Conversations during this Unusual Time: Join In!

I am so excited about that we now have two opportunities to support each other at this unusual time.

Consider joining the conversations. They are free, informal . . . and lovely ways to share and de-stress together!

Socializing with a Creative Touch: Ideas for Staying in Touch with Family and Friends
Wednesday through April 29 (and maybe longer!) at 3:00pm.
Zoom link: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/730077770

We know that having regular, caring and stimulating social contact is essential for older adults’ (and everyone else’s!) physical and cognitive health, but right now, visiting isn’t possible for many.

Let’s share: What can children and other caring people do? How creative can you be? Come to share and make new friends!

So How Are You Feeling Today? A Chance to Release and Relax Mondays at 1:00pm, from April 20 through May 4:
Zoom link: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/77067866776

Several of us talked about the possibility of setting up a meeting where we could share some of our feelings of discomfort and concern and, at the same time, feel the support of the group.

Join the conversation. We will share and de-stress together!

It isn’t difficult to join: Click the link (above), select “Zoom Meeting”in the blue box, and then select the blinking blue arrow on the upper right side of the screen. You will be ready to share!

Of course, email or call me if you would like to talk 1:1.

Hope to see you at the meetings!

Cheryl

Socializing Safely Today

We know that having regular, caring and stimulating social contact is vital to older adults’ (and everyone else’s!) physical and cognitive health. Sometimes, though, we have to figure out how to stay in touch when visits aren’t possible.

Right now, visiting is inadvisable for many. So, what can children and other caring people do? How creative can you be?

Here are some ideas to start the creativity ball rolling:

  • Help your loved one use digital platforms, such as Facetime or Skype; then have “face to face” conversations.
  • Send text messages full of loving emojis.
  • Email digital greeting cards and photographs.
  • Arrange for delivery of your loved one’s favorite prepared (and safe) meals.
  • Place a bucket of pansies or tulips outside a window to color the view.
  • And, of course, call often. Regular calls, even several short ones during the day, will help your loved one socialize from a distance.

The Gift of Caregiving

A Caregiver’s Story

For several years, Taylor took care of her mother, Rebecca, who had Alzheimer’s Disease. Taylor made sure that her mother was fed, bathed and dressed, had her medical needs met, and took part in activities she enjoyed. Caregiving was a 24/7 responsibility.

When Rebecca passed away, a close friend said kindly, “Taylor, you are a saint. You took excellent care of your mother for such a long time.” Taylor, however, smiled at her friend and said “This wasn’t about being a saint. Sure, it was stressful to be responsible for my mother’s needs and it was heartbreaking to see her decline. But in the end, I felt that having the opportunity to care for my mom was a gift for me.”

Caregiving: A Gift

Taking care of a person who has a disability is critically important. Providing meals, grooming, medical care, therapy and companionship make an enormous difference in the quality of the “caree’s” (the loved one or client) life. What is not as obvious is the impact of caregiving on the caregivers themselves. Caregiving is stressful, time consuming and costly, but it can also be the source of satisfaction, selflessness…and a gift.

How to See Caregiving as a Gift

Each caregiver sees the positive in different ways. However, there are some general guidelines for focusing on how caregiving enriches lives.

  • Notice the positive moments: Focus on the times your caree can’t explain why he is agitated, but you figure out what he needs and make him comfortable; the times when you enter the room and your caree breaks into an ear-to-ear smile; the times that you help your loved one enjoy a lovely spring day or reminisce about his childhood.
  • Feel their love and appreciation: Focus on the ways your caree gives and receives a hug, delights in a favorite cupcake you take to her, or uses words and gestures to say how special you are in her life.
  • Think about your relationship: Are you “giving back” to a parent who cared for you throughout your life? Are you establishing a new bond with a loved one by using words, gestures or just being nearby? Are you getting to know a person with their own unique personalities?
  • Celebrate your abilities: Recognize and congratulate yourself for being able and willing to take on caregiving. Not everyone can do this. You can and did!

After months or years of providing support, the caregiver can look back on having contributed to a loved one’s healthier and more satisfying quality of life. What greater gift can the caree and the caregiver receive?

Would you like help with caregiving? Contact Dr. Cheryl Greenberg at TheAgeCoach@gmail.com

Staying Healthy When There’s a Nip in the Air

The chill in the air, frost on the windows in the early morning, bright sunshine through light gray clouds: Winter can be delightful.

For older adults, though, planning is important to ensure safe and enjoyable winter days. Let’s look at a few ideas for staying healthy:

Safety First

Service your home heater. As people get older, it is more difficult to regulate body temperature and more dangerous to stay cold. Have an HVAC service check your heater to be sure that you won’t get caught without heat on a cold day. While you are at it, be sure that portable or room heaters and carbon monoxide detectors are in excellent condition and away from flammable items.

Get ready for snow and ice. Check your supply of de-icer, if you use it, and plan ahead for someone to clear snow. Inventory your emergency supplies, including food, water, medications, batteries and a portable radio or TV, in case of power outages.

Healthy Habits

Eat a varied, colorful diet to ensure your body and brain have nutrients for top performance. What a great time to do this with warm bowls of soup and delicious cranberry whole grain muffins! Cook a big pot of vegetable soup and freeze it in pint jars to eat every week or so. Add some home-baked muffins, and you have healthful food for a December evening. (See recipe ideas at vegetable soups and muffins.)

Exercise is essential for healthy bodies and brains, but the usual neighborhood walks and trips to the gym may be out of the question some days. You can find exercises on the computer at websites such as NIA’s Go4Life, and SilverSneakers.com. Exercise at home or with a neighbor for 30 minutes five times a week.

Games and Books

Stay mentally active to keep your mind healthy. Mah Jong, Bridge, a feisty game of Monopoly, and, of course, any interesting book or magazine make you think, may reduce stress, and are perfect for a healthy brain.

Socializing

Socializing is incredibly important for a healthy body and mind. Bundle up and go to a class or have dinner with friends when you can. When it is just too cold, the telephone and computer can keep you in touch with others. Try using Skype or Facetime to see your friends on the phone or computer while you are talking!

Stay healthy and enjoy the chill in the air!

Would you like help making healthy and safe decisions for yourself or a loved one? Contact Dr. Cheryl Greenberg at TheAgeCoach@gmail.com to discuss your concerns and plan the next steps in a healthy and satisfying future.