Category Archives: Christmas

LifeFone’s Caregiver Holiday Gift Ideas

gift boxWhether you’re a caregiver for your aging relatives or if you’re an adult in the Sandwich Generation who is taking care of both aging relatives and a growing family, chances are probably realize you don’t take good enough care of yourself.

If your family is asking, “What can we get you for the holidays?” here are some ideas that will bring a smile to your face:

  •  Pay for a three, six, nine, or twelve-month house cleaning service. This gift can provide a once monthly housekeeping and deep cleaning that will keep your house neat and tidy and ease your thoughts on your own housekeeping when you’re in the midst of cleaning your loved ones’ home.
  • A gift of a LifeFone Medical Alert System for your aging relatives is a gift of peace of mind for the caregiver. With this system, you can walk away from your duties as caregiver for a few hours or even a weekend and have the peace of mind that your loved ones will not be “alone” as long as they have, and wear, their personal medical device.
  • Do you like to keep in touch with relatives, but sometimes forget the birthday and anniversary dates? If you have friends and relatives to keep in touch with, it also becomes a task you add to your to-do list, but may not get around to – especially if it involves having to go to the store to buy cards. A subscription to a service that will automatically send cards to loved ones lets you keep in touch without the stress of trying to remember every date. Check out: americangreetings.com or sendoutcards.com. This is a handy time-saver that allows your family to keep in touch.
  • Do you have a lot of paperwork and clutter that you need to keep track of, both for yourself and your aging parents now? If that’s the case, you may want to request some organizational tools or bins to help tame the clutter. There are myriad options, ranging from desk organizers, purse organizers, craft bins, plastic totes to store off-season decorations or clothing. If you spend a lot of time in the car driving from your home to theirs, a car organizer might be ideal, especially if it is stocked with items you might need in the event of an emergency or a car breakdown. Check out http://www.thirtyonegifts.com/catalog/utility/ or check Amazon.com and search for car or desk organizers.
  • When you finally make it home after a long day, you might want to grab a glass of wine or a cup of hot tea and indulge and relax. Ask for some essential oils that can lead to a more relaxed state. Relax in a bathtub with some luxurious bubble bath and even a big, fluffy bath sheet or two. Add in some candles and high end lotions and viola you can be whisked away!
  • To truly add to an “indulgence” gift purchase ask for a gift certificate for a massage. Hint: In some parts of the country, you may be able to find a masseuse who will come to your home so you can enjoy that indulgence without having to leave the comfort of the house.
  • Gift certificates to restaurants or a movie theater could be something you’d crave, especially if you never think you have the money to indulge. Chances are, you love nights out on the town, but won’t spend the money without prompting – this thoughtful gift means you have no excuse! Look for certificates from sites like these where the caregiver can choose his or her favorite restaurant.com or http://www.giftcertificates.com.
  • Spend time with family members and gather up photos from the past and put together a photo album or scrap book. You can even do this on a digital photo frame. With that you scan in photos or documents or even tickets from events they’ve enjoyed and they run in rotation on the photo frame.

Never forget, though, that one of the best gifts you can offer your family is the gift of your time, love and the attention you pay to them when they want to share their memories. Those are times and gifts that you simply can’t put a price tag to.

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

 
A Version originally posted by Gary Barg, Editor-in-Chief; Caregiver.com

 tree

‘Twas the night before Christmas,

When all through the house

A caregiver was scurrying,

Caring for her dear spouse;

His stockings were placed

Upon his feet with great care

In hopes he felt well enough

to step out for some fresh air

Their children were scattered,

All snug in their beds

Around this great country,

Not a care in their heads

And the caregiver who worked nights,

‘Cause the funds they did tap

Had just settled down

for a five minute nap

When in the next room,

there arose such a clatter,

She sprang from her bed

to see what did splatter.

Away past the bed sheets

she had thrown in the trash,

Tore open a new set and

hoped these would last.

The weight on her breast

was of one who did know

That, by the luster of daybreak

Her sorrow would grow

When, what in any other year

Would be a thing quite so dear

That time when her family would visit

From far and from near

With no one to hold her,

since her loved one took sick

She felt that the holidays

were just a mean trick

More rapid than eagles

her friends they did flee

When they could no longer travel

or even take tea

No Cohens!, no Schwartzes!,

no Millers!, no Dicksons

No, Olivets, no Lutids,

no Donners and Micksons

For a while they gave support,

for a while did they call

Now dash away! Dash away!

Dash away to the mall!”

As new restaurants that

before were easy to try,

When her loved one was too sick,

away did they fly

So now with the holidays,

 the family will do

with the sleigh full of presents,

and bad advice too.

