How to Bring Grandma Into Your Home

by francy Dickinson                         www.seniorcarewithspirit.com

Dear Francy: I have decided that Mom just can not keep living on her own and in a state of worry each day. Her health is not ready for nursing care but I know she needs to be looked after more than a drop by each day. How do I tell my husband and kids and where will I put her? I live on a thin budget and I am worried.

Now this is a problem that I can help you with because I did the same thing and I have helped so many others do the transition smoothly. Here are my ideas and tips:

Moving Elders into Your Home Tips:

  1. After discussing it with your spouse and getting their approval, you call a family meeting. You will not be asking their approval, but informing them of the situation and letting them know a new arrival means there will be changes that might not be the most enjoyable. Depending on the age of your kids, let them live in the elders shoes, explain why the change, why the elder is no longer safe in their own home that way the family has a base of understanding that this decision is how we treat and care for family. You make room for children when they are born into the family, you make room for elders when they retire into advanced family care.
  2. Make it clear to your family and to YOU that this is a change that is not going to just go away or get old. This is a commitment on your part and your elders that life will be together through thick or thin. If money gets low, or someone gets unwell in the family, or a move has to be made- the elder is now a part of your family and will be with you for good or bad family times. That is life making room for an elder is a serious decision that once made is made, not changed because of an argument. You do not throw out babies or elders because they are extra work or a pain to live with…so think this step out very carefully and inform all; that this is a commitment of heart and honor on both sides.
  3. Set up some rules of the house so every one can work within a fair basis of comfort living. Kids do not invite friends for an overnight if Grandma is using the living area for her bedroom. Things will change, but the changes do not have to be huge, just considerate on all sides.
  4. Plan your elder’s living area. They need their own room, even if your children have to share a room, that is better than an elder sharing a child’s room. If no extra bedroom is there, then take an area that can be shared like the dining room. Put the big table in the kitchen, living area, or storage. Put up a day bed that can be used as a sitting area during the day. Always give privacy from public areas, you can hang a curtain or a bamboo shade to enclose the privacy for the senior.
  5. Try to bring the senior’s favorite things with them. A good sitting chair, a side table for bed and chair, a little desk or bookcase, favorite books, family memory photos, jewelry, special mementoes and art that can be incorporated into your home. This is the time for them to distribute family things to their children and grand children, not at their death. Do not rent a storage unit. If your elder is going to move in with you and it does not work, they will be in a care facility with little space, so there is no going back to an apartment living for the elder, this is a life change, not a try out.
  6. Paint the area to match the elder if you can. If your home is high energy color reflecting an action family….lower the tones for the elder so they can relax and rest in their space.
  7. Decide on the bathroom the elder will use. You might have them use a half bath and just take a weekly bath or shower in the kid’s bath. Always make room for their personal products.  A basket with their bathroom items tucked on a shelf makes their things private. Young kids do not understand false teeth or Depends. Make sure your family respects the privacy of the elder and no teasing takes place, bathroom humor is not appreciated by a person making a big change in their life.
  8. Keep elder drugs in a place in the kitchen or laundry area. That way it is away from the kids and in a place that can be sorted and the weekly pill try can be filled as well as meds reordered correctly.
  9. Use a closet in the hall or a rack in the laundry room for elder’s clothes, plastic drawers can be purchased for clothing. Sort over elders things and take clothes that fit the lifestyle they have now, not the clothes they wore ten years ago when they were active or working.
  10. Keep the elder with their friends as much as you can. If they go to a faith center away from you, take them back to the faith center once a month to connect. If they have a favorite Senior Center or exercise group try to keep them there or let them visit and replace those activities close to your home. Elders need to know their life has just moved, not changed or gotten lost. Emotional problems often stem from elders losing their friends, spouse, home and all connections…so work on keeping them as connected to their long established lifestyle.
  11. If your elder is into gardening and you are not, let them at it, get them started redoing your front yard and enjoy that the elder is giving back to the family. If the elder loves to cook, let them do a dinner during the week or make the lunches for everyone each day. Figure out how to use their talents with your needs and make room for change on your part as well as theirs.
  12. Hearing impaired does not mean shouting or loud TV. It means getting them a headphone remote for the TV so they can hear it, or putting on the text feature to run text on the bottom of the TV screen. It means turning down music to a normal range and take time to talk facing the elder not on the run.
  13. Careful walking with elders that may trip means removing scatter rugs and use double side carpet tape on larger rugs. It means making sure there are lights to see well in the public rooms and dogs that are trained to love not jump up on people. Think safety. If your kids are older you may have left those safety thoughts behind a long time ago, now get your mind going again on what your elder needs to be safe walking around the house.
  14. If the elder wants to make alot of calls, get them a cell phone and let them  learn how to use it. Then they can call on their own phone without worry about family phone time. Get them their own TV if they need it and a radio or MP3 player with a head phone for music and talk radio listening.
  15. Do not be afraid to ask the senior for money to add to the family income. They can give you a couple hundred dollars a month for food and utilities, even if they are on a small social security income. They can pay for their own personal needs and medication products, specialty foods and clothing, too. Just be fair, do not take all their money and think they will not reflect emotionally to it.
  16. If your senior is part of your family…then you can take them off as a tax deduction. Ask your tax person how to do this before you take that action, but it can help you financially to do this. You can also get help with their house sales investment of money, or reducing their bills. Get help so you do not have to worry about funds for their care, talk to senior care consultants and let them help you with the legal part of your relationship. Remember their home sales will have to pay for their care for a long time, so be wise with the money. It is hard when you are limited on funds to care for an elder, but it can be done with advise.
  17. If the senior is unable to pay for their own medications ask the DR for help with pharmacy company programs. If you need to put the senior on state medical do so, they will pay for the medications and pay you to care for your parent if they are in need of more than just light care. Get a review, be in the know, so the money you spend on your elder is wisely spent.
  18. Make sure your senior has someone to talk to about you and your family living. A faith center person, a neighbor or other family member, that is a third party, should make a monthly visit. Get the elder to talk about their life. They may be afraid to say what upsets them, or they may be filled with upset and anger and need to vent it to make their life easier with you. Emotional health is often not understood until you live with someone, a doctor can also medicate to calm an elder, if you explain your concerns in a letter to him before your elder’s next appointment.
  19. Everyone has odd behaviors even you…so learn to live and let live, small things you have always done may need to change, that is not the end of any one’s world, it is just a change to make life easier for all parties. That is what makes living as a family work, you all have to adjust and talk and love and make changes to make sure each of you can enjoy life together. But elders find change upseting and hard and younger folks can adjust to change much easier, so that should set the tone when making family decisions.

