Signs You May Need Additional Help

Caregiver burnout is something we talk about a lot at LifeLinks because we see it all of the time with our clients and families. There are times when the needs for your love one may be too much for you to handle on your own and still continue taking care of yourself and others that may need you. That is why our clients hire us, we not only advocate for their loved one and help them find programs in their area, but we also support their family so that everyone can enjoy their loved ones as they age.

If you are caring for a loved one with Dementia, we have some helpful warning signs for you to pay attention to that may clue you in to get additional help.

 

WANDERING
• Getting lost, wandering off, not knowing how to get back home or going outside at inappropriate times

BEHAVIOR OR PERSONALITY CHANGING
• Rapid mood swings or increased suspicion or paranoia

POOR JUDGEMENT LEADING TO SAFETY CONCERNS
• Leaving the door open or unlocked, letting strangers into the house
• Leaving stove on or burning pots
• Dressing without regard for the weather
• Giving large sums of money away or falling prey to telemarketing scams
• Poor housekeeping giving way to chances of falling

POOR EATING HABITS & HYGIENE
• Ignoring all over cleanliness like bathing, changing clothes, brushing teeth and shaving, etc.

PHYSICAL DECLINE
• Unable to use stairs safety, lack of mobility, forgetting to use walker or cane

INCONTINENCE
• Frequent accidents or increased odor

DEPRESSION OR BOREDOM
• Loss of initiative, socializing, maintaining friendships and activities
• Watching TV excessively

If some of these signs seem all too familiar or you would like to talk to someone about the behaviors that are happening - call us. Our care managers are ready to support you and your family.

The Challenge of Acknowledging Change

We cannot escape it. We observe changes in our parents or family members that are telltale signs of the aging process. We may be caught off guard, dismiss any concerns, or try to continue as if all is normal and undisturbed.

Witnessing physical and cognitive changes in our parents is so very difficult.  Not only do we realize that they are reaching a stage in their life that warrants change and guidance, but we are also confronted with our own mortality.  As our parents age, we must acknowledge that so do we.  Once the new reality of our parents’ lives is accepted it is important that we try to remain open-minded and maintain a positive outlook.  This is a time in life when we have the opportunity to advocate and support our parents and by doing so help them maintain their independence and sense of self worth.  Encouraging our parents to remain actively involved and in control of their future may diminish any feelings of intrusion, and they may welcome our inclusion into discussions of change.

Occasional brief periods of forgetfulness may be normal signs of aging or an indicator of a serious problem. We may have to struggle to not appear alarmed.  How do we approach creating change in our lives and in the lives of others?   Where do we start?

It is not unusual that during visits or phone calls with family we notice behavioral changes or signs of declining health.  It may be a challenge to discuss our concerns without appearing intrusive or without expressing doubts in their abilities to function independently and safely.  Returning home to our own life of stress and responsibility may lead to feelings of guilt or relief to be away from our parents and our observations. 

When an opportunity presents itself to speak candidly with our parents, we should try to approach the discussion in a non-threatening way by using safe topics of conversation.  A discussion about current events in our life may prompt them to share their own day-to-day activities, providing us with some insight into how they are managing and adjusting to new changes that aging may have introduced.

In determining how the aging process is affecting our parents, we should ask ourselves the following questions:

  • Medical appointments – Are they maintaining contact with their physicians and keeping appointments?  Is doubt expressed about their physician’s care or guidance?
  • Medications – Are they managing their medications independently, using a pharmacy service or pill box? Are they having difficulty with the costs of their medications or are they noncompliant and have mentioned making self- prescribed changes in order to save money or because they feel the drugs are not effective?
  • Socialization – Is their level of activities with others changing? Have they stopped participating in activities that in the past were important, such as church, volunteering, seeing friends? Are they in touch with family less?  
  • Home maintenance – Are you concerned with changes in their environment, such as the cleanliness of the home, strong odors, collecting clutter? Are they using makeshift items for support when walking, such as holding onto furniture to move about the house, or to assist in standing or sitting? If they own a pet(s) are they able to manage their care? If they smoke do they do so safely?
  • Shopping and meals – Are they having difficulty with getting groceries or appear to be eating poorly?  Is food stored properly, spoiling? Are they hoarding food or displaying poor judgment with what they eat? Have they lost or gained weight, can they recall what they have had eaten lately? Are they drinking enough liquids, consuming too much alcohol, or overusing an unsafe substance?
  • Personal care – Are they dressed appropriately, have their personal cleanliness habits changed? Are they unaware of the condition of their clothing; is it soiled, torn or ill fitting? Is their clothing appropriate for the season?
  • Financial management – Are they still independent with managing their checkbook and investments or do they require the help of others? Have they expressed frustration over their finances? Have bills gone paid or utilities discontinued? Do they respond to sweepstakes opportunities, donate frequently to charities? Have they recently purchased an item or had work done in the home that you think was unnecessary?
  • Driving – Are they driving safely? Have you noticed any new damage to their car, are they maintaining the car? Have they had any experiences with getting lost or taking too long to arrive at a destination? Do they have any vision changes that would impair their driving? Do they drive at night?

