Calming Fear when Seniors Hear Bad News

Dear Francy; My Aunt is in her late 70’s and her husband has recently died. She is so fearful, of the house, the news, her money, her health, being alone. I am finding it quite a challenge to be around her- she is so negative about her life and the fear is just eating her up. Ideas?

Yes, I know you are not living with her, but a daily call pattern could help her a great deal. If you lived with her you would set the tone for the day when you walked in the door to greet her each morning, instead do it with your phone calls. This is never an easy thing to do because it requires you to be strong and not fall into her pool of depression and fear. You simply make a plan before you call her each day. Call around 10ish your time, when you can take a five minute break from your daily job or life pattern. Have in mind what to say.

If mother was still with us, I would be concerned about all the repeated news about the Swine Flu. Mother lost relatives and her sister was sick with the Spanish Flu after the First World War, so this news would have chilled her to the bone. Being upbeat, informing but refocusing her onto other ideas, days events etc is the key.

As you walk into a care area, you always take a moment for a quick deep breath. That brings oxygen to your brain and pulls the focus into the now. It allows you to remove the thoughts you have had with other patients, family or personal thing before this moment in time. The same goes on the phone, just before you pick up that receiver you take a quick deep breath and there you are, stronger and ready for action.

Have in mind the day at hand. Here we are at the end of April, so we start to think May. May 1st was always May Day and daisy chains and May Day baskets; Mother’s Day coming up and spring time. It’s horse races at the Derby, it’s Opening Day for Boating here in the Puget Sound. There are lots to talk about and lots of ideas to share with your senior at this time of year- that can divert them away from the constant worry about bad news.

Smiling goes a long way with care for seniors, even if it’s on the phone-people “feel” smiles. You’ll be very surprised at the tone of your voice when you smile, compared to when you don’t. You can begin by using your everyday cheery voice as you plow through the verbal garbage that might be thrown your way.

You say; “Good morning hope today is finding you well. How are you feeling today?” – Keep them on course, if they say that the flu has been on the news and people are dying, no problem- you stay calm. ” I know, I have been following that information. I am very sorry so many people are worried over it. Luckily we are safe here, I have gone over all of the surfaces with cleaner and that makes it safe for us today. But how are you feeling, have you had your breakfast and morning pills?”

Address the positive not the negative. Do a chore in the room, or ask them more personal health questions on the phone. Let them vent if you wish, but let them vent for a limited time. Then turn yourself back on again. “It is almost May Day…I remember filling up baskets of flowers and then sneaking around the neighborhood and making deliveries to neighbors, ringing the bell and running away so they only found the basket on the front porch when they came to the door. That was so much fun, did you ever do that?”

Encourage the TV to be turned onto a channel that is fitting for their days viewing; food, PBS, game shows. Or get them involved with a task for the day, bring them laundry to fold, or take them outside for a short walk or sunshine. Come up with a few ideas and ask them which they are going to do. Taking their mind off the fear and onto a task, chore, or new thought pattern should be the plan.

If they are fearful of living alone, then get a good alarm system for them. Or add a lifeline or cell phone service so they can call for help at any time. After a six month wait, suggest a new home to be around others of the same age that will keep them going and happy. If they have had years of caring for a spouse, suggest a transition to helping others in a local charity situation. Volunteering at a pet shelter, or food bank – keep your mind creative and see what suggestions hits the mark. You may have to take them to a senior center for the first time, but they will learn to have new friends and start to “refocus” on friends and activities.

Money is money, you cannot make it go away…so making sure they have a good firm grip on their money – you can introduce them to a 3rd party person that could explain investments, income, bills and help make plans to cut the budget down. If the house has to be sold to give a better life without stress, then that thought pattern has to be planted and let it grow over time. Time to think things through is so important when you are dealing with anyone of maturity.

I always make sure I give attention to fears. “I’m sorry you feel so worried over that, but let’s work together to think of ways to make it easier for you.” That way they know you are listening to them, but just not falling into the fear pool with them. Asking professionals to come in and give advice is so helpful. A good family counselor can help with grief or a free grief support group can do the same thing. A few classes in changing insurance companies for car and health at the senior center will inform them of how costs can be cut and still have good coverage. There are always ways of handling fear.

