Creating A Senior Accessible Gathering

Three generations hugging Thanksgiving is the start of the holiday season and a special day full of cherished family traditions. For seniors, holiday gatherings can create some unexpected challenges. From planning the menu to choosing family fun, the following are ways to create a safe and inclusive environment for seniors.

Encourage your guests to be safe.

Keep seniors safe by encouraging good hand hygiene and wearing facial masks at large gatherings to help prevent the spread of flu and COVID.

Balance socialization and rest.
Family sitting around holiday table
For many seniors, engaging in socialization can be tiring. Create a quiet space for seniors to rest while engaging with family and friends. Include scrapbooks, family photo albums, magazines, and puzzles to help family and friends meaningfully engage together.

Wear name tags to help seniors with memory challenges.

For seniors with memory challenges, nametags reduce anxiety about remembering names.

Create a low-sodium, heart-healthy menu.

Create an inclusive menu with healthy foods that everyone can enjoy. Showcase seasonal fruits and veggies in your holiday menu and create new family favorite recipes.

Ensure that the location is fall safe.
Setting the holiday table
If you are hosting a gathering at a different location than a senior’s home environment, ensure the location has handrails, ample lighting, and is free of clutter or throw-rugs. When weather conditions are icy, ensure that seniors have a clear and safe path. Consider using a wheelchair in new environments to protect against falls and always use non-slip footwear.

Ask seniors about their needs before the gathering.

Talk to seniors about what would make this holiday special for them and their specific health needs. Create a plan together for a safe, memorable holiday.

Create a plan to ensure medication is given on time.
Baking a cake
During busy holiday activities, it can be easy to forget daily tasks such as taking medication on schedule. Create a plan to ensure that medications and daily care is given on schedule.

Ask for a caregiver to come along to support and help.

Having a caregiver attend a holiday event is a wonderful way to support the entire family. With a skilled caregiver