Giving Thanks: 5 Ways to Welcome Every Loved One to the Table
Thanksgiving is one of the biggest “food” holidays of the year. Families gather to eat, celebrate and reflect on their blessings. For loved ones with difficulties at mealtime, Thanksgiving can be especially stressful. Will they stare at me? Will I make a mess?
There’s a scene in the iconic 70’s movie, Saturday Night Fever, where Tony’s family is sitting down to dinner. Dressed for the club, Tony doesn’t want to spill on his clothes and wraps a sheet around his shoulders and chest. His family made light of it and there were probably a few snickers in the movie theaters. But that’s just in the movies, right?
In real life, trying to avoid spills can be a struggle, especially for those with some loss of dexterity or with foods that may be a bit messy anyway. People come up with all kinds of ways to avoid the mess – napkins or towels tucked into shirt collars or even aprons. But, those can be embarrassing and uncomfortable. Being embarrassed or worries about being a “bother” are big reasons why older loved ones will sometimes avoid family gatherings.
Today’s mature adults are much more mobile and socially engaged. They want to attend family celebrations. When they go out, they want to feel independent, confident and secure. With a little help, they can feel confident eating anywhere and on any occasion.
Include Some Easy-to-Eat Foods
Some foods are just harder to handle than others. For loved ones with difficulty during mealtimes, it can be a real challenge. While you’re preparing all the family favorites, be sure to include some easy to manage foods. Ask your loved one if they have some preferences or special needs. Sometimes small modifications can make a huge difference.
Enlist A Helper
Your loved one might be relatively independent and just need the occasional assist. Enlist the aid of a family member to be available to help if needed. Your loved one may do just fine. They might just need a little help with filling their plate or getting an hors-d'oeuvre. Having someone who can discreetly lend a hand can be comforting and help your loved one to feel supported and less self-conscious.
Share Fond Memories
Your loved one probably has many, many fond memories and stories about Thanksgivings of the past. They are the keepers of your family’s history. Ask about favorite family dishes or family traditions that may have been lost along the way. So much about our family history lies within the memories of our elders. Asking someone to share memories helps them to feel included and connected to family.
This Thanksgiving take the worry of spilling or soiling clothes away for your loved one and give them the gift of confidence. Classy Pal adult bibs are sophisticated and functional. Your loved one will be able to enjoy the meal confidently and without worry of having soiled clothing. There is a design to fit every occasion. Along with the Classy Pal bib, consider offering your loved one friendly utensils. Those plastic forks and cups can be hard for even the nimblest of us.
Give Thanks for Each Other
Thanksgiving is a time for reflecting on the blessings of our families. Those blessings include the people we love. Take a moment during your celebration to acknowledge and give thanks for those you love. Let them know how much you love and appreciate them.
Being able to celebrate with family and friends is important at every age. Staying connected is even more important as we age and has been shown to be a critical factor in overall health and well-being. With a little planning, you and your loved ones can enjoy the celebrations of the season and make memories that will last a lifetime.
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Classy Pal.