*Bringing the fear out in the open to discuss but not give it power.

*You can bring in ideas to divert their thoughts of fear with ideas of current events and friends that can bring them companionship.

*You will be able to bring thinking and patience into play for them.


That’s why senior, family and spouse care givers are so valuable- they can change an ordinary life into a life of quality. I thank you for all you do for your senior. It can be a hard road and very lonely. Please do go to my website at and click on the daily blog called Dear Francy for more tips, I have a click for on demand radio show that I do each week, and my special free service called Loving Memories serving you and your family to help find just the right care facility for your senior when those needs are required. If you are just starting to give care I have written a how to called Care Giving 101 Workbook that can really give you a lot of ideas of how to give care. I am also on Twitter @seniorcaretips

Thank you, francy


How to Clean when Flu Hits Town

by francy Dickinson                

Dear Francy; Dad is so fragile right now, just out of hospital – just getting his appetite back. He has cleaning girls and bath ladies and such in the house and I worry about the flu going around?

You should worry, anytime other people come into the home to clean or give care it is exposing the senior to germs. The recent flu outbreak can work around the country and usually it’s elderly and small children that are effected the most. So cleaning is what we do and we do it on an ongoing basis. I know it sounds boring but I am going to go over the different rules of keeping your home even cleaner than hospitals!

Keep it Clean- tips for you or your cleaning care or office staff:

  • You will find solutions at your medical supply, beauty supply, pharmacy that are concentrated and used for cleaning surfaces. You buy these and then thin them down with water and put them into spray bottles- large or small- and they are there for you to use in your cleaning all the time. A small bottle should be by your desk to go over all the surfaces of the office like the keyboard, phone, printer and anywhere you rest your hands. Do not think you are the only one using the area, others may come by and expose it and you may pick up something from place A and move it yourself back to your place B.
  • Washing solution that you can make at home is one tsp bleach with one gallon of water. This solution lasts only 24 hours. Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners such as glass cleaner, it makes a nasty gas that will sicken you.
  • Bleach is what kills most germs, but some surfaces will be harmed by bleach so you can look for solutions that have other solutions and use those. I have a product called Amazing that I buy at the dollar store – it has bleach in it and I use it all over the house, all the time.
  • You can also buy pop up – pre moistened- towels with bleach mixture on them. They’re easy to use and you can get them in large quantities at Walmart, Costco and other box stores. Use the towel for one area or room at a time and then throw it away. They are very easy to teach children to use in their own bathrooms and bedroom areas. I think kids need to know how not to spread germs at an early age.
  • Get in a habit of using the pre moistened towels as you enter a shopping area and use a cart. Most stores have them for your use now, so go over the handle and area around the cart and throw them away. Have the small bottles of liquid cleaner in your purse, car and office desk, as well as by the side of your senior in their favorite chair. You can buy the bottles very cheap at the dollar store. Use them when you are out with kids and never eat or touch yourself without using this liquid antibacterial bottles of soap.
  • Sneeze into your elbow area of your arm and do not touch your nose or eyes when you are out and about. Use a Kleenx if you need to stratch or rub those exposed areas. Many people use something like neosporin in their nose when they go out in the midst of a nasty outbreak of a bug. I have done this myself, but I have no information on the success of this action.
  • Remember you want to use paper towels to do the cleaning and throw them away as you move from room to room or when they get damp. You need to dry the surface, it’s the moisture that things grow in. Regular towels can harbor the germs and move them around the house, so use paper towels to keep clean.
  • Bath towels should be used and washed after someone sick has taken a shower. All towels in the bathroom are up for washing machine clean if the family is unwell and the surface of the bathroom needs to be cleaned.
  • If you’re using the bleach mixture, then you need to wear rubber gloves as you clean to protect your hands. Buy rubber gloves in most grocery and large box stores. But buy just one box of  both the latex and non latex and try them out and see if you show any signs of allergies. Once you know the type of rubber gloves you use best, then you can buy a large amount of them at the medical supply center or Costco. You can have the doctor actually write a prescription for them to help with the cost and if nothing else, they can come off the taxes in the medical care section for the patient/or you, if you are claiming them as a dependant.
  • If you have not cleaned heavily lately, do it now. I make it a task to do the surface of the care home/nursery in the evening when every one is going down to bed. That way the day’s germs are taken care of and in the morning we start fresh all over again.
  • Wash hands before and after you put on gloves. The gloves protect you from germs but touching them will bring them back onto your hands. Do not think gloves mean that you are safe from germs, you are touching the germs with the gloves and taking off the gloves is something that is taught to you in nursing aid classes. If you have not taken one, ask a nurse at the doctor’s office to show you and she will walk you through it and you will have it down in no time.
  • Washing hands is done all the time and you need to get used to it if you are a mom, care giver or just live alone. The world is full of more people, more people make more germs and you are in the middle of it.
  • Check out soap contents before you buy. I’m allergic to aloe and they are putting that in lots of hand soaps, so I have to be careful not to buy those. They ask you to use antibacterial soaps out of the home and regular soaps in the home. But using any soap is better than none. So buy some soft soaps at the box store and just wash your hands on a regular basis or when ever you do a task with another person or when you move from a care giving room to another.

