Sharing Solutions for Caregivers
Caregivers are always looking for solutions and new ways to improve the lives of their loved ones. Here are some suggestions shared by local experts that might help enhance someone’s day or life:
A Treat Every Day
“For those living alone, be sure they have the essentials and a few treats to enjoy each day. You can deliver groceries, fresh flowers, their favorite magazines — whatever you know gives them comfort in their daily lives. A small gift like a framed photo of a family member or a small photo album they can flip through and smile at when they are feeling lonely would be a nice surprise to find among the groceries and laundry soap! If you can’t deliver in person, use one of the many delivery services available. Send them a surprise dinner one day from their favorite restaurant that is still delivering.”
— Joanne Flatt, regional director, Bluebird Homecare
Hearing Devices & Health
Several hearing aid manufacturers are now including built-in sensors that sync with smartphone apps to track the wearer’s heart rate, quality of sleep, levels of physical activity, or other information. There are many different health and lifestyle indicators that can be obtained and measured through the ear, says Dr. Ingrid Edwards, clinical director and audiologist at Heuser Hearing Institute. An important safety feature available with some models is the ability to send out an alert to designated contacts when a fall is detected.
— Yelena Sapin
To Make Friends: Ask Open Ended Questions
Becky Peak, senior companion coordinator at Elderserve, recommends faith-based organizations, senior centers, and congregate meal sites as starting places for older adults to seek activities that put them in contact with individuals with shared interests. Elderserve is another resource, which helps connect older adults with each other and strives to be a premier support for helping seniors thrive. As companion coordinator, she encourages her companions — independent older adults who volunteer to check on older home-bound clients or those who have other issues — to ask questions that go beyond just “How are you?” and “Do you need anything?” A question like, “Did you ever go kite-flying in the summer?” is open-ended and allows individuals to reminisce and find common experiences.
— Carrie Vittitoe
Staying the Same
“The great secret that all old people share is that you really haven’t changed in 70 or 80 years. Your body changes, but you don’t change at all.”
— Doris Lessing
Make a Call
Joanne Flatt, regional director of Bluebird Homecare, says calling a loved one who lives in a long-term care community is essential during social distancing. “Chat for a while. Have the grandchildren call them. Have their old friends call them. Sometimes people need a little prodding to get them to make a phone call, but it’s worth the effort and they’ll be glad they did it.”
Virtual Caregiver Support Groups
• Visionary Caregivers Connect Time
Meets Thursdays @ 10am via Zoom; sessions last 30-45 minutes
• Alzheimer’s Association 24-hour Helpline
The groups correspond by phone, and the association offers a support group for people who are unable to visit with a family member staying in a long-term care community because of social distancing.
• Living with Lewy Facebook Support Group
Meets weekly on Zoom
If you have a support group that you think we should be aware of, please email Tiffany@TodaysMediaNow.com.