Family gatherings and reunions are a great way to bring family of all ages together. That said, planning such a gathering can be stressful, especially when you have elderly family members to attend to on top of cooking, contacting everyone, and rounding up the kids. You can guarantee a successful family gathering by following these five tips.
1. Plan details in advance.
It’s very helpful to know what timeline is necessary for you to plan a certain gathering. Hosting Thanksgiving, for example, may take just a week or two to plan, while a full-fledged family reunion or vacation will probably take months. If you are hosting in your home, make sure you have enough bed space, food, towels, blankets, and the like for your guests. Also, be aware of any allergies or special food requirements your elderly loved ones might have. Older family members might also need wheelchair-accessible ramps, handicap-accessible bathrooms, and transportation assistance during their stay with you. Angels Senior Home Solutions can provide your loved one with car rides to the doctor’s office, and our nurses can assist with any injections, catheter changings, or pharmacy orders he or she might need during your gathering. Let us take care of these details so you can focus on other plans–and relaxing!
This will allow one person to delegate responsibilities and keep track of who’s coming, how much food to buy, and where the gathering will take place. If possible, try to assign this role to someone other than an elderly loved one’s normal caretaker. This takes the stress off the
caretaker and allows him or her to enjoy family. If you’re the main organizer, be sensitive to everyone’s financial situation when planning the budget. Don’t choose expensive vacation destinations, and try to plan your gathering for a location that’s equidistant for everyone. Consider hiring a sitter, especially for your children and the caretaker’s. After all, you may be the one in charge, but remember: you can do anything, just not everything.
While organizing the event, it’s probably easier to create a Facebook page or basic website for younger members of the family, but make sure to call or mail older relatives who aren’t as tech-savvy. Since you can’t do everything, it will be key to involve as much of the family as possible in the gathering, especially the older loved ones. Although they may not have as much energy as the kids or younger adults, they can offer plenty of wisdom when it comes to cooking, de-stressing, and even alleviating family feuds. If you ask for elderly family’s help, they’ll feel like they’re still needed and valued within the family. Not only can they help you around the house, they can provide invaluable memories with traditions and family stories during dinner. They did help to start your wonderful family, after all, so make them feel comfortable sharing these things.
4. Give your family some downtime.
It’s so important for elderly members to get plenty of rest and to not feel
frazzled during large family events. You want everyone to enjoy the day and not get burned out from “too much fun.” Try to keep any games and events short and simple and allow time in between
for rest, food, and catching up. After all, you don’t all get to see each other every day! If your older relatives have dementia, remember to avoid asking them too many things at once; this can be very overwhelming when they already have difficulty recalling details or deciding what to say. Angels Senior Home Solutions actually has specialized training for caregivers with information and communication techniques for taking care of loved ones with dementia. Remaining patient and understanding with your family members will show them how much you love them.
Not everything will go as planned before or during your family gathering–and that’s okay! It can be quite easy to become overwhelmed with the logistics of accommodating everyone and making sure your older loved ones will be healthy and comfortable. But there is nothing wrong with going for a run, taking a nap, or just watching a movie in the midst of planning; these relaxation techniques might even keep you sane! During the gathering, when all your planning comes to life, remembering the important things will truly makes a difference: your family wants to be together, and you are surrounded by food, stories, laughter, and love. What more could you ask for?
Angels Senior Home Solutions understands the challenges of planning holiday gatherings around elderly loved ones. More importantly, we understand the the love you have for your elderly family members, which is why we’re here to assist with transportation to appointments and medical assistance during your next gathering. For more information about how you can continue caring for an elderly family member, contact Angel’s Senior Home Solutions for the assistance and support your need.