Hosting a Thanksgiving dinner can certainly have it’s stresses. Not the least of which is ensuring that all the guests have an enjoyable time and leave the holiday table full and satisfied. If you are entertaining a group of varied ages this year, you have the added challenge of accommodating the most senior guests at your table. This article will offer some tips on how you can make sure your elderly Turkey Day guests have a wonderful time at your holiday dinner.
Be Mindful of Dietary Restrictions.
Those in their golden years often have an array of dietary guidelines that they must adhere to. If one or several of your guest must strictly follow a low Sodium, low Potassium or low Fat diet, be sure that there are enough offerings on your holiday table that fall into these categories. The last thing you want is for your elderly guests to leave the table hungry or jeopardize their health simply to fill their stomachs at your table. Consult those closest to the senior guests to be sure that you have all the pertinent information regarding dietary restrictions before planning your menu.
Seat Elderly Guests at the End of the Table.
If your senior guests have physical limitations that require them a bit more time to get in and out of a seating position or need to visit the restroom a bit more often, seating them on the ends of the table may be a good idea. Elderly people often feel embarrassed or uncomfortable when they cause a disruption to others due to their physical limitations and their special needs. The less disruption they cause during Thanksgiving dinner, the more comfortable they will feel.
Serve Dinner at an Early Hour.
You may be accustomed to spending Thanksgiving enjoying football and socializing while your dinner cooks at a leisurely place. If you normally sit down to eat at seven or eight, you may need to make an adjustment to your holiday schedule. Your senior guests may rise early, eat early and retire early. Do a little research prior to the holiday to see if you need to make an adjustment to your holiday schedule.
Have a Plan B if the Main Table Placement Does Not Work.
Depending on your holiday table size, mechanics of your chairs or the amount of space in the seating area, you may need to offer your senior relatives an alternate place to enjoy their dinner. Be sure you have tray tables and more heavily padded chairs on hand to make the necessary adjustments.
Include Senior Guests In the Table Conversation.
It can be all too easy to overlook elderly relatives during a holiday meal. Take the time to include them in the conversation taking place around the table. Do not assume that these seniors are not interested in current events or pop culture topics. Ask your oldest guests for their opinions on current events and to share stories and lessons they have learned during their lifetime. It is always a host’s responsibility to try and engage all their guests in conversation to increase their comfort level. This is never more important than when hosting older relatives that may feel slightly uncomfortable at the vast difference in ages of most of the guests.
A few concessions to the oldest guests at your Thanksgiving dinner can ensure that everyone at the table has a wonderful holiday filled with fun, laughter and great conversation.