09.30.10

Hospice Care Doesn’t Mean Giving up on Faith

Posted in Elder Care, Home Health Care, Nursing home alternative, Senior Citizen, Taking Care of a Loved One at 1:52 pm by admin

What happens when the doctors have done everything they can do? What happens when Elderly Care has run its course, but nothing has changed. What do you do when the medical staff has thrown up their hands and said “we see no way out of this, and we think it is time you put your parent in hospice care”?

These hopeless are, for many, the enemies of faith. How can a religious family–whether Christian or otherwise–hold on to their faith that their senior loved one can get better while at the same time discontinuing the only medical care that is sustaining them?

From the outside, it might seem like an impossible situation. And indeed, it might be. Nobody will live forever, after all. But millions of people believe in a God that can heal and sometimes does. I am one of them. And their is a very real tension for many of them: if we put our parent or grandparent in hospice care, does that signal the end of our faith? Does it mean, in other words, that we no longer believe that God is able to make the situation better? Does it mean we are giving up?
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Understanding Hospice Care

Hospice Care does not mean “a place to give up.” It is a different type of care where professionals no longer focus on curing the ailment. Rather, they focus on different types of discomfort: pain management, emotional wellness, and spiritual readiness. Hospices employ caring nurses who specialize in taking care of a patience physical comfort, and ministers who can communicate peace and love in the midst of their situations.

My father is a full-time chaplain at a hospice in Texas. As a minister, he fully believes in (and has personally experienced) highly unusual instances of immediate, unexplained healing. He believes in a God that can instantly make situations change, and diseases disappear. So why does he work in a hospice? Because he loves people, and he knows that this physical life is not all their is.

Hospices like his work with entire families, not just elderly patients. They help to foster a sense of family closeness, whether in the midst of onsite hospice care, or in a nursing home, or at home. And if the patient does pass on, they can help them through the grieving process. It is a much more holistic type of care than any other type of elderly care.

Keeping Faith While Letting Go

So how is committing your loved one to Hospice Care not giving up faith? It’s really simple, actually. When you believe God can heal, then you know he can heal a person in hospice care just as well as he can in intensive medical care. How is it giving up to say “Okay, God: the doctors can’t do anything else. So I guess it’s up to you now”?

Family members who might have to say goodbye to grandma or grandpa can rest assured that a choice for hospice care can still be a choice that is full of love and of continued faith. It does not mean “I do not believe.” Instead, it means “I believe. And I love.”

Two Steps to Improve Senior Health

Posted in Elder Care, Elderly Care, exercises at 1:18 pm by admin

[ad#ad-1]As we get older, we tend to get frustrated that our bodies will no longer perform the same functions that they used to be able to. By the time we become senior citizens, that frustration can reach the level of apathy. When your body has been running down slowly over several decades, it is easy to lose heart and give up on ever feeling good again. Regular exercise can permanently become a thing of the past.

Many seniors take that route, and end up living their lives mostly in front of the television. However, for most seniors, there is a better way. While they might not be able to play basketball or soccer the way they used to, there are two simple steps that most seniors can take towards better health:

1) Taking Walks.

Yes, that’s right. Walking is a terrific source of exercise for millions of seniors. Some might view it as a little too light but this is a mistake. Taking regular walks can promote an elder’s energy while burning calories and fat. And this does not have to be power walking, either. A “brisk” walk (meaning one that is not exasperating, but not a crawl, either) is what we are looking for. There is no need to turn this into a run. But if you want to reap the benefits of exercise, there should be at least a small rise in your heart rate. if you can sustain that for twenty or thirty minutes every morning and evening, you will almost certainly feel more energetic. If you go less than that, the calorie burning effect will not be all that big.

2) Take Sleep Seriously

When we lack sleep, we are not ourselves. Our memories do not work as well, and our stress levels will be heightened. We feel like we are playing catch up for the whole day! Why? Because very often, we don’t take sleep as seriously as we should.

This is especially true for elderly citizens. A lack of sleep can accelerate all sorts of senior medical problems, not the least of which is memory loss. Some have said that seven out of ten seniors have some sort of memory problems, ranging from forgetting names to full fledged dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease.

