5 Tips For Summer Senior Fun

Free Music Concert in Tacoma area park

by francy Dickinson    www.seniorcarewithspirit.com

Dear Francy; Mom has a broken hip and now is unable to walk on her own, so we do not go out. I find the wheelchair is hard to get in and out of the car. So we seem to be stuck in the house. On hot days and with a full summer ahead, not to mention a hot fall – it does not leave much to be joyful about? Oh boy, we are going to go crazy with each other. I do work during the day and my son is still living at home, in high school…so mom spends lots of time alone. Got suggestions for relief?

5 Tips for Seniors in the Summer

  1. Get a walker, not a cane: when a person has issues with possible falls use a walker around the house and a wheelchair outside the home. Sit down and have a face to face with the facts of life for you all. When there is any big problem in the house; all three of you must be in on the discussion. Then go to the medical supply and try the different wheelchairs and take them out to your car and see if you can lift them in and out. Let the people at the supply store help you find a good fit. There are a variety of chairs and with a doctor’s prescription your mother’s insurance and medicare should take care of it. If not, rent. You need that lady mobile- like it or not both of you need to make that wheelchair your friend.
  2. Look up freebies. Our local museum is giving a FREE entry with an AARP membership once a month. The two small communities around us are doing FREE concerts in the park, once a week. Our local zoo has a Senior Day each month and the local ball park has family packages for tickets with drinks and hotdogs for $20 ea. The ball park has a special section for wheelchairs with great views. There is so much that can be done for very little investment in anything but your time.
  3. FREEbies and Coupons. Nationwide chains are giving two for one coupons a lot this summer. Your different local restaurants will have them too. Go online and look up some of your favorite spots and find the deals. There is a free pie at Sharie’s, there was a Free Slurpee at 7-11 on July 11th, there is a FREE ice cream cone at Costco some time in August and these events just mean you have a simple goal. Go out get a treat, walk around, come home…simple but fun for all.
  4. Invite others in to your home. Summer is an easy time to have a BBQ for family and friends. You can have the various grand children or cousins over for watermelon or an ice cream social. You can have a plant exchange with friends or neighbors. You can have sandwiches and ice tea for church friends, or your siblings over for a smores party. you can also meet at a park with friends and family and have a potluck with games for the kids, or a joint game for family. Thinking young and entertaining young often works just right for a senior, too.
  5. Senior Centers are a great place for the senior to play cards, do crochet, take a class and best of all? Travel. Many senior centers will have special price day trips that will take the senior, in their wheel chair, to local sites on a van or bus. It’s a fun time for the senior and often a good friend, the destinations are around your state that take an hour or two to drive to and from and many times the senior has not seen the area for a good deal of time. I also like to check for openings. Mom and I went to two different new library openings and we went to a large box store opening. We got freebies and had a fun time with the celebration of the opening and mother felt good she was at the beginning of a new place. Be sure to check with your city online website and see if they have disability tours of the city and special senior events. These are often well planned and enjoyable for the senior. Don’t forget a good movie can be a cool resting place and fun treat – senior prices and online coupons will make the movie easier on your budget too. We have friends that have free outside movies once a week in their residential village…all are welcome.

If the senior is well – doing two outings a week is reasonable. One, may be for fun and the other, for doctor or shopping. Planning ahead and putting the date on a wall calendar and talking about the event is great. It builds up the importance of it like a regular holiday. My husband does not want to miss a free concert in the park. My mother did not want to miss the spring trip to the tulip and daffodil fields. These small outings bring easy enjoyment and the cost and the time involved is quite small.

 Make sure you talk about things that might be keeping the senior from wanting to be out. Bladder problems, pain, confusion any fear can be addressed and figured out if you talk them through. Its the shy quality of senior’s to talk about their personal problems that will hold you back. Once again, be a family talk openly about issues that matter to each of you. Dont let using a “Depends” be an issue to keep your mother in the house instead of at the park with friends.

