When your loved one is facing the end of their life, there are some conversations that need to happen. The AARP recently came out with a great article about how to talk with your loved one about end of life issues, offering suggestions about questions to ask, as well as the legal back up to make sure that wishes are met.
In addition, there are conversations about the end of life that your loved one will want to have.
Our seniors each have their own personal history, filled with anecdotes, stories, proud moments, and lessons learned. When they are facing the end of their life, a valuable gift that you can give to your loved one is the chance to relive some of their favorite memories. To draw those memories out of them, and remind them of a more carefree time, you can ask questions like:
* Who influenced you most in your life? What did they do or say that guided you?
* What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
* When was your favorite vacation? Where did you go, who were you with, and what did you do?
* What games did you play when you were a child? How did you create your own fun?
* What did you like to do when you were in your twenties?
There is nothing more valuable, though, then sharing some of your favorite memories of them, reminding them about the fun you've shared, the lessons they've taught you, and the legacy that they're leaving. Listening to the stories that you tell can take them back to a time in their life less frequently visited in their minds.
Summer is time for fun in the sun; beach trips, barbecues, and ice cream. And when you're caring for a senior, summer is also time to make sure you're keeping your loved one hydrated while they enjoy the warm weather.
Older adults tend to get dehydrated more easily and the impact of dehydration greater. Many of our seniors are on multiple medications. Dehydration can change the way a senior's body metabolizes medications putting them at greater risk for side effects.
For some, potential embarrassment due to incontinence keeps them from filling their lemonade glass. Other seniors may have physical limitations like difficulty holding a glass, making them avoid an unpleasant situation.
Keeping your loved one hydrated may require small, clever ways to ensure that enough water is consumed. Serve your senior plenty of fruits and vegetables, such as melons and jicama, with high water content. Instead of a glass of plain water, consider getting some carbonated water, putting a slice of citrus or other fruit in to make it a little tastier and more festive. Or, appeal to the child in them by keeping their freezers well stocked with popsicles, encouraging them to eat as many as they like.
As with many things, the best cure is prevention. With just a few small steps, you can ensure that your loved one is getting the fluids they need.
Whether traveling to see relatives or just going on a summer vacation, traveling with the seniors in your life can be very rewarding. To prepare, we've come up with a few tips on how to cherish the time you have together.
1) Plan thoroughly
Whether going on an outing by car, or on a trip by train or plane, think through the plan for the day, including meal stops, restroom breaks, and rest time
2) Research Senior Discounts
When planning your itinerary, make sure to book flights using senior discounts. When you arrive, make sure to find restaurants that cater to seniors.
3) Allow extra time
Nothing creates stress like rushing to catch a train or make a reservation. Make sure to allow more time than you think you need to get ready for each outing.
4) Bring a deck of cards
When you allow extra time, sometimes you'll have time on your hands. Playing cards are compact, and can allow for multiple people, even from different generations, to engage in the same activity.
5) Consolidate travel documents
Make sure that all of the travel documents are organized by date, consolidated, and easy to access in carry-on baggage.
6) Pack light
You may need to help seniors with their bags, so it is especially important that you all pack only what you need.
There are over 5.2 million Americans that now suffer from Alzheimer’s. With this horrible disease, there are many researchers working hard to find solutions to address Alzheimer’s and put research into practice. While progress can never be quick enough for those afflicted, important discoveries have been made that will help diagnose and treat Alzheimer’s in the near future.
Some interesting research is focused on early detection of Alzheimer’s disease potential in the brain. Using PET Scans, researchers can identify if there is Beta-Amyloid present in the brain, a known component of the plaque found in brains of Alzheimer’s patients. These scans can identify people who could potentially develop Alzheimer’s, but currently do not exhibit any symptoms. Once identified, treatments are being tested to try and slow the progression of the disease. Bending the curve of onset by 3-5 years would have a significant impact on the medical costs of the disease as well as the quality of life for those afflicted.
At Caring Hands Caregivers, we have several clients who live with this disease, and have developed an expertise in caring for Alzheimer's patients. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and need care for a loved one with Alzheimer's, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.