Category: Holidays

A woman shares a holiday meal with her elderly mother, while detecting some warnings signs that indicate the need for care.

5 Steps to Take When Holiday Visits Reveal the Need for Care

If you’ve recently returned home for the holidays only to discover that Mom seems increasingly forgetful or Dad is not walking as well as he was last year, you’re not alone. Many adult children face a holiday reality check each year when visiting family reveals a need for care that may have gone unnoticed throughout the rest of the year. Noticing changes in a family member or friend during a seasonal visit is a common experience and can serve as an opportune time to discuss whether additional care is necessary in the home. With the support of family and friends, initiating a conversation about a care plan can be done with sensitivity and consideration. Here are some tips to guide you: Share Your Concerns: Approach your loved ones openly and honestly. Express your concerns about their health, emphasizing that your intentions are rooted in care and support. Your genuine worry may motivate them to seek medical advice or make lifestyle changes. Create a Sense of Planning: Engage in a conversation about your observations using concrete examples. Ask your loved one about their perspective on the situation and what they think might be going on. Collaboratively explore potential solutions and involve them in the decision-making process. Address Safety Issues: Identify and discuss any safety concerns within the home. Create a plan together to address these issues and ensure a safe living environment. This collaborative approach helps the person feel involved and valued in the decision-making process. Encourage a Medical Checkup: Propose the idea of a routine medical checkup and offer your assistance in scheduling the appointment. You can accompany the person to the doctor or help find someone else to attend the visit. Regular medical checkups are essential for early detection and management of health issues. Contact the Doctor for Guidance:

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Holiday Dinner

Preventing Loneliness During and After the Holidays

People of all ages find November through January to be their loneliest time of year. “Social Isolation” is a buzz word often thought to be the same thing as loneliness. However, during and after the winter holidays the elderly may have reasons to feel lonely, even if they are aging-in-place at home with one or more family members, have in-home caregivers, or are part of a group that meets regularly, such as their church community.  Why the Holidays Are Even Harder for the Elderly Focusing on their losses is common for seniors during the holidays. They may have lost a spouse or friends; some degree of their health, energy and mobility; their independence, their home and the ability to do many of the things that they traditionally associated with getting ready for and enjoying during the holidays. They’ve been used to doing things for others, and now they must depend on others more than they would like to. They are getting outside less, not exercising as much, and their family members may be too busy to spend much time with them. Pressure to Enjoy the Holidays It can be difficult to find ways to help our elderly loved ones feel noticed, loved and part of our holiday celebrations. Many of them were experiencing depression and loneliness even before the holidays started. Unless we expect and also plan for how to lessen post-holiday loneliness, elderly family members are likely to feel even worse, after whatever together times we were able to manage are over. Start by lowering our expectations and theirs for what can be done this holiday season. Maintain as many of your family traditions as you can, while realizing that because of age, some are becoming unrealistic, and we will have to rethink them. Try to put relationships first.

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Christmas Tree

10 Tips to Help the Elderly and their Caregivers Enjoy the Holidays

Holidays can be both a joyful and a stressful time for all of us, no matter what stage of life we’re in. But as a family member ages, it can become more and more difficult to continue the family traditions everyone expects, and at the same time ensure that our elderly loved one’s physical and emotional needs are taken into account. Caregivers often struggle with how to juggle events that can be highly stressful, confusing and even depressing for an elderly family member with the needs and expectations of others. Situations will vary based on the health issues and mobility of your elderly family member, but these 10 tips could help all families and the elderly person they care for find more joy in the holiday season: Simplify your holiday. Caregivers with young families have a lot on their plates during the holidays. An “I want to do it all” attitude can bring on a lot of stress. Simplify routines and modify traditions by making a list of all your chores and eliminating those that aren’t truly necessary. Plan ahead. If older family members tire easily or are vulnerable to over-stimulation, limit the number of activities they are involved in or the length of time they are included. Designate a “quiet room” for them and schedule time there for a break, when necessary. Modify festivities to accommodate limitations. Be conscious of potential difficulties with an event or holiday plans for someone with physical or emotional challenges. Find a way for them to be included safely or get them involved in something else during that time. Ask your loved one about their memories. Older people whose memories are impaired often can share stories and observations from the past. Use picture albums, family videos and music to help stimulate memories and encourage

