Tag Archives: Christmas and holiday season

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.

 

The Best Gifts For The Elderly: For Holidays And Year Round

Pile of gorgeous gifts

Money may be tight, but the gift of time is one that brings with it amazing rewards. When holidays and birthdays roll around, it is not always easy to know what to buy for your elderly parents or other aging relatives. Raising your family, paying for the costs of commuting and the items that go into your family budget can be a strain and when you add holiday gift shopping into the mix it can stretch the budget to the limits.

Here are some ideas for family gifts that won’t break the bank and will be remembered for years to come:

  • Spend time together with a recording device. Ask your elderly loved ones to talk about what it was like growing up, what they remember the most about your childhood and how they feel things have changed in the decades in between. Don’t avoid talking about a relative that has passed; sharing memories and talking about how you miss that person may be just what everyone needs to truly enjoy the holiday. Rather than pushing back the memories of missing the time you spent baking with your mother, talk about the fun times you shared then plan to start new traditions that incorporate the old.
  • Work on a family tree. Genealogy is a hobby that all family members can get involved with. You can make the family tree a visual hobby by drawing an actual tree on paper on the wall and fill in the branches and leaves as part of a family project. While making this tree, you can also bring up a discussion of family health and medical issues as this can help family members understand who had what illness and this can help shape your own health history.
  • Give your relatives a book of “coupons” for nights spent together watching a movie, cooking a week’s worth of dinners together, a day at the park enjoying the sunshine or even a day of spring cleaning,  yard work or getting the house ready for winter. Time spent together is one of the most precious gifts you can provide your aging loved one.
  • Let your relative know how important they are to you. Offering the gift of gratitude or letting them know how special they are to you is one of the greatest gifts. Put your message in writing or make a video. While your parent may be grateful to you for being his or her caregiver, you should take a few minutes to let them know the difference they’ve made in your life.

As you spend time during the Holidays with your loved ones you may want to start thinking about topics that may need to be addressed. It may not be wise to try to discuss these topics until after the holiday is over.

Once you’ve opened the doors for conversation, ask your aging relatives that they want to do when they can no longer live alone. Once you’ve started a conversation on life and health, your relatives may begin to think about what their future holds. While you may not want to spend the holiday or a birthday party talking about assisted living or other options, the idea that you’re sitting down and talking, in general, may make your relatives more open to discussing the future.

  • Put together a plan of action with your parents. Work with them to make it possible to age in place as long as possible. One way to do this is to gift them with a home medical alert system. These devices, which cost less than a dollar a day, provide your relatives with a way to remain in the home, have access to medical care if necessary and provide peace of mind to all involved. Get together with siblings and make this a gift from the entire family. Along with equipping the home with a medical alert system, talk with your elderly relatives about where their important documents are, whether they have long term insurance, if they have a power of attorney and who will help make difficult medical decisions in the event they are incapacitated. This discussion will alleviate stress in times of crisis and helps all family members feel at ease because all are involved in the decision making process.
  • Open the doors of communication and bury old family fights. Being in a family means you will encounter conflict, but conflict left unresolved impacts all of the family members, not just those immediately involved. Take the step to offer the olive branch and offer, or ask for, forgiveness. Living with the regret of not having made amends can lead to even more stress and unresolved issues. Also, showing your children how to solve conflicts and forgive teaches valuable lessons.
  • Offering the gift of gratitude or letting them know how special they are to you is one of the greatest gifts. Put your message in writing or make a video. While your parent may be grateful to you for being his or her caregiver, you should take a few minutes to let them know the difference they’ve made in your life.

Spending time with your aging relatives is a gift beyond compare and the time spent together will strengthen family ties and open the doors of communication and that is a gift you can’t put a price tag on.

Thoughtful Gift Ideas That Are Perfect Year-Round

Pile of gorgeous gifts

 

When it comes time to choose a gift for the senior in your life, it is sometimes a difficult decision; what do you buy for the “person that has everything” or the “person that can simply buy what she wants”? There are items that you can give that they may never have even considered and these gifts are perfect for any gift-giving occasion.