What about you or your loved one? Are you tired often? Then it’s time to do some inventory:

Do you stay up too late watching television? Do you drink caffeine in the afternoon and evening? These might cause no problems for some, but if you are struggling with sleep, they might be the source. Many seniors shrug this issue off as if it is no big deal. After all, it is not an actual illness, so why trouble anybody with it? But if small lifestyle changes such as shorter naps, earlier bedtime, and reduced caffeine intake do not improve your sleep quality or quantity, then it is time to see a doctor and start to correct this sleep issue. Because exhaustion IS a big problem that can cause a host of medical and emotional problems.

So there you have it. These two “tweaks” can significantly improve your senior loved one’s life. A little activity and some well placed rest can pay huge dividends in the life of a senior.

09.29.10

Keeping Texas Seniors Active and Learning

Posted in Texas Elderly Care Services at 8:06 pm by admin

As 65 looms on the horizon, many soon-to-be seniors look ahead with dread, thinking their active lifestyles are close to being over. In actuality, many seniors thoroughly enjoy their senior years, viewing this time as their golden years. They find that the changes in their lives have opened up new opportunities to delve back into old hobbies or to develop new interests.

As seniors become more health conscious, and medical elder care becomes more available and better, many seniors are able to maintain an active lifestyle long past the age of 65. More and more cities are recognizing this and answering the new need to provide recreation, education, and entertainment that appeals to this ever-growing senior demographic. Cities across the United States are working to build senior centers and implementing senior volunteer programs. Many recognize the valuable resources available in our nation’s senior citizens and are looking for ways to support as well as glean from them.
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From community education classes to parks and recreation programs, seniors are finding an ever -expanding circuit of educational classes specifically targeted to them. Seniors who want to stay fit and healthy may find just the right exercise class offered through their local parks and recreation office or community center. These facilities often offer seniors a variety of classes such as aquatics, gentle aerobics, biking, or dance. Many colleges and university across the nation are opening up Senior Colleges or have Continuing Education Programs offering seniors a chance to finish their degrees or to take up a new course of study. Many of these programs employ seniors or recruit senior volunteers to teach their students who are 50 years of age or older.

Senior Centers are also popping up all over to provide seniors with exercise classes, social activities, entertainment, and intellectual activities designed to meet their needs and interests. Seniors often find their local senior center to be a close-knit community and a busy hub where many seniors come to develop relationships, learn new skills, and join other seniors in volunteer activities that benefit the entire community.

Nursing homes and other senior communities and care facilities are recognizing the need to implement more comprehensive programs to meet their residents’ intellectual, spiritual, emotional, and social needs which in turn impact the physical and medical state of each resident. Providing many opportunities for residence to engage in intellectually stimulating and enjoyable activities is a beginning. Encouraging residents to be active not only physically, but also socially, emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually is key to caring for the whole person. Just because a person is placed in a more restrictive setting does not mean growth in those areas should stop.

Upon entering their senior years, many people realize they have more time than ever before to spend on developing passions, hobbies, and friendships. The opportunities and possibilities are just about endless. Always wanted to quilt a family heirloom to pass on to the grandchildren? Join the quilting class down at the senior center.

Wish you could have the time to finish your degree? Check out your local community college or university. Wish you had someone to share your latest book? Grab your paperback and head on down to the community center to join in the book club discussion.

Seniors are realizing now more than ever that their active lifestyles don’t need to come to an end. New opportunities are opening up with this new golden age of 65. Seniors are realizing it’s never to late to learn something new, and the learning will never stop.

09.27.10

Choosing Senior Housing in Texas

Posted in Assisted Living, Elder Care, Elderly Care at 7:34 pm by admin

If you are in the process of choosing senior housing in Texas for your elderly loved one, you have a lot of choices at your fingertips. This is a good thing for all of you, but sometimes many choices can actually make life more stressful. With so many types of senior housing with so many amenities, how can you possibly choose?

