them to enjoy the celebrations more. You do not want to spend the whole day worrying about them or handling care tasks, however. Thinking that you are missing your celebration can make your parent feel uncomfortable and guilty. Instead, have their care provider or a respite care provider with them so that they can follow through with their regular care and you can stay as involved as possible in the holiday celebration.
  • Know the limits. If you are traveling with your parent for Thanksgiving or any other part of the holiday season, remind yourself that this is unlikely to be the type of holiday that you shared in the past. Your parent might not be able to participate as much or might get tired and overwhelmed and need to separate themselves from the celebration. Be aware of these limits and willing to respect them.


Starting home care for your aging parent is one of the best decisions that you can make during the course of your caregiver journey with them. An in-home senior care services provider can be in your parent's home on a fully customized schedule to ensure that they always have access to the care, support, and assistance that they need to handle their individual challenges, limitations, and needs. This not only helps them to stay safe, healthy, and comfortable throughout their later years, but also encourages them to pursue a lifestyle that is more active, engaged, independent, and fulfilling. For you as their family caregiver, knowing that your aging parent has continued access to personalized care can give you peace of mind, ease your stress, and enable you to focus time and energy on other elements of your life as well.

IF YOU OR AN AGING SENIOR ARE CONSIDERING IN-HOME CARE SERVICES IN GARDEN CITY, ID, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT HOME HELPERS HOME CARE OF BOISE. CALL US: (208) 322-2668.

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