 

 

 

  • Fruits, breads or sweets. It’s been said that dark chocolate provides many health benefits and if the loved one in your life is able to enjoy chocolate, receiving a gift in the mail on a monthly basis is a perfect sweet treat. There are also companies you can sign up with that will send a “fruit or bread of the month” to your loved one.
  • A movie rental subscription. These subscriptions allow you to go online, choose movies which are sent in the mail to your relative. If they don’t go online, make certain you talk with them to help them choose the movies and then send it back when done. In addition to the subscription offer to come over for a dinner and movie night!
  • A night out on the town. If your relatives like to go out on the town, provide them with a certificate to dinner and passes to a movie. If they can’t drive themselves, offer your services as chauffer and participant in the evening.
  • Book or magazine subscription or a gift of books on tape. If you know that your relative loves to read, this is a perfect gift. If he or she has a hard time reading, a book on tape could be a great way to provide them with the books they love without having to worry about the size of the text.
  • If your relative was involved in gardening and can’t get out because of the weather or health constraints, provide them with indoor plants that they can nurture. If they love to spend time in the kitchen, consider adding herbs or even vegetables to the plants you give; if they have an easily accessible outdoor patio area this is an ideal gift.
  • Puzzles or other games. If your senior has a lot of time on her hands, gift them with puzzles or brain teasers to keep their mind active. This gift is also one that you can help them with when you’re visiting. Choose large print puzzles, dominoes or even playing cards when looking for ways to keep your relatives entertained and engaged.

 

 

 

One of the best gifts you can give to your relatives, especially if they are unable to drive or get out to socialize and if they live alone, is the gift of time!

 

Thoughtful Gift Ideas That Are Perfect Year-Round

Pile of gorgeous gifts

 

When it comes time to choose a gift for the senior in your life, it is sometimes a difficult decision; what do you buy for the “person that has everything” or the “person that can simply buy what she wants”? There are items that you can give that they may never have even considered and these gifts are perfect for any gift-giving occasion.

 

 

 

  • Fruits, breads or sweets. It’s been said that dark chocolate provides many health benefits and if the loved one in your life is able to enjoy chocolate, receiving a gift in the mail on a monthly basis is a perfect sweet treat. There are also companies you can sign up with that will send a “fruit or bread of the month” to your loved one.
  • A movie rental subscription. These subscriptions allow you to go online, choose movies which are sent in the mail to your relative. If they don’t go online, make certain you talk with them to help them choose the movies and then send it back when done. In addition to the subscription offer to come over for a dinner and movie night!
  • A night out on the town. If your relatives like to go out on the town, provide them with a certificate to dinner and passes to a movie. If they can’t drive themselves, offer your services as chauffer and participant in the evening.
  • Book or magazine subscription or a gift of books on tape. If you know that your relative loves to read, this is a perfect gift. If he or she has a hard time reading, a book on tape could be a great way to provide them with the books they love without having to worry about the size of the text.
  • If your relative was involved in gardening and can’t get out because of the weather or health constraints, provide them with indoor plants that they can nurture. If they love to spend time in the kitchen, consider adding herbs or even vegetables to the plants you give; if they have an easily accessible outdoor patio area this is an ideal gift.
  • Puzzles or other games. If your senior has a lot of time on her hands, gift them with puzzles or brain teasers to keep their mind active. This gift is also one that you can help them with when you’re visiting. Choose large print puzzles, dominoes or even playing cards when looking for ways to keep your relatives entertained and engaged.

 

 

 

One of the best gifts you can give to your relatives, especially if they are unable to drive or get out to socialize and if they live alone, is the gift of time!

 

Five Ways To Reduce Holiday Family Stress

Holidays bring with them holiday stress and when you’re a caregiver you may be dealing with more than your usual levels of stress because you know that there are not enough hours in a “regular” day to juggle the activities the holidays bring. You may wonder how you’ll get everything done – taking care of your parents, your children, your significant other and of course, yourself.