I remember being in my early 20’s and taking my own Grandmother around town for things. I did not mind at all, as a matter of fact we had fun doing different things together. It seems the age difference goes away when you’re enjoying an event. Since these events were just a ride of less than an hour or two for the most part, the event can be done and still do things for the rest of the family. I know you will think of things far more fun than I have but its the planning and getting out the door – that’s the important part. Days will fade together and summer will be over if you go day to day…make all of life have meaning with small adventures of pleasure.

Dont worry about dressing fancy, having lots of money in your pocket or spending cash on souvenirs. Those things are not required for having fun in the sun around your home area. Hope you enjoy…francy

Francy with Missy  Come and enjoy more info at www.SeniorCareWithSpirit.com

 PS: 

 DONATE: I spend time-sharing with hundreds of families all over the US so they can cope with caring for their senior. I’m at home with my husband, George, on a full-time basis and I always appreciate a donation for my time-sharing with you on this site. I thank you for your kindness…and ask that you share my site information with those that you know are caring for seniors — francy 
 
 Join my Newsletter Listing: I just got the July issue out the door…I send out a newsletter and talk about the behind the scenes of daily care giving with George and clients. You’ll also hear about Missy and my crazy, busy life with joy – in the middle of chaos. Its a more personal look at Alzheimer’s. When you click and go to my home page it will take you through the sign up with your name, city and email and I will send you a small thank you gift Free…for your time. I will hold all your information private. You will receive a monthly newsletter and can remove your name any time from my listing. And once again I would appreciate you spreading the news about my work, there are  alot of care givers out there that could use someone to talk to and get ideas back. Thanks so much – francy

           

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10 Tips To Help a Care-Giver Stay Strong

My Georgie

by francy Dickinson                            www.seniorcarewithspirit.com          

Dear francy: I had a few emails about over stressed and exhaustion from spouse or family member care givers. A young woman with a military-injured quadriplegic husband, 86 yr old woman with diabetes caring for a husband with heart issues, 64-year-old man caring for his 60-year-old wife with Alzheimers…all exhausted, all without ways to lessen their stress. So I wanted to share a few tips that I have used in the many years that I have given care. I hope you will find some of these to use in your daily self-care.          