The process of choosing senior housing in Texas can be made a lot easier if you focus in on a few key considerations. Answer these questions, and you will be well on your way to having peace of mind for your elderly loved one:

1) Type of Senior Housing in Texas

There are so many different levels and types of elder care in Texas. There is everything from senior day care (generally for those who are mostly healthy but need some protective supervision during the day) to full time nursing care, to independent retirement living. But most seniors will fall somewhere between these options. Many, for instance, have some medical issues to deal with, but they can and still want to live independently as much as possible. For them, a standard senior “Assisted Living” facility would be perfect. These senior homes usually employ a nursing staff somewhere onsite, but the residents live in apartments or town homes of some sort. The staff help out with things that the residents might need because of their age: help with laundry or cooking, perhaps, while letting them live their lives in the comfort of their own space.[ad#ad-1]

Besides Assisted Living homes, there are other types of senior housing that could be appropriate. Independent living homes offer a comfortable and safe environment for seniors who want to retire in a community of peers. These communities are often high dollar facilities, for mostly healthy adults who can live independently from caregivers.

Texas Continuing Care Communities offer residents a chance to seamlessly move from one level of care to another. For example, a Texas senior might want to live independently of caregivers in an independent living facility at first. But what if their health begins to deteriorate? In that case, they can move into another section of the facility where nurses are there to offer care at a level that is appropriate to their situation. Eventually, if full-time nursing care is called for, they can transfer into a nursing home at the same facility. Some of these Texas care centers will even offer hospice care, should it come to that. The continuing care option is an attractive one for many seniors in Texas, since they only have to deal with one company during the whole process.

2) Senior Housing Location & Amenities

Once you know what level of care you need, the next consideration is location. Is your loved one close to you and the rest of the family? Would they be lonely if they were too far away? If the answer is yes, then it is imperative that you find senior housing close to your Texas city. Fine amenities like exercise rooms or knitting clubs will not be a good enough substitute. Look for a place that is close to family!

If family is not a big pull for your loved one, then it is time to think about things like weather and amenities. Do they like shopping? The arts? Golf? Do they like to get exercise, or visit museums? Do they enjoy going to plays, or going fishing? Is a large living room more important to them than a tennis court? The good news is this: Texas is a big state. Dallas has a tremendous arts and culture scene. San Antonio is perfect for history buffs and shoppers. The houston area is great for senior golfers and those who enjoy taking day trips to the beach. In Texas, there really is something for everybody.

3) Costs of a Facility

Once you know the level of care you need along with where and how you need it, it’s time to factor in the costs. Some types of senior housing are covered by Medicare. Full time nursing homes are often covered by Medicare. However, you can pretty much guarantee that most independent living facilities will cost a pretty penny.

But even some of the more luxurious Assisted Living facilities might become affordable in the long run if your loved one is considering selling his or her home. If they can no longer live alone, or take car of their house by themselves, it might be easier to sell it so that it is no longer a burden, and use the money to live out their lives in relative comfort.

Those are the three big considerations for those looking at Senior Housing options in Texas: level of care, location, and cost. Figure out exactly how much leeway you have in each of the categories, and I the right answer will probably end up being quite obvious!

09.26.10

Respite Care Services

Posted in care at home, Elder Care, Elderly Care, Home Health Care, Nursing home alternative, Senior Citizen, Taking Care of a Loved One at 1:06 am by admin

Caregivers take on a challenging task when they decide to care for a loved one who has Alzheimer’s or dementia. As the disease progresses, caregivers and family members are often overwhelmed by the changes that often happen in their loved one. The emotional and physical strain of caring for someone you love with these progressively increasing memory and physical challenges can make continuing care at home as sole caregiver difficult or even impossible. Because of tendencies to wander or forget safety precautions, many Alzheimer’s or dementia patients are unable to be left alone for any length of time.
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These caregivers providing full-time care for their loved ones who have Alzheimer’s and dementia are extremely vulnerable to burnout. The good news? There are services available to provide respite care. Respite care centers often specialize in providing short-term care for patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia to relieve their caregivers. Respite care services are often used when care is needed for longer than a day or during weekend days and evening hours when an Adult Day Care Center is closed.
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Many caregivers are hesitant to take advantage or Respite Care because they feel uncomfortable placing their loved one in a strangers care, or removing them from their familiar home surroundings. While these concerns are understandable, respite care could very well be the only way some caregivers will be able to continue to care for their loved one for as long as possible. Respite Care Centers are staffed with professionals. Often visiting the Respite Center and meeting staff members can alleviate these concerns.

