Seniors & Thanksgiving – Is Mom or Dad Ok?

As you sit down for your family Thanksgiving dinner, here are 5 indicators that your loved one might be developing a cognitive function issue that should be addressed.
Seniors & Thanksgiving – Is Mom or Dad Ok?

For many families, Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year to gather together and enjoy delicious food and the company of loved ones. If you are spending Thanksgiving with an older parent, you might notice some behavioral changes in them that could suggest a cognitive decline. As you sit down for your family Thanksgiving dinner, here are 5 indicators that your loved one might be developing a cognitive function issue that should be addressed.

Forgetting Thanksgiving Family Traditions or Special Memories

Celebrating cherished family traditions is an important part of the Thanksgiving holiday season. If you notice that your parent doesn’t recall traditions that are practiced each year, or becomes confused when discussing them, it could be a sign of a cognitive issue.

Remind your loved one of the family traditions being discussed and do what you can to help them enjoy the experience. It is also advisable to discuss the situation with your parent’s doctor.


Having Trouble with Names or Language

Many seniors coping with a cognitive decline have a difficult time remembering people’s names or choosing the right words in a conversation. If you observe that your loved one can’t recall relatives’ names or struggles with language during a discussion, speak to a doctor about next steps.


Most people find the Thanksgiving holiday to be an enjoyable time with family and friends. If you notice that your loved one is unusually irritable or reacting adversely to the noise and stimulation around them, it could be a sign of a developing cognitive issue.

Gently speak with your mom or dad about what is bothering them and see what can be done to make them more comfortable. Consult with their doctor about what you observed so you can determine if any follow up action should be taken.

Sense of Time and Day of the Week

Another symptom of a cognitive issue with an older person is consistent confusion about the date or what time it is. Sundown Syndrome is a condition that makes it difficult for people to know whether it is AM or PM. if you sense that your loved one is confused about the time or date particularly around this time of year, speak with their medical provider as soon as possible.


Depression around the holiday season is common for many people, but if you notice a sudden change in initiative or mental outlook from your older loved one, it may be something more serious. Depression is a common condition with respect to cognitive decline and sometimes comes on suddenly. 

If your mom or dad is exhibiting signs of depression or a lack of motivation, speak to them lovingly about it. Suggest during the discussion that it might be a good idea to talk with their doctor about it.


Frontier Senior Living is Here to Help

Thanksgiving for many families is a time to enjoy being together. During the festivities, if you notice that your older loved one is showing signs of a change in their cognitive abilities, you are certainly not alone. Many families have experienced this.

The caring and highly knowledgeable staff at Frontier has helped many families find the right care for their loved ones in a welcoming and safe setting. Have questions about senior living? Our friendly and compassionate team members are here to help. Find a community near you to get started.

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