One thing that we talk about often is how to preserve independence for older adults. Our caregivers work to do this every day, and it looks different for different people. Every person has different levels of need and ability. Thanksgiving is no different. If you are a loved one of an older adult who is no longer able to cook the whole dinner by themselves, you can still include them! Many families have one person cooking traditionally, but that is a lot of work and means that the person cooking will have less time to socialize. So split the work! I have some ways that they can contribute. You can also find specific recipes from Ella Stewart Care and Graying with Grace.

Thanksgiving spread with a turkey, pumpkins, and cider

Air Fryers

The aforementioned Graying with Grace has some great recipe ideas with air fryers. I am going to talk about them more generally and why they can be a great option for older adults. Air fryers can not only be great for older adults who are on medically restricted diets, but they can cut down on fried or greasy food on Thanksgiving, which may be important to your family. They’re a much safer alternative than having your loved one fry something in oil, and they’re easy to supervise.

Also, everyone from college students to older adults can use them, so if they’re struggling, have them be a part of a team (but it is very important that their teammate does not do everything for them). Air fryers are also a great way to cook sides or mains while something else is in the oven, so your loved one really would be helping by using an air fryer.

No-Bake Items

Some older adults won’t be safe using an air fryer or an oven. Instead, you can put them in charge of items that don’t need to be baked or cooked. So, you can have them make drinks or no-bake Thanksgiving desserts. In this vein, you can also put them in charge of a prep step before someone else puts that item in the oven. For example, they can prep the baking sheet for rolls.

Be Flexible

Play it by ear, let them take breaks. Maybe they only have energy to help with one thing, or maybe they can help with more than you thought they could. Like I said, get them involved, even if they’re not working, just let them sit in the kitchen. You know what will work best for your family. If you think that you’ll need holiday help, please call us!

Thank you so much for reading this, and I hope you found these tips to be helpful! I will see you next time, and I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!