With aging seniors, it may be challenging to find avenues for them to connect with the younger members of the family meaningfully. When the grandchildren (and great-grandchildren) visit, you might see them spending more time with their devices than with Grandpa. In looking for ways for your senior to connect with your younger generations, consider an herb garden. As the weather warms up, an herb garden can present countless benefits medicinally and emotionally, but it can also be the natural catalyst that connects generations. Here are three aspects of gardening that can inspire memories.
An Opportunity to Teach
Your beloved senior may enjoy teaching the young family members about cultivation, getting dirty hands and soil quality. Planting, maintaining and harvesting an herb garden can be the opportunity for the kids to learn and in the process, create memories with Grandpa. This can create a sense of contribution and purpose for seniors as well.
The Natural Connection
In Grandpa’s day, families grew gardens out of necessity. Today, families grow gardens due to organic and natural values. Regardless of the incentives, growing an herb garden can be a valuable connection between generations. Encourage seniors to share gardening tips and watch as your younger family members become inspired and engaged.
Memories in the Kitchen
Herbs can be essential in the kitchen, but even more valuable to the multi-generational relationship. Harvesting herbs can prompt memorable moments in the kitchen, sharing recipes and enjoying a meal. Encourage the kitchen gatherings and conversation. Your young family will be intrigued, and your beloved senior will feel valued.
Herb gardening for seniors can be beneficial in many aspects, but more importantly, it can be the activity that unites the family. Start an herb garden, or see if your local senior community offers one, and engage grandparents with your young family members to create lasting memories.
Today, lives are changed continually by Alzheimer’s. This slow disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. The pain and devastation happen even before a patient’s passing. Alzheimer’s disease can take a toll not only on the person affected but also on the loved ones.
Thus, it is advisable for family members to assess what kind of care the patient needs, whether it’s palliative care or hospice services. These types of services are not limited to Alzheimer’s itself; they also tend to other diseases that strike as old age sets in.
While the objective of palliative care and hospice care is to ease as much pain, the prognosis and goals of both are different from each other. Palliative care is one that provides the patient comfort care with or without curative intent. Hospice care is also comfort care, but minus curative intent. Here, the patient no longer has medicinal options or has decided not to pursue treatment because the side effects overshadow the benefits.
These services thoroughly consider care eligibility. In hospice eligibility, the physicians typically have to verify that the patient has less than six months to live if the disease keeps on its usual course. hospice works to helps patients to live comfortably while nearing the end of life.
Meanwhile, palliative care is initiated at the prudence of the physician and patient at whichever time or stage of illness, fatal or not. It undertakes a similar philosophy of full-patient care, which is often performed on non-terminal patients, encouraging them to live longer and happier lives.
Our infographic provides an overview of the differences between the two types of services mentioned above. Having a clear understanding of each is as important as caring for the person so valued by the heart. Click to view in it’s entirety.
Being a caregiver to an aging parent already presents a lot of emotional, physical, and financially challenges on an adult child. So, when you add to the mix a chronic illness, one can only imagine the amount of strain this puts on the entire family. While it may feel like your world has turned upside down, the reality is that there are effective ways to support your loved one while still being there for yourself and other members of your family.
Give Them Space
Upon hearing the news of their health condition, you can expect that your parents are going to have a plethora of emotions going on in their minds. Though you want to be their source of light and motivation, it is important that you provide them with some space to grieve. Give them a bit of space to wrap their heads around what is happening and let out those overwhelming emotions. This may mean keeping the kids from running into grandma and grandpa’s room or simply not bringing up the subject-matter for a few days.
Learn All You Can
As you allow your aging parents the time they need to sort through their emotions, you can educate yourself on their condition. Let’s say they’ve been diagnosed with cancer. Now would be the time to learn all you can about their particular type of cancer. You can also do some in-depth research online, or talk to various experts about innovative technologies, medicines, and procedures that can help such as car t-cell therapy, herbal remedies, diets, and more. This way, when your parent is ready to discuss their condition, you have an idea of the resources they can turn to.
Talk to the Rest of Your Family
At some point, the children, your spouse, and anyone else who is in the home will realize the physical and emotional changes that your parents are going through. Therefore, it is important not to keep them in the dark for very long.
After giving your parents time to calm down and accept their reality (so they’re not bombarded with questions and emotions of their relatives), talk to the rest of the members in your household. In an age-appropriate manner explain what is going on, and even provide them with ways they can help support. If the diagnosis is life-threatening, you may want to consider getting your entire family into therapy so they can learn how to cope with the overwhelming emotions.