Here are a few steps you can take to reduce your holiday stress this season:

  1. What are your holiday priorities and traditions? What are your obligations to those traditions? Can you let some of the obligations slide? Is it time to rethink priorities and traditions to accommodate the change in family dynamics? If items like baking dozens of cookies are a tradition, why not start a cookie exchange? Gather a group of friends or family and break the task down while still being able to enjoy a wide variety of holiday baked goods. The same goes for holiday meals; enlist the aid of family members to help with the cooking and clean up.
  2. Have a central calendar. Work with all of the caregivers involved in taking care of your aging relatives and write down the dates and times of holiday parties and events. Also plan who will take your parents holiday shopping and when. Note the dates you, if you’re the main caregiver, may need off to tend to strictly personal family obligations.
  3. Streamline your shopping trips and your shopping lists. Is it time to scale back on the number of gifts you purchase? Can you shop online and have the items gift wrapped and shipped? This will save you from having to fight the crowds at the malls. How about drawing names out of a hat and buying a gift for one person rather than the whole crowd? Buy gifts for the entire family, consider movie passes, certificates to theme parks or restaurants. Check the cupboards for items necessary for holiday events and shop early to avoid the crowds.
  4. Dressing for the season. This means you need to take time to pack away the summer clothing and pull out the warm weather attire. Do this before the season is in full swing to make certain the clothes that got packed away last year still fit this year. Try on shoes, boots, jackets and other warm winter attire to see if it is still wearable or if you’ll need to make a shopping excursion.
  5. Spend time at home. Are there holiday obligations that require you to pack up the car and the family and drive for hours to different locations? Can you combine your visits and have everyone meet at a central location? Can you begin a new holiday tradition and have it at your aging relatives’ home rather than having to make them go out into the cold and potentially snowy weather? Imagine the joy on your parents face at having all of the family converge on their home for a holiday meal. Also, the time you spend preparing for the meal is a great time to make memories with them.

 

Staying Safe During the Holiday Season

As you prepare to visit with loved ones, take time to look at their surroundings to ensure they have a safe environment.  To help, download a copy of our guide, “Staying Safe During the Holiday Season” and use it as a tool to guide you.

At LifeFone, we believe the best way to handle emergencies is to try to avoid them. But when they do happen, it’s important to be prepared. That’s why we’re here to help at the press of a button 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. For more information, just call us at 1-800-882-2280.

Holiday Gift Ideas for the Elderly

Holiday Gift Ideas for the Elderly

With the Holiday Season now in full swing, it is time to complete your shopping lists and get all of the hustle and bustle out of the way so that you can sit back and enjoy the holidays. If you are shopping for an elderly loved one this year it may be difficult to generate gift ideas suited to their needs since the elderly have their own unique desires in terms of presents. Giving items that are both practical and reflective of your loved one’s needs are always a good bet. The following list provides some gift ideas for the elderly loved ones in your life:

  • Memory games and crossword puzzles stimulate your elderly loved ones mind and protect their memory.
  • Gym memberships provide unlimited benefits for the elderly. Staying active helps improve memory, prolongs life expectancy, improves balance, makes everyday activities like walking and sitting easier, and improves sleep, to name a few advantages.
  • Voice Quilts are decorative boxes that play recorded voice messages to your loved one. By simply calling the toll-free number you can record a message for your loved one and select a photo frame box or a jewelry box to play your message on. This way your loved one will be able to hear your voice whenever he or she wants to.
  • Paper shredders are an especially practical gift for the elderly since they are more susceptible to fraud. Buying your loved one a paper shredder will allow them to ensure all of their important documents are disposed of properly and that no one harmful has access to them.
  • Scrapbooks and Photo Albums provide the elderly with the opportunity to look back on life’s special moments and the people they shared them with.
  • Pay for sessions at the hairdresser in advance. If your elderly loved one lives in a nursing home or an assisted living facility that has a hairdresser on site, you can pay for a couple appointments ahead of time so they don’t have to worry about setting up appointments or making payments.
  • Offer to come by your loved one’s house or apartment to set up their Christmas decorations. Setting up Christmas decorations can be a monstrous feat for the elderly. Offering to take the burden off their back will provide them with a very thoughtful gift.
  • A cozy lap blanket, afghan or robe are all ideal gifts for the elderly since they are more sensitive to the cold weather.
  • An assortment of DVD’s from their era will fill them with nostalgia, and you can share in the experience by watching them with your loved one.