Perfection is not the goal with a senior living with their family. But kindness on both sides is a must. Do not be afraid to have someone come in and talk to the family about problems, questions, ideas or concerns. Talking things out helps everyone. There is your way or the highway is not the way with a multi-generation family. Every one has to make way for privacy and for kindness for each other. Often the experience of grand parents living with children changes the child into a more understanding and caring adult in years to come. That means when it is your turn to need help, your own children will be more open to giving you loving care in your own older age.

Please do go to my website at www.seniorcarewithspirit.com for more ideas. I have a great e-book called Care Giving 101 Workbook that will help you with giving care in your own home or in the senior’s home. It has all the basic home nursing tips and gives you ideas to support yourself as well as your spouse or loved one. These books are very popular with care givers and I encourage you to buy one so you can feel more in power of your situation as the care giver. It can be very lonely out there all alone when you are giving care – I want to make the experience more comforting for you.

I write these blogs to share information that I have gathered in my many years of care giving. I am now tending to my husband with Alzheimer’s and my books and services are how I’m able to stay at home and care for him. Thanks for all you are doing for your own loved one,

blessings. francy

PS I am on Twitter @seniorcaretips and I would love to have you listen to my talk radio show on senior care issues just click the radio button on my home page. The show is on demand so you can listen whenever you have time.

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Spouse Giving Care 24/7

by francy Dickinson                           www.seniorcarewithspirit.com

A Talk with Francy; I have this picture in my mind of spouse care. I remember it from almost thirty years ago when my elder uncle cared for his wife with Parkinson’s. He had been a cared for man of leisure all his life because she had worked hard with her own interior design company in Seattle. She had worked long days all week, staying in a small apartment in the city. She would come home to Lakewood on the weekends to care for her husband who never worked a day of their 48 year marriage. She would take him to dinner, entertain with friends, leave him with a clean home, food for the week and bills paid. She worked into her mid- eighties when the Parkinson’s took her abilities away…she sold her business and came home. My uncle started to care for her in his own way. That way was not good. He was a man spoiled with his own life style and she was left alone most of the time.  When you would visit, their home got messy, dirty and then horrid. Her care got lax and her food was awful.  As she laid on the couch unable to move on her own, the room she was in was filled with trash. I worried about that the most; a woman who had filled her life with tranquil beauty was dying with trash everywhere she could see. I would bring dinner once a week and mother, in her mid eighties, would visit every month only to worry the rest of the month. We were unable to make changes, or move her to a care facility or do anything really. There were not the laws that we have now for seniors in care. So we just watched her care go down hill and wondered how my uncle could live his life in this manner. It wounded me and I have carried that frustration with me for all these years.

After my mother passed and I was then free from giving her care – I turned around and found my own husband suffering from dementia. It is a story that millions of people face but when it happens to someone you love so much, it just sends chills down your spine.

I am twenty years his junior and so at first I had a hard time telling the difference from him getting older and the dementia. But what I knew was the man that had given me a life of love and care, was not able to do most of things he had done in the past. So along with dealing with him, I had to change my own life and adjust to his needs. I remembered my uncle and vowed to give my husband solid good care.

Being a care giving spouse is a very odd roll. Part of you is still in the mind set of husband or wife loving your spouse…the other part goes into a roll of care giving mom that has to learn new talents to keep your spouse as well and strong as you can. It is not easy and it gets extremely lonely.

I suppose it’s the confusion that hits you with dementia. It not only consumes my husband’ mind, but it reflects off onto me. After a day of him asking my opinion over and over again, telling me he is going to do a task but never gets to the task- I often forget what he was suppose to do myself. Total confusion, spreads just like the flu. He will head out to the garage for a tool and stay there for half an hour. My worry buzzer will go off in my mind and I will go out to find him cleaning out the garbage can or sorting through the garden tools. He is off in his own world and nothing will bring him back. He is determined to accomplish some unknown task. So, I have to change his mind, I have to interject a new thought in his brain. “George would you come and help me I think the faucet is leaking and the water is going off everywhere?” Back he comes from the garage now re focused on a must do task. When he gets into the kitchen the faucet looks good and I say how good it is he fixed it. He will stand and look at it and wonder about it and I make him a cup of coffee or a sandwich and he moves on to that task. It’s a constant movement to keep him safe, calm and in a zone of happy thoughts.

At the same time, I have to make money. I can not leave the house and just leave him alone for any long period of time. But George is not in any way ready for a full time care facility. I do not make enough money to gift him a care giver each day or pay for a day center to leave him. So, I have to think of ways to make money from home with quick, less then two hour meetings with senior clients helping them find placement in care facilities. I do the research and find the facilities that fit their needs. They meet me at two facilities that I have chosen as the best and walk through them with the family and help them make the decisions. When I do not have a client I write and sell senior care help books and other how to ebooks and do my blog and tips on twitter @seniorcaretips

Once, I arrived back home to find my above stove microwave pulled apart and in a million pieces and my husband trying to fix it. I then had to step in and get him re settled with a new movie on TV…put the parts back as well as I can and then went to the store and bought a new microwave. The worry over him getting harmed or walking away while I’m gone is very strong. But as a working spouse care giver I have to try as hard as I can to keep him safe and still make a living.