Proper Hand Washing Guide:

  1. Make sure you have everything you need at the sink before you wash your hands. That would be your liquid soap, your paper towels and a trash can that is ready for you to drop the towel in to- without touching another surface. >> Use one of the paper towels to open the public bathroom door after your hands are washed clean.
  2. Turn on warm water and keep the water running while washing your hands, this is not a time to worry about water consumption.
  3. Rub palms together to make a lather. Scrub between your fingers and the entire surfaces of the hands and wrists remember under your nails. Scrub for 10-15 seconds.
  4. Rinse hands thoroughly by pointing fingers down so the water does not run up your wrists
  5. Dry hands well with paper towels that are clean and make sure they are dry, not moist. You can use hand lotion if available to prevent chapping.
  6. If chapping occurs then talk to the pharmacist and ask them if they think it is the soap, the gloves or just the washing? He can recommend a good moisture cream that will help your skin.

I hope this information helps you through out the full year. Winter is not the only time for germs, they lay in wait all year long. Faucets, toilet handles, light switches, door bells, all kitchen surfaces, pens and scizzors in your kitchen office area, crayons and dog toys. The list is long. But if you and your family get used to cleaning up after dinner in the kitchen and call the clean up, surface clean up as well as dish clean up, it can really help to lower the sniffles.

If you give care and you’re sick, do not go into the senior area – get help to take over your place until you’re well. You can find face masks at the pharmacy and ask the pharmacist how to use them for full effectiveness.

Please go to my website and read more information on basic care giving. I also have fun radio shows that will give you good info at  and the informaiton on how to really give care well is in my workbook called Senior Care 101 Workbook, that you can find on the products page of the www.seniorcarewithspirit.comsite. Thanks, francy

Gay Seniors and Their Care Needs

by francy Dickinson                  

Dear Francy; My brother is gay and has had two very long lasting relationships and now he is facing a terminal illness and he wants both of his former partners to participate in his care. It is way to complicated for me, but I have been asked to help him with this. Guidance?

OK, first take your mind off the Gay part and just see your brother with two x wives and how he might want them to be with him on and off during this time of his passing. See? That makes it easier for those that are not Gay to understand, it’s just past lovers that mean so much to the senior that they want them to be next to them during this time of transition.

Just as you would with an xWife club members, you should treat the two former partners with kindness and just ask them if either one has a problem being in the room or the home when the other is there to visit or spend time with them. It’s not a bad question, I ask that of many family members, lots of families have had disagreements and members do not get along and I try to give them time with the senior and space from the family that upsets them. I think that you will find his former partners are still caring towards him and would enjoy a routine visit.

How do you plan visits to a sick senior?