Some families are more comfortable with these discussions than others.  It may be typical of ongoing contact with our parents to share this type of information.  Depending on our family history of communication, broaching these topics may be difficult, if not impossible.  Some talks may arise from our own disclosure of how we manage multiple tasks in our daily life.

It is important to remain open with parents about any concerns and plans to take action.  The degree to which we can become involved and make decisions for them will be limited by their knowledge, their involvement in the decision-making process, and their Advanced Directives. Prepared legal documents such as a Living Will, Durable Power of Attorney, and Health Care Power of Attorney will determine the level of involvement that we may have when participating with our parents in making changes in their lifestyle and care. 

Becoming aware of aging changes is just the beginning of a new journey for children and parents.  Fear, anger, and feeling overwhelmed are typical reactions that we may encounter as we acknowledge change.  Encouraging independence is a very important piece of this process for both generations.  We want to believe that our parents are still very capable of remaining active and independent.  Our parents need to maintain as much involvement and control over heir life as possible, delaying any dependency on us or others.

As children, we do not need to feel alone on this journey. There are many resources available to guide and support us in understanding and preparing for the increasing needs of our parents. Planning ahead and being aware of their future needs and wishes may make the difficult transition of introducing change a little easier.  

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

LAURIE RAY, MSW, CMSW, C-ASWCM
ADVACED AGING CARE SPECIALIST

Over 20 years’ experience in the field of Social Work, Laurie’s background includes extensive work in hospice care where she provided end of life support to patients of all ages in a variety of settings.  In 2004 Laurie established and was Executive Director of COPE Eldercare, the area’s only nonprofit 501(c)(3) charity providing geriatric care management services regardless of the ability to pay. In addition, the 2013 January/February issue Social Work magazine named Laurie in its annual recognition of “Ten dedicated and Deserving Social Workers”. Laurie has been teaching Pet Therapy for ten years assisting volunteers and their canine companion to become a certified team.

 

 

    

Including Pets in Long Term Care Plans

Contributed by: LAURIE RAY, MSW, CMSW, C-ASWCM

Aging and the Human-Animal Bond: The Multiple Benefits Nurturing These Relationships

What is healthy aging? Is it having a plan, remaining realistic, or just being grateful for the benefits of good health? Aging is inevitable, though some of us accept it more graciously than others. Planning for our later years requires some insight into our wishes, expectations, and is frequently more involved than how well we have saved for retirement.

We may forget or take for granted quality-of-life details. Many of us who are animal lovers cannot conceive of the notion that at some point we may not be able to physically, cognitively, or financially maintain the ability to be responsible for a pet. We will always expect to have a pet in our life, regardless of our living environment, and not worry about the ability to provide adequate care.

Historically animals have been an integral part of society—both past and present— whether they met agricultural needs, provided companionship, or assisted with functioning. For some, maintaining a connection with an animal is vital in ensuring a sense of self-worth or purpose. Acknowledging and respecting one’s history with animals may aid in validating a sense of self.

As we age, our ability to live independently may change. When living in a communal environment individual relationships with a domesticated animal may be lost due to facility policy, the physical or cognitive limitations of the individual, or financial and environmental restrictions. Creating alternative ways for maintaining contact with animals may not only enhance one’s lifestyle but may also provide health benefits.

For all of us, relationships change as we age, including those with our animals. In addition to companionship and unconditional love, our pets may meet the changing needs in our lives in a wide variety of ways, including:

  • providing assistance
  • helping maintain a sense of purpose and responsibility
  • increasing our mobility or exercise opportunities
  • serving as a status symbol that sets us apart from others
  • increasing socialization—as the pet may serve as a conduit to interactions with others
  • helping normalize our environment
  • having a calming effect and reducing anxiety
  • providing sensory stimulation through touch, sight, and smell
  • decreasing our focus on an illness or stressful situation
  • serving as a buffer with family conflict and relationships.