I often bring George along with me to keep him busy and even then I worry he will get too stressed to make it through a long meeting with a client. I had a session with a lawyer last week and George just melted in the office, we had to get him outside to walk around and sit him in the car for me to continue and sign papers that were needed. I drove him over to a restaurant and after eating and talking he returned to his calm self and I was able to drive the 25 minutes home without worry.

Each day has its surprises. Some days are calm some are horrid. Some calm days can change in a second with anger and some awful days drive me to the edge. Where I have to take a deep breath and become creative to find a way to solve the current care giving problem. Problems can be solved, they just need the spouse to stay calm within and be creative about how to re focus or find where to ask for help.

My nights are filled with worries and sleep often eludes me. But I try hard to take naps, take breaks with time to meditate and do a lot of deep breathing through out my days. I eat good food and I take supplements that I am more than convinced keep me stronger than not.

I cook healthy food, not heat up frozen and I clean my home, but not with dedication. I talk to a select few that understand I need to vent and I need to laugh. I use my twitter group to release my tension and give to others to sooth my mind. I try to interact with George in a loving way even if I am on edge from an arguing session. I get him to waltz me around the living room, pour me a glass of wine, make my tea or rub my back so he remembers the pleasure of giving and caring for others. I have a good list of things for both of us to do each day…so we stay on a daily routine and I always tell myself that I’m a good and loving person even when I’m mad, as hell, at life.

The part that bothers me is the 24/7. There are no days off…only hours away. There are no – lets take a break weekends away when George gets so confused in his own home, let alone a new place. There are no go and visit your kids or sister when he has to be watched and one slip might mean him getting lost or getting so upset he gets sick. I have no escape, no way out. So, I have to remove that from my mind. I have to give myself a feeling of escape. By reading or watching TV in another room. By working in the garden while he takes a nap. By going out to the grocery store and giving myself time at a coffee shop or the library to read magazines. I have to make sure that he has a friend visit so I can just take a nap or go for a walk. Maybe take him to an exercise place so I can just listen to music or a book on my MP3 player, in the car.

His dementia/Alzheimer’s gets worse everyday…but in very slow and tiny ways. The doctor says he is progressing very slowly and that is good for George. But it is not good for me. I have to pay attention to his food and pills. I have to know when his episodes of anger and gait change are over the limit and we need to go to the doctor to get his meds changed. I have to make decisions for his regular health on a daily basis and it is a continual hardship to care that closely for another person. But I keep in my mind that I am giving a gift, not doing chores. I try to make his forgeting to take pills that I leave by his side at his TV chair- a joke and if they are not taken I remind him, tease him about it and watch him take them.

There are loney times. When I want to just talk to him, as my best friend and tell him about my day or my thoughts for the future. I want to have help with the taxes and the financal problems we have, I want him to surround me with his arms and just hug the world away. I want our close friendship of over 30 years to be there for me when I am doing the hardest job I have ever done, but it isn’t – my friend is already gone. I now stand alone, I stand next to him – but I am alone. Others that come and visit us see us together still – but we are not, he is gone in little ways and the gap grows each day.

I wish I could say, this story has a happy ending, but it does not. I am sitting in the living room typing while he is upset in the bedroom. Mad that he has to get up and dressed at almost three in the afternoon. I can be a difficult mom to him and he hates that part of our life. But what I know is that when they said through thick and thin when we married…I said those words and I meant those words and I am living those words with as much joy and love as I can each day. When the time comes that George is in a care facility I will continue to care for his daily needs in my own way…but just having him near is soothing to me. Someday, he will be gone and I will have all the time in world to do my nails and take lunch with my girl friends. Today, I choose to be next to him and I choose it day by day knowing that I make the choice to love and support him in my own way.

I don’t believe in caring for another until you drop over yourself. That is pointless, every spouse has to make the decision as to what degree they can give and help their loved one. We are all so different, some can care a long time, others can not give hands on care for any time at all…no one is better than the next, it is just who we are. But what I know is that we have to talk and reach out to others for help. We have to not allow ourselves to be all alone and scared, we have to tend to our own needs. If we do not stay strong, our spouse will fall faster and harder.

My tips from the heart? Eat, drink plenty of water, take good deep breaths, talk to your family and friends, kiss your spouse, argue with your mind not your mouth and laugh as much as you can. Joy is being a part of something and I suggest you join me on twitter, or any other support group in person or online. You get so many great ideas to help you through the care giving steps. I have a workbook on my site that gives all the basics in home care giving, take a visit and look, I think it will help you.

But most of all laugh as much as you can at the crazy things around you. Because when you stand back and look at your life it is a bit funny don’t you think?

Blessings, francy

I’m Helping Him but He’s Mad-Senior Anger

by francy Dickinson              www.seniorcarewithspirit.com

Dear Francy; My Dad is in his early sixties, he has been divorced and on his own for years. He is now going through a stage that he calls and needs me to do all sorts of things for him. I’m trying to be there for him, I go over when ever he calls, but I’m busy with my own family. When I do go over he’s angry with me. I am his only child and I sadly dread the visits, what can I do?

I understand and I am sorry about this it’s a way with older folks, many times men especially, will display anger when they have frustrations in their life. So, lets begin with his age of sixty plus, that is young he should live into his eighties or nineties, so think of him as a person that needs to be healed and treated, not just old. Get your ducks in a row with the Health Care Directive signed and in place with your name as his partner in health. That is important so you can work with him on his health issues in years to come. Then schedule a good review of his health with a doctor. Write a letter to the doctor and drop it off or send it ahead of his appointment so you can tell him this issue of sudden needs and anger. The doctor needs to know to address emotional issues that might not surface in the exam if he is not notified.

There is a great issue of depression in men on their own. Not that depression does not effect women but men are especially hit with it and they rarely have the ability to talk it through. If he is newly retired, that is often a problem. He looked forward to many projects and kept busy until they were all in place and suddenly, he is faced with years of retirement and no where to go. There is also a problem after a spouse has passed, a year or so later, the realization that life is ahead with loneliness and no reason to be happy- hits. All of these things happen to many people single or in a relationship, that is why we have them checked and go to a support group, senior center or stay active with family to keep their emotional health up. If there is an on going problem, they will need medication and or counseling to get them healthy again. So you have to be pushy about getting a doctor’s opinion. Write down a few of the episodes of anger, so the doctor can see what stemmed the anger and if it might be body or emotional based. Once you have that diagnoses then you can help him with the treatment and go forward.

