How to make seniors comfortable during Thanksgiving dinnerPosted: Updated:
PHOENIX -- The holiday dining season starts this week with Thanksgiving and a good hostess knows how to make all her guests, both young and old, feel welcome at any festivity.
Millie Oakeson, the community relations associate from Belmont Village Senior Living, shared some dining tips that will make holiday meals easier for senior guests.
It's not simply a matter of serving the right food, Oakeson explained. It's how you serve it that makes for a positive dining experience, especially when catering to older guests who may be dealing with some of the physical challenges that come with aging.
Plate size -- For most seniors, wasting food is distressing and large portions can be overwhelming. Smaller plates are a good solution and allow for more pleasing and appetizing presentation.
Glassware -- Short stems are okay, but should be sturdy and the glass should have a pebbly, textured surface and a well-defined rim to help seniors to handle and drink with less chance of embarrassing spills. (reduced mobility and/or vision, arthritis, and/or tremors can cause problems with delicate stemware).
Coffee cups -- Look for large handled mugs (that can accommodate three fingers), and no saucers (the clinking can be distressing for those with tremors and having to manage two pieces can cause instability)
Silverware -- Choose a good quality that seniors can grip easily and hold on to.
Food Service--Pre-cut meats and other large foods in advance of the meal if help is needed so that the senior is not embarrassed by unwanted attention at the table.
Furniture -- Use chairs with arms and no castors for security and stability; also make sure the table is sturdy. The senior will use the arms and then the table to help themselves rise. Look for a broad pedestal-type that provides good support to the edges, or a table with four sturdy legs.
Color -- Keep it festive; use a clock face to reference where dishes are located for seniors with vision issues.
The Belmont Village Senior Living is located at 13850 N. Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd. in Scottsdale. For more information, call 480-945-3600 or visit www.belmontvillage.com