It’s an impressive list of supportive benefits.

Sadly, however, it is not uncommon for seniors to be separated from their pets due to their inability to provide proper care, financial restrictions, or safety concerns. Some older adults may not seek help for their own care and remain isolated from others out of fear that they may be separated from their pet; their love and concern for their companion supersedes their own needs.

Many seniors are fortunate to have family, friends, neighbors, or the financial resources for paid assistance to possibly help out with the care of their pets but others may not. While society generally appears to value the relationship we have with our pets, it may also be perceived as dispensable as one ages and one’s needs and abilities change. In order to continue benefiting from the bond we have with animals incorporating them into our long-term care plan is vital.

Including Pets in Long-Term Care Plans

In my role as a geriatric care manager (GCM), I consider pets to be a part of the family system that need to be considered in the decision-making process of planning for current and future needs. Pets are important not only as companions but also for their therapeutic benefits to the older adult. For example, housing options may limit the older adult’s choices if a pet is involved. It is our role to advocate for that relationship but also help with solutions and resources for ongoing care.

It is also important to help seniors acknowledge the reality that at some point difficult choices may need to be made regarding the care and appropriateness of maintaining pet ownership. Many of these decisions will be dictated by the health status and financial resources of the senior. That said, it is important always to keep in mind that relationships and our interactions with others is an important aspect of our quality of life. Socialization and the stimulation it provides may come from our family, friends, neighbors—but, as importantly, it may also come from our animals. Whether we are animal lovers or not we all need to be sensitive to this relationship and its impact on the aging process and the source of significant happiness and purpose for many.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

new raleigh cm.jpg

LAURIE RAY, MSW, CMSW, C-ASWCM
ADVACED AGING CARE SPECIALIST

Over 20 years’ experience in the field of Social Work, Laurie’s background includes extensive work in hospice care where she provided end of life support to patients of all ages in a variety of settings.  In 2004 Laurie established and was Executive Director of COPE Eldercare, the area’s only nonprofit 501(c)(3) charity providing geriatric care management services regardless of the ability to pay. In addition, the 2013 January/February issue Social Work magazine named Laurie in its annual recognition of “Ten dedicated and Deserving Social Workers”. Laurie has been teaching Pet Therapy for ten years assisting volunteers and their canine companion to become a certified team.

Assessing the Needs of an Aging Loved One: Social Behavior and Mental Status

CONTRIBUTED BY: ERIN NORTONEN - CARE MANAGER AND ADVOCATE

PART 3 OF SERIES

In this series we have covered the assessments of driving, mail, money management, housekeeping, meal prep and personal care. We've included tips for monitoring, as well as the importance of keeping written notes of your observances.

Have you noticed anything in the older adult? Remember that there could be a variety of explanations for many of these problems, including simple loss of mobility, physical limitations, chronic pain, vision or other sensory losses, confusion due to medication problems, depression, or possibly dementia. Help may be needed, but the person may still be able to continue living independently once problems are identified and supports are in place.  

If you're just reading this now, you may have missed part 1 and 2 of this series and we encourage you to start here: Part 1: Driving, Mail and Finances

In the final week of our series we are focused on, changes in social behavior and mental status.

Again, for many of these questions, all you have to do is keep your eyes open. You’re looking for signs of change from past behavior -- Are they behaving differently from their past normal patterns? We can't express enough that if you do notice changes - DO NOT PANIC! If you need help, LifeLinks is always here for your support.

  • Talk it over with the older adult first, expressing your concern in a tactful, nonjudgmental way.
  • Express your concern, but don’t over-react.
  • Depending on what you hear, you may also need to talk to other family members, close friends, or the older adult’s physician.

Changes in Social Behavior:

If there have been changes in this area, the question is, “why?” Is it a transportation problem? Do they avoid social gatherings because hearing loss makes conversation difficult?  Are they withdrawing from the world because of grief or depression?

•Does the person still see friends and participate in social activities? If not, why not?
•If they went to church previously, do they still go?
•Do they seem lonely or isolated?

Mental status:

The following are indicators that there may be a problem with depression or a neurological disorder. Remember there can be other explanations for these behaviors, don’t assume that “it’s just old age”. It is not a normal part of aging to be miserable, focused on death, or living in the past.