  1. No matter how unwell your family member, spouse or senior is they are not going to get better without you. So to accept your limits is really important. I had to sit down with my mother and tell her the rules of our Health Team effort. I would give her a place to live and assist her as much as I could….but…I could not carry her. I have a problem with my own back so I told her she had to walk, if she stayed with me. It may seem like no big deal but mother had tiny strokes and after each…she would drag herself around to “re-learn” walking all over again. She knew the rules and wanted to stay with me. 
    My husband with Alzheimer’s talked to me and I am here to care for him as long as he does not require heavy assistance or gets so out of whack with his emotions that he is dangerous. Some times dementia does that to the mildest mannered folks. So, I now have to know those are my lines in the sand.
    WHAT ARE YOUR LINES IN THE SAND? Take time to write them down right now. You need to know yourself and so does the senior in your care.
  2. If I am strong, my husband will be strong. I am the pivot point…I am the person that counts, without me – he is all alone and unable to care for his own self. So, I have to keep myself strong. I have lost weight because I eat better and fix us both healthy food. I did not eat well with mom’s caregiving. I was tired and just grabbed stuff. Now I take time to cook. I take time to plan meals and my own food. No more eating junk, ordering in or having toast. I have to eat well. And since my day is crazy, I snack with veggies and cheese during the day and only drink water and green tea. I want more, I want soda, coffee and cocoa– I want cookies and chips…but I force myself to stay on track and stay strong.
    I think strong. Yes, George puts me on an emotional rollercoaster. Some Dementia patients are so persistent that they make the care giver feel they are crazy. But I keep reminding myself I am in charge here. I am making the decisions. If George gets mad he is mad, I am doing this for “our” good. Just like how you raise children with NO’s. George gets NO’s. Emotional upset to the max is a big deal with Alzheimer’s seniors. So, it is up to me to stay strong in my mind. I have motivational cards and to do lists. People tell me I am doing a good job. I have breathing exercises and I write in a journal. I can not cure my Georgie’s mind, but I can change my habits and outlook on life and I try hard to do so, often.
  3. I need rest. Our brains rule our body functions, so I need to sleep. If I get less than 5 consecutive hours rest I am not replenishing my body. I need to rest, I will take a nap in the afternoon…I will sit down and relax my back. I will have a friend sit with George and walk out the door for peace. I need rest, I have taught myself how to rest on call…and I do not take drugs. But if you need them…get them. Drugs for sleeping have been designed to help people and that is what they do. Get rest…so you can face the day with a smile, not drag through the day with a low energy level.
  4. I have a life too, it’s just as important as my partner’s. I need to keep developing my own life even when I give care. Someday George is going to be gone. I am sixty…do I drop over and jump in his grave? NO. I live and if I do not care for my body and mind today, I will not live well. I have to keep up on news, on friends, on the world. I have to daydream, and think of fun things I will personally do someday. I have friends that I have recently made on Twitter @seniorcaretips. I enjoy these folks very much. We share ideas of care giving, recipes, personal issues, and fun things too. So I want to visit them someday. When I am really stressed I think about traveling around the US and visiting a day or two here or there and it fills my mind with good forward thinking thoughts.
    I dress each day. Unless I am personally unwell, I get dressed and think of my day as a day that I need to have clean teeth, clean and moisturizer face, hair in order and clothes that look nice. I don’t have to be a fashion plate but I do have to keep my life together and be the best I can be for myself. I wear my jewelry, I buy myself flowers, I groom my dogs, I feed my cats. I may care for George, but I care for me first. I stay strong.
  5. I’m honest with myself about my good side and bad side. I do not try to be perfect. I try to be kind. I do not hide my frustration, but I apologize if I get angry to George. If I get so upset I am blind…I walk out the door and breath and sit on the steps for a few minutes. I have to keep my anger outside not inside. I ask someone to come and give me a break…I take a trip down to a sister-in-law and stay for a couple of days. I release tension that builds inside of me by talking about it, writing about it, exercising, and crying.
    My anger is my anger, I can be angry. I can not be hurtful to another. My crying is my upset and I allow myself to be upset. I let George see I am upset and he reacts to it with gentle kindness. No one, no matter how unwell wants another to be hurt…so we help each other through our pain. I don’t pretend to be perky, happy or up energy. I force myself to learn how to actually be perky, happy and up energy. I find ways to re-charge my batteries…or re-boot my anger. I have to stay strong
  6. I drink water till I drop so I am flushing out any toxins from being upset or stress. I am breathing deeply to keep my blood pressure down so my stress does not damage my body. I stretch my body out and lift small weights to keep my body working well. I take my vitamins or Rx if you have it. Who will keep me well if I do not do it?
  7. I do things I don’t want or like to do. George fixed our car and checked the fluids, now I have to learn how to do this. George did the taxes now I do them. George did the vacuum so my back was spared. Now, I do it in little chunks so I don’t hurt myself. I have to do things I don’t like, big deal…that is life.
    A friend’s husband did not cook so he brought in food for his cancer ridden wife and it was awful for her. She complained a lot about it. I finally said something to him and he said, “I don’t cook”. I said; “Learn how.”  Another friend said she could not do everything at her mom’s house and come home and do her own home. We’ll then one of the homes needs to have a person to clean every couple of weeks. It has to be done. Everything has to be done, not just the things you like to do. What took two people to do each week, month and year…now will take one doing it all. That is what life is and get to it. There is no way around it unless you are so well to do you hire it all out. that does not mean you can not ask others to help you. A brother-in-law can do the lawn every other time. A niece can come over once a month and help you scrub tubs and toilets. You can get things done with help if you just think it through.
  8. I laugh, I dance around the house, I act goofy, I play games with George. I kid him and make him laugh. I will not have days of down behavior. I work hard to keep up. It is not easy, but I do it because depression is easy in care giving. I force myself to find calm and happy thoughts. If I found that I could no longer do this…I would go to a doctor and ask for an Rx that would help me. I expect you to do the same. This idea that its OK for others to suffer from your depression is selfish. Depression is a condition that must be accepted and worked on. Don’t tell me it’s Ok for me to be depressed because I care for an Alzheimer’s husband. That is not a truth…the truth is, I have to work hard to find my emotions and keep them in a place of calm and joy. If I need friends, counselors, doctors or therapy…I have to figure out how to do it. My body will react negatively if I stay in a depression for an extended time. It’s my job to be well and strong-accepting I have a bad back and need to be gentle with myself, or I am exhausted and need to be easy with myself is not wasteful, it is wise. But, there is a thin line between being careful and being lazy…that is the line you have to be honest to yourself about.
  9. I have “me” things, they do not get put on the back burner. I go to the free concert in the park and if George is in a bad mood it’s too bad. We both go. I watch a couple of TV shows. George watches TV all day…when it is time for my shows, we watch them. I love to read, if George interrupt me over an over again. I leave the room and find a quiet space because books are my world. I work on my writing each day and need quiet. George and the dogs have to be quiet for that time period. I keep things on schedule but I keep things for me in my life. I do not give up me, for George. I keep both of us together…it is not easy but I work on it. I am strong and I deserve being me. I give to George all day but I can not lose the ME.
  10. I face the truth of the future. George is not getting well -ever. He will go downhill mentally and emotionally and I know this and have prepared myself for it. That does not mean I don’t cry over it, it means that I accept it. I make future plans on that basis.
    George’s mom died of colon cancer. So we have been very good about getting him checked  each year. Now, I no longer take those actions. He does not need to take uncomfortable tests for some unknown malady when he is already confused and failing in his mind. When my mother was 89 and not well, the doctor scheduled her for a mammogram. She said no. She told me she had to die of something and if its breast cancer then that is what it would be. You have to accept and work through the situation. Talk about it to your senior and then you make the calls. Your senior will be too unwell, confused or upset to make decisions like that. It’s not fun, but its reality that has to be put on the table and looked at in the light.  The day will come when no more drugs, no more treatment, no more tests, no more extended life decisions will have to be made. The decisions have to be made and you are the loving care giving support and you need to make them in the best interest of your loved one. There is nothing harder, trust me. But, its your job as the loved one, to make a decision on the difficult calls.

