You can make St. Valentine's Day special for the elder in your care by getting festive for holidays. Below are some suggestions which do not take much time to put together, are sentimentally appropriate, inside professional boundaries, within means of a tight budget, and not so predictable.
The gold standard is the timeless hand written message. This can take the form of a card (handmade or formally fancy) or letter written on clean or decorated paper. Think of the ways your elder is a stand out person, how they make you feel good, what you like about working with them, what you admire about how they live their life. Then simply tell them so straight from the heart.
Get a box of their favorite flavor of red Jello and make a tasty treat. Recipes for using Jello abound. Use the sugar free Jello, if necessary. If you use an old school mold for forming the jello into something artistic you will kick your presentation up a notch.
Balloons. Helium filled or blown up by you. Get more than one (one smacks of a kiddie treat), the more the merrier. Tie them together with ribbon or tie them to a lamps or chairs where they can be seen throughout the day. Lots of older folks have a sweet tooth, so if yours does present them with cookies or a box/bag of their favorite candy. Again, if necessary get a sugar free substitute. Let them enjoy them without interference, but within safe limits. Do not help yourself, unless they invite you to do, otherwise. The treat is for them.
Ask them what their favorite romantic movie is and download it for them. Ask them why it is their favorite. Use this activity as an opportunity to engage in conversation which takes an interest in their heart and soul. They might even share with you some charming stories from down memory lane.
Invite one of their friends or neighbors over. This third person might appreciate being included as you might make their day special, too. They can watch the movie, help eat the Jello or candy/cookies. Maybe they might share a cup or tea or coffee.
Ask your elder if they would like to take a walk through old photo albums and tell you about their loves and loved ones from days gone by. Show you care by actively listening to them and asking questions about the people and events that meant so much to them. Ask politely about sweet memories from the past like their first kiss, first crush, first love.
Dress them in red. Use red place-mats and napkins and plates, etc. Serve red foods.
If transportation is not a hassle, go to to the nicest mall in your area and have a treat, people watch and admire the shop displays. Take along any mobility assistance equipment that might come in handy, just in case.Show them you cared enough about them to learn more about how to care for them even better than you could naturally.
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"There are no wards, long hallways, or corridors at the facility. Residents live in groups of six or seven to a house, with one or two caretakers. Perhaps the most unique element of the facility—apart from the stealthy “gardener” caretakers—is its approach toward housing. Hogeway features 23 uniquely stylized homes, furnished around the time period when residents’ short-term memories stopped properly functioning. There are homes resembling the 1950s, 1970s, and 2000s, accurate down to the tablecloths, because it helps residents feel as if they’re home. Residents are cared for by 250 full- and part-time geriatric nurses and specialists, who wander the town and hold a myriad of occupations in the village, like cashiers, grocery-store attendees, and post-office clerks. Finances are often one of the trickier life skills for dementia or Alzheimer’s patients to retain, which is why Hogewey takes it out of the equation; everything is included with the family’s payment plan, and there is no currency exchanged within the confines of the village."
There are no clear cut answers whether Alzheimer’s and dementia can be prevented. More large scale studies need to be done and promising research is in the works. But these habits certainly cannot hurt and can improve your quality of life in general.
Stay physically active.
Get some sun to keep Vitamin D levels up.
Control alcohol intake.
Keep your brain exercised.
Keep track of blood pressure, cholesterol and weight.
Try to stay away from cold places. Changes in the body that come with aging can make it harder for older adults to be aware of getting cold.
Check the weather forecasts for windy and cold weather. Try to stay inside or in a warm place on cold and windy days. If you have to go out, wear warm clothes including a hat and gloves. A waterproof coat can help you stay warm if it's cold and snowy.
Wear several layers of loose clothing when it's cold. The layers will trap warm air between them. Don't wear tight clothing because it can keep your blood from flowing freely. This can lead to loss of body heat.
Ask your doctor how the medicines you are taking affect body heat. Some medicines used by older people can increase the risk of accidental hypothermia. These include drugs used to treat anxiety, depression, or nausea. Some over-the-counter cold remedies can also cause problems.
Make sure you eat enough food to keep up your weight. If you don't eat well, you might have less fat under your skin. Body fat helps you to stay warm.
This time of year is a special time for all. With the anticipation of more snow days and the excitement surrounding the holidays, your mind can be consumed. The last thing on your mind is the people in your life who might not have anyone to share this special time of year with anyone. Sometimes the greatest gift that you can give someone is your time. We normally talk about physical proactive steps that you can take to protect the elderly in your life, such as climate control and activity planning, but this month we want to focus on a more emotional approach.