Angel on Board for Senior Care

by francy Dickinson

Dear Francy; My Aunt is like my mom…a very sweet lady that raised me and now she is in a care facility. They have a weekend or afternoon visiting program, so she can leave and return to the home. I would like to bring her home to my place occasionally should I mention it or keep on visiting her?

I just want to take a moment and go over what you have already told me, you are caring for your Aunt. Not a mother or father, not a grandparent but an Auntie…how kind of you to give her more then just love, but your time.

Now, the answer is…why not. What I would do is take come time to sit down and run by a few rules of the road for yourself. Just write a few things down; would I need special food or care items? Could she move around my place easily or need someone or/thing to help her walk or transfer? Do I have children that would upset her? Do I have a place that she can sleep and be quiet for a nap? Is the bathroom equipped to care for her needs? Do I have a plan of what to do if she becomes ill while on a visit? Will my pets be a problem for her? Is my place all one level and warm and/or cool enough for her? Would I have a hard time taking her back to the care center?

Now that you have thought about those ideas and talked them over with friends and family…you can make a clear decision. That is all it takes a day trip to your home for a nice afternoon, dinner and movie and back to the care center is a great start.  A pick up after dinner one evening and back to your place for a stay over, breakfast and then lunch and she goes home for afternoon rest and dinner at her care center. Then the weekend get away that can be enjoyed by the whole family would be the next step. Baby steps is what we all need on all levels of our lives.

No it will not bother you to take her “back”. Remember her care center gives her total care- 24/7. You could not do that unless you want to quit work,  want to put your children second to her care, give up your privacy and use all of your nursing and care giving knowledge. See what I mean? We all do things on the best level we can. You going and keeping your Aunt in your circle of family by visiting often and even thinking about bringing her home every couple of months is really what every senior who is in a care facility wants. To be loved and you are just the angel that she needs.

Always be honest with yourself about the needs of you and your family and then work in the needs of your Aunt. That alone will be kind. Taking her small gifts of reading materials, special treats and just time with you is enough to send anyone living in a room all day…over the moon! The next best thing to do is go over and sit and do your work in her room. The laptop will work in the care center as it does other places. You sit and get work done, she will watch TV and know you are there for her.

Life does not have to be fancy or complicated. The very best times we all have to remember are usually quiet, intimate times of two people reading their books in the same room, or watching a movie together, or working around the house and checking on each other, or watching your children do homework while you do dishes. Simple stuff, makes life worthwhile…just keep working on the simple and the baby steps and you will be surprised how happy your Auntie stays.

Please join me on my website at www.seniorcarewithspirit.comand get more tips, e-books and other help through your care giving time. Thank you for sharing and blessings, francy

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I Feel So Old – Elder Care Tips

by francy Dickinson

Dear Francy; My mother has lived with us since my father died two years ago, lately all I hear from her is how old she feels. How can I help her see her beauty through the wrinkles?

I don’t know why people think that getting older means you stop being who you have always been. You are just older, that’s all. But then you talk to people and they will tell you (even in their late fifties) that they are getting old.

My mother was in her late nineties when she said; “francy, some times I walk past a mirror and I catch my reflection and I wonder who that old woman is? Then I remember, its me!” Seeing yourself in a mirror is never fun when you age, but keeping up with beauty routines, exercise and fun activities make it easier to keep your self image high.

When I married my husband, almost 30 years ago, I asked him to please use a simple moisturizer each day. At the time he was OK with the idea, but did not want to share it with anyone that he was putting on “Oil of Olay” every morning after his shave. You should see him now, he is in his 70’s and looks like he is in his early 60’s. I am so proud of him. When he is around other friends his age, they all ask him what his secret is and always laughs and says…a younger wife!

Moisturizer is a must, even if someone is around the house and make sure it has the “SPF” in the moisturizer. You can even use the glow moisterizers to give an older face a little color. Clean skin + moisturizer + lip stick = FEELING GOOD.

My mother watched all of her friends age and pass away before her. She took note of lots of things that they did to rush their own passing. One of the things she would talk about is that the minute they let their hair go all grey they would age in their personality. She saw it over and over again. That does not mean she thought harsh black, brown or red hair was the answer to youth. But some sort of light coloring of the hair would give their skin and their personality a boost. Mother kept color on her hair until her passing at 100 years.

Nails, I did mother’s nails a week before she passed. They were so pretty while she laid in bed and felt so horrid. Her family members would come to visit the little lady and see her unwell, but those lovely nails flashing on the bed clothes. Some times, you have to endulge yourself in little ways to get big rewards. If a monthly visit to the nail shop to have a mani and pedi done gives a person a smile and a feeling that they are still involved in the world…then tell her to “go girl” enjoy!

