Make This Year the Best Thanksgiving Ever!


Make This Year the Best Thanksgiving Ever | Eliminate the Holiday Stress in 5 Easy Steps, by Mary Lynn Brook

Over the River and Through the Wood, a poem, written by Lydia Maria Child in 1844 and later set to music conjures up childhood memories of a trip to Grandma’s house for a family Thanksgiving dinner. The memories are sweet but those memories may not be your reality. Listen Now

Your reality may begin with the congested holiday traffic on the 101 freeway the day before Thanksgiving. Like so many other busy parents, you worked up to the moment of departure and are now joining the thousands of families on their way to visit with their family. You thought about taking time off of work to leave early but decided against because you didn’t want to miss a day of pay. You can feel the stress of the holiday starting to build even before you leave the house. After filling your tank with gas at $4.00 per gallon, then packing the car with suitcases, for your two kids and a dog for a few days at Grandma’s house.  Just thinking about the holidays causes one to pause and take a deep breath.

Coming together as adults in your childhood home for the holidays can also be a stressor. Having a houseful of grandparents, parents, your sister’s children, your children, and a couple of dogs for a few days brings some challenges. The kids may have fun but living on a different schedule with other family members may take some adjustments.

Make this year the best Thanksgiving ever by reducing stress with these easy tips.

1. Focus on the positive

When faced with the negative challenges of being with your family, focus instead on the positive experiences of being together. Let go of the expectation of being perfect and acknowledge that each family member has valid feelings and agree to disagree. Just laugh when your brother reminds you of how you failed that college entrance exam 20 years ago. It doesn’t matter - let it go. Think about all the good things that came out of that experience. Don’t engage in past events that you cannot change or don’t want to talk about.

2. Manage the Money

Many families face money challenges during the holidays. Taking time off of work to travel to Grandma’s house or buying airline tickets for a family of four may be a financial sacrifice. If travel is a financial burden, it can put a damper on the occasion. If you can’t make the trip this year, be honest with your family and explain the situation to them. Maybe next year, everyone could meet in the middle of the country and start a new tradition. If you don’t have the money, don’t spend it.

Another way to save money is by finding gifts that are meaningful but don’t cost a fortune. Bake your favorite cookies and put them in a holiday cookie tin or frame a current photo of the family. Grandmas love these gifts! Gifts don’t have to be expensive; it’s the thought that counts.

3. Don’t Fret About the Food - it’s Just food

Believe it or not, Thanksgiving is not all about the food. However, if the turkey is the tradition that you absolutely will not compromise, plan with the prep work. Ted Allen’s article in Food Network Magazine called Ted’s Tips for a Stress-Free Thanksgiving, walks you through some useful information on food prep. Read Now

4. Find Joy in the Simple Things

Taking a walk together after dinner and forgetting about the dishes is a good time to reflect and share good feelings. Getting out of the house and stretching your legs will make you feel 100 percent better than if you were to sit in front of the TV. Holding hands, laughing, and playing in the snow is a good bonding opportunity for families. It lets the holiday spirit grow within the family.

5. Be Thankful

Reminiscing about loved ones who are no longer with us can be a worthwhile conversation. Talking about certain traditions they started and you are continuing means you are passing on a part of that person to others. Whether it’s a food tradition, like roasted parsnips or pecan pie vs. pumpkin, every time you eat those foods you will remember them.

Holidays come every year and the timing is predictable. Around Halloween, the stores start stocking for Christmas and grocery stores advertise canned pumpkin. However, each year presents new situations and challenges. It’s how we choose to meet those challenges that will determine the quality of the holiday we enjoy with our family. If the whole process becomes overwhelming, stop and prioritize what is important to you and your family. Remaining calm and positive will have a lasting effect on the people around you. You can set the tone for the season by your choices. It’s OK to set limits on your time and energy. Choose what feels right to you and everything else will fall into place.

The Advantages of Having a Roommate in an Assisted Living Community

The Advantages of Having a Roommate in an Assisted Living Community

Joseph Newlan, LVN, Associate Executive Director, Alexander Gardens Assisted Living Exerts from Starlight Homes Assisted Living 2019

Roommates in assisted living can have several advantages that you should consider when choosing a room.  Having to decide to share living space with another person, often someone you have never met can be difficult for both the resident and the family.  Here are some valuable benefits to consider:

  • Saving Money – The most obvious of the benefits of sharing a room is sharing the cost of accommodations. The savings are approximately 30-40% on average.
  • Easing Transition– Having a roommate promotes socialization.  Having a roommate can provide the first person you get to know   Your roommate can give you advice on how to better navigate within the community’s unique culture.
  • Decreased Loneliness – Too much seclusion is not a good thing. It is easy for loneliness to set in. Many seniors will stay in their rooms most of the day sleeping or watching television.  This lack of socialization can sometimes contribute to loneliness and worse, depression.  A roommate can dramatically diminish the feeling of isolation and/or loneliness.
  • Additional Monitoring – You should consider the benefit of the additional monitoring that a roommate provides. Because they see each other every day, roommates can be the first to notice changes that occur in the health or ability of a senior. There is great value in noticing a pattern early that might otherwise go undetected for a longer period.
  • Longer Life Expectancy – A variety of social studies confirm that social relationships augment one’s quality of life and extend our life expectancy. Having a source of consistent companionship in the form of a roommate can increase mental and emotional stimulation and therefore contribute to overall health and longevity.

Roommates aren’t just for starving students or young people but can be beneficial for people of all ages.

When choosing a room in assisted living there are many options to consider and a shared room or private room is worth considering.