Ask Joan: Sharing the Joy of Thanksgiving
November 20, 2023

Q: With so much happening in the world today, it sometimes feels hard to keep a positive outlook. I am looking forward to Thanksgiving and the upcoming holidays. Do you have any advice to share about ways we can foster the joy of Thanksgiving?

A: Thanksgiving is not just about turkey and pumpkin pie; it’s a time to embrace the warmth of family and friends, and the comfort of traditions, new and old. Reaching out to others is a wonderful way to feel better. Here are some things you can do to make connections with others during the holiday:

Joan Hatem-Roy, CEO of AgeSpan

Share stories: Take time to reminisce about the past. Ask your loved ones to share their favorite Thanksgiving memories or stories from their youth. It’s a fun way to connect generations and create shared experiences.

Express appreciation: Don’t forget to express your gratitude. Sometimes a simple “thank you” can go a long way. Let your older loved ones know how much you appreciate their wisdom, love, and the unique perspective they bring to your life.

Create a gratitude jar: Set up a special jar or basket and ask everyone to write down something they’re thankful for. Reading these notes together can be a heartwarming activity, reminding everyone of the blessings in their lives.

Cook together: There’s something magical about preparing a meal together. If your loved ones enjoy cooking, involve them in the kitchen. Share family recipes and the stories behind them.

Embrace traditions: Whether it’s a recipe, a game, or a particular song, embrace the traditions that make Thanksgiving uniquely yours. Older adults often find comfort in the familiarity of these rituals, fostering a sense of continuity and connection.

I realize not everybody can get together with family for the holiday. For those who plan to be alone on Thanksgiving, a good idea might be to check out what the local senior centers or churches are doing. They may be hosting community meals and give you a chance to socialize.

You could also coordinate a video chat with your loved ones or plan a day filled with things you’ve been wanting to do. Watch that movie, read that book, or try out some yoga.

Remember, Thanksgiving is not just a day; it’s a mindset. Let’s take this opportunity to celebrate the richness that age brings, the depth of experience, and the beauty of family bonds. Wishing you all a Thanksgiving filled with love, laughter, and the warmth of cherished moments.

Are you caring for an older adult or need help locating healthy aging resources? Our experienced staff is available to help. Visit us online at for more information. You can also call us at 800-892-0890 or email Joan Hatem-Roy is the Chief Executive Officer of AgeSpan. 

First published in the Eagle-Tribune

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