  • Make sure the past is left at the door, they should be there for loving support and to talk about old times and funny things and just enjoy life, not bring up sad times.
  • Timing is important. Usually a weak senior has a range of 10-25 minutes of energy to spend with someone that is just visiting and talking away-  it is very tiring for the senior.
  • If the person is coming to stay for a day; they will know to settle in and keep busy and the time with the senior is not spent talking all the time, but letting life unfold as it would naturally. Watching TV or movie together, taking the senior out for a walk, having lunch, talk a little and leave the room for napping for both of them. One day a week, is the most they need to give, that means that they have lots of time for sharing and not so much time that they wear out and lose the special feeling of the moment.
  • No matter who it is that comes to visit. Have rules on the door that fit the situation, Do not enter if you are sick, This is a Stress Free Happy Area, Everyone Crossing this Line is a Friend and will be Treated as One – what ever you want to post. Make it light and fun, but remind them you want loving in the room not distress.
  • Inform those that stay longer than a 30 minute time period what the senior can or can not do. They may not understand the senior has to go to the bathroom every 10 minutes, or has a breathing machine on for 20 minutes and can not talk during that session. Remember they are not care givers, so inform them how to lightly help and be there for support.
  • Life is life and seniors that are Gay need to be visited by their Gay adopted family members. You will have to just release all of your preset ideas and know who ever calls on the phone or shows up on the door step – is a friend and should be treated with kindness and hospitably while they’re visiting your brother.
  • If the Gay lifestyle bothers you, that is OK…just slip out the door and come back to check on him when needed. You are not expected to change – you are just expected to allow your brother to be all he is around his actual straight family and his adopted Gay friends and family. It is all love to him, he is the one facing illness and transition, so he needs to work through all of his own feelings and ideas.
  • Ask your brother if there is a special Chaplain that he would like to have over to talk to and pray with at this time. Many times those in the Gay community have special ministers that include not exclude the Gay community from their faith groups. So, make sure his needs are being met by using someone that is special to him, not just your own family minister.
  • Loving your brother has probably not meant you were exposed to his friends and his Gay culture. He knows that and he does not want you to be uncomfortable, so he would not ask you to do anything that makes you upset. So it is your place to tell him, that you love him and want him to have those around him that support and love him. Let him know you will welcome his friends and loved ones into the home or care facility with open arms and he only has to guide you with the information of how to notify them of his needs.

I know that care giving is a very difficult thing to do for anyone, but giving to your brother is such a dear thing for you to do. Thank you for your time. Would you be kind enough to visit my website and click for the on demand radio show to hear more about care giving tips and go to products page to check out my book Care Giving 101 Workbook, that has so many helpful tips for those that do not have a background in nursing and still want to give good care to family and friends.

Thanks, francy

PS I am on twitter too @seniorcaretips

“Change” the Word sends a Chill!

by francy Dickinson                 

Dear Francy: My mother is not coping well with any little change. It’s getting so bad, that I simply do things now without telling her. Can I help her through this?

Change, some of us will climb a steep mountain instead of facing change – I do understand but what I have been doing for a long time is trying to divert the senior’s thought pattern to the outcome of change, not the actual change itself.


  • If you’re feeling that a doctor you are using is simply not working for you and you want to change. Then you put on your change hat and say; “Mom, I have found this great doctor that’s really close to us and has a wonderful referral list. I talked to a friend about him and he gives him five stars, I made an appointment and we can see how we like him.”  No mention of the other doctor, if she asks, you just say we need someone for a back up just in case. Keep it calm and keep it safe.
  • You know your mom has to stop driving and you are trying to ease her into the idea and she kicking her way out of it. You then put on the change hat, “Mom I was thinking that when you decide to stop driving it would be fun to give your car to one of your grand daughters. Like Shelley, she is taking that bus to work everyday and it will be ages before she can save for a car, think how special it would be for her to drive your car and keep it in the family?”
  • Your dad knows that he has to stick to his diabetic diet, but he is making the change a nightmare. Off comes the son/daughter hat and on goes the change hat, “Dad, I just bought a new cookbook on diabetic cooking and it features desserts. I’m going to make you a different dessert each week. I want to start with this great pie they have on the cover.” When you get to the house with pie in hand, make sure you leave with all the cookies, candy and goodies he has stashed away. Replace them with no sugar treats and remember carbs are like sugar, so the bread needs to be wheat instead of white. But make the change out well worth the fuss!
  • Your senior is really unhappy in their retirement place. A change of living is going to take place and that is a worst change of all. Change hat ready? ” Mom, I walked through a care center right by my place the other day. It is such a close drive and we could have lunch together if you were over there. I love the way they do the colors in the rooms and their food was so nice, the people are so kind and I loved it. I want you to be happy again so we can spend more time together. Let’s go over and walk through together.”