Tips on dealing with anger;

  1. You are the pivot point to anger – as the caregiver it is you that can start or end an angry session. So arrive up-  in energy and remove your emotions and just do what is needed and leave. It is very hard to do this, because you will think that the person hates you or you have done something wrong. But emotional anger has a base in the person not with you…so pivot that anger by being in charge of your own emotions.
  2. I deal with my husbands dementia all the time and I have learned to refocus him into a different project, idea, talking point or action. This will remove his frustration of the moment and get him thinking in a different direction. It takes practice, but I have learned how to avoid a lot of arguments by keeping him off a subject and onto another. I do this by interrupting a conversation and interject a whole new thought pattern.
    Example:George was up in arms about trimming our trees, had spent hours getting saws out in his work space and trying to do this task. I went out and told him my back was bothering me – could he come and help me move something in my office? He followed me into the house and the anger and frustration of his project was over the pattern broken. After he helps me, I praise him and get him a piece of pie and he then releases his day long project and returns to his TV or reading and the anger and frustration is over.
  3. If your dad has had a history of being involved in faith center or events, or if he has long ago given up a hobby –this is the time to reintroduce him to those events. Doing something he knows is easier for a senior than starting something new.
  4. Interaction with others. No one can be on their own for days at a time and stay happy. Little things start to become big things and small problems become a big mess. So, break this pattern by making sure he is doing a few weekly outings. Senior centers have card days or bowling teams, or any hobby he likes. Local libraries need volunteers as do teen centers and soup kitchens. Senior Universities are all over the place with weekly classes and lectures on fun subjects. These classes are just an evening or afternoon of information and it becomes an enjoyable routine. Your own family has weekly outings he could join, sports events, teen pick up from classes and school, school performances, bi monthly family picnics or dinners. There are ways for him to move into the world again and keep him with a weekly calendar of events that will fill his mind and spirit.
  5. Exercise is a great way to bring a senior back into good health. Joining you for a walk twice a week, or getting him into a senior bike program or golf game can improve his mind and his outlook.
  6. Talking to a support group or hobby group is great for a man’s interaction. You will find that Twitter and online support groups also provide a non evasive way to express feelings and interests. Woman usually have women to talk to, but if not, they too need to be attached to a group that will help them express their feelings among friends that understand.
  7. Eating well, can be a huge thing for men or women living alone. Days of empty food and no supplements can make a big difference in any ones life. So adding food from you or a service could be a big boost. He may have a neighbor that’s a senior and would be willing to provide 2-3 dinners a week, for a small charge. You then know that good food is on his plate and helping him feel well. Being creative with care is never easy, but it can make a big difference in his lifestyle and emotional wellbeing.
  8. Moving; many seniors try to keep their home forever. Nice if they can do it, but over burdened with yard, house, money or repairs is not a pretty picture for anyone. So, if he needs to relax and get yard or house cleaning help get that done. If he is not able to really do the work, then suggest a few visits to local townhouses where yard work is provided or retirement communities where everything is at hand for easy living. Moving early means a life of comfort in retirement, not worry over a huge move sometime in the future, usually when the senior is unwell. Keep them close to you, but find a place to tuck them in with a smile. The retirment communities are so diverse now, that you can find all price ranges in your search.
  9. Get him a pet to protect and care for at the local humane society. Often a furry pal will totally change a person. Instead of having a day ahead with nothing to do, you suddenly have to feed and walk the dog or change the cat box. It’s just this small chore, that keeps a senior busy and thinking of something other than their own problems.   
  10. Ask him to help you – what do you have around your home to fix or do? Men love to be of service, figure out different chores and ask him to come over and do them and then give him a good dinner and movie to share. Example: I would ask my mother to come over and make pie crusts. Then we would freeze them. She loved to make pie crusts, mine have always been horrid, so it was a nice way for her to do for me and I would get her talking and give her a nice day and dinner. Now that she is gone, I buy the frozen crusts which do not come close to the ones she made for me as well as miss our times together.
  11. Do not be a child, sit down and talk about anger issues. Tell him you are here to love him and have a nice visit to help him, but this anger is out of bounds. If there is something that bothers him about you, get it out and see if you can talk it through and leave the issue behind. Let him know, you will not be abused with words, they are hurtful and you do not want to have them in your life. Do not involve yourself with anger, this is a grown up talk between two adults, not a shouting match. But, remember, this conversation only works if he is not drinking, or in a depression or any altered state, those situations change the playing field and are why you need to have him checked out medically so you know what is what from the get go.
  12. Interaction during your day. Call him and ask if he is watching a news alert, or if he is going to watch a special program that night. Make things to talk about so you have more of a give and take talk during your week. Get your teen to teach him how to text message to them even if he does it on the computer. Set up a Twitter or Facebook account and get him used to it so he can enjoy it. This stuff is a perfect thing to do with grandchildren. Add an MP3 player with his favorite music and downloaded books from the library, a new digital camera or video for the kid’s sports events. Those are things that grandchildren will enjoy doing for him and give a boost to connections within the family.
  13. Don’t forget the geneology part of life, it can be very involved and fun to learn about heritage. To express an interest in wanting your kids to know about their past family history and ask if the family pictures could be organized for them. This is a project that can involve your dad, you,your kids and many other groups that do geneolgy in person or on the Internet.
  14. Know that as people age, the progress of health and mental health is not in stone. Dementia can set in early or late in life. Heart health can hit you in your thirties as well as in your sixties. Aches with arthitus can zap your energy and a simple addition of joint supplements can make a huge difference in pain control. So just take it step at a time, and read and learn because helping someone age means that you are helping yourself age well in the future.
  15. Reality is that most women are the organizers of events, food, doctor appointments and family for men. That is how our society works. So, if your dad does not have a gal in his life…you are the it girl. So, try to just let this sink in and add him to your list of boys to care for in your life…once you get this in place in your own mind, you can move your dad into a lifestyle that is good for him and for you. I know there are exceptions to this rule, but I have found very few in my care giving years.