I am proud of you. I say that because I am proud of me, too. I am daily bombarded with care giving decisions and tasks that are not enjoyable. But I do them, and I try hard to do them with love in my heart….not a chip on my shoulder. I know that you do the same. At this moment millions of families in our country are being faced with care giving challenges…they are doing it on their own.  Family giving care quietly in little towns and big cities. They are pulled between their own life and the life of the senior and then add in their family and friends. It can be lonely, exhausting and expensive…but it will give you an experience that will be the deepest of your life. When George walks out of this life, I will hold his hand to the last moment. He will not be alone. That is what love means and we are living and loving – together.    You are going to need a great workbook of how to care for your senior at home. I have written one just for you. It will take you step by step through the how to’s of care for your family member or friend that needs assistance. It goes over how to help the senior in their own home and how to care for them in your home or in a care facility. Full time or part-time, the care giver will have answers to questions that constantly come up in the process of caring for dementia, Elder care or terminal care. This is the manual that you will read through and come back to in time of upset to find answers. It has gotten such good reviews that I know you will enjoy it. The workbook is $25 with S&H. Click on the picture to order it from PayPal.                  

Francy with Missy   

 PS: 

 I spend time-sharing with hundreds of families all over the US so they can cope with caring for their senior. I’m at home with my husband, George, on a full-time basis and I always appreciate a donation for my time-sharing with you on this site. I thank you for your kindness…and ask that you share my site information with those that you know are caring for seniors — francy 
 
 Join my Newsletter Listing: I send out a newsletter and talk about the behind the scenes of daily care giving with George and clients. You will also hear about Missy and my crazy, busy life with joy – in the middle of chaos. Its a more personal look at Alzheimer’s. Click on the picture and it will take you through the sign up with your name, city and email and I will send you a small thank you gift Free…for your time. I will hold all your information private. You will receive a monthly newsletter and can remove your name any time from my listing. And once again I would appreciate you spreading the news about my work, there are  alot of care givers out there that could use someone to talk to and get ideas back. Thanks so much – francy