See what I mea? Always talk about a cheery outcome, not the change. Make the change, yes…but make it with a feeling of positive movement instead of leaving something good behind. Think forward and dangle a carrot. If you want a young child to eat veggies, you always dangle a carrot, like dessert in front of him/her. So do it now. When you move we will have to get you some new pillows or a couple new comfortable robes or slippers, or go over and have lunch with her each Friday and see if you can get your siblings to join you. Those are the payoffs and that is how change is done without so much fuss.

If there is a lot of fuss. The truth is, you are the caregiver and you make the decisions. Making sure they are kind and just – the decisions are on you and you have to be the “mom” here and there with no guilt attached. Just as you said no to your kids- this is a – we will do this change – to your senior. It’s the hard part of giving care. Sometimes loving care does not make you popular.

Please do go to my website and click on my new BlogTalk Radio Show icon  and have a listen to my radio shows. I cover, Senior Care Tips, Making the Most of Your Doctor Visits and Moving Mom out of the Family Home….it’s fun listening, I know you’ll enjoy it! The shows are on demand so you listen when ever you want to and you just click on the PLAY button…easy breezy-

Thanks for all you do for your mother…francy

Trees a way to calm and heal

by Francy Dickinson                    

Dear Francy; I am going to share a little about my self today because trees came up again this weekend. We live in the northwest and our trees are deep green and tall, we have lots of Douglas Firs, cedar and pine so we have a green mantle around us all the time. You may have a small tree in your back yard or a park close by, take a walk – watch a tree – see what happens.

My people are Tree people:

In the middle of the summer of 1969 I was living in New York City, dancing with a ballet company. I had a curvature of the spine and as I danced professionally it effected the muscles. The pain would come and go, the muscles would act up now and then, but that summer – I was in very bad shape. I simply had to take a break and calm down the muscles and I flew back home for rest. I went from the busy high rise city to the quiet tree filled lanes of my home town.

Home was in Tacoma, Washington where my parents had a lovely turn of the century Queen Anne home in the North end. When I arrived I was shocked at the advancement of my father’s cancer. He had been fighting throat cancer for a few years with only radiation to help keep it at bay, in those days. He was now at home, no longer working, no longer walking well, no longer able to eat food- he had a feeding tube. Mother was working at the college as a cook and she got up very early to do the breakfast shift and came home in the afternoon. So she would put dad in the living room facing the large bay window and arrange all that he needed before she went off to work. He had a commode, water, pre-mixed food for him to administer through his feeding tube, Kleenex, and a book. She then hurried off to work and worried about him all through her working shift. Around 9am a nurse from the neighboring nursing home would arrive and let herself in and give him a morphine shot, she would check up on him and give him anything he needed and then leave. Mother knew the owner of the nursing home and as a neighbor, he sent one of his nursing staff over to help with daddy as a kindness. 

That was what greeted me on my arrival and the all too quiet house. A big house that had always been filled with noise from four daughters and now their grand children. But Dad was way to ill, no one was visiting Dad. He sat alone, quiet all day, unable to talk because of his throat cancer surgery. Dad was a man that was exceptionally bright and gifted as an artist. He made furniture and upholstered for a life long living, he had been one of the first home decorators in our city creating things all his life…now he just sat, quiet.