•Have they lost interest in things they used to enjoy?
•Do they seem unusually worried, hopeless, or sad?
•Do they repeat questions or stories over and over?
•Do you have to repeat or explain things multiple times to get them to understand?
•Are they able to recall recent events accurately?
•Do they have difficulty concentrating on a conversation, a book, or a television program?
•Do they seem unusually sleepy during the day? Do they have a regular sleep schedule?
•Do they seem uncharacteristically angry or suspicious?

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

erin.jpg

ERIN NORTONEN - CARE MANAGER AND ADVOCATE

Erin is a Care Manager and advocate with more than 30 years experience working with senior adults; she's worked as a charge nurse in long term care facilities, an advocate and outreach nurse to at-risk/homeless elderly, private duty home-care, communications manager for a Medicare peer review organization, and as an Aging & Eldercare Program Manager at SAS Institute. Her experience also includes marketing and healthcare education for Hospice of Wake County (now Transitions LifeCare).

Assessing the Needs of an Aging Loved One - Housekeeping, Meal Prep and Personal Care

CONTRIBUTED BY: ERIN NORTONEN - CARE MANAGER AND ADVOCATE

PART 2 OF SERIES

Last week we focused on assessing the ability of an aging adult to manage driving, mail and finances. We suggest taking notes if you do notice some of the changes we've listed in this series. It may be hard to discuss details later on and to remember everything as you are observing. Having a reference when assessing or discussing things you've noticed with family, friends or a doctor is important.

If you missed our first part of this series, you may want to start there: Part 1: Driving, Mail and Finances

If you have an elderly relative or neighbor, have you ever asked yourself   “When should I start to worry? What should I be looking for?”  How will I know?”   This Assessment Series will identify 8 categories to help you recognize when you should be concerned, and some things to look for that may give you a hint that help is needed.  

This week we are focused on, Housekeeping, Meal Prep and Personal Care

Again, for many of these questions, all you have to do is keep your eyes open. You’re looking for signs of change from past behavior -- Are they behaving differently from their past normal patterns? If you do notice a problem: 

  • Talk it over with the older adult first, expressing your concern in a tactful, nonjudgmental way.
  • Express your concern, but don’t over-react.
  • Depending on what you hear, you may also need to talk to other family members, close friends, or the older adult’s physician.
  • Don't panic!

Housekeeping:

Remember, you’re looking for evidence of significant change from past behavior.  So if Dad was always sloppy, the fact that he doesn’t live up to your personal standards isn’t necessarily a cause for concern. However, if Mom was the perfect housekeeper and now doesn’t seem to care that the dishes are piled up in the sink, it’s time to ask questions.

• Is the home reasonably clean?  Any major changes in the level of cleanliness?
• Are there strong unpleasant odors in the home?
• Is laundry getting done regularly? Do their clothes seem clean? Do they wear the same clothes all the time?
• Is the home cluttered? Are there potential safety hazards such as blocked walkways? 
 


Meal preparation and nutrition:

Appetites can change with age and activity level. And Changes in the way things taste or smell are quite common in older adults. Sometimes this may be early sign of a more serious medical problem, or may result in a problem if it leads to not eating regularly. In addition, Physical limitations such as back pain can limit the ability to stand long enough to prepare food. And Loneliness or depression can take away the desire to prepare meals.  

Here are some questions to explore:
• Are they eating regular meals?
• Do you notice signs of loss of appetite or picking at food and only eating a few foods?
• Are they able to prepare food for themselves?
• Is there a reasonable amount and variety of food in the refrigerator and cupboards?
• Any signs of rotten food, or unusual overstocking of certain items?
• Do they appear to have lost weight recently?

Personal care:

Changes in dress or personal grooming may reflect a variety of issues. Perhaps arthritis makes it difficult to put on some kinds of clothing.  But wearing the same clothes over and over may indicate problems.

• Does the person appear well-groomed and appropriately dressed?
• Are their clothes clean?
• Do they change clothes regularly, or do they always seem to be wearing the same thing?
• Does he or she seem to be bathing regularly?
• Can he or she get in and out of the tub or shower without assistance?
• Does the person seem to be taking their medications? Does they have a system for remembering when to take them?