I know that your creative mind will come up with other ideas. Once you get your mind in a direction to solve problems it becomes so much easier. Just remember anger does not mean they do not love and appreicate you. Seniors just have troublem expressing their feelings and dealing with their body changes. So be a sleuth and find out what is at the base of the anger, not what is on top of it.

Please do go to my website at www.seniorcarewithspirit.com for more ideas. I have a great e-book called Care Giving 101 Workbook that will help you with giving care in your own home or in the senior’s home. It has all the basic home nursing tips and gives you ideas to support yourself as well as your spouse or loved one. These books are very popular with care givers and I encourage you to buy one so you can feel more in power of your situation as the care giver. It can be very lonely out there all alone when you are giving care – I want to make the experience more comforting for you.

I write these blogs to share information that I have gathered in my many years of care giving. I am now tending to my husband with Alzheimer’s and my books and services are how I’m able to stay at home and care for him. Thanks for all you are doing for your own loved one, blessings. francy

PS I am on Twitter @seniorcaretips and I would love to have you listen to my talk radio show on senior care issues just click the radio button on my home page. The show is on demand so you can listen whenever you have time.

Smart Tips for Just Retired Seniors

By francy Dickinson www.seniorcarewithspirit.com

Dear Francy: I just retired and my kids want me to babysit my granddaughters, my husband wants to by an RV and I just want to rest for a while. What do your seniors say?

They say, “None of the above!”

After talking to so many seniors about their early retirement; lots have told me that’s where they made some errors in judgment, just because of the reasons you stated. Everyone else has ideas for you and you have to be the one to make the decisions about your own life path. All these years you have done things for a work, home, family, children, spouse – now it’s YOU time.

So here are some tips to follow and see where they lead you:

