Six Caregiver Considerations for Spring

Six Caregiver Considerations for Spring

butterflies and flowers

COVID-19 or not, spring reappears each year. And while loved ones with dementia may not be outside when spring begins March 21, it won’t be long before the vaccinations allow more socialization and we will take to the outdoors to see our friends once again.

With that in mind, some spring tips are worth thinking about.

1. Allergies: With the blooming of flowers and trees, allergies to pollens, dust and, mold begin to take hold and immune systems begin to attack the allergens. Our loved ones begin wheezing, itching, have a runny nose, or perhaps watery or itchy eyes more than normal.  Be sure prescriptions for their allergies are updated and that you can locate them when necessary for the comfort of loved ones.

Bees and flowers

2. Bees and Bugs: Spring flowers need bees and wasps to pollenate so we can enjoy their beauty. But bees can cause harm to a loved one who is allergic to a bee sting. With reduced eyesight and loss of hearing, elderly are at increased risk of being stung when bees are around. Prepare to watch for bees and bugs when loved ones are outside. Keep medications where you can easily find them.

3. Daylight savings time: Many people have adverse reactions to the changing of the clocks. Be alert to any changes in behaviours loved ones might display. It could be related to the recent change in time.

Clock

4. Falling: Spring rains bring flowers, but the also bring slippery surfaces. Be aware of the shoes loved ones wear. Slipping on slick, wet surfaces or stumbling in puddles can cause a fall with serious impact on the body. In addition to slippery, wet surfaces, uneven ground, as a field or gravel driveway, may present a perilous situation if someone is not nearby to prevent stumbles and falls. Keep an eye on the loved one while they walk, as well as looking for obstacles in their walking path.

lane and puddle after rain

5. Wandering: The sunshine of spring entices us all to go outside. Loved ones want to get out of their room, and sometimes the lure of the outdoors beckons them to leave their room and perhaps even their apartment, their home, or their senior residence, unnoticed. Wandering is a serious issue for those with memory loss, whether in sunny or stormy weather. The loved one can lose orientation, or completely lose their way. Some loved ones might be blinded by bright sunlight, or be unable to relate to time, and become easily confused.  Spring means keeping a close eye on our loved ones so they don’t get lost to us.

6. And for caregivers who are aging right along with their loved ones, their own needs and considerations should not be ignored. The same allergies might arise, the same precautions need to be taken as with loved ones. Since it is possible no one will ‘keep an eye on the caregiver,’ it is important caregivers get help and are rested so that during the period when they do care for their loved ones they can feel up to it.

pretty girl

In all cases the intention is to enjoy the beauty of the world surrounding us, the sunshine and the rain, the flowers and the insects. . We just need to add a bit more precautionary action when we all expand our world and step outdoors as caregivers and loved ones. Remember to look for the crocus and daffodils and eventually smell the roses!

signoff initials

Six Caregiver Considerations for Spring (c) 2021 Judith Allen Shone


Grateful for laughter

Grateful for laughter

Waking every morning at my age is a gift and not to be taken for granted. I awake feeling laughter I made it through another night. And blessed.

In the last while I have been a part of a caring group that has enabled me to create the habit of writing morning letters of gratefulness. For me, this practice of feeling grateful has reawakened awareness and mindfulness I had almost forgotten amid my daily caregiving challenges. Most the time what I write is for myself, but sometimes I share because something so deep about the gifts others add to my life has to be acknowledged.

This morning being grateful for laughter brought some beautiful memories. I love to giggle, to chuckle and laugh, but seldom thought about who or what would I be grateful to for making me laugh? I mean I like sweet laughter. Laughter that comes from a happy place of joy and delight. Laughter that takes your breath away and wears you out. Laughter that leaves a smile on your face and in your heart for a long time. Laughter that makes you want to hug the person you suddenly feel so connected to. Such wonderful laughter.

Unhealthy laughter, on the other hand, a sneer, a smirk, even a jeer, any laughter at the expense of another, really is a substitute for crying inside, and does not come from a place of goodness and does not feel right. When I find it hard to laugh on the outside, I am usually feeling bad on the inside. That is not the laughter I want to encourage for me or for you.

My mother loved to laugh, and my sister and brothers, my children and grandchildren, contagious laughter that made tears roll down our cheeks. I loved when we had a good belly laugh, releasing whatever we had so tightly held inside. Nothing was more binding than being able to laugh together. I miss that.

I innately try to laugh with people every chance I get when talking with someone. I generally try to bring laughter into conversations so maybe this morning’s letter can show gratefulness to me for keeping laughter in my life.

I even try to laugh with my loved one, but these days it is always a test because so often he cannot connect the dots to create a reason to laugh. I try to find TV programs that might be funny to him. But even that seldom works. But if I laugh, sometimes he just laughs because I am laughing. Surely, it must feel good to him, even if he is just laughing with me.

It seems that in the pandemic, with less social contact, opportunities for laughter have been replaced with solitude. We’ve zoomed ourselves silly, but the craving for connections, a touch, those real-life hugs, the meetings of the soul still loom unfulfilled. I wonder if others, too, notice that laughter is a missing ingredient.