To continue reading on about assessing your aging loved one, go to Part 3: Social Behavior and Mental Status

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

ERIN NORTONEN - CARE MANAGER AND ADVOCATE

Erin is a Care Manager and advocate with more than 30 years experience working with senior adults; she's worked as a charge nurse in long term care facilities, an advocate and outreach nurse to at-risk/homeless elderly, private duty home-care, communications manager for a Medicare peer review organization, and as an Aging & Eldercare Program Manager at SAS Institute. Her experience also includes marketing and healthcare education for Hospice of Wake County (now Transitions LifeCare).

Assessing the Needs of an Aging Loved One - Driving, Mail & Finances

CONTRIBUTED BY:  ERIN NORTONEN - CARE MANAGER AND ADVOCATE

If you have an elderly relative or neighbor, have you ever asked yourself   “When should I start to worry? What should I be looking for?”  How will I know?”   This Assessment Series will identify 8 categories to help you recognize when you should be concerned, and some things to look for that may give you a hint that help is needed.  

This week we are focused on 3 of them, Driving, Mail & Finances

For many of these questions, all you have to do is keep your eyes open. The money management section, may require more careful and tactful questioning. This is where many of our clients ask for the support from LifeLinks to explain to your loved one why it is important to discuss.

In general, you’re looking for signs of change from past behavior -- Are they behaving differently from their past normal patterns? If you do notice a problem: 

  • Talk it over with the older adult first, expressing your concern in a tactful, nonjudgmental way.
  • Express your concern, but don’t over-react.
  • Depending on what you hear, you may also need to talk to other family members, close friends, or the older adult’s physician.

Remember that there could be a variety of explanations for many of these problems, including simple loss of mobility, physical limitations, chronic pain, vision or other sensory losses, confusion due to medication problems, depression, or possibly dementia. Help may be needed, but the person may still be able to continue living independently once problems are identified and supports are in place. Don’t panic!

Driving:

Driving skill can be impaired by vision loss, early-stage dementia, or other neurological problems that impair concentration.
• Examine the car for recent dents or scrapes
•Let them drive when you go somewhere that is familiar to them. Do you feel safe? Any close calls or unusual variations in speed? Any signs of confusion about where to go?

For more information on this, read our article: At What Age Should My Parents Stop Driving?

Mail:

A casual glance around can sometimes be very telling in terms of lost organizational skills or possible depression or anxiety that results in avoidance.
•Are there stacks of unsorted mail?
•Are bills and other important correspondence mixed in with outdated junk mail?
•Are there an unusual number of sweepstakes entry forms or charitable or political solicitation letters? (This can be a hint that an older adult is being taken in by fraudulent or deceptive marketing or has been responding to telephone solicitations for money.)

Paying bills and managing money:

This can be a little harder without asking prying questions or looking at bank statements, but you may see evidence or hear stories about services getting cut off, or hassles with the bank.
•Are the utility bills getting paid on time? Rent or mortgage payments?
•Is the checkbook balanced?
•Any signs of overdrafts?
•Are there a lot of credit card bills? Are payments being made?

 

To continue this series, head to Part 2: Housekeeping, Meal Prep and Personal Care

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

ERIN NORTONEN - CARE MANAGER AND ADVOCATE

Erin is a Care Manager and advocate with more than 30 years experience working with senior adults; she's worked as a charge nurse in long term care facilities, an advocate and outreach nurse to at-risk/homeless elderly, private duty home-care, communications manager for a Medicare peer review organization, and as an Aging & Eldercare Program Manager at SAS Institute. Her experience also includes marketing and healthcare education for Hospice of Wake County (now Transitions LifeCare).

12 Holiday Gifts for Aging Loved Ones

The holidays are here and the hunt for that perfect gift for everyone on your list is exciting and also exhausting at times. We thought we could help a little by asking our trusted friends at S&S Worldwide to guide us in choosing our Top 12 favorite gifts that are ideal for aging loved ones. We hope you are able to make meaningful and happy memories this season! Happy Holidays!

 

 

1. Joy for All Plush Cat or Dog

The perfect companion for mom or dad. These "pets" bark, purr, move and are as real to the real thing as you can get. If you know someone who is missing the love of their furry friend, this may be the gift for them.

 

2. Brainpaths

Registered with the FDA as a medical device, this Brainpaths tracing maze is an incredible breakthrough: a neurological medical device that stimulates the brain. 

