Seniors and Independence Day
Comfort Keepers is all about elevating the human spirit. What better time to do this than during our wonderful Minnesota summertime and the 4th of July!
Often, major holidays are the hallmark of some of our best family traditions. Getting together for a big picnic, parade or fireworks are often on the docket every year for the Fourth of July festivities. Here’s some ideas on how we can continue to share these great moments in life with our Senior Loved Ones!
First, keep the day fun and the happy memories rolling in by taking an accurate mental inventory of how your loved one is doing. Are they moving well? Can they stand for long periods? Do they have any health issues like dementia, COPD or CHF that should be taken into account as you plan the day? To help ensure that everyone has the opportunity to fully enjoy the holiday, including yourself, take these things into account honestly and prepare for potential issues, so you can keep things on an even keel.
When Seniors are still active enough to go out into the community you should take these important steps to keep the day fun:
- Limit direct sun exposure by choosing seating in a cool and shady spot.
- Bring a light jacket or blanket to keep warm at night.
- Standing is tiring. Make sure they always have a comfortable seat that supports the back. Bring a preferred seating method along like a sturdy chair or wheelchair. This will increase how much time can be enjoyed at the events.
- Encourage drinking non alcoholic beverages that keep you hydrated.
- Know where the bathrooms are and offer a regular opportunity to use them.
- Seniors with emotional or dementia issues may not be able to withstand a long outing without getting emotional or upset. Keep this in mind when planning the day and keep an eye on how they are doing--it may be better to cut things short rather than have an emotional meltdown.
- Attend Fireworks--here’s a list of them in Minnesota this year.
What about the times when our senior loved ones can no longer go out into the community? There are a number of options!
- Have a backyard barbecue right at home. Make sure to give plenty of support ahead of time so they know the party is “coming to them” and not their “responsibility”. This will lower the amount of anxiety and make it a fun and memorable moment at home where they prefer to live.
- Some seniors have a hard time staying up late so having the night time activities during the day can keep everyone involved. For instance, organize the biggest daytime fireworks in the country! Listen to music or have a sing along.
- Watch a favorite movie that reminds them of the fourth of July like Independence Day, Gone with the Wind, or Grown Ups.
- There is always the old standbys: card games, Yahtzee or other board games.
Food and aroma play a huge part with humans and how we recall and think about the events in our lives. For instance, most of us can relate to an antiseptic smell and quickly think of a doctor or dentist office--now that’s no fun! For a holiday like the fourth, think about fun things you can introduce as foods that will help make the day special. It’s always a great idea to involve older adults to participate in the cooking as much as possible, to help them feel more of a part of the day. Doing things with people keeps them independent rather than just doing it for them.
Some of the food ideas that you may think about:
- Hot dogs, hamburgers, apple pie and potato salad always comes to mind for me. However, every family is different, perhaps it is lefse, peach cobbler or brussels sprouts. It doesn’t matter as long as it’s fun and helps set the atmosphere for a great time.
- Something red and patriotic would