The holidays offer a great time for the family to gather and celebrate the occasion. But, it is important that you consider the needs of aging family members during this time of year. We talked to Sadie Harness and Lori Kim, from Belmont Village, for tips about planning your upcoming holiday gatherings to accommodate the needs of senior family members:
Planning the Menu and Serving the Food
Not only do you need to plan a menu that will accommodate the needs of the senior, but you also need to consider how food is served. For example, it might be difficult for someone with physical limitations to pass heavy serving dishes around the table. Instead, you might consider pre-plating the food to minimize the risk of spills or injury. Pre-plating is also beneficial for someone who might not have the cognitive abilities to determine the right serving sizes for the meal.
Appropriate Table Settings
Another important factor is the way the table is set. One example is using contrasting colors with the tablecloth, plates, cups, and napkins so that the senior can easily identify the items in the place setting. Whether the person is suffering from vision problems or cognitive concerns, the contrasting colors can support their needs during the meal.
If the person has dexterity issues, then you can use items that are easy to hold. Choose cups or mugs with texture or even a handle that is big enough for the person to hold. Choose a medium or small sized plate so that the person isn’t embarrassed about wasting food that is leftover on the plate.
It might be fun to pull out traditional china for the holidays, but these dishes aren’t practical for seniors to use. The sizing of the cups and plates are usually too flimsy and small to hold. Also, using saucers can make it hard for the person to set their cup back down in the right place without causing clinking and other uncomfortable noises.
Choose a Gathering Place for the Holidays
Consider the living circumstances when planning a location for the holiday meal. If the senior is living in a community, then it might be uncomfortable the for the whole family to gather in a smaller living space. Instead, consider a nearby family member who can host the party, and you can provide transportation to the location.
At Greenwald & Gerke Realtors, we want to support the lifestyle needs of aging family members. Call us anytime if you have questions about retirement living options: (844) 782-9674