Cheer Weekend Blues for Elders

Dear Francy: My mother is so bored and in a blue mood, can you give me some tips to help?

When you’re home bound or very restricted in your comings and goings…it is very hard to distinguish the days of the week. The importance of days is very high for emotional well being, so a weekend should be reguarded as important to a senior as it is to family member with days off.

Since the TV programming is never very bright on the weekends, this is the time to make sure a movie is on hand. Either borrow one from the library, have the senior do a Netflix account or just rent one, but movie night on Saturday is really something fun for the senior to enjoy. You can take turns with an older movie one week and a newer release the next. If the senior is living with family members, this is the night for everyone to come to the senior’s room for the movie, it gives the senior a feeling of connection. Make sure there is a treat to eat like; easy to make popcorn, or Cracker Jacks from a box. Take a break halfway through the movie for bathroom time and then enjoy. It will be a nice uplift for the senior and the caregiver. (Also a perfect time to invite a family member or friend over to enjoy the movie, it will not seem like such a boring thing for them if there is a movie in the mix.)

Sundays may no longer mean a trip to church or out to breakfast. No matter, church services can be found all over the TV and you can even order services from their own faith center and they will be delivered via a CD. Having a special breakfast or brunch is a lovely tradition for Sundays. Adding a larger breakfast with pancakes or waffles, a special sweet roll or other favorite along with their usual eggs make the meal something to enjoy. Always serve it with a nice linen napkin or fancy towel on the tray and use better dishes than the usual everyday set.

A great way for the caregiver to enjoy the weekend is to look forward to something different. Maybe arrange a visit from a family member, or have a friend bring over a pet (bathed and pre-fed so they are calm). Just a short visit is the best and having some cookies and coffee to offer the guest makes the senior feel like they are really entertaining again.

A walk, even if it is to step outside and sit in the sunshine for a few minutes. A wheelchair ride down the block and back or putting a chair by an open window or sliding door…so they feel they have a different view than everyday.

Traditions, once set, make good friends. Maybe its a round of cards or a quick game. Maybe its having their nails polished or a nice bath with extra care given to their hair. The senior can make a call to a relative they enjoy and talk to them about their week or something happening in the news.

Helping the senior have weekend traditions, makes them feel there is meaning in their week and days don’t just melt into days. Keeping a clear difference between something easy but special to do on the weekend compared to the weekday, allows them to look forward to the weekend, not dread it.

Many care givers have their seniors work on photos and memory books on the weekend. That allows them to talk about their past and family that is no longer with them. Other crafts are often prepared and the project finished with the senior so the attention span can be short but fun.

It doesn’t take money to accomplish a fun weekend for both the caregiver and the senior. It does require some pre-thought on the subject and setting plans that can enhance the living experience of you both.

Please visit my home page for more information on senior care-giving and do leave me a question you may have and I will do my best to answer – Thank you, francy



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