I took over the routine of caregiver, I was 19 that summer. I had to put aside the embarrassment of the commode and learned how to assist him out of his wing chair that he sat in all day long. I learned the recipe for his food mixture and knew how to clean out his trachea tube, it was not pleasant, but when you have someone you love that is sick – the details of care, simply go away and you concentrate on making them comfortable and giving them ways to find happiness – even if it’s in small moments.

It was a few days before we both settled into a routine and I soon would sit by him reading and writing letters to my NYC friends. I had the radio on some times, but most of the time it was quiet. Dad wrote notes all day…funny notes, sad notes, mad notes, help notes…it was an odd way of communicating. Just recently I found a box filled with his notes that mother had kept for over forty years – I have not read them, I just closed the top to the box and remembered how sad that time was for all of us.

I was feeding him one day when I first saw the trees. You see his eyes were that wonderful light grey-blue color that can reflect like a mirror. As I stood by his side holding up the feeder tube, he was looking outside as he always did and I saw the trees reflected in his eyes. I finished the feeding and cleaned the area and when I returned to sit back down I stared outside and saw the large trees across the street. Horse chestnut is what we called them, they were swaying in the wind and had a quite a rhythm going as I watched them. I looked over at Dad and he was still just involved with the trees. It was his meditation point. I asked him about it and he wrote a small note back to me, “I live with them, when I’m gone I will be with them.” He smiled and I excused myself to go and cry in the back yard.

I was there all that summer and into the fall as the tree’s leaves started to turn. It was the 19th of September that he passed that year. Every few years I drive by that house and look at the trees, they’re still beautiful, I think Dad is taking very good care of them.

I was forty when my sister found out she had cancer. It was a strange thing, she had called me on the phone and told me she was going to the doctor and there was something odd about her voice. I asked her if she wanted me to join her and we could have coffee afterwards, she said a reluctant OK and came and picked me up. After her appointment she returned to the reception area and sat next to me waiting for the doctor to instruct her on her next appointment and he came out and stood in front of us. In the middle of other patients he simply said; “You have cancer” and walked away. We bothjust sat there, not able to speak, not knowing what to do, not even feeling really- just like a scene in a movie we sat quietly together. Until I broke the silence and told her we needed to leave and we walked out the door to her car. I drove her home and we sat in her beautiful backyard and drank tea. No tears, no words- just shock. It was a horrible time for us both. She was alone with no one to care for her, I was married and worked with my husband. She needed someone to help her through the massive operation and home care…and the only person that could do it without paying for it, was me. It was the second time I gave care to someone who was terminal. It was such a sad time, she had so many needs and I had to learn so many skills to keep her comfortable. I tried so hard to make her laugh, I tried to think of funny things about the meds and the procedures and we tried to laugh all the time. But it got harder to laugh as you saw her go down in her body’s ability to function. One day I brought her a plate of crackers and cheese and put it on the table next to her. She was sitting in a favorite chair of hers and looking out the window into the back yard. I glanced at her eyes to give her a smile and there they were…the trees reflecting in her light grey-blue eyes that were so much like my father’s – all those years before. I asked her about the trees, “Do they make you feel good?” She smiled and told me that when she looked at the trees it was like they drew her in to them. She could just sit for a moment and they called to her and she instantly felt relaxed and had less pain. They made her feel comforted and left her feeling “not so alone”.

I remember going into the kitchen and crying again. The trees; they were pulling her in – that seemed to mean that we were all connected to each other. You hear about connection to all things on earth, but it’s a concept so hard to really grasp until you actually feel a kinship withsomething like a tree. My sister lasted from day of discovery of cancer to her death only five months. So much of her time in those months were in pain. There she sat, in the quiet watching the trees in her back yard, her face relaxed and eyes reflecting the leaves and branches. I came to understand the connection and respect it.

It was not until 2006 that I saw the trees reflected in my mother’s eyes. She had been living with me for a few years as I gave her full time care. She had had a series of little strokes. Her mind was still strong but her body just slowly failed her. I had taken two bedrooms in my home and given her one for her sleeping room and one for her sitting room. It was in that sitting room that mother would sit in her automatic lounger and stare out the window. Our home looks out into a ravine that was filled with Douglas firs. We see the upperparts of the trees so the view is wonderful. They’re filled with birds and the swinging of the branches in the breeze. Mother started to stare out the window about two months before she passed. She would forgo her favorite TV shows and her books and just stare out the window at the trees for hours at a time.