These centers provide caregivers a much-needed respite which can prevent burnout and at the same time give your loved one quality care by professionals who will ensure their safety. Taking advantage of Respite Care could prevent caregiver burnout and extend the length of time you are able to care for your loved one in the comfort of your own home.
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09.25.10

Choosing the Right Wheelchair for You

Posted in care at home, Elder Care, Elderly Care, Home Health Care, Senior Citizen at 12:58 am by admin

Most people trust their doctors to give them just the right kind of prescription for medications, but most doctors and patients don’t give wheelchair selection a second thought. Many insurances require a doctor’s prescription in order for wheelchairs or other mobility aids to be covered by insurance. Often the doctors prescription note reads “Wheelchair.” Often patients end up with whatever insurance is willing to pay for whether or not the device suits their needs or lifestyle. There are a vast variety of wheelchairs and other walking support devices designed to fit different body types, physical limitations, and personal preferences. With a little foresight and some professional input, you can select just the right wheel chair that will make your life easier and more comfortable.
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Think about it. How much time will you spend in the wheel chair daily? Would a pressure-relieving cushion or other padded accessories and adjustable back settings make you more comfortable for long-term use?

What activities would you want to be able to participate in from your wheelchair? Racer-style wheelchairs are specially designed for speed. Do you need a motorized wheelchair to get around the house or around town?
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Where will you be using your wheelchair? A wheel chair used primarily in the home will look different than one you will need to transport frequently. If you need a wheelchair most often while on the go, you may prefer a lighter, more compact and foldable wheelchair. Regular use on rough terrain may call for thicker tires.

What physical limitations or challenges do you have and what accessories would make your life easier? Break extensions, swivel seating, electric wheelchair, joystick steering, and other accessories may be necessary to accommodate physical limitations. Specialized chairs suited exactly to your physical needs can promote independence and comfort. Wheelchairs are designed to either provide full mobility support or significant assistance, it’s crucial to find one that is just right for you.

Since most General Practitioners are not experts in physical medicine, it would be a good idea to seek some advice on the proper wheelchair from another more specialized professional involved in your care such as a physical or occupational therapist. Another option would be to visit a local wheelchair clinic which are usually staffed by trained professionals such as Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, and Rehabilitation Technology specialists.

Once you’ve decided which chair will best suit your needs, you may need to revisit your regular doctor to obtain a specified prescription in order for insurance to cover the equipment. If you will be spending a significant amount of time in the chair, or if you require more specialized accessories and fittings, the expense is usually higher. Most insurance companies will require a detailed prescription from your physician to provide coverage for additional accessories or customization.
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Choosing a wheelchair is like choosing a car or mattress; take the time to find the one that suits your needs and lifestyle. Not all insurances require you to consult with a rehabilitation professional, but it is highly advisable. These professionals will ask questions about your needs, daily activities, and preferences, allow you to “test drive” several chairs with accessories to find your perfect fit. Getting a professional evaluation is worth the time in energy if you end up with the right wheelchair that will give you the freedom, comfort, and independence you desire.

For more helpful tips on eldercare issues, visit the homepage.

09.24.10

Adult Day Care

Posted in care at home, Caregiver, Elder Care, Elderly Care, Nursing home alternative at 12:46 am by admin

Sooner or later, most caregivers find they are unable to or uncomfortable with leaving their loved one at home alone long enough to run errands, take a much needed break, or work a part-time job to make ends meet. In times like these, it is impossible or at least extremely difficult to find friends or family members who can step in and help out and stay with your loved one at the times you need. Many caregivers are unaware of a growing service offered to help them out at these times: adult day care.
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Adult day care centers are cropping up all over the nation to offer daytime care for individuals who are unable to care for themselves while their regular caregiver is away from home. The care services are usually offered during weekdays during typical office hours, but times of services can vary by location.

Adult Day Care centers usually offer activities, such as physical exercise classes, snacks and meals, intellectually stimulating activities, and social activities. Many Adult Day Care centers offer specialized care and securlty for patients with dementia, developmental delays, physical ailments, and neurological illnesses. Some offer hightened security for individuals who are prone to wandering.