Consider Getting More Help
Caring for aging parents with a chronic illness will most certainly demand more of your time and energy. Chances are you’re running on empty as it is, so don’t be afraid to consider getting more help. While you may have thought you didn’t need a home health aide in the past, with more medications, doctor’s appointments, and complications to their health, you might want to revisit that decision. Even having them come on a part-time basis would free up your time so you don’t become overwhelmed.
Now, is also a good time to ask relatives to help out with things around the house or being there for the kids physically and emotionally. You might even benefit from having a housekeeper, pet walker, or babysitter on hand to take some of the household and family responsibilities off your hands.
Consider a Senior Community
Again, it can be a lot to care for someone you love with a chronic illness. As their condition worsens and they’re unable to do for themselves, all of these responsibilities will fall onto you. If it becomes too much to bare physically, financially, or emotionally, you may need to consider a senior community. Nursing homes are facilities where trained medical professionals are on staff around the clock. They are trained to know how to treat patients with chronic illnesses to ensure they get the best care possible.
Prepare Their Estate
Though a difficult conversation to have with your parents, if you haven’t done so in the past, now is the time to talk about their estate plans. The hope, of course, is that they live as long as they possibly can, but with a chronic illness, you can never be too sure. Rather than wait until things get worse, discuss their estate and final wishes to find out what they want to be done. Get things in place like their will, long-term care insurance, property deeds, businesses, and other assets so you know where everything is should you need it. If you are not already the power of attorney, you want to find out if your parents will designate you.
No one wants to think about the day that their mom or dad becomes chronically ill, but it happens more often than you may know. Should an aging loved one bit hit with this devastating news, it is imperative for you to be the strong support they need to get through. While remembering to prioritize your own health and needs, utilize the advice above to make this transition as easy as possible for all involved parties.
When we think of art, we think of creative pursuits like writing, painting, or pottery. We seldom see cultivating a persistent sense of wellbeing as an art form. Yet, when you think about it, living well is as artistic, creative, and engaging as any other form of art.
This is especially true in retirement. Our bodies are aging, our careers are over, and our lives can easily start to feel empty and unfulfilled. To rise above all of that and achieve a true sense of wellbeing into old age is a remarkable feat.
Still, how do you even start your path to wellness in retirement?
Although everyone has their own interpretation of wellness, there are some common threads you can pull upon to craft your own wellness enhancement project:
Maintain Your Health
Here are 4 suggestions on how to maintain your health:
Get health insurance or improve your health insurance options.
If you don’t have any serious health problems—such as heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, human immunodeficiency virus, cancer, diabetes, substance abuse, and so on — consider getting non ACA health insurance, which is health insurance for people with no major pre-existing health condition. Similarly, those on Medicare should carefully examine their options. Depending on your specific situation, a Medicare Advantage Plan might be necessary.
Practice preventative medicine
Although there are many common misconceptions about naturopathic medicine, it’s worth looking into this form of natural medicine as a way to become more conscious of your health. Naturopathic practices support your body’s natural capacity to stay healthy by maintaining a balanced lifestyle. Explore this idea or other formal preventative medical disciplines to learn how to prevent illnesses from occurring.
Because nature designed the human body for movement, you undermine your health if you’re sedentary most of the day. This is especially true for those entering old age.
Get up every thirty minutes or every hour to walk around.
If you have an activity you like, figure out how to do it more often or do it better.
If you don’t exercise at all, explore various ways to create a routine that increases your flexibility, endurance, and strength. This could be a single activity, or it could be a series of activities.
When it comes to exercise, find routines and exercises that you enjoy rather than trying to force yourself to exercise because you know it’s good for you. You’ll replace will-power with want-power. Most senior communities offer many active options. Try them until the find the one that you enjoy.
Unwind after a busy day
Rather than resort to common default de-pressurization techniques after a hectic day–like social media surfing, engaging in random telephone calls or texting, staring at the television, or scrolling through YouTube feeds–consider expanding your repertoire.
Meditate to explore the deeper reaches of your consciousness.
Enroll in a recreational class to learn flowing movements like Qigong or tai chi.
Go for long walks in nature. Observing the expansive blue sky, the intricacies of bushes and trees, and the ripples on a lake have a curious way of calming your nerves and restoring your mental acuity.
Get Into Flow States
Although humans have enjoyed flow states since the time they wandered across the savanna, it took a keen observer of human nature like Mihály Csíkszentmihályi to give it a name and a description.
A flow state is any activity that fully engages our attention. When we do it, our sense of self disappears, and we become engrossed in a challenging and stimulating project. For example, surgeons go into a flow state when operating on a patient. Chess players fall into one when playing in a tournament. Writers slip into one when writing an imaginary scenario.
What things put you in a flow state? Passive activities like watching television don’t count. It has to be something that is difficult enough to be stimulating but not so difficult that it’s exasperating.
