I once had a family member who took one of our residents out and the resident became so exhausted they had to call an ambulance. The elder was fine and back home by that evening, but to put him through a hospital visit was a very upsetting event that was not the intention of the family for his special day.
Long drives, walks, shopping, visiting with family, holiday dinners, playing with pets, concerts or plays all sound like fun activities, in which to include your elder and they are, but acknowledging your elders physical, mental and emotional abilities will ensure your time together is a success.
Here are a few tips to tailor your activities to the benefit of your loved one.
- Measure your expectations with their abilities, physically and emotionally.
- When taking your family member out for a holiday or just some fun, please keep in mind they have limitations both physical and mental.
- Speak with their daily caregiver.
- Talk to the people who care for your loved one, explain your plans and make sure they can tolerate it.
- Try not to overwhelm your elder with too much noise and too many people at once. Be mindful of how they are reacting to crowded places.
- Bring along any medicine they may need.
- Maintain their medication schedule and assist as needed.
- Make sure you provide regular snacks that they like and have food that they can eat easily.
- Some elders have dietary restrictions so know what they are and adhere to them.
- Offer regular bathroom breaks.
- Be sure to have the equipment on hand that can assist them like raised toilet seats or wall bars.
- Schedule periods of rest during the day. Be mindful of their particular needs. Have a comfortable place for them to sit or lay down.
- Be On Time
- Pick up your parent on time when they expect you. Keeping them waiting can create unnecessary anxiety.
- Return your parent to their home on time. Keeping them on their regular evening/bedtime schedule will help them manage the stress of an eventful day.