As families and friends gather together this Thanksgiving, it’s easy to lose oneself in all the festivities, the great food and the fun of celebration. But beneath all the fun is, as we know, a time honored tradition of giving thanks. Some of us may say a prayer before the meal, others may go around the table and ask each person what he or she is thankful for. Still others simply rejoice in being together as utterances of “please pass the cranberry sauce” mark the beginning of a feast of a special day.
For families with memory impaired loved ones, Thanksgiving can be a very different kind of holiday from that which we knew as children and young adults. Memories are often locked away along with recognition of the faces of those seated around the table. Yet, at our Anthem Memory Care communities, Thanksgiving never fails to spark a memory or two, as words of “thanks” ring out while we celebrate with an early Thanksgiving dinner.
Porter Place, our Anthem community in Tinley Park, Illinois, is a great example. As residents and their families finished up the last of the pumpkin pie, an easy and comfortable connection could be felt, between each other and with the caregivers who have become a special part of their daily lives. Resident Van Johnson felt the connection, exclaiming “I am so thankful for all of you with me here today, you all feel like family!” “Thank you for everything,” said George Ettinger, also a Porter Place resident. “That was a great Thanksgiving meal!”
And, while for many, Thanksgiving seems but a day along a continuum of days, the celebratory atmosphere and smell of turkey and pie can’t help but lift everyone up. Such was the case in Chico, California, for Amber Grove Place resident, Ron Hulen, who shared his thoughts with Brenda Reitz, Life Enrichment Director. “It’s all about love. Everything you do is for love,” he told her in a soft, reassuring voice.
To all of those very special families with memory impaired loved ones: May Thanksgiving bring you special moments of peace, comfort and joy.
The photo is courtesy of Harvester Place, an Anthem Memory Community in Burr Ridge, Illinois.