  • Do not make a big move in your first 6mos -1yr of retirement. Just let the dust settle. If you really have a move in mind, spend that time sorting your old life and selling things from the house and getting your mind in a place that you can walk away without regret.
  • If you do move keep one foot on your home base. Lots of seniors run down to sunny climates and begin their play time. Nothing wrong with that, but if you become unwell, lose a spouse or just age to the point you need assistance (we all do you know) then what? Will your children or family be able to care for you miles and miles away? So, the idea is maybe keep a small home, condo or even some things you do not want to move in a storage unit. That way you can rent them out to make the payments and then have a place (or things) that are easy to return to if you need to make that change in the future.
  • If you do go on an RV trip, keep your home. I have talked to dozens of RV’rs that love their life. But they have been so upset making a complete cut from their things back home. It sounds great to just hit the road, but in time, you will want to settle in somewhere. If you keep your things in storage you can retrieve them at will. If you need to settle into an RV park most find a trailer is easier for long term living than a motor home. If you have plenty of money, no worries, but those that I talked to were on a very strict budget and it was hard for them to change their mind in mid-stream.
  • Think things through for a 5-10-20 year plan. You may think that a good ten years of retirement is what you will get in life. But the world is changing more and more folks live into their 100’s. You need to sit down with family and have a plan:
    Example: 5yr/stay in family home and travel in RV – 10 yr/Purchase a home that is long term retiree – 20yr/know that you may need assistance to stay in your home, or move to a retirement center, small apartment or live with your children. Think about your choices and what you want will be able to afford.
  • Prepare your future first: Get your will, your health care directive and insurance papers all in order, copied and give to your children for reference. Get a good inventory program (this one is free http://www.iii.org ) and take pictures of your things from room to room. Use this for insurance and your will gifting or remembrance. Take time to mark your things for family and friends add that listing into your will papers. Talk about your wishes for funerals and get the expenses figured out or prepaid. All of this can be done in the first few months of your retirement and then the nasty subjects of old age are behind you and you can run with the wind at your back.
  • Decide what you like to do and do it. Start to make a list for you and with your spouse of things you love to do but really never had time to do. Some call it a “bucket list” – I call it a fun guide of your retirement. Then when you start to hit the road to travel you have your favorite hobbies or interests right by your side to guide you. This should be done in a spiral notebook kept on the counter in the kitchen. Each partner should jot down things they enjoy as they think of them and then in a couple of months sit down and really look at it and see what each of you desires today and in the next few years.
  • Talk to your children and set rules about Grand Parents. What are you really willing to do? Maybe a once a week babysit or on sick days you go over and take care of the grand or great grand kids. Maybe one full weekend a month you take the grand children to give your kids a rest. But make the deal your deal. Make it a way to enhance your children’s lives, not make their life easy breezy at your expense. So many seniors work as day care for their kids, but then they get stuck. If you do take on the care giving, add the time frame. I will do this for three months, or every six months we will re-visit this and see how I feel about it.
  • Life is short, live it. My mother and dad spent their whole life talking about what they would do when they retired. They had little money and no time, so the future wishes were safe for them to make. The bump? Dad died at 62 and never got to retire. Mother told me she thought she would live just a few years more, but she lived 38 years after he passed. That is a lot of alone time. So, take advantage of retirement while you and your spouse or both well and together. Yes, grandchildren and family are important, but so is your time together.
  • Haven’t done anything with each other for a while? Take a class. I find this is the first thing that will bring an older couple together. Dance class, stained glass window class, how to fly fish class, boating safety class- whatever hits your buttons. Maybe each one of you choose and both of you attend both classes. Senior Universities are cropping up all over the country. They’re free classes given in retirement communities by retired professionals with a wide verity of backgrounds. They are fun, they are usually free or nominal and you can really enjoy the information and get a new outlook on life.
  • Computer working well for you? Got a Blackberry, know how to text? You might want to find a senior center in your area and join a FREE Computer Club. I worked with a PC Club for years giving free – how-to classes. It was fun for me and fun for my seniors to learn all about the Internet and the new gadgets and just enjoy life online, instead of barely using your computer – Worse yet, think you can live without one? If the world is over taken with computers and gadgets today – what will happen in 10-20 years? You will be older and more of life with revolve around new tech. Get on the band wagon, do not feel dumb, feel empowered with new information and enjoy the connections like Twitter. I am @seniorcaretips on Twitter and its filled with terrific people giving me powerful information about my life and business on a daily basis. Don’t be shy, join us!
  • Don’t be embarrassed about “senior” as your new title. So what? Life moves on and you are moving and grooving with it, right? Ask for those senior discounts they make a huge difference in your spendable income. We are using Shari’s web site and George gets his free pie coupons and I get a two for one dinner coupon and their Honor Points. You can find the info on their website https://www.sharis.com/ Just one among many companies that know that senior power means money and they are willing to give discounts and free incentives. Coupons may have seemed below you when you worked and were so busyà now a little clipping for an extra $20-$40 dollar savings on your groceries means you can go out to dinner and still be on budget. Remember, always ask for the senior discount, when buying food, services or products – get in the habit and I will assure you 10-20% will be your min. savings overall. Kool!
  • Buying big ticket items turned out to be a no-no for seniors. They thought that a top of the line, new car, all paid for would be perfect for them for the rest of their retirement with less driving. But 10 years down the road they needed a new car. They bought a new RV vehicle instead of a good used one and it deprecated fast. You have to force yourself to think “long term” and live “long term”
  • Another problem, new retirees bought a smaller home that was modest for retirement, but did not plan for long term. 10-15-20 years later the roof, the carpet and other major repairs are needed and they do not have the money to make that happen. If you plan a retirement home, make it long term. One story, good flooring that will hold though the years, a safe and easy to use bathroom and shower, a yard that is not too big and a roof and siding that will last. Don’t forget enough bedrooms and baths so you can have a roommate or care giver in the future. Think down the line, when you are older and unable to pack up and make another move. Get your retirement home in place with the idea you may be there till you are in your mid 90’s. You may not have a spouse and be living there on your own. That gives you a different eye on things when you look for your new home.
  • Join AARP, they are the largest senior organization and they represent millions of older Americans. They offer lower fees on insurance, medical supplies, and traveling discounts. They have millions using their service so you get discounts that can really keep you aligned for future drops in your income.
  • Take a safe driver’s class. I have taught safe driving classes for the last four years. I love them, the seniors that take them get a discount on their insurance and it bubbles up the defensive driving techniques that we all know, but are stored way in the back of our brains. Good for everyone over 50! Don’t forget to add Road Side Service to your insurance listing. You do not want to be stuck on the side of the road and pay for a tow or tire change!
  • Seniors living with roommates. If you are in a larger home and do not want to move, maybe the idea of a roommate to help with the costs will be just right for you. George and I invited my dear friend into our home. We have a full downstairs with bedrooms and bath. She was on her own and could not afford a lot of rent and with G’s Alzheimer’s we could use the extra income. We now are living as a family and it has been very rewarding for us all. Think on this, it might make a big difference if you are single and want to keep that family home for a few more years!
  • Think medical care, do you have long term insurance, do you have your doctors in order and your list of Rx all ready to take with you on the road? Think of things that may not affect you today, but might mean your whole quality of life in a few years. Example: using a nationwide drug store chain for your Rx means you can fill it in any city you visit, instead of trying to have the pills mailed.
  • Change your habits over to email and text with a cell phone that will inform you of incoming messages. That way you will stay in touch with people where ever you are located. You could be on a trip to Reno or in your backyard and you will know how to call for help and receive family updates. Buy a GPS Garmin type of gadget that shows you the way home from anywhere in the world. That way you never have to use a map or hear, “Where are we?” again.
  • Watch your food intake. Staying at home, by the kitchen, can mean your weight goes up with the amount of easy snacks or boredom. Take up a new walking routine, join the senior center or Y and have fun with a senior exercise program 2-3 times a week. Those things are so good for you and your spouse plus they add new friends to your new way of life.
  • Dedicate yourself to having good check-ups. You have been too busy for doctor visits in the past, now that is behind you. Do not be afraid to face your body and what it holds. Living long and living well are two things that need to go together. Get your breast, your heart, your prostate, your colon, your blood pressure checks and figure out how to eat, exercise, and add supplements and medication to keep you as well as you can be. Have a calendar with doctor appointments firmly made ahead of time. So if you travel you can still stay well. Find out if your health insurance covers you in other states and how to use it if you are out of your home area. You may be able to visit other clinics or doctors in cities that will keep you from shortening your travel plans. Get extra travel insurance for health, if you’re going out of country.

Whatever you decide to do, do not sit down and watch TV all day. Get up, keep a daily planner just like you always did and have your days filled with events. Walking, talking, driving – keep that mind working. Volunteer, I mean the kind of volunteer work that really uses your talents, do it with your friend or spouse and do it often. Do it if you travel, every town has needs for a few hours of volunteer work. Retirement is simply leaving your place of employment, not retiring from life. Keep busy, join, help, love, dance, play and write. You are just starting the rest of your life. Mother used to say that you will have time to do anything you want when you retire. She lived forty years of retirement and she traveled, took classes, learned to paint, learned to make dolls, gardened, knitted, baked hundreds of dozens of cookies, played cards with gal pals and still had time to spend with me. At 100 years she passed with a library book half read on her bed side table. Life goes on longer and better than you ever imagined!

Happiness on your new adventure, please do go to my website and enjoy the information for seniors www.seniorcarewithspirit.com. I have my Dear Francy blog information that goes back a long way with loads of tips. I have written a “How to Give Seniors Care- Care giving 101 Workbook” that is designed to help spouses and family care givers with basic home nursing and care information. And I have added a new venture called Loving Memories that is a FREE service that finds just the right senior care facility for your family member.

