What do you have planned for your aging loved one this Memorial Day weekend? Many will spend time with family and friends, plan picnics, outings, or simply relax. As a nation, we are called to reflect on the true meaning of this national holiday, which is to honor and recognize America’s military personnel who died serving our Country.
As a caregiver, you’ll want to plan an event to include your aging loved one. For those living in the Delaware Valley, visit this website for Memorial Day activities: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43178318.
Here are some tips on how you can observe Memorial Day with your elderly loved ones:
- Visit cemeteries and place flags or flowers on the graves of our fallen heroes.
- Visit memorials.
- Fly the US Flag at half-staff until noon.
- Fly the ‘POW/MIA Flag’ as well (Section 1082 of the 1998 Defense Authorization Act).
- Participate in a “National Moment of Remembrance” at 3 p.m. to pause and think upon the true meaning of the day, and for Taps to be played.
- Renew a pledge to aid the widows, widowers, orphans of our fallen dead, and to aid the disabled veterans.
- Watch local parades.
- Have a red, white and blue themed picnic.
When planning your Memorial Day activities, remember to consider the heat and sun.
- Dress in light-colored, lightweight, clothing that is loose-fitting for air circulation.
- Have your loved one wear a hat or use an umbrella when outside, even if they are not in the direct sun. Use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or greater anytime you and your loved one go outside.
- Drink water before outdoor activities and drink water at regular intervals during the day. Avoid beverages with caffeine or alcoholic beverages that can aid dehydration. Encourage your aging loved one to drink water frequently; every 15-20 minutes.
- Try to schedule outdoor activities for cooler times of the day--before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m.
- During outdoor activity, take rest breaks frequently. If your loved one has clear, pale urine, they are probably drinking enough fluids.
- If your loved one has a chronic medical problem, talk with their doctor about additional precautions they should take to prevent heat related illness. Some conditions and medications may place seniors at higher risk.
Will you be away from your aging loved one this Memorial Day? Learn more about how Home Helpers can ensure their safety while you are away. Click HERE!
Caregivers completely commit their lives to other people who can no longer function as they once did. They often find themselves moving in with or moving closer to the ones they care for. They give up their jobs, independence, and very often friends, families and social lives to make themselves more available to those in need. Caregivers often become so involved with the care recipient that they remove themselves from their normal day to day lives. They care so selflessly and one day they wake up and their role as caregiver has been taken away due to a death or the care recipient moving into a higher level of care. The aftermath can be a very difficult time that leaves caregivers feeling lost, lonely, and useless. If you are a caregiver you might be wondering how you can pick up the pieces and begin to focus on your needs again.
Time Helps- The passing of days and months help ease the pain and bring some normalcy back into your life, but won’t necessarily heal. Be sure to look into extra support through family, caregiver support groups or friends if you’re having a difficult time coping.
Accept- The first step after any kind of loss is always to allow and accept your feelings. Acknowledge the shift in your life and the feelings it may provoke. It is possible that you will feel relief that you don't have to work so hard any longer, and then feel a sense of guilt for feeling such relief. You may be angry with yourself or someone else for letting you down. All of these are natural reactions. It is important to express sadness, anger, loneliness, regret, and any other feelings.
Look for new projects and challenges- Keep yourself busy. Consider the home renovation project that you’ve had on hold, volunteer in your community, or mentor other caregivers. Participating in meaningful activities can bring new fulfillment to your life.
Reflect- Take time to realize what an important role you’ve played. Don’t minimize your caregiving work. Knowing that you were the best caregiver you could be is a way of coming to terms with the sacrifices you may have made.
Seek help- If you’re feeling overwhelmed or decreasingly depressed, seek the counsel of a mental health professional. Realize that there is no “perfect” caregiver.
We all have different reactions to starting over. For some it is like climbing a mountain that is too rocky and too steep. For others, even though it may feel like a blind walk through a forest, starting over is something we are familiar with, something we've done before. We know we will eventually find our way. And for those lucky few who deal with life as an adventure, there may even be some excitement at discovering the new, unexplored lands or places that lie ahead after caregiving is over.
Home Helpers would like to recognize all of the hard-working, dedicated nurses who make an impact on patients' lives every day. Take a minute to thank a nurse you know for all that they’ve done.
National Nurses Week is celebrated each year on May 6th and ends on May 12th, Florence Nightingale’s birthday. Nightingale is most remembered as a pioneer of nursing and a reformer of hospital sanitation methods.
It was a game we all played as a child
Then some of us made it a dream worthwhile
More to learn, not as much time to share
Because in our hearts we really cared
We have worked the late night hours
While others slept away
Handled a doctor's many moods
Then found time to pray
Critical moments that remain as memories
Some sad - then some are good
Then there are the tragedies
That will never be understood
We see a newborn baby smile
As we watch another slip away
And that completes the circle
The price for life's that paid
Sometimes not appreciated
When just a hug will do
We are proud of our profession
A gift from me to you –Paul Nickerson
To read about our nurses at Home Helpers, click HERE.