Turkey and all the Trimmings
Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, based upon the Colonial Pilgrims 1621 harvest meal.
It was President Abraham Lincoln who proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and praise of our beneficent father who dwelleth in the heavens.”
Known by some psychologists as “The Mother of All Holidays,” Thanksgiving continues to be a day for Americans to gather for a day feasting, football, family and most importantly, tradition. Annual holidays remind us of the continuity of family life, linking us to the generations who preceded us and to earlier times in our own family when we celebrated this same holiday.
This holiday can and does embrace our senior living community on many levels. Certainly all generations of families come together and tell stories of Thanksgivings past and, by adding new elements each year, create new stories for the present.
It is most important that our seniors who are alone from spouse and family are engaged and part of today’s Thanksgiving as well as in reminiscing about the holiday traditions of the past.
As administrator Lori Musto of Independence Hall says, “It is most important that we keep our Seniors fully engaged in the day at hand. We try to make sure that they do not get lost in Thanksgivings of long ago.”
Barbara Fiese, psychologist and author of Family Routines and Rituals impresses upon the importance of balancing the traditions and rituals of the past with what is happening in the present. “A marker of successful rituals is that they also change with the times. As we bring new members into the fold, we make room for new traditions. We can redefine ‘family’ so neighbors, newcomers to the community and international visitors can have a place at the table. These are times to learn about other traditions – expand our group and hopefully expand our world.”
Margate Manor administrator, Gary Solomons as well as Lori Musto have the residents take an active part in decorating the common rooms in the whole Senior Residence.
There is a festive mood that keeps the residents smiling and interacting with both the staff and each other. Each year new residents join the “family” and add their own personal touches or traditions to the gathering, ensuring that connection to the present day while honoring the rituals of the past.
Finally, one tradition of the holiday that never changes is the one that may have the most positive benefits for our seniors – giving thanks.