Thanks for reading and join me with my on demand talk show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/SeniorCareWithSpirit – I have a new one scheduled on this topic and you can read about it and join me live, call in or listen at your leisure on demand. Thanks francy

10 Ideas to Help Senior Spouse Care Givers

by francy Dickinson                    www.seniorcarewithspirit.com

Dear Francy; My husband came home last week from hospital. He had a stroke and is now recovering. He went into a care facility for only two days and hated it and demanded he be home again. I’m way over my head and heard about your blog- Help!
First, I’m very sorry you are both going through this health challenge. You will see in my many blogs that as a person who has spent many years as a full time care giver – now, caring for my husband with Alzheimer’s/dementia – I feel very strongly about being the lead in the Health Care Team between my husband, the doctor and me. I’m the care giver and I do most of the work and I am clear headed, therefore I get to make the rules and the rules have to include my own (as well as my senior’s) good health, energy and happiness. The senior in care comes first, but just like raising children – the mom/spouse care giver has to take charge and stay strong.

Here are some ideas just to begin your process.

  1. Get a formal Health Care Directive in place that shows that you can make health decisions for your spouse. It will also give you the ability to ask for his medical information. You do this by filling out a form (from office supply store or software called Family Lawyer) Have it notarized and then you make copies for Dr’s and hospitals, so you are able to be in charge as your spouse’s health team partner.
  2. Talk to the doctor about having a Physical Therapist helping you at home. In-home care of professionals and care givers is really important when you’re just “at the beginning stage” of a health challenge. You will be helped and you will learn from them. Don’t try to do it alone, even if your senior is demanding privacy. Stick up to your own needs, get a team in place. Therapists, care givers, bath people all of them are there for you to use. At least for the first few months while your senior is adjusting to his recovery.
  3. Emotional changes happen when a senior is recovering from a stroke. Their mind has been affected and it will show signs of change. Those changes may heal with time, but it takes loads of time. So if you feel your senior shows signs of anger issues, confusion issues, and speech or memory changes – share it with the health care professionals. Do not be afraid to share these changes with doctors and care givers, it’s not a private issue when you are on a health care team. It is reporting serious change that can be treated with therapy or medications.
  4. Keep a notebook with a daily log. Write down the pills that are given and the time, any response to the medication, the emotional and physical changes you notice.
    *Example: George was starting to shuffle in his walking with his dementia; I reported that to his neurologist on our next appointment. Dr changed his meds and 24 hours after the new meds were taken, George was walking normally again. You keep the running tab of things that seem out of place as well as things that go well. So you are prepared to talk to the medical professionals and get them to join your team and all of you will work towards your husband’s recovery.
  5. Sit down with your husband and go over rules of the road. Just like you would with any teen ager -there are house rules to establish. The medications have to be taken on time each and every day. Exercise will be done in the morning and evening, no matter what is going on. Visitors will only stay 30 minutes and then off they go so they do not wear down the senior. Getting dressed, using the walker, practicing their speaking, and eating good food is not a choice it is a requirement. It may sound dreadful to have to go over everything, but this is what has to be done to get him well.
    * Yes, you will find your relationship does take a change. But it is all for the betterment of your senior and to their good health. If you have been the passive person in the marriage/relationship then you will learn to be assertive, because that is what is required during this healing time.
  6. Go online and read about your spouse/senior’s condition. You will find so much information. There are chat rooms filled with folks walking in your footsteps, so join them. Twitter me at @seniorcaretips. Do not be alone. Do not be afraid. Sure life is great when both parties are well and happy, but real life comes with bumps. Just know that learning about how to give care and what is required of you means getting answers from those that have gone through a similar recovery. It will make you strong.
  7. Who is in charge?
    I had to change my own health care directive a few months ago. I removed my husband’s name and put down my sister as my Power of Attorney for health care. It was so hard to do. My hubby has treated me as a princess for over 30 years. But, he has dementia; he cannot make decisions for his own health now, let alone my health. So the change had to come.
    Change, it is always foreboding. Facing tough decisions with your spouse/senior is a very hard thing to do. But you will do it. There are no bad decisions in health care, there are just different choices. You’ll listen to your spouse/senior, listen to the health care people and your own inner voice and then you will decide on a treatment that makes sense to you.
  8. Family members are loving and want the best. But they are not there giving care-you are! You’re there giving care 24/7. You do not go home at night or take the day shift only. You are there day after day and you know how your spouse/senior is doing. You can see the changes for good and bad and you have to trust your own decisions. You will find that family will try to guide or lecture you. That is fine, hear them out, but remember you are in charge and you are going to make the decisions. To go against what you feel is right because a son, daughter or Uncle has forced their opinion on you – is not right. You have to be strong and have faith in your own choices. The health care team: You, your spouse and your doctor.
  9. Set up your home for recovery. A bed may have to be moved, a walker, bath chair and commode may have to be added and used. Just remember, that the old way of life is on hold while your spouse/senior recovers. Think care giver thoughts and keep things cleaner than normal, be more organized, and follow health care instructions to the tee. Do not allow the spouse/senior to make the rules, remember? Their recovery is going to take you to be strong and follow the health care professional’s suggestions, not his.
    * My husband’s good friend got a knee replacement and went to the therapist and did all the exercises- totally recovered with good speed. His second replacement- a few years later- he did not go to therapy, he thought he knew how to do it on his own. He has never recovered and limps. He told me he thought he only had a few years left to live, now ten years later, he’s very unhappy about the choices he made.
  10. You, you are the “it girl” now. The spouse that is well is left to be the spouse/senior in charge of the health care plan. It is not easy and can be very emotional. So, what does that mean? You need to reach out and talk. Talk to a support group online or in a group by your home, to your family or best friend. You need to eat well, drink water like a mad person, and sleep. If you do not sleep at night, then take naps. You have to stay strong, and that means you need to walk away every week. Walk out of the house for a walk around the block, a drive to meet a friend for coffee or shopping. Get out and get a fresh look at the world. Your strength is going to help your spouse/senior to gain strength again.
    *I always keep a diary to express myself. I write three things that made me happy today and three things that upset me today. After just a few days- you can look back and see the things that bother you or that bless you. After a couple of weeks you can even look back and say – “Hey, I have to stop letting that word, or person or action bother me. Or I have to order more chocolate ice cream because it always makes me happy.” It’s my own self help- and it has carried me through years of care giving.