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New Year

New Year’s Resolutions for Caregivers

Many family caregivers feel like they don’t have time to do much of anything for themselves. Their entire focus is on how they can be a better caregiver. As a caregiver, when you look ahead to the new year and think about what you would like to change or do better, are any of those thoughts focused on your mental and physical health or only on the loved one you are caring for? Not making resolutions or a plan for self-care can be detrimental for you and the person you are caring for. The lack of a conscious plan of self-care can result in caregiver burnout. Make specific plans to care for yourself. As the new year begins, it’s okay to resolve to do everything you can to keep your loved one comfortable and safe. But add to your Things-I-Should-Do List at least three or four things you want to do that will ultimately make you happier, healthier and a better caregiver in the long-run. Here are nine examples. In the New Year, I resolve to: Make a “help wish list” and refer to it when people ask what they can do to help me. Not having to think about what you need or want will make it easier to accept help when it is offered. Make sleep a priority. Do what many young mothers do: sleep when the “baby” sleeps. Don’t feel guilty when you don’t use possible sleep time for something “more productive.” Eat the equivalent of three healthy meals a day, even if you have to eat smaller portions more often. Cut down on food preparation time, and when you do cook, make enough for several meals. Include lots of plant matter in what you and your loved one eat. Make a list of the things I

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caregiver holiday tips

Caregiver Holiday Tips: Make Your List, Check It Twice, and Get Those To-Dos Done!

The holidays are the perfect time to visit with friends and family members, but it’s not quite what you would call a relaxing time of year. The hustle and bustle of the holiday season, from shopping to social events to family get-togethers, can be incredibly stressful, and when you’ve got someone you love to care for, your own tasks can be neglected. Never fear: our care team has some quick caregiver holiday tips to help! How Can You Check Off All the To-Dos to Better Enjoy the Holidays? Wondering how to get everything on your to-do list accomplished in time for the holidays? Try the following tips to help you stay on track. Bypass the shopping mall & shop virtual. Getting out to a crowded mall can be a challenge this time of year, especially when caring for a senior who is homebound. Online shopping can be carried out from almost anywhere: in the doctor’s office, late at night while watching TV, etc., and is quite a bit less stressful than fighting the large holiday crowds. Make it a team effort. Too many presents to wrap? Unsure how you’ll write out all of your holiday cards? Enlist the help of a family member or friend who can help with wrapping presents. Schedule an afternoon to visit, sip hot chocolate, and write out all of your holiday cards together with your older family member assisting in whatever way they can. Be discerning about “made from scratch.” Many people feel obligated to go overboard on food during the holiday season, but not everything on your table needs to be homemade. Choose one or two items for your holiday menu that you enjoy making from scratch, and add in some microwavable or ready-made dishes to round out the table and save you time.

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Help Seniors Enjoy the Holidays

How to Help Seniors Enjoy the Holidays

Even though the yuletide season is commonly thought about as a time that is joyful, busy with visiting family and friends who are near and dear to us and finding the perfect gifts, for older individuals, it can be anything but merry and bright. The combination of lost loved ones, memories of past holidays, health problems and more can bring feelings of lonesomeness and sorrow for older adults and all of us. With all of these stressors, how can we help seniors enjoy the holidays? At Dakota Home Care, a leading provider of elder home care services in Mandan, Fargo, and throughout the nearby areas, we care deeply about making sure seniors enjoy the holidays, feel included in the celebrations and make new memories of a joyful holiday season. The following recommendations can help everyone enjoy the wonder of the holiday season together: Develop a cookbook with recipes from all family members. Gather all the recipes, and distribute copies of your new family cookbook. Take a drive to enjoy holiday lights in an old, familiar neighborhood. If your loved one experiences challenges putting out holiday decorations, offer to help! This is a great way to share memories of past holidays and the stories behind different decorations. The caregivers at Dakota Home Care can also provide assistance with holiday decorating. For a holiday that is really relaxing, schedule time together at a local salon or spa. You can even consider having a local beautician or masseuse come to the home if possible. Safety precautions may come up for your older loved one for a variety of reasons: increased fall risks with the addition of the holiday decorations in the home, challenges adhering to a prescribed dietary plan, and for those with dementia, interruption to routine, additional visitors to the home, and higher noise

