3 Tips to Make Caregiving Easy at Thanksgiving

November 17, 2009 at 7:45 pm 2 comments

I’ve cooked 30 Thanksgiving meals thirty years in a row. That’s a lot of turkey. Even when I was caregiving my mom, the turkey made its way into the oven and onto our plates, but there were a few holiday meals I where I was so tired I didn’t even feel like chewing. Why? Because I was trying to do too much. Caring for a mom who has Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s did teach me a thing or two–I had to choose what I was going to focus on–and what I could do without.

Maybe you’re the designated caregiver and all the family members are gathering at your house for Thanksgiving because it’s easier since your parents are already with you. It’s time to make some plans.

3 Tips to Easy Caregiving at Thanksgiving:

  • Divvy up the workload. Send out an email or make a few calls. List the menu and other “chores” that have to get done such as setting the table, washing the dishes, putting the leftovers in containers, making appetizers, coffee and dessert, cleaning the guest bathroom…don’t leave out a thing. Ask for help. Give them choices, and accept their help. Even if you prefer your pecan pie recipe over theirs, let them make theirs–this isn’t the time to quibble.
  • Lower Your Standards. What can be done easier? How about plastic cups and paper plates? If no one wants to wash the china by hand, then nix the china. If you don’t feel like washing and cooking a 25 pound turkey, then order one from a local restaurant or catering company. Yes, it’ll cost more, but not that much more when you factor in the work that goes into cooking such a mammoth bird.
  • Keep What Matters Most. Ask yourself what Thanksgiving means for you–and for your loved ones. Do you have a fondness for sweet potato souffle? Do you love the all day football? Do you like going around the table and each one saying what they’re most thankful for? Keep the traditions that are dear to you, but begin to let go of the “to-do’s” that exhaust you.

The hardest part of the holidays for caregivers? Not overdoing. It’s easy to fall into host mode. We try to please our family by creating the perfect atmosphere, but there’s a price to pay. Notching Thanksgiving down a bit can still allow you to incorporate the things you love–and make it manageable.


Entry filed under: brain fitness, caring for parents, elder care, family caregiving. Tags: , , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. AT  |  November 23, 2009 at 3:37 am

    There is so much pressure during the holidays. It feels so important to make everything important. This is intensified when caring for a parent. Thank you for the reminder to relax and focus on a few important details.

  • 2. Saffel Karly  |  November 29, 2009 at 1:34 am

    Hey , it is Thanksgiving Day! I’m enjoying my extra day off, and I am planning to make something fun that’ll probably involve a car trip and seeing something new in Norwalk I haven’t seen yet.
    You write new post at Thanksgiving?


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This Blog

Hi, I'm Carol O'Dell. This blog will include stories and lessons I've learned while caring for my mom, and now as I speak to caregivers around the country. I hope to offer suggestions, ideas and insights that will help others.

While this blog is supported by Dakim Brain Fitness, I’m not blogging to promote the Dakim company or products. Instead, I’m writing about how caring and being cared for affects your life and your family. My hope is that this blog gives you a place to learn, reflect, gain new perspective to make it another day.

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