Many of us enjoy a little respite at home, but if we had to be at home all the time we might get a little bored, perhaps even anxious. What can you do if your loved one is in this situation? How can you make time at home more bearable, and even enjoyable?
Get Some Fresh Air
Try to help your loved one get outside for even just a few minutes every day. A change of scenery, as well as some fresh air, can help refresh the mind and rejuvenate the spirit. A short walk, if possible, can also help. Point out new things on your walk, such as a new flower that has blossomed, or perhaps just take in the environment as if it were all brand new. Try to slow down and observe things you have never noticed before and share them with your loved one.
Even during the cold weather months you may be able to enjoy the outdoors to some extent. Some families have found that turning an open deck or porch into an enclosed space for the winter is a relatively inexpensive way for their loved ones to enjoy nature and still be warm. Many seniors enjoy relaxing in this special space all day long.
Try to help your loved one stay connected to other people as much as possible. Scheduling one day a week for writing letters to others may help. Consider getting involved in community events. One elderly lady who wanted to help a group of volunteers working in the cold decided to knit all of them hats! She received many thanks for all her hard work and it helped her to feel a part of something that was helpful to the community.
Skype sessions with family members and friends can also be arranged to help keep seniors connected to what’s going on in everyone’s lives. For tech-savvy seniors, Facebook and email may be a good way to keep in the loop.
Many seniors are tempted to relive the former days. While it can be nice to reminisce once in a while, it may be more helpful to speak about the present or the future. Try to engage them in conversation that involves current events and happenings in the lives of family members, and encourage others to do the same. Often, seniors may be reluctant to talk about these things because they feel they are not active enough, but a little reassurance may help. Even if they may not be as physically active as they were in the past, elderly ones possess a wealth of experience that they can share with the new generation. Is there a grandchild who is having her first baby? Perhaps grandma or grandpa can pass on old-school remedies that can help new moms and dads.
Encourage your loved ones to keep up-to-date on current community and world events. At the end of the day ask them what news they learned that day and try to focus on the positive aspects of that news.
Don’t Focus on Illness
This may be easier said than done, since much of your loved one’s day may revolve around doctor’s appointments and medication scheduling. Keeping up with medication changes and frequencies alone may end up dominating and overwhelming many seniors’ thoughts. Of course, these things are important, but they should not be the focus of most conversations. Keeping these concerns in their place may be easier if your loved one is able to have a hobby such as knitting, photography, or reading. Anything that will help to enrich personality and life will help to make each day more meaningful.
With a few changes and some persistence, your loved one can stay positive while at home.