Regardless of what you give your elderly loved one this holiday season, it truly is the thought that counts. Provide the elderly individuals in your life with thought-out and meaningful gifts and they will cherish the sentiment.

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.

Leave Ho-Hum Holidays Behind – A Caregiver’s Holiday Checklist

You’ve decked the halls, hung the stockings and prepared the holiday guest list! So why do you still feel so overwhelmed and stressed? The home run stretch between Thanksgiving and New Years often feels more like a marathon for caregivers. While this time of year is stressful for everyone as their lives revolve around shopping for presents, baking and organizing holiday excursions, it is particularly menacing for those with the added pressure of caring for a loved one.

 Being a full time caregiver is more taxing than almost any other full time job. When your days are packed with the necessities of caring for someone else all day, squeezing in the holiday activities becomes a little more hectic.

 The holidays also lead caregivers to reexamine their role as a caregiver. Holiday time typically means family time, so other members of the family get to see how the care receiver is being cared for, which  may lead to feelings of inadequacy or a need for reevaluation.

 Being a caregiver also means routines – the holidays often put a damper in your day-to-day schedule, making routines less routine or in some cases obsolete.

 While the stress that the holidays bring is inevitable, feeling as though you cannot survive them is not. With a few simple strategies this holiday season, caregivers can relax a little more and enjoy the eggnog.

  1.  Find a way to unwind/destress: Take time out of everyday to set aside for you. Listen to your favorite holiday carols or meditate – anything that helps you take your mind off of daily stressors.
  2. Get your holiday calendar in order: Make sure you mark down all upcoming gatherings and get togethers so you aren’t scatterbrained when something arises. Set due dates for all the things you need to accomplish – when do you need to have the holiday cookies baked by? When do the holiday cards and presents need to be in the mail?
  3. Maintain immediate family holiday traditions: Neglecting your immediate family during the holidays only adds to the stress and guilt you are undergoing. Set aside time to be in the moment with your family – you need this as much as they do.
  4. Support group, Support group, Support group: While you need to maintain a support group all year round, now is the time to rein in the troops. Don’t be bashful in asking for help and distributing the responsibility – you should not be in this alone.
  5. Let the holidays unravel as they come: While your holiday calendar will keep you clear-headed on where you are going next, it will not guarantee those get togethers will go according to plan. Nothing is perfect and remaining flexible and open to change is imperative. While the holidays may not go according to how you envisioned them, going with the flow will make things more enjoyable while saving you from disappointment and guilt.

Giving Back to the Community during the Holiday Season

The holiday season is about sharing special moments with friends and family. It is also about sharing time and energy with those in need. It is important to recognize that many people during this holiday season will be sleeping outside in the brutal cold and looking for a hot meal to eat at night. One of the best ways utilize this special season is to give back to those in need. By offering, time and services to organizations around your area, you can make a difference for families who are in need of the holiday spirit. There are a lot of great ways to get involved including meals on wheels, volunteering at the local senior center, or donating money to provide gifts for a special family in need.

Not everyone is fortunate in these tough economic times; those who are, need to realize the blessing that has been given to them. By donating to a charitable organization, you can effectively help make someone’s holiday season a special and memorable one. Feeding the hungry and visiting with the elderly not only makes their life more enjoyable but should enrich the givers life as well. Realizing that not everyone is as fortunate as others, it helps to put life back in perspective. Having loving friends and family around is important and helps to make the holiday season what it is.

The ultimate holiday present is donating time and energy to those in need. Although many feel it is more of a burden to feed the homeless at a shelter or donate their time, it helps to grow and strengthen family bonds if it is done together. By responding to the needs of others in a very special time of the year, it can begin to change lives for the better. Visiting a nursing home or volunteering at a homeless shelter is the type of giving that the holiday season truly represents. If you need more information about where your time and energy can be best served contact a local place of worship, the news stations or senior centers in your area to find the right place for your family and friends to share with others in need. Happy holidays, may this year bring warmth and wellness to all those looking for it!

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