For many people, Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude, joy, and good food. But if you or a loved one will be spending this Turkey Day in a care facility, you may be wondering how you can imbue such a sterile environment with the usual holiday spirit.
A nursing home may not seem like a very festive place to give thanks, but with a little planning and creativity, you can make this Thanksgiving another to remember. Try one of these 10 tips to liven up the season:
- Buy some seasonal decorations. Check with staff first to find out what they allow and then head to the store. It won’t take much: a festive display of artificial squash or bowl of autumn-scented potpourri will liven up a drab room.
- Many nursing home residents are on a restricted diet, making a traditional Thanksgiving dinner a tricky proposition. If a full meal is off the table, pick a favorite Turkey Day dish – maybe pumpkin pie or green bean casserole – and serve a small portion.
- If you’d like to delight in all the flavors of Thanksgiving without all the cooking and clean-up, you can offer up a Thanksgiving-inspired dish like a turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce or a turkey-and-stuffing casserole.
- Many nursing home residents may not be up to extensive conversation, so consider some other seasonal activities, like music or a Thanksgiving movie to keep guests entertained. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and Grumpy Old Men are holiday-themed, family-friendly films.
- Put together a photo book or a framed picture to remember past Thanksgivings. Often, reminiscing about past holidays and absent friends is a meaningful way to celebrate and give thanks.
- Make new traditions. While you may not be able to recreate the work-intensive family traditions of old, you can establish new Thanksgiving rituals that may last for years to come. Why not create a gratitude tree and allow family, friends, or nursing home residents to add their thanks on construction-paper pinecones?
- Don’t try to tackle too much. Holidays are exhausting, especially for people with health problems. While past celebrations may have lasted well into the night, you don’t need all-day festivities for a Thanksgiving to remember. Set a time limit on your social calls and don’t be afraid to take a long nap once visitors are gone.
- Sometimes, the most meaningful gifts are well-chosen words. Thanksgiving is the perfect time to tell the people in your life just how grateful you are for their love and care. Whether it’s your family or the employees at your care facility, a genuine “thank you” may be more than enough to make their days.
- Remember those who don’t have loved ones visiting them. Other residents of the care facility may not have friends or family who can make the trip to visit them this Thanksgiving. Reach out and wish them a happy holiday. If you are able and willing, invite them to join in on your meal.
- Avoid over-stimulation. Care facilities are usually quiet environments, so a sudden whirlwind of activity may be overwhelming for you, your family member, or other residents. Choose low-key activities and traditions over more rousing options.
Very often, holidays are times to reevaluate your living situation and consider what the future holds. If you find yourself with questions about paying for long-term care, reach out to Life Care Funding. Our team can help you and your family understand your options and how you can afford the care you need.