If someone has always loved clothes make sure their bed wear is fun and colorful. Just because you are stuck in a smaller world at home or in a care center, no one has to stop being the fun young girl inside. I had my mother change every morning into a daily house coat that was pretty and she even wore a necklace down the front. It made her feel dressed, even though it was designed for comfort and ease if she needed help. She would dress when we went out to doctor’s appointments. My motto is no pajama bottoms when you go to Walmart…dress, even if it is a simple outfit and easy shoes, it is dressing and making the person feel good.

Something new; I made sure that my family knew when my mother needed a lift. I would tell my niece that grandma was in need of a new pair of slippers, I would tell my nephew that she needed a petite size 10, house coat, that had a front zipper, in a pastel color. I let them know what she needed and made it easy for them to buy it. They would visit and she would get a little gift and both of them felt good about it. When people say, ” If you need anything let me know”. That means that you have to let them know.

Places to go, if your mom is inside and always by your side…time to find a senior group close by and introduce her to other seniors. Losing a spouse is very hard to go through and many times it takes strangers to bring out the words that she needs to say. She would not want to hurt you by talking about your Dad and his passing, but another older gal at a card table or exercise class would understand.

Funny how old means different things to us all. Maybe old means no one has told your mother how much they love her and how cute she looks, like your Dad used to do on a daily basis. You might try to make sure you joke with her about how smart, cute and sweet she is as often as you can so she can get that loving input that small talk can give all of us.

Thank you for caring so much about your mom. I started this process of working with those that give care to seniors because I felt so alone when I was doing it for my own mother. I hope I can be here for you with other questions and please go and visit my website www.seniorcarewithspirit.com. Blessings, francy

Elder Care in Your Future

by Francy Dickinson

Dear Francy: My parents moved to the beach six years ago. It was so much fun for them to be free of the city and have the easy beach atmosphere at there fingertips. Now, they have health concerns and the travel to the nearest town is not close, got suggestions?

Boy is this a difficult topic. You live all your life for retirement and make the “big move” and then a few years later reality starts to settle in and it is often not pleasant. I have family that moved to a small town that they just loved. They bought a small cabin just for two and it was perfect, until their health concerns took a down turn and the weather, distance and cabin itself are now concerns.

If the move has been made here are a few choices. They can keep the beach or retirement home just as it is and buy or rent a small place in the city. Hopefully, close by you so they can receive their health treatments or simply come in when the weather is bad. One of their children could give them a room or a part of the house to stay in on a “visiting only” basis so very little money has to be spent. That way they still have their special place and privacy, but have a haven when they need it. This will promote any extra worry and keep them calm and yet start to move them back into the city in small doses so if they find they are alone, or too unwell to be on their own…the move is easier.

Lots of families find that their one time summer or second home turns into the retirement home. That is such a terrific idea…but being practical about aging and what can happen in years to come has to be a part of the picture. So to keep someone safe while they are living more than a close drive away take down some of these suggestions.

Make sure the house is senior proof while the couple is young. Before they need it, add those extra bars in the bathroom, the hand held shower head (low flow). Make sure the stairs to the house are easy to climb, better yet, “no stairs”, or have a power lift put on the wall to assist them in years to come. Get a bed that supports older backs and is easy to climb out of in the middle of the night. Make sure their kitchen table and chairs are easy to use and comfortable as well as their TV viewing chairs. Lazy-boy style chairs may be the best for some, but weakened arms make the hand held release hard to work. Think about how high the cupboards are in the kitchen and if all the appliances are easy to use and will save money on utilities as their income gets strained. Remember to have a landscape that is easy care, or part of the monthly upkeep. Check the roof, a twenty year roof is great until you live 25 years and it has to be replaced with a limited bank account. The open room concept is a great one until you have to heat it, check out the heat exchange and be aware of rising prices of heating in years to come.

Driving may not always be something that seniors can count on, so is there transportation close? Exercise keeps all of us moving even into our 80’s & 90’s – is there a gym or exercise room close by? If they are going to be in a summer area in winter, will they be safe? Protection is key when living into your later years so make sure it’s a part of the plan. What about phone or emergency life line services? Get a plan, keep the cell phones on their person at all times – then any fall or health problem can be solved with a text or cell call.

There are way to many tips to give in a blog, so I did an e-Book for you to enjoy. Just go on over to my web site and get the information www.seniorcarewithspirit.com– Thank you for reading and send me your questions. Blessings, francy