Caregivers are often at first hesitant to make use of these services for fear of leaving their loved one with strangers in a unfamiliar environment, but visiting several licensed care centers before you find yourself in a bind will help ease those fears. Meeting the staff, checking out the facilities, finding out if they have any specialized care pertinent to your loved one’s condition, and seeing their daily schedule of activities will help you choose which center will best suit your loved one’s needs and safety requirements. Always check to make sure the Adult Day Care Center is licensed, and has a good reputation with both caregivers and clients.
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While many caregivers feel uncomfortable with the idea of bringing their loved one to a Day Care, those who have utilized these centers realize they are a valuable service offering much needed help and respite to caregivers. The people who staff these centers recognize how demanding caregiving can be, their purpose is to offer you a helping hand and provide your loved one with a safe place to stay where qualified staff are available at all times to offer assistance. Turning to Adult Day Care Services in time of need might just prevent caregiver burnout, stress, and family friction, allowing you to continue to care for your loved one for as long as possible.
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For other Elderly Care service options check out the home pagewww.elderlycareservices.org.

09.23.10

Taking Elderly Sleep Disorders Seriously

Posted in Caregiver, dementia, Depression, Elder Care at 1:13 pm by admin

According to recent studies, seven out of ten elderly citizens have problems sleeping. Whether it is just natural stress or something else, some elderly sleep disorder, will vary on the person, of course. But whatever the cause, one thing is for sure: Sleep deprivation should not be ignored. Many seniors are apt to shrug and insist “it’s no big deal. I don’t need that much sleep anyway.” But this is simply not true.
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Sleep is one of the most essential elements to our lives no matter what our age. For seniors, sleep is a key ingredient to good health. When a senior lacks rest, he or she cannot concentrate well and will be physically worn down. In other words, sleep fuels mental and physical wellness. Take away the fuel, and you will see the negative results. Elderly citizens are already struggling with muscular decay and a dulling of mental faculties often leading memory problems like Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. If you add a sleep disorders to the mix, the decline could happen even more rapidly.
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There are two separate issues at hand: having trouble falling asleep and having trouble staying asleep. The first problem is, perhaps, more easily solved than the second. Seniors often have trouble falling asleep for the same reasons the rest of us do: caffeine, ill-timed napping, and overstimulation. For many, the solution is simply a matter of a change in lifestyle. If your elderly loved one is a coffee drinker, encourage them to cut down, starting in the afternoon. It might not be enough to just eliminate coffee after 5 pm. Caffeine can stay in your system and keep you jittery for hours. For others, the problem might lie in their afternoon nap routines. Naps, for many seniors, are a treasured luxury that has finally come after years of working nine to five. But if that afternoon snooze is causing an evening of restlessness, it might be counter productive. They might end up playing catch up every day, and never feel really rested.

In addition to lifestyle adjustments, natural sleep aides can be a real help. Exercise might be the best aid of all, since it encourages a natural tiredness relaxing of muscles, which can quickly lead to sleep. But a melatonin pill can be just as effective. Melatonin might not help for a person who is up and around at midnight and not tired, but it will help those who are already relaxed, in bed, and tired, but can’t sleep, for whatever reason.

The insomnia problem (the problem of not being able to stay asleep through the night) is generally more complicated. All sorts of things can wake a person up. For seniors, bladder issues often come into play, and of course, this cannot be remedied by an adjustment of a nap or cup of coffee here or there. For seniors who suffer insomnia, there is a simple step they need to take: go and see the doctor. Yes, I know, many seniors hate going to the doctor, and they consider it completely unnecessary for something as simple as sleep deprivation, but they are wrong. Sleep deprivation is already affecting their moods, their energy level, and their general quality of life.
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In short, if you are an elder caregiver of are just worried about your senior, be sure to take elderly sleep disorders seriously. They might not think it is important, but now you know better.

Understanding Medicare Plan Part D

Posted in Elder Care, Elderly Care, Insurance at 12:34 am by admin

Since the Medicare Part D health system reform was signed by President Obama earlier this year, debate on its merits has reigned. Health and Human Services announced in August that over $250 million had been paid out to Medicare beneficiaries who fall in the coverage gap or “doughnut hole” as it is referred to.
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In a recent survey of physicians, nearly 50% said they think the Medicare Part D program will result in improved quality of care for seniors. Yet for many of those seniors simply understanding what is covered and whether they are eligible is exceedingly difficult to understand. Many of those surveyed physicians and pharmacists reported that 95% of their elderly patients struggled to understand the Medicare Part D program, and over half of their patients are confused about how much their drugs will cost.
Some of the following tips may help you or an elderly loved one untangle the confusing web of technical jargon and exceptions to eligibility for the Medicare Part D program.

