Summertime fun for seniors in care by francy Dickinson
Dear Francy; Mother just told me… she was cold and the day is hotter than you can imagine. I just get frustrated when she is cold and refuses to go outside in the good weather.
I know…I know…the “I’m Cold!” is almost universal, when you hit a certain age. It has to do with medications, brain changes, body weight and all around mental state. But have you gotten your mum out the door?
Just because a senior is living alone…or in your home, care facility etc. — does not mean you don’t keep them up to date with the time of year. I know there are lots of people that are fancy doctors that think simple habits are not as important as medication. But I disagree. We all have to have our time changes on the calendar and doing certain things each year…gets us into the change in your mind and our hearts. Even if your mum or dad were not gardeners…they had gardens and they enjoyed trips to parks and hiking and outings with their kids, in their day. You need to bring that faint memory of warm days and happy times back into their minds.
So, you need to plant something. I like a small planter by the patio, window, or front door of there room. Pick out a planter that is sweet and fits the size of the project. Then buy a few flowers. It can be for outside and filled with bloomers…or a small array of inside plants. (It can even be a silk flower arrangement to make the season)
Then spread out the large plastic garbage bag at the kitchen table and have the senior sit and work with you to fill and plant the container. Talk about their garden, if you have a picture of their old garden show it to them and remember old times as you plant. Then take the planter and have the senior decide where to place it.
Then its your job to remind the senior to water it. I would come over to Mom’s house and water for her…but she would sit on her porch and tell me how to do it. It was really a sweet way to be involved with the world, enjoy the small beauty of plants and the healing and calming effect they have on all of us.
My guy needed his tools. He was constantly going out in our garage and I worried over him out there. His dementia was raging, but his tools were calling. Makes me smile just to remember him standing by his tool bench doing nothing really. But in the last days the garage had to be out of range. He could not use the stairs and he could have wandered away without me right there. So, I packed up tools and put them into two small tool bags. I would bring him to the kitchen table, spread out a plastic table cloth and get the tool bags out. I had put in various glues as well as tools. I would put something down that needed to be glued or tightened or fixed and he would spend an hour or two just fussing around. Maybe it was fixed, maybe not. But he was having his own space and joy within…so it did not matter what the outcome was and he felt needed.
Every family has there thing….maybe baking cookies, maybe working on a quilt, maybe painting a wall, maybe flipping through picture albums and chatting about old times. There are always things that bring you and your senior back together. I know you will find them. Because when you do, it will open their minds to times that made them happy and they will relive that time all over again. You have your own ways…just take time to make them happen.
I appreciate all you do for your senior. My favorite thing in the summer when George’s mind was really losing its abilities..was taking him out in the car to get an ice cream cone. Simple, old fashioned fun. It makes me happy just to have those memories of them all now…my little family of two dogs and Georgie. They have all passed now, but my memories are strong…because I took time to make memories. I know you will never regret doing the same, even on days when your tired and they are testy…memories and laughing is the trick. Georgie and our dogs would be in heaven with a frozen yogurt drive by…what’s your’s? francy