There's nothing like a hearty meal to bring everyone together, especially during the holidays. As a caregiver for an elderly family member, the joy might be eclipsed by the burden of responsibility.
Be proactive to ensure that you and your loved one may enjoy the dinner together with the least amount of stress possible no matter if the holiday is a winter one like Hanukkah, or an autumn one like Kwanzaa, or a New Year's Eve. These pointers may be of assistance to you on how to care for an aging parent? Holiday Meal Preparation Tips.
Take into consideration the dining schedule
Your parents may be used to eating at a different time than the one set aside for the holiday meal. Give your parent a healthy snack to keep them from getting hungry if the meal times don't match, or see if the holiday dinner can be served at a time that works for your parent. Consider the timing of any other events that may be taking place at the same time. Allow plenty of time for your parent to eat, as they may only have so much energy to spend socializing with others.
Serve your parents food that is easy to eat.
Special-occasion foods can be difficult for your parent to cut, chew, swallow, or hold onto a fork or spoon during the holidays. If it's possible, talk about this before the event. Nuts, for example, are food that your parent should avoid. Help by cutting up hard-to-eat items before they are served or placed on a dish at the table.
Serving your older relative something easy that doesn't require much attention and doesn't cause a mess is an alternative option. Cooked veggies can be added to any type of rice, pasta, or fine spaghetti, as well as pureed beef or fish stew. If you're not hosting the holiday gathering, ask if you can bring your parent's favorite food.
Keep medicines in mind.
Let this vacation not be an opportunity to let your parent's medication regimen fall off the rails. Prepare ahead of time by going over the prescription list and setting a timer on your phone to remind you of dosing times.
Assist other visitors by working in shifts.
Prepare ahead of time by speaking with other visitors who may be able to assist. When you're helping a parent eat, you may not have much time to eat or converse with others at the table. Having another guest (a sibling, perhaps) take a turn helping out will give you a break.
Organize a restroom break ahead of time
When it's time to leave, it's time to leave. And, like little children, parents in their golden years must occasionally excuse themselves mid-bite. A pre-meal toilet break may help, but it's not a certainty. Before dinner, figure out who will help your parent if he or she needs to go to the bathroom.
Always have fluids on hand.
Before, during, and after the meal, make sure your parent is properly hydrated. Also, if your parent is having trouble swallowing, keep an extra glass of water and straw available. Consider adding a little additional sauce to a parent's lunch, as wet food is easier to swallow.
Alcohol consumption should be monitored.
Even if alcohol is served at the holiday dinner, this does not necessarily guarantee that your parent may safely consume it. Falls in the elderly can be caused by excessive alcohol consumption, which can also interact with medicines. Consult with your parent's physician to determine whether or not a small amount of alcohol is permissible. a half-glass of wine, for example. If not, you might want to consider presenting your parent's non-alcoholic beer, wine, or champagne instead. As a caretaker, you'll need to keep a close eye on your alcohol consumption.
Plan ahead of time for your parents to go.
For the elderly, holiday gatherings can be exhausting and stressful, and your parent may be ready to go before the meal is over, especially if guests linger. Identify a reasonable leaving time and communicate it to your guests ahead of time so they can plan accordingly.
As long as everything goes according to plan, you and your parent will both be able to enjoy the holiday meal together and feel the positive effects of genuine family connection, sharing, and love.