Mother’s eyes are like mine, green and yet the sea of green branches swinging in the wind reflected just as well in those eyes than it did in the grey-blue eyes of my dad and sister. I knew she was leaving me. I suppose it should have made me sad, angry or afraid that she was spending time with thetrees, but it didn’t. I knew she was finding calm and quiet thoughts with the trees. I knew she was sharing things that are hard to put into words and I just let her float there during the day. She passed just shy of her 100 birthday, but in her 100thyear. I was ready when it happened and both my husband and myself were by her side. The trees swooped down and took her away like in a book of fairy tales- off to be with Dad and my sister…

I use the trees myself now, I sit up on roof top deck and I just relax into the trees around me. It calms me and I feel it allows my mind to be more creative and at times I feel close to my family that has passed.

My husband, Georgie is now fighting Alzheimer’s. If he has a day that is filled with confusion, I take him up to my deck and we just sit and watch the trees. He calms down and starts to hold my hand and I feel the Georgie inside of him coming to the top again. I guess we are all Tree People…we just take time to know it.

I encourage you to spend some quiet time with trees to find a calm and safe place to go when you are in need. I wish you well and hope you will visit my web site and see the other services I offer

Thank you, francy

Senior Doesn’t Want to Leave the House

by francy dickinson                           

Dear Francy; Dad just does not want to go out of the house any more. He lives alone and is really just giving up. He is 82 has heart problems that make it hard for him to walk and he is just over with doing chores and getting out the front door. What do I do now?

Well, once again there are a variety of things you can do to decide what he needs to help him get to a happier place. The first thing could be he just is unable to care for the house like he used to and he is overwhelmed with worry. But let’s don’t jump to conclusions, lets go over the list for you to review;

  • Tell his doctor of his emotional problems, it could very well be that his medications for his heart are starting to effect his emotions. That happens and you need to step in and get to the doctor with him and go over what pills he has and how they work for him, so you can help make a decision on this situation. If the doctor knows he could prescribe other meds and add a med to help your dad feel less stress and worry.
  • If he really can not walk, then think about a power chair for his mobility
  • Next, talk to your dad, see if you can find out what route he would like to take. Give him 3 options each time you speak to him. RE: 1/Dad we could have someone come in twice a week and clean up the house & fix your meals 2/we can come over on the weekends and make sure the grass is cut and the landscaping is in order or hire it done, 3/we can look into one of those nice assisted living places that would give you a great place to live with everything done for you and you could just relax and enjoy the company. Let it all sink in…talk about it a few times and let his mind run over the ideas.
  • If you feel he is ready for a retirement, assisted living, or adult care home then it’s time for you to do some looking around. I have a company that does the research for people and then we help you find a place that is the right match for your dad.Loving Memories is a free service for senior facility placement that you can check out on my website.
  • In home care, can be done by a company or a private person. You might already know someone who is trained in senior care, or you might have a tight budget. But remember this is how he can stay where he is in a comfortable way. In-home care is what is needed now that he is feeling down and unable to keep up with the home and its many daily chores as well as his problems getting around the house.
  • Another avenue is to have a live-in. Many times you can find a young man/woman that would like a room and a place to stay while going to school or saving for a down payment on a home. You can ask around, ask at a faith center or the local college or seminary. This way the person gets a nice place to live and in exchange for doing light house keeping, the lawn mowing and making sure food is fixed at least a couple of nights a week. Plus, they will be there at night in case your dad needs someone. You will have to do a back ground check on the person to have them in the home with your dad, you can do that by going to google and typing in your area and a back ground check and it will guide you on that. Then you have to sit down and really go over the care chores that are required so you will have a list for them to review when you interview them. I would interview them at a local coffee house and then have them come over to your dad’s for safety and privacy issues.
  • If you asked for my vote, it sounds like it is time for your dad to sell the house and make a move into a nice place that he can age and be cared for at the same time. A place that will provide companionship, good food and someone to keep an eye on him. His years of worry over the house and the chores are now behind him. If he is displaying this behavior now, it will only intensify in the coming months. I know the change is hard for everyone, but think on it and take some sort of action- this is never a fun time for any family member, but action to make your dad safe and less stressed is needed.