We can bring laughter back into our lives. Have you ever just laughed because your soul needed to feel the expression of joy moving through your entire body? I have escaped into laughter sometimes just to confirm I have not become a robot living on an island. I am grateful for laughter.

In lieu of real people, some the the cartoons posted online can generate sweet laughter. But laughing to myself, laughing alone, while it may bring a warm smile, does not create the happiness of laughing, even giggling, with someone else.

I notice I’m laughing more about the things associated with the craziness of the aging process, wonderful behaviours of animals, and natural antics of children than about anything personal. Just this week a friend from my high school days…sixty-one years ago…wrote on my Facebook page that one of his best memories was the two of us laughing together. And when I read it, I could almost see him and hear his wonderful laugh. I so wished we could laugh together again.

I am not a comedian, I am not really a comic. But I really do enjoy laughing.

The two ladies from local health organizations who have phoned us for the last forty-six weeks of the pandemic have become friends. Inevitably we find topics that make us laugh together. Stress release is healthy medicine for us all. Find a way to get laughter into your morning routine when you set the tone for the rest of your day.

I hope you will look for situations where you, too, can laugh, out loud, let yourself go, and allow the tears to flow. Enjoy that wonderful feeling of happiness that laughter brings. Feel the blessing that you have this day that you can laugh.


Grateful for Laughter (c) 2021 Judith Allen Shone

Caregiver Tips Card

Caregiver Tips Card

small blog logo

Accepting the Gift of Caregiving is not just a book series, and is not just the name of a blogsite. It is a process that we caregivers go through by the caring experiences we live, from the desperation, and sometimes even despondency, we feel until we reach awareness, insight and understanding and eventually acceptance. It is not an easy journey. My purpose in writing Accepting the Gift of Caregiving is to be encouragement as caregivers make their way from desperation to acceptance, from anxieties to courage.

On your journey you may wish to have a little reassurance handy, to realize others have been through some of the same experiences, felt the same emotions and it might bring calmness to your hour or day.

Print these out and put them where you can refresh your commitment to caregiving once in a while.


Also, please read the extensive list of CAREGIVER TIPS that
other caregivers have contributed,
or send us your tips if you wish to contribute tips yourself.


(Click to enlarge images)

ACCEPTING THE GIFT OF CAREGIVING
Memory-loss caregiving Tips
– Front side –

Caregiver tips card front

TIPS FOR CAREGIVERS
Remember, you are doing the best you can at the moment. – Back side –

caregiver tips card back

You are welcome to download front or download back, if you like, or print screen them. Permission for selling the content or the reprinted cards is not granted. Please do not sell them or use the text as your own. If you wish to share them online, please request permission in writing from this author.

Thank you. ~ Judith Allen Shone, blog host, author, caregiver.


Mini Caregiver Tip Cards (c) 2021 Judith Allen Shone

Tee-hee happiness

Tee-hee happiness

heart

As I have aged I have discovered how important it is to walk my talk. My words mean nothing if I don’t live them. My life has been driven by my words, converted from my thoughts that, admittedly, have changed throughout these years.

And so on this Valentine’s Day, the one following nine long years of caregiving where I have truly learned the meaning of ‘love,’ I consciously, on purpose, walked my talk, and followed the motto that is on every page in this site, that is the theme of my life.

Do something each day to make others smile and your heart sing!

In keeping with the story I wrote yesterday, Little Love Letters, today I created little heart messages, printed them and cut them out. I took thirty with me to the grocery and pharmacy on our bi-weekly outing we have been limited to during the COVID pandemic.

I put some on shelves, others on top of canned goods, and cookie packages. I placed the four inch paper heart into grocery carts where no one was around at the moment. I gave them to the pharmacist team, to the cashier and assistant who bagged my few things. In the parking lot I slipped one into the pocket of the boy pushing the carts back into the store. I put one in the hand of the young man monitoring how many customers had gone in and out of the store, another practice resulting from distancing requirements during the coronavirus period.

wavy heart

It was interesting to observe those who did see me. Suspicion was evident on their faces. After all, I was wearing the protocol-required COVID mask, plus a winter coat with a scarf wrapped up around my neck. I did not know most of the recipients and they certainly did not know me. One pushed my hand away, another looked at the paper first and began not to take it, although she did in the end. One saw the heart on their egg carton and looked around to see where it came from. One thanked me. Two women put them in their pocket ‘to take home’ to their family.

I, on the other hand, felt rather giddy. I felt what my sister called ‘tee-hee happiness’ doing something so much fun. “A flashmob of one” she called me. I did not sign the hearts. I just cautiously watched others turn a glum face into a smile. THAT felt really good! It made my Valentine’s Day much more special than any I could remember. I will probably do something similar another day…another holiday, another excuse to make people smile.

sign off jas

It was fun. I encourage you to find a way to do something that gives you “tee-hee” happiness.

Do something each day to make others smile and your heart sing!


“Tee-hee happiness” (C) 2021 Judith Allen Shone


book ad and flowers