Indoor and Physical Distanced Outdoor Summer Activities for You and Your Caregiver

The need for physical distancing doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on summer fun! With the help of your caregiver – and some crafty ideas from us – you can enjoy the indoors and outdoors while protecting yourself from Covid-19.

Let’s get the fun started!

Indoor activities for you and your caregiver

 

  • Fancy feast – Let your caregiver help you pull out all the stops to create a fancy feast, including picking up and preparing your favourite most decadent treats or even just an assortment of frozen hors d’oeuvres. Set the scene with your best tablecloth and dishes, flowers, and candles. If you’d like to have friends and loved ones get in on the fun, do it via video chat. And don’t forget to dress up and have your caregiver and virtual guests do the same! It is a fancy feast, after all!
  • Game night – Who doesn’t love a little friendly competition! Enjoy your favourite card or board games and go all-out for game night – or day – complete with fun snacks that your caregiver can add to the weekly shopping list.
  • Write letters or cards – Modern technology is great, but there’s nothing like receiving some good old-fashioned snail mail. Your caregiver can help you write and mail letters to friends and family or health heroes who have been working so hard to keep us all safe. If you enjoy getting crafty, have your caregiver pick up a few supplies so you can make cards. Tip: Dollar stores have a great assortment!

Outdoor activities for you and your caregiver

 

  • A picnic – Your caregiver can help you choose a safe place for a picnic keeping physical distancing in mind. This may be in your backyard, garden, a local park, or by a lake or river. If space permits, invite a few friends and family to your picnic. Just have everyone bring their own food and blanket or chair to sit on and be sure everyone remains at least 2m apart.
  • Outdoor movie night – There’s nothing like enjoying a movie under the stars and fortunately, there are a few ways your caregiver can help you do this safely. Drive-ins are one way if you happen to live somewhat close to one. You can also check with your local community center or recreation facility to see if there are any outdoor movies or plays coming up, now that outdoor gatherings are allowed with certain restrictions. If you prefer to stick to the safety of home, a projector borrowed from the local library and a plain white sheet is all your caregiver needs to help you have a movie night in your own yard.
  • Fruit picking – What better way to enjoy the warm weather and some exercise than a trip to a local farm to pick your own fruit. Your caregiver can help you get around the farm and pick anything that’s out of reach. The best part – aside from the sunshine and great company – is getting to take your pickings back home for a healthy snack or to bake with!

Happy summer!

I Want to Stay At Home

How to approach the topic with your adult children

If seeing how the pandemic has devastated retirement communities and long-term care (LTC) facilities has you rethinking your future plans, you’re not alone. Aging in place has always been preferred by the majority of Canadian seniors, and now more than ever.

At the end of the day, how you choose to live your life is ultimately your decision. That said, your adult children are bound to have an opinion. How much input they get and how much it factors into your decision may depend – at least in part – on factors like finances and logistics.

Things to consider before you have the talk

While it is your decision where you choose to live, it’s normal for your adult children to have concerns. You’re their parent, after all!

Going into the conversation armed with information and answers to their questions and concerns will make the conversation easier and help put their minds at ease.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Finances – Is your mortgage paid off? Will you have to downsize or find more affordable housing? Do your children currently help pay for or intend to help pay for any of your living expenses? Answering these questions can help you determine not only if aging in place will be possible, but also how doing so will affect your adult children financially.
  • Caregiving – Many people count on their offspring to take on the role of primary caregiver when the need arises. It’s often just a “given”, yet the expectation isn’t always discussed beforehand. Even if you’re in good health right now, be prepared to talk about any expectations you have when it comes to their role in your care. It’s also advisable to look into in-home care services and costs so you and your family can plan accordingly.
  • Location – Location matters more than ever as age-related changes happen and needs to be considered when planning to age in place. The frequency of medical appointments increases with age, but so does the likelihood of mobility issues, making easy access to doctors and hospitals important. Also, your family will likely want you close by.

When you’re ready to have the talk with your adult children, be prepared for the possibility that they may have reservations about your choices. Try not to take it personally if they get upset; they love you and their concern is coming from a good place.

Be clear about your reasons for wanting to stay at home and try to answer their questions with as much detail and information as possible to help ease their fears.

Be sure to:

  • write down any points you want to make, such as aging in place being a safer alternative to LTC homes
  • explain how you will be able to afford to live comfortably while remaining at home
  • have information available about any long-term care insurance you may have
  • gather information on any relevant products or services, such as in-home care, assistive devices and technologies, and modifications to help you live safely

Talks about aging aren’t easy and even though your children are not actually children anymore, conversations about issues such as elderly care can be upsetting for them. It’s never easy to face the reality that your parent’s are getting on in the years.

Be patient and respectful, and listen, but also insist on the same in return. It is your life and your decision, after all.

Covid-19 and the Impact of Social Isolation on Our Elderly Loved Ones

Lenora is 93 and lives in nursing home. Since the start of the pandemic, she has been alone in her room. For 3 months, she has had to eat all of her meals alone in her small room, unable to leave for any type of social interaction or activity.

She hasn’t had any physical contact with her family, friends, or even other residents because of the restrictions in place.

Lenora cries when talking about her profound loneliness. Like other vulnerable seniors living in retirement homes and long-term care facilities, every day is the same in her room, each day bleeding into the next with no distinction.

Her favorite TV programs and music are no longer providing her with enjoyment or distraction from the realities of the situation and her sadness.

These measures are necessary to protect residents in these communities from Covid-19, but the impact of isolation and loneliness can take an equally devastating toll on mental and physical health.