 

3. EZ Read Playing Cards

Many of our clients enjoy playing cards, but sometimes have trouble reading them or clearly seeing the numbers. These EZ Read cards enlarge the numbers and suits, making the game much more enjoyable.

 

4. Thera Jigstick Puzzles

A great gift for grand parents to enjoy with their grandchildren, the chunky foam pieces are easy to handle, but still create the fun activity of putting together a puzzle.

 

5. Match Up Games

Match up the movie lines, or match up the famous jingle.  These games are such a fun activity for the whole family to enjoy, and can be a wonderful trip down memory lane.

 

6. Elevated Wall Hugger Planter

Gardening is both enjoyable and therapeutic for many people. If you have a loved one that has limited mobility, but would still love tending to a small garden, this is such a great solution.

 

7. Wool Felt Sewing Craft Kit

This craft is easy and fun to do, and it comes with everything your loved one will need to create a few different projects.  Simply use the wool and long needle to create pokes throughout and design different square images. Perfect for a sewer, crocheter or knitter.

 

8. Sensory Activity Pad

The activity pad, we recommend for individuals in the advanced or severe stages of dementia or Alzheimer's Disease. It provides a variety of fun activities and tactile sensations to keep those with dementia active and busy.

 

 

9. Portable Putting Green

A great gifts for the golf lover. This portable putting green can be set up anywhere and easily stored away.

 

10. Timeless Trivia

Timeless Trivia is a video series designed to test knowledge, stretch the memory and have some fun!

11. Chair Exerciser

It's important for aging adults to continue to get low impact exercise if their health permits. Resistance training allows to keep muscles strong without straining them. 

12. Big Mouth Fish Target Toss

Sometimes men are the hardest to buy for, especially as they become older. This toss game is perfect fun to get the whole family involved.

Caring for Mom and Dad this Holiday Season

Be Mindful of Aging Loved Ones During the Holiday Season

According to the American Medical Resource Institute there are more than six million adults over age 65 that suffer from depression. Unfortunately, the holidays only intensify feelings of lonliness, chronic health issues, and many other mental challenges that may face our aging loved ones. 

Guess what?  LifeLinks helps a lot of families around this time of year. We want to make it easy for the families we work with to be mindful of the needs of their aging loved one around the holidays, so we've put together a list of activities below that you can schedule with our care team, plus some helpful reminders for you.

WHAT LIFELINKS CAN DO TO HELP

Each year we remind ourselves throughout our own busy holiday schedules that this is a stressful time for our clients and their families. We really take time to think about each of our clients, their individual personalities, their living arrangements and family circumstances. This way, our team at LifeLinks can help famillies plan ways to be proactive in addressing their loved one's emotional and spiritual health during the holiday season, as well as their physical health during colder weather and this sometimes stressful season.  

The following ways are some ways we have helped families in the past:

  1. Take them shopping for gifts (even just to Walgreens or from a catalog is empowering for them to choose some or all of the gifts they give)
  2. Go for a car ride to look at holiday lights
  3. Sort through holiday cards or picture albums to let them reminisce about family, friends and previous holidays
  4. Ensure medications are packed and prepared for a day or two away 
  5. Help them buy and prepare a special homemade recipe
  6. Wrap gifts
  7. Buy, address, and mail holiday cards

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP

Sometimes it is easy for us to get overwhelmed this time of year and feel guilty. There are only so many hours in the day, and let's just be honest - there are more responsibilities and things to do. The holidays and end of year can be very stressful on caregivers and their loved ones.  

  • Look for signs of depression - While feeling blue can be normal, depression isn't. It is important for caretakers to look for signs of depressions such as persistent sadness, frequent tearfulness, weight changes, changes in sleep patterns, etc.
  • Plan holiday outings - Include your loved one in fun holiday events or call LifeLinks to help you (see below). Caroling, decorating, holiday cards, holiday shopping, cooking - these are all traditions that make the holidays special.
  • Encourage reminiscing - Our elders have lived a good life with so many great memories, which ones are their favorites and what do the holidays mean to them. Looking through family photos and past holiday events can help trigger stories.
  • Plan quiet time - This goes for you and the relative you are caring for. The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can wear you down in addition to your extra caregiving duties, and it can be disruptive to an elderly person. Take time inbetween events and parties to relax and recharge.
  • Don't forget to take care of you - We can't stress enough how important this is. If you are happy and well rested, you are able to successfully care and observe the loved ones around you. Take care of you, depression and stress happens to all ages during the holidays.