by francy Dickinson www.seniorcarewithspirit.com
Dear Francy; Mom was holding on to make it to the holiday, now she’s heading downhill. What can I do to keep her spirits up?
No matter where the senior is in their health challenges – positive thought patterns are the key to a life of quality. No one wants to just exist through life, we all want to live and live strong. Keeping those that are limited to a home, care facility or just limited in their out and about movements means their mental health is going to add to the physical health care problems.
Here are some ideas to keep the senior’s mind up and ready for their day:
- A Daily Goal is set each morning by the care giver for the senior. This is a small thing that is very personal per client, but really important. It takes creativity on the care givers part, but you will be repaid with the senior looking forward to a day instead of dreading it. Short term daily goals?
A walk outside, a special food treat, a special show on TV, a call made to an old friend or family member in the afternoon, a hair cut, nail care, foot rub, neck message, flowers from the yard, etc. I alwasy state the goal in the morning and make the goal for afternoon or evening.
- Longer goal is the weekly goal. I always set this goal to make sure each week has a flavor and does not get lost in boredom.
Pick decor for the week in the room, a special event that is coming up like a golf, tennis or music event on TV. A rental movie that reflects the seniors tastes, or a SKYPEsession with a long distance relative, or a grand child’s birthday card to send.
What ever the goal. I have it written in large letters on the door so the senior sees it as they go out to the bathroom during the day. This is so successful for me, that I found a difference in the seniors emotional state almost immediately.
- Once a month outing. Now once a senior gets quiet, weak or unwell, going out is hard to do. But making a monthly get out day is important if at all possible. I try not to make this day on a doctor day, but if you have to, make sure you take it easy, doctor days are very tiring. Ideas?
Drive through or around a local park, drive through and get a burger or ice cream, park and watch children play at park while eating a sandwich, eat out at local restaurant that is quiet so the senior can hear, visit the senior center, wheel them through the mall or walmart or dollar store, stop at food specialty shop for treats like German sausage or local grown cherries, update their cell phone, buy new around house clothing, buy new slippers, buy small hand held game withblackjack just for their fun time, get their toes done at a nail salon, get them a milkshake. Wheel them through a street fair, local fair or garage sale. Walk the senior with the dog and enjoy the moment around the lake or neighborhood.
- Seasons, so many folks that care for seniors get so involved in that care that they forget the seasons. Seasons are made for us to adjust and to take note of the year’s movement. Getting out to see the fall leaves, summer sun, winter snow or spring bulbs blooming is a must. If not bring those things into the world of the senior, have a seasonal theme some where in their room or sitting area. Let the senior become part of the season so they stay connected to the world.
- Big Event & Holidays. Seniors love holidays, so make them as special as you can and plan ahead so they become something to look forward to. Maybe the 4th of July is only watching the fireworks on TV and a slick of watermelon, but it is different then the day before. So make the best of it. If you plan on gong out make it easy. We have a small community with a short parade on the 4th. I used to take mother over there and sit her on the walkway and we would watch the kids past and the horses and old cars go by. She loved it, I would always get her ice cream and drive home. No staying long, no big crowd, no big event that she would get lost in, just easy breezy stuff. We have family events, birthdays and holidays to keep us busy on a monthly basis. Something to goal toward and be involved in. Maybe the senior will not attend the birthday or Christmas Eve dinner, but they can plan for it. I always made mother’s special shrimp salad for events and showed her the salad and then the family member would stop by for it and she would give it to them. She felt she was part of the event even when she did not make the salad or leave her sitting room. I get small gifts at the dollar store and use those for grand children or neighbor gifts, I find some young child that is close (maybe a child of the bath lady that visits) and the gift is given to them. Giving, even on a budget, makes everyone feel good. Holiday events can be exhausting for seniors, but visiting a home to see the Christmas decor and tree ahead of the holiday is low key and fun. Having the Halloween kids come and show the senior their costumes is great, and putting out an Easter basket with easy to chew treats for the senior is still a fun thing to do.
Keeping the patient involved and looking forward to life around them. That is the key…allowing them to just concentrate on thier pain, problems and sadness of their life is pointless. It all starts with the family and care givers, so perk yourself up. Raise up your voice tones when you enter your senior’s room. Search out funny stories, do not share your stories about a lost dog or boy friend just out of jail, that is toooo much information. Keep your conversation lite and enjoyable because you are the only contact for the senior to the outside world on most days. You are the key to making care, up or down. If the senior is bitter and nasty no matter what you do? Than get them into the doctor and let the doctor know they are displaying a high level of depression and anger. Life is to be lived, not survived. and you as a family member and care giver are the key – all it takes is your kindness and creativity. Not perfection, just persistence – with a smile.
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 blogsto 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.