And then, in a twinkling eye,

I heard in the drive

Aunt Nancy and Chloe

and all my in-laws arrive.

As I had in my hand,

a bedpan disposal bound

I turned very quickly

and tripped over the hound

My man was a mess

from his head to his toes

 And his clothes were soiled

and not easy on the nose

A bundle of nerves,

I shout out very loud

Words, which to this day,

do not make me feel proud

He lay there so quiet,

not saying a thing

When suddenly his laughter filled our home

Like a fresh breath of spring

He doubled over with glee

making such a roil

That he slapped a bad knee

through  the all too grim soil

As his eyes twinkled

through all the great mess,

For a moment this old dear

Forgot the pain of this past year

On a normal night, the pain of his stump

Would make him tighten his teeth,

But tonight, for a moment, his laughter  Caused such uncommon relief

That the joy of it encircled his head like a wreath;

As he lay on the bed he shook his round belly,

For all the world, not unlike a big bowl of jelly.

He was lying there laughing, like a jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

When, all of a sudden, the door burst opened  wide as can be

And what did I see, the Cohens, the Swartzes  and Aunt Nancy all looking at me

With nary a word as they made up the bed

Then they all straightened up and got us both fed

They all had not known the support that I needed

But once they saw they could help,  They learned and succeeded

In sharing the heart, the soul and the care

That I always was sure was really right there

I hadn’t spoken a word of the great strain and the work

So I thought they had all turned into one major jerk

After knowing what help each could give if I did ask

I never again had to shoulder the entire task

We had time to play and to sing and to wet a whistle

Until away they all flew like the down of a thistle

But I heard my loved ones, as they drove out of sight

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight!

And, we’re coming back, next Friday eve  To take you out for a bite.”

Medical Alert System Makes Great Holiday Gift

Gift ideas for your aging parents may be hard to come by especially considering that they afford to purchase what they need and want, when they need it. When the holidays and birthdays roll around though, it might be the time to approach the issue of gifting your relatives with a home medical alert system. These devices can literally be lifesavers, but you may find resistance when you broach the subject.

Your parents don’t want to think they are need of a medical alert device because it may make them question their own physical capabilities. If they have any type of health issue or if they’ve suffered a fall or accident, having a medical alert device provides them peace of mind in the event assistance is needed. At the push of a button they can have access to emergency medical assistance.

Don’t be alarmed if they oppose you on the idea of a medical alert device. There are ways to show your heart is in the right place. Here are our suggestions on how to let your relatives know the reasons for giving them the gift of a medical alert system doesn’t mean you have no confidence in their ability to remain independent:

  • Don’t surprise them with it on the holiday or on their birthday. Let them know in advance that you’re considering making the investment in the device for them. If they’re expecting a book or a sweater and open the gift to find a medical alert device, it could cause a range of emotions that may be difficult to address.
  • Ask your siblings to pitch in on the gift. Show your parents that the family is concerned for their safety and that you all feel it’s a positive gift. Showing your shared concern may diffuse any angry feelings.
  • Wanting them to live independently is one of the greatest reasons for giving a gift of a home medical monitoring device. Aging in place is a desire of most of us and when you show them that wearing a medical alert pendant will allow them to do so, they may agree.
  • Tell your relatives that wearing the medical alert pendant will enhance your peace of mind. Shift the focus away from them and their health and put it toward your wanting to be certain they would be cared for in the event of a health emergency or trip or fall.

When your aging parents understand that the medical alert device is a gift that will allow them to remain independently at home, it will be a technology they will likely embrace.

Make Holidays Special For Aging Relatives

 

Selecting a holiday gift for your aging relatives, especially those who “have everything they need” requires research and planning. If you’re dealing with a relative that is suffering dementia, the task becomes even more challenging.

To make the holidays special for your aging relatives, especially those who have a diminished mental awareness, means you need to reach back into the past to find a gift they will enjoy. If you spend time with your aging parent or relative, make a note of items they talk about, gift items they might like. If you’re not in close proximity, ask the caregiver for ideas. You will want to make certain the gift matches the condition of the individual who is receiving it. If your relative used to be an avid crossword puzzle enthusiast, he may have had to give it up in recent years due to failing eyesight. If he is still able to see well enough to complete large-print crosswords that would be a suitable gift.

Are there gifts that should be avoided? Ask the caregiver or the doctor whether food gifts are appropriate or whether there are dietary restrictions that mean you can no longer gift your relative with homemade Christmas goodies.

