Get Involved in the Thanksgiving Preparations

Thanksgiving is a time for gathering, expressing gratitude, and creating lasting memories with the people we hold dear. These Thanksgiving tips for seniors can help you have a better holiday whether hosting a traditional, in-person feast or connecting with loved ones virtually, there are numerous ways to make this celebration memorable and joyful. Participating in the preparations can foster a deep sense of belonging and purpose for older adults. Though their physical capabilities may have evolved over the years, there are countless ways to get involved in holiday celebrations.


Monitor the Cooking Process

One significant way to involve older adults in Thanksgiving preparations is for them to oversee the cooking process. With years of culinary experience, they can serve as valuable guides in the kitchen, ensuring that the temperature is just right, the turkey is roasting to perfection, and the pies are baked with the perfect balance of sweetness and spice. They can also keep track of Thanksgiving food safety by monitoring cooking times and alerting the younger ones when it’s time to check on a dish, making lasting memories in creating the holiday feast together.


Craft the Centerpiece and Set the Table

Older adults can assist in designing the table centerpiece. They can express creativity through this task and adjust it according to their mobility level. Whether arranging flowers, folding napkins, or placing name cards, they can lend an elegant touch to the table setting. They could also take part in making decorative items for the home, like autumn-inspired wreaths or festive table runners. Together, you can bring added warmth and personality to the Thanksgiving decor.


The Benefits of Getting Involved

Getting older adults involved in the Thanksgiving process has numerous benefits. It creates a sense of belonging and purpose, uplifts their spirits, and improves overall well-being. While also promoting intergenerational bonding, allowing younger members to learn from their elders’ wisdom and experiences. It also allows them to pass down family traditions and stories, preserving and enriching the family’s cultural heritage.


Strengthens Family Bonds

Participating in the Thanksgiving preparations together can strengthen family bonds in meaningful ways. Collaborating and sharing experiences deepen connections among family members of all ages. When grandparents, parents, and children work together to prepare a meal or decorate the home, they create special memories that will last a lifetime and learn to appreciate each other’s strengths and stories. These moments provide an opportunity to reminisce about traditions, share stories of their youth, and pass down family recipes and customs, which become memories that carry on through generations, creating a solid connection.


Good for Mental and Physical Health

Social interaction is crucial for older adults’ mental and physical well-being, particularly within the family. Engaging in conversations and activities with family members of all ages helps keep the mind sharp and promotes emotional well-being. It also encourages physical activity and can improve overall health by reducing stress and increasing happiness and contentment.


Tips for Hosting a Virtual Thanksgiving Celebration

Celebrating events virtually in the digital age has become popular, safe, and inclusive. When planning a virtual Thanksgiving, there are a few essential things to consider. First, ensure everyone has the necessary technology and knows how to use it. Please test it out beforehand to avoid any issues.

Second, plan activities that can be enjoyed remotely, like sharing recipes, cooking together, watching a movie, or playing online games. Keep the gathering small and intimate to foster deeper connections and ensure everyone can participate in the conversation. While it may differ from traditional celebrations, a virtual Thanksgiving can still be meaningful and memorable.


Using Technology to Stay Connected

Technology plays a crucial role in connecting us with loved ones across distances. With video calls and group chats on apps like Zoom and Google Meet, we can celebrate together even when apart. Platforms like Teleparty (formerly known as Netflix Party) or Discord let us synchronize movie-watching or gaming sessions. And by sharing screens, we can cook or eat together, creating the ambiance of a communal Thanksgiving dinner. Remember, the spirit of Thanksgiving lies in gratitude, warmth, and togetherness, which can be conveyed and experienced, no matter the medium.


Creative Ideas for Virtual Activities

Consider adding creative elements to the celebration to make your virtual Thanksgiving more enjoyable and engaging. One idea is to host a virtual “Show and Tell,” where everyone shares something meaningful or exciting from their homes. This could be a cherished memento, a favorite book, or a homemade craft. Another option is to organize a virtual quiz or trivia game centered around Thanksgiving or family history, fostering fun conversations and friendly competition. You can also have a themed virtual background contest to create a festive atmosphere. These creative activities bring fun to Thanksgiving and help family members connect and share more about themselves.


Celebrate Together, No Matter Where You Are

As we navigate these times, it’s important to remember that the essence of Thanksgiving remains the same – giving thanks and cherishing our loved ones. While your family may experience a different format this year, you can still feel the spirit of togetherness, gratitude, and warmth, whether at home or through a screen. After all, it’s the company that matters, not the location. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Watch for next week’s blog, where we dive into step-by-step directions for setting up virtual celebrations with your loved ones.


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Resource links:

National Library of Medicine – Purpose in Life in Older Adults

Aging Well: The importance of intergenerational bonding

Building relationships during the Thanksgiving holiday

The Health Benefits of Social Interactions

AARP – How to Host a Virtual Thanksgiving


Google Meet



Thanksgiving Zoom Backgrounds

Thanksgiving food safety