     

    This is just the beginning. There is always more and please take time to read more of my blogs and join me with my on demand talk shows on all sorts of senior care issues at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/SeniorCareWithSpirit

    I have so much info to help you on your care giving adventure. I even wrote a Senior Care-Giver 101
    Workbook to make the check off lists of daily tasks and how to give care and home nursing techniques easy for you. The workbook is at http://www.seniorcarewithspirit.com
    click on Products.

     

    Thanks for all you do for your husband and for reading the post. Blessings, francy

Seniors in Care Facilities – Tips for Visits and Safety

By francy Dickinson www.seniorcarewithspirit.com

Dear Francy: Mom in-law is in care facility and we’re visiting twice a week. It’s clean and she seems well fed but angry. Her dementia is still raging and she took a fall out of her bed and hit her head two days ago. How can I help keep her safe and sound in the care facility?

Here are a few tips:

  • Visiting twice a week is very good. Change your days and your times, so you’re there, but not on a routine. That way you can see the progression of the daily care staff, as the weeks go by.
  • Check the facility for being clean, the patient room, the eating facility and the public rooms are easy to see. But a walk down the hall will show you how the storage closets are kept orderly, the shower area clean, how the kitchen is run and the pill dispensing cart is being used. You just observe, even if you know nothing about care giving – you will see that organization is the key to good care, and cleanliness is right behind. If you have a question – ask the management about the staff, not the staff. It keeps the resentment from the questioning from reflecting on your senior’s care.
  • Do not be afraid to ask for a review of a fall. It should be logged in and reviewed by the staff. If it’s a staff problem you need them to make adjustments to the procedures in the facility and make sure they adjust the monthly payment to reflect any incident that caused harm to the patient. If it’s the patient that is being unwise in their movements or manners, then review how the care staff can make changes to avoid a repeat of the problem.
  • Take treats into the staff. This is open to what you like to do yourself. But once a month, I would bake brownies or cookies, or stop off at a special candy store and gather together some treats. You could buy some expensive coffee beans for the lounge or bring root beer and ice cream for a treat in the summer. Be creative, but be smart. Drop them off at the nursing lounge with a thank you card that has the patient’s name and your name. This goes along way for the staff to know you care about them and in turn they will care about you and your senior patient.
  • If the patient has dementia/Alzheimer’s let the staff know the real patient as you do. Take in pictures of the patient when they were young and first married, have a little label with names of spouse and family in the picture. Make a copy of a college degree or service certificate, so others visiting for the first time see that a very valuable person is inside of that patient. Honoring who a person is, inside, makes the current situation more understandable to strangers.
  • See if you can surround the senior with things that bring a feeling of home. A favored piece of art on the wall and a small shelf with bits and bobs from their collection. A throw that was crocheted by the senior or a book that has always been a favorite. Things from the past will surround a person and give them a feeling of safety. Ask about the rules of the facility and then make the creative side of you bring just the right stuff in to the room to perk it up!
  • Always ask the senior what they did yesterday?? Have them tell you what ever they remember. It’s important to take note. If they are abused or do not like things, it will come up in one of these conversations if you keep asking. You can hear what is bubbling inside of them, what bothers them or makes them happy. You do not need to worry about the details; just the feelings you get from the senior.
  • Food treats for seniors. If a senior does not have a food restriction, then do bring along something special for them. They may love some chocolate, cracker jacks, or a dinner of food from your family heritage. Heritage food is lost in care centers and still is so important to the senior.
  • A small covered jar of wrapped hard candy for visitors or care staff is always a nice lure to get them into the room to check up on the senior
  • Take a container of those cleaning wipes and each time you visit. Take them out and go over public surfaces around the senior’s room. A double protection against germs is always good.
  • Make sure the senior has a way to call home. If you need to put a large printed sign with your phone number taped to their room phone, do it. If they want a cell phone and are able to use it wisely, do it. They need to have a way to feel connected, not dumped. If that is hard to do, then make a quiet evening time call each night. Set a time that is good for you both and just make it an evening call each evening. The repeat of the calls is what the senior will feel – they can count on you is what they will think. Those are good things.
  • Check the senior for signs of red marks on their skin and ask each week if any skin irradiation has shown itself during the week. That is a very important point. Hot spots on older skin are hard to heal, if you catch them before they happen it makes life easier. The skin will show if the staff is not moving the patient around, bathing them carefully, or changing their bladder control products on time. Each time they do a bath, they will make note of the skin problems, you can ask to see that chart and take note that there are none. If they have them, then ask how they are being treated and stay on top of it until it is healed. If it repeats often, there is a care giving problem to be addressed.
  • Bladder infections or UTI’s are very common in seniors in care. You want to make sure they have cranberry pills added to their daily intake and you want to know that the infection is being treated, but the cause is researched and addressed.
  • Just because the senior is in care, does not mean they cannot add supplements. You can talk to their doctor and supply the supplements for daily dispensing. Turmeric is very popular for dementia and infection treatment…our doctor just added it to the OK list and mom was able to enjoy the supplement each day.
  • Remember, the facility wants to have you in charge and up to date, they want you to be involved, so do speak up. Read about your senior’s care and bring up the ideas you gather during the family meetings at the care center. You can have a monthly meeting at the care center if you like. I love them, you keep up with their ideas and how things are going – good stuff.

Hope these ideas help you with your care for your senior in a care center. It is always a hard choice to make when you place them in care. I have a free service for families called Loving Memories it helps family place seniors in good care facilities. We review the senior and their needs and then find a care facility that meets those needs. I also have care tips, workbooks, on demand talk show information and just all around good stuff on my website. Please do visit www.seniorcarewithspirit.com

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 www.seniorcarewithspirit.com

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