Hosting Easter Dinner? Tips to Help Your Aging Parents Feel Comfortable

With Easter dinner approaching, here are a few measures you can take to make sure everyone feels happy and relaxed.

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Holiday dinners are a wonderful opportunity to get family and friends together to reconnect, reminisce and create precious memories. But while hosting a family dinner is an honour, it can also pose some anxiety-inducing concerns. This is especially true if you or your significant other have aging parents who are attending.

Any good host wants their guests to feel comfortable and at ease. With Easter dinner approaching, here are a few measures you can take to make sure everyone feels happy and relaxed.

1. Connect in Advance

As people age, their dietary requirements and wants may change. Certain foods might be uncomfortable or challenging to eat, simply undesirable, or may conflict with a certain type of medication. Check-in with your parents in advance to see what they’d enjoy for Easter dinner and work your menu around their ideas and suggestions. Keep in mind that your parents may have a different dining schedule, so have snacks on hand to help them stave off bouts of hunger before dinner, and between courses.

If one of your parents enjoys cooking, or if you have a special Easter tradition (like baking hot cross buns), maintain these special elements by keeping some prep work aside.

Involving your parents in deciding what to serve and in the food, preparation will make them feel seen and valued.

2. Reorganize Social Areas

If your parents use a mobility device like a walker or a cane, make sure that the furniture in social areas is adjusted before their arrival so that they have a clear passage with no obstacles.

If your parent is living will an illness — like dementia — they can experience problems with mobility, balance, and muscle weakness, too. If this is the case, and you haven’t already considered it, recruiting at-home care from agencies like Integracare Home Care will prove valuable. With services such as these, seniors can age comfortably at home. ‘At-home care’ means you can take your family to your parent’s home and spend as much time with them as you’d like over the holidays (such as Easter) with no need to worry about visiting hours, like those in nursing or assisted-living facilities.

Back to your home: If you have a boisterous or a large pet, delegate another guest as their charge. Lastly, selectively seat your parents at the dinner table for easy access.

In addition to keeping your parents safe, preparing the space in advance will minimize reorganizing hubbub while your parents are there, which could make them feel ‘in the way’ or a burden.

3. Take Time Away from the Kitchen

This will be appreciated by your parents and the rest of your guests, too. Holidays are an annual event; make sure you take time to enjoy the moment and the opportunity to connect. Prepare as much in advance as possible and delegate roles when necessary.

If you find your parents are more insular than usual, try gently to instigate conversation. Sometimes as people age, they may feel embarrassed, uncomfortable, or frustrated when they’re attempting to contribute to a conversation since words and thoughts can be harder to find (this is especially true for people living with dementia). Try to draw them into the conversation — using old photographs or playing a nostalgic soundtrack in the background may help.

Take Away

In addition to some of the ideas here, organize transport (if necessary)to alleviate any concerns or anxieties for your parents on the day; they’ll feel better knowing exactly where and when they’ll be picked up — similarly, plan exit transportation in advance. Gatherings can be tiring for some seniors; knowing there’s a plan for getting home will ease stress.

By preparing in advance and involving your parents wherever possible, you’re setting yourself (and your guests) up for a safe, happy, and memorable Easter.

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