Depression, anxiety, and chronic illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, and death are just some of the risks associated with isolation and loneliness in seniors.

Time with family, friends, and peers is important through all stages of life, but especially so in our later years. It improves our sense of wellbeing, contributes to our joy, and helps give life meaning.

As the pandemic continues, the ongoing isolation and loneliness, and the uncertainty of how long it will go on has many seniors in long-term care homes questioning their faith and whether or not their lives have any meaning. According to various reports, many lonely seniors are also experiencing increased suicidal thoughts.

How much longer will Lenora and others in long-term care homes have to go without an embrace from a loved one or a meal shared with another human being?

Are these things they will ever be able to do again in their lifetime?

How we’re helping seniors deal with Covid-19 isolation and how you can, too

Seniors living alone are also grappling with the strains of social isolation during the pandemic. For those who have in-home care, however, remaining at home to prevent contracting Covid-19 has been a lot easier.

Our care recipients have their caregivers there every day, even if just for a few hours. This goes a long way in combating loneliness.

In-home care isn’t just about help with the tasks of daily living and chores, but also companionship.

Care recipients are able to share conversation and a meal with another person – something Lenora and so many in her situation are longing for.

Having a caregiver has also allowed seniors, including those with physical challenges, to be able to connect with their loved ones from a distance.

We know firsthand how our caregivers have helped care recipients connect safely with their family members who visit them at a distance in their backyards or gardens.

Here are some things you can do to help your elderly loved one deal with social isolation:

  • Stay in regular contact through telephone calls, and if possible, video calls.
  • Consider hiring a caregiver for regular visits even if your loved one is healthy and self-sufficient to help combat loneliness.
  • Arrange to watch TV programs or a movie “together” over the phone so you can share the experience and laugh together.
  • If possible, visit your loved one from distance, even if just seeing each other through a window.
  • Provide them with some routine and predictability by arranging and sticking to scheduled distanced contact so they have something to look forward to.
  • Encourage your loved one to get some physical activity every day, a caregiver can help them do this safely.
  • Express your love and appreciation for them every day so they know they are valued.

Finally, if your parent or loved one is living in a long-term care facility or other retirement community and struggling with isolation, moving them into their own home, or your home, may be a viable option with the help of home care services.

Give us a call if you’d like to learn more about how our services can help you and your aging loved one transition from a facility to the comfort and safety of your home or theirs.

 

Article sources

  • Oi-Yee Li, H and Huynh, D. (2020). Long-term social distancing during COVID-19: A social isolation crisis among seniors? https://www.cmaj.ca/content/192/21/E588

Don’t parent your parents … We can help!

If you feel guilty even admitting to yourself that you feel “forced” to visit and stay with your aging parents, I assure you that you’re not alone.

It’s a natural part of the evolving shift that takes place as we get old and our parents get older. You’re in a place where you no longer depend on your parents and have your own life and responsibilities, and now the burden of their needs is starting to take a toll. Throw in some good ol’ fashioned parent guilt (we’ve all been there!), and these visits can really put a strain on your relationship.

Are you exhausted because their needs are becoming too much for you and your parents to manage? Are you resentful of the expectations they’re placing on you? Invite us to have “the talk” with your parents about home care.

We can provide the benefits of having a couple of wonderful caregivers supervised by a full-time Registered Nurse (RN) to look after them.

Home care services help them… and you

Our caregivers are available to provide non-medical assistance (for example, light housekeeping, shopping, meal prep, and transportation to appointments), or companionship (playing cards and games, sharing a meal, going to the movies), as well as more involved care, such as bathing and hygiene, wound care, and medication reminders.

Our services are a flexible, cost-effective solution that can help your parents live healthier and happier, while also providing social support to help combat loneliness. For your convenience we are open 24/7 every day of the year.

Knowing that your parents are being looked after by caring and qualified professionals provides peace of mind and a sense of relief for adult children and other family members who want the best for them.

Best of all, by taking some – or all – of the caregiving duties off your plate; your time with your parents is focused on enjoying each other’s company without the added tension, resentment, or guilt that often accompanies being a family caregiver.

If you’re ready for help, our RN can review and assess your parents’ health and caregiving needs at no cost to you.

Give us a call at 1.855.483.CARE (2273) or send us an email to info@LAServices.ca.

Five Stars to our frontline Caregivers

At Living Assistance Services, we understand and appreciate what our caregivers do to assist families during this pandemic. They have stepped up to take on every challenge that has come their way over the last 6 months.

Choose Your Caregiver

We provide families with an opportunity to choose a caregiver who best fits with their loved ones.

Our employees are selected based on the following criteria:

  • Punctuality
  • Flexibility
  • A good work ethic
  • Positive feedback from previous clients

These are valuable assets in an employee that are appreciated and expected by us and those who enlist our home care services. Monitoring performance throughout the year and encouraging open communication with our employees and clients help us ensure great service and happy long-term employees and clients alike.

Our caregivers are wonderful human beings with genuine hearts and deep understanding of the various needs of those they care for.  Professional caregivers such as the ones employed by an agency like Living Assistance Services are uniquely suited to care for those who are vulnerable and in need of assistance.

Physical and cognitive challenges do not ruffle the calm demeanour of our professionals.  In fact, just the opposite.  They remain calm under pressure and ensure their work and diligence results in the best outcomes for our clients.  To them this work is a labour of love.

We encourage families to look take a closer look at keeping their loved ones at home which is the safest place they want to be.  The decision to hire a home care agency which provides care in the comfort of their own homes is a win-win!