1. Speak with your Physician
Since more than 41 million seniors are eligible for Medicare Part D, their physicians are commonly asked about Medicare Part D eligibility and prescription coverage which varies by each coverage option. Many physicians are prepared to help their patients find the answers to these questions using mobile devices or searching the internet.
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Many practitioners offices use free software applications like Epocrates RX Drug and Formulary Reference, to find out which medications are covered by each health plan. These programs also help to identify generic or less expensive alternatives. In addition, the software is designed to help determine which Medicare health plan will best suit each patients medical and financial situation. Potential drug interactions will be flagged as well. According to a 2004 report done by the Alliance for Aging Research, the average 75-year-old is regularly taking five different prescribed medication, so obviously this feature is vital to the senior’s health and safety.

2. Check with helpful internet sites.
There are several government websites designed to help seniors determine what kind of coverage they may be eligible for and which prescriptions may be covered. For general assistance, visit www.medicare.gov or www.epocrates.com. A user friendly site recently developed to help seniors sift through the more than 400 Medicare Part D plans. is www.HealthCare.gov. Make note of all prescription or non-prescription medications you are currently taking as well as any medical diagnosis you’ve received before starting your search. This will help you determine with plan will best suit your needs.
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3. Talk with friends and family members.
Ask a friend or family member to help you in your search, and check with other seniors who have enrolled in a Medicare Part D plan. Their experience could help you navigate finding the right coverage. For more information on elder care services visit www.elderlycareservices.org.

09.22.10

Caregiving for Your Parents: Making Memories

Posted in care at home, Caregiver, Elder Care, Elderly Care at 9:30 pm by admin

Your senior parents know all about caregiving, because when you were young, they cared for you. More than likely, your father went to work every day while your mother took care of you, fed you and clothed you. Together, they made sure your needs were met, and you were on your way to a life of success. They were doing something more than helping you survive. They were helping you to thrive.

Fast forward to today. Your elderly parents can no longer care for themselves, but you are able to help them. The tables have been turned. Now they need your help. Maybe they need you to look over their shoulder to help them make financial decisions. Maybe they need helpful reminders to take their medication. Perhaps they need help shopping or doing housework. Or, maybe it’s worse than that: maybe your elderly parents need someone to feed and clothe them, and to protect them from the outside world.[ad#ad-1]

Caregiving probably was not something you thought about for a long time. And whatever level of care your aging parents need, it is time to consider the best way for you to help their quality of life. This might seem overwhelming at first. But stop and think about your past, assuming you had a good childhood. What made family life work? What made it happy? What good memories immediately spring to mind? Because in the end, those are probably the things that made your childhood enjoyable. Usually a family’s financial state is less essential to happiness than a family’s own interactive culture: dinner rituals, holiday traditions, family vacations, even board games! Even poor children can have a wonderful childhood if they enjoy spending time together! Some might consider these rituals to be outdated. But I can guarantee this: the elder generation does not. They cherish relational family times. And they cherish memories.

Full time, intensive caregiving is a complicated process that will require some professional input. But there are things you can do no matter what your parents’ level of activity, to make them feel happy. How can you promote their quality of life? Spend quality time with them. Spend family time with them. Here are a few suggestions:

Family dinners: Did you have a special night of the week when you had a special meal? Pizza on Saturdays? Taco Tuesdays? Maybe it is time to bring that back. Or maybe you never did any of that. No problem. You can start that now! I can guarantee that those evenings will become highlighted events on your parent’s mental calendars.

Movie Nights: Get the kids to bed and grab a disk from the local Redbox. And grab some popcorn for mom and dad. If they are like my parents, they will love to watch movies together. Make movie nights a tradition, and be sure to have some time to laugh about it afterwards.

Take Trips: Granted, this might be limited, especially if your parents have health problems. Not everyone lives an hour away from the beach. But I will bet you have city parks nearby. Are there museums? Zoos? Ice Cream parlors? There is something familiar and happy about “going out.” Most seniors enjoy such outings, and it is good for them.

In short, the best way to promote elderly parents’ quality of life is to make more memories. Recreate the old days, and make some new days as well. Rich or poor, healthy or sick, quality family time is sure to make them smile.

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