Wellness is the art of becoming more aware of your unfolding experiences. Think of it as a way you can recover moments or happy accidents. Maintaining your health and discovering activities that trigger flow states are two portals to a happier, healthier, and more harmonious life in retirement.
Low vision and vision loss are common occurrences in adults over the age of 60. Like other parts of the body, as you age, your eyesight weakens. Though common, living with low vision can be a scary time in a person’s life. They will ultimately need to rely on their families and/or caregivers to help them manage their impairment. It can be difficult for all involved parties but learning how to help a loved one or senior with vision problems can make the transition easier.
To treat and/or prevent vision impairments in seniors from getting worse, it is important that they have an annual eye exam. Eye exams, much like a medical physical exam are designed to help identify and/or prevent further complications with vision.
Eye exams for seniors, especially those with impaired vision are essential to maintaining their eye health. However, visiting an ophthalmologist on a regular basis is also imperative for effective treatment. When issues are detected, many can be corrected or at the very least, dramatically reduced which can bring some relief to the patient. For instance, cataract is a condition in which the eye lens becomes clouded making your vision blurry. This does happen with age, but can be corrected, in many instances, with cataracts surgery. Failing to seek treatment, however, could result in seniors going blind.
As they age, seniors have a higher risk of slipping and falling. However, a senior who’s vision is impaired has an even higher chance of falling and getting seriously hurt. Whether you’re a family member, a home health aide, or an employee within a nursing home, it is imperative that you be especially cautious as you try to remove objects that could cause them to get hurt.
You can do things like installing grab bars in hallways, bathrooms, and bedrooms to provide extra assistance with getting around, removing all clutter and debris from pathways, install more or brighter lights around the home, add bright-colored tape to the stairs so they can clearly see, purchase a walking stick or cane which can be used to check their immediate surroundings for obstacles, and remove all tripping hazards like loose floorboards, area rugs, carpeting that isn’t secure, etc.
Getting organized will be key to helping a senior with impaired vision to live comfortably at home or in a senior facility. After removing all tripping hazards and putting in railings, bars, and guards to try and prevent falls, the home or room needs to be organized. Putting everything in its place helps seniors to build on their memory so they can get around and do things without getting hurt. Create common areas for everything and, if necessary, put large signs or labels on them to make it easier for seniors to see where it is located. Get them in the habit of putting things back where they got them as well so there’s no frustration later trying to find what they need.
Every Day Tasks
A senior with low or impaired vision may have a hard time doing things for themselves like cleaning, cooking, or tending to the laundry. There are several methods that can be used to make things easier for everyone.
You can sign them up for meal delivery services where local programs bring free and/or affordable hot meals to seniors. If there are senior community centers nearby, they often serve at least one meal a day to participants. You can also set up a weekly meal plan, and do most of your prepping and cooking on the weekends. This way, all they have to do is heat up their food and eat.
As for cleaning and laundry, you can essentially pick a day where you’ll come and clean up around their homes. You could hire a cleaning professional such as a maid to stop by a few times a week. Lastly, you could enlist the services of a home health aide or caretaker during the day to take care of all of it for.
Vision loss is very scary. It can also be very depressing and stressful to deal with for family members, caregivers, and seniors. The best thing you can do for all involved is to take the above-mentioned steps to care for the senior’s vision and making their home and lifestyle as accommodating as possible.
Moving can hold frightening and unpleasant connotations for the seniors in our lives. Many of our parents and grandparents have sown precious memories into their homes. You can’t blame them for not wanting to leave, but sometimes it becomes necessary.
Here are three ways you can help transition your loved one into accepting relocation with a smile:
Be understanding – You must be able to place yourself in your loved one’s shoes. Take as much time as they need to discuss why the move is necessary, and listen to all of their worries or issues. It is important to really listen and work towards dispelling negative thoughts and emotions about the move. Assure them you will address every one of their concerns.
Offer assistance – Make sure you are helping out in any way your senior needs you to. You can assist by scheduling the moving van, getting all of their belongings in order, and offering assistance to them every step along the way. Let your loved one know you are there for them. Make sure they are comfortable asking you for help by being available and kind. Being available is extremely important, try to clear your schedule so you have the proper time to assist your senior.
Give incentive – It helps to let the senior in your life know exactly why this move is beneficial to them. Obviously, everyone’s reasons will be different, but there are some staples that will generally ring true for every situation. Let them know they will be embarking on a brand new adventure! This is their chance to learn about a new town or city, redecorate their new place, and make a plethora of new connections. Bring up that they will now be around many people their own age. They will be able to make a ton of new friends and share similar, yet different, memories.
Always hear your loved one out and make sure this move is right for them. Be considerate at all times of their wants and needs!