There is never a good answer to a problem that has a difficult situation attached to it. But the steps above will give you ideas to think on and maybe one will set a spark. Be sure to take him to the doctor, that might be a big reason he is having problems. He may even have more health issues than you are aware. When older folks that do not hear well, feel unwell or are tired go to the doctor’s office alone, they miss most of what the doctor says to them.With you going with him he will have fresh ears and eyes on his health and that might really make a difference in the type of care that he will now need.

Thanks for all you do for your dad, and please go to my website and read more about Loving Memories our Senior Care Facility Placement Service and my Senior Care 101

Thanks, francy

Dear Francy Recipes – Easy Biscuits “Step by Step” to Temp Senior’s Taste Buds

This is what I know; older people were raised & lived with homemade food and the taste of that food. Buying biscuits or refrigerated biscuit dough in the store – does not give them the flavor that they have always enjoyed.

So, in this day and age when we all cook fast and easy for our families; we have to remember that the senior’s taste buds do not relate to that cooking. How can you make a decent meal for a senior and still have a fast and easy meal? You just add in a few things here and there that will make their taste buds happy. Good old fashioned biscuits are sure winner. Cheap, easy and so yummy. Now most cooks do not bake much anymore, but I’ve tried to bring you an easy recipe that anyone can make. If you are a wiz-bang baker, you just whip out “from scratch”. But let’s be real, this may be your first time at baking and I still say…you can do it!

I love Bisquick (get a coupon & more fast recipes on the Betty Crocker website) It’s a terrific product and very inexpensive to have on the shelf. It has already combined the flour with the baking soda and such to make the use of it easy and fast. You do not have to buy all those ingredients and have them sitting around going bad. You just use your Bisquick (or any other Quick Baking Mix) So, give this a try… just a try. Your first time round may be a little flat, but the second time will be a winner. Your senior, you and your family will be very pleased that you gave it a try. This is just a few minutes of your time and you will see how yummy it is when the biscuits are hot and served with sweet jams or homemade gravy….wow – I think I’m going to make some tonight for us!

Bisquick Biscuits

(Easy even for non-bakers this is a simple step by step recipe, just give it a try. Do this once a week and you will be a baker and your senior will be full and happy!)
2 1/4 cups Original Bisquick
2/3 cup milk
Heat oven to 450 degrees F.
dough onto very clean & dry counter surface that is generously sprinkled with Bisquick. Knead about 10 times (Knead means you fold the dough ball over on top of itself and then push it down and out and repeat – so it has layers that rise when it bakes) Then use a rolling pin (or soup can without its label) to roll the dough to about 1/2-inch thick & 10-inch wide circle on the counter top. Cut the dough into small (2 1/2 inch) circles with a circle cutter or use a tuna can (opened on each end
and cleaned) for the cutter. Place the round dough on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until golden brown. Turn on the oven light and watch them – you do not want them to over bake, they will rise up and get a yummy light brown on top.
Take them out of the oven and off the cookie sheet and open them up right away and put a pat of margarine or butter inside of them to melt. Serve two to your senior with a little dish of apple butter, or jam on the side with a spoon so they can have them hot, rich and sweet! Great topped with gravy too…and for a morning treat serve them with sausage gravy – or on their own next to an egg.

Stir ingredients until soft dough forms. Turn


.>>> You see it does not take a lot to have a senior feel like they are back home again. This reminder of old times, good food – can change a never want to eat senior, into a “Can we have biscuits again, tonight?” senior. Please go to my website and read about other ways to give good practical care to your senior

Thanks for all you do and don’t forget…even guys can bake and girls that wear high heels can do anything! Francy

→PS: Seniors taste buds dull down and they need more flavor. Use a spicy blend of seasoning on top of the cooked food – like Mrs Dash