If you’re looking for gift ideas for the senior in your life that is dealing with a faulty memory, Alzheimer’s disease or other diminished mental capacity issues, here are some gifts to consider:

  • A small radio or cd player along with some CDs is a good idea whether your relative is aging in place or whether she is in a nursing facility. If possible, consider purchasing a small television with a DVD player; this could be an especially welcome gift for a relative with limited mobility.
  • Stuffed animals can be a comforting gift for a parent in a nursing home.
  • An oversized holiday card with a picture of the family, one that is suitable for framing, would be a great addition to any wall in either the family home or in an assisted living facility.
  • A photo collage of holidays past will help ignite memories and in many cases the elderly are better able to remember the past than they are current events. Consider laminating the collage and framing it or collect photos and put them into an album for your relative. Electronic photo frames are another way to share photos with your relatives. Photos are uploaded to the device and the pictures rotate, allowing them to see an entire album from the lighted screen.
  • Sweatshirts, sweatpants or bathrobes are always an ideal gift. Buy clothing that is easy to slip on and off and with zippers rather than buttons.
  • Slippers or shoes with non-slip soles are always welcome.
  • Decorate for the holidays. If your relative is able to participate, then by all means get them involved in the holiday decorating and planning. Purchase non-breakable items and consider a small, artificial Christmas tree with LED lights. Add a timer to the lights so your relative won’t have to remember to turn it on and off. If you are helping to decorate the house or a room in an assisted living facility make certain you have the time to help remove decorations following the holiday. Keep in mind too, that the gift of time spent together is one that truly is priceless.
  • Recordable holiday greeting cards are a great way to stay in touch with your relative and allow them to listen to your voice whenever they want.

If your relatives are aging in place, you should consider gifting them a home medical alert system and medical alert pendants. These devices offer peace of mind for the relative and the family and caregivers because, in the event of an emergency, at the push of a button your relative can have access to emergency medical assistance. Remember too, that when it comes to the holidays, the gift of time spent together with your aging relatives is one that will be remembered for many years.

 

5 Tips To Help The Elderly Enjoy The Holidays

Holidays are a wonderful time for most of us; we get together with family and friends – some of whom we haven’t seen since the previous year. For the elderly in your family though, the holidays can be stressful, depressing or even confusing, especially if their emotional and physical needs are not taken into account.

 Having older relatives means you need to take their health concerns into account, especially if they are traveling to a family member’s house with you. Here are some tips from the home medical alert system providers at LifeFone to help make your holidays merry and safe:

  1. Prior planning is crucial to a successful holiday visit. If your elderly family members are in an environment that takes them out of their element, you need to plan for downtime where they can slip away from the hustle and bustle of the day and simply relax. Noise and confusion that comes with a large gathering can lead to exhaustion or even irritability in your older relative.
  2. Take time to reminisce. For many holidays are a time of good cheer and looking forward to the new year. When it comes to elderly relatives though, it could be a time of year that causes them to miss their spouses or other relatives who are no longer with you. Spend some time strolling down memory lane with your elderly relative; engage him in conversation about what it was like when they celebrated holidays, etc. Include them in the conversation and even pull out old photo albums to enhance the memories.
  3. Build new memories with your relative. Include them in the festivities if possible – let them help with the cooking or decorating or gift wrapping. If you live in an area that offers holiday activities, pack the family up, grab a camera and make new memories to fill an album.
  4. Rearrange the furniture for ease of movement of your elderly relatives. Just as you’d child proof your home for toddlers, you will want to make your home easy to navigate for your aging relatives. Arrange the furniture in a way that will accommodate walkers or individuals who use a cane. Keep electrical cords out of the way, remove or secure throw rugs, eliminate items that could trip up a relative with balance problems. In the event of an extended out of town visit, make certain you’ve contacted your home medical alert system and make certain your relative is still wearing his or her medical alert pendant in the event of a fall.
  5. Be purposeful in reaching out to your elderly family members. If they are unable or unwilling to travel to meet with the family for a celebration, take some time to have a mini-celebration to their house. Offer to set up a small tree or hang other decorations. Either deliver or cook a small meal at their house. Do what you can to alleviate their loneliness as the holidays are associated with increased depression in individuals of all ages.

 Taking time to include your elderly relatives through the holidays is a great way to help everyone in the family build memories that will last a lifetime and with a bit of prior planning, no one will get lost in the hustle and bustle of the season.

Twas the Night before Christmas

 

 

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;

And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,

Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow

Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!

On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!

Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,

So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,

With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes — how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,

And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;

He had a broad face and a little round belly,

That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”