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iday Activities for Seniors

Find Joy in Holiday Activities for Seniors with These Tips

The holiday season is chock-full of get-togethers, celebrations, and parties. Yet for many seniors, holiday outings require a little extra planning. Dakota Home Care has compiled some recommendations to help family caregivers plan for relaxed and fun holiday activities for seniors. Prior to leaving the house, think through: How much walking will be required, and if there will be parking close by Whether the location is flat or has hills or steps to climb Whether or not it is wheelchair-accessible (if appropriate) If there is cover and shade Where the bathrooms are located Whether or not there is seating available in the event Be prepared for a wide variety of possible plan changes with the following: Ensure that you have all necessary medications available, and bring an additional supply, in case the outing lasts longer or takes an unanticipated turn Have appropriate clothing in addition to rain and sun protection Bring something to eat and drink, in case of a delay Need some suggestions for holiday activities for seniors that get the family moving? Consider the following ideas for outings: Take a relaxing family drive to look at the area holiday lights. If it is feasible and welcomed, invite the older person to your home to help with decorating for the holidays. Take your loved one to a holiday party at the local senior center. Go to community performances; in addition to the local theater, there are affordably priced plays and other shows given by area schools. When engaging in any holiday activities for seniors, allow plenty of time and create a relaxing environment to make sure older adults are comfortable and content. The caregiving experts at Dakota Home Care can offer support by increasing a senior’s independence while providing exceptional in-home care throughout the holidays and all through the year!

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Senior man enjoying a holiday party

Creating Moments of Joy Along the Alzheimer’s Journey

What better time to discover more than 100 ways to bring more joy into your life and the lives of those with Alzheimer’s than during the Holiday Season! Create moments of joy along the Alzheimer’s journey, and give yourself the gift of this book. International speaker and author, Jolene Brackey, makes a powerful, personal and touching case that there can be many moments of joy for those with Alzheimer’s disease and for both professional and family caregivers. As a wife and caregiver traveling the Alzheimer’s journey with my husband, reading this book brought me joy and the hope that my husband and I can continue to experience joy together, even during his “Final Moments.” I wish I could help you to feel some of that joy just by reading this blog, but as Jolene so wisely says on p. 268, “You have learned a lot by simply reading this book. You’re going to want to tell your brother because, ‘He should…’ You want to tell your mom because, ‘She should…’ You want to tell other caregivers because, ‘They should…’ Don’t go back and ‘should’ on people. Recognize that each person is doing the best they can with the information they have.” So, besides sharing a few of Jolene’s examples, I can only say, as Dakota Home Care CEO, Beverly Unrath, said to me, “I read the most wonderful book. You should read it!” So I did. I hope you will, too. Another quote from Jolene: “With short-term memory loss, life is made up of moments. There are not perfectly wonderful days, there are perfectly wonderful moments—moments that put a smile on their face and a twinkle in their eye. Five minutes later, the person will have forgotten what was said and done; the feeling, however, lingers on.” The book is

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family caregivers

How Family Caregivers Can Relieve Stress During the Holidays with Respite Care

We’ve written before about Caregiver Burnout and Ten Tips to Help the Elderly and their Caregivers Enjoy the Holidays. But zeroing in on family caregiver stress—what it is and how to cope with it—can be a vital part of self-care and burnout prevention, especially during the busy holiday season. The first step to relieving stress is to recognize when you are feeling it in a negative way, and what is causing those feelings. Stress can be described in a number of different ways: Stress can feel like the inability to cope with a real or imagined threat to your mental and emotional well-being. You could compare the effect on your body to a “fight or flight” response. Stressors can be physiological or emotional events that you perceive to be stressful or out of your comfort zone. What is stressful for one person might not be stressful for another. Stress can have a short-term or a long-term (chronic) negative effect on your mind and body. Stress can occur when the mind-body-spirit connection is out of balance. Negative thoughts can cause a physical response that makes your spirit feel “down” or even makes you physically sick. A person who becomes a family caregiver experiences large and small changes in their life that may continue over time, and make a normally busy time, like the holidays, even more stressful. Identifying stressors that are a result of your role as caregiver, added to the stress of the holidays, can be the first step to relieving your stress. These can be physical, social, emotional or economic. It can be helpful to make a list of what your stressors are. Some of the more common ones include: The loss of time for leisure activities, time for yourself, sleep, healthy eating or exercise Worries about finances: suddenly

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