How to Include Mom and Dad in Thanksgiving Preparations

African descent family in home kitchen cooking Thanksgiving dinner.

If you are hosting Thanksgiving for your family or have in the past, you know how much work it can be to prepare! It can especially be stressful if you are also a caregiver to a senior loved one. Instead of trying to take it all on by yourself, why not take the opportunity to get your senior parent involved in the preparations? If mom or dad used to host Thanksgiving dinner, they might love the opportunity to get involved again. Here are some ways to do this from our assisted living coordinators at United Methodist Communities Collingswood. We’ll also include some Thanksgiving survival tips for caregivers.

Modify old traditions. We understand that mom or dad may have some limitations these days when it comes to their health and mobility, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be a part of the celebration! Assess what they are capable of and make modifications to the traditions your family follows accordingly. For example, if your senior parent has a little trouble moving around, give them a task to do while they’re sitting comfortably at the table. They could fold the fancy cloth napkins you put out every year, season and breadcrumb the sweet potatoes, or create a beautiful Thanksgiving centerpiece.

Create new traditions. Maybe dad used to get the family together every year to play a game of football before Thanksgiving dinner. If he’s not as mobile as he once was, it’s time to think about incorporating some new traditions. To keep it in the sports realm, have your family watch the football game safely in the living room and place some friendly bets on the winning team. Another option is to get everyone excited for the holiday season by initiating a new gift-giving activity. Have your senior parent write down the names of every family member that would like to participate in a “Secret Santa.” Each person will then pick a name and keep it a secret until everyone gets together again during Christmas time to exchange gifts.

Caregiving tips during Thanksgiving

  • Prepare a routine for your senior parent. We all thrive on a schedule, especially older adults who may be a little stuck in their ways. Since your senior parent may feel out of their element on Thanksgiving, it could be beneficial to prepare a schedule ahead of time for them to follow throughout the holiday weekend.
  • Ask for help from your family. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it definitely wasn’t built alone. Since you will most likely be spending this holiday with family, reach out well before Thanksgiving and ask for some assistance with mom or dad.
  • Take extra time for yourself. Breaks are essential to being a good caregiver. When the holiday preparations become too much, step back, reach out for caregiving help from family or an assisted living provider and take that much-needed time for yourself.
  • Prepare a custom meal for them ahead of time. Oftentimes seniors have special dietary needs due to taste changes and problems chewing. To make things easier for them (and yourself) prepare a special meal for them ahead of schedule, so they will enjoy their food during Thanksgiving.

Celebrate Thanksgiving at UMC in Collingswood, NJ

If mom or dad doesn’t feel comfortable leaving assisted living for the holiday weekend, bring Thanksgiving to them! At UMC, we always encourage visitation from family and will have some fun activities planned on-site during this time. Our specialized caregivers are also available around the clock to assist you and your senior parent, ensuring everyone has a safe and enjoyable holiday visit.

To find out more about our Thanksgiving activities for seniors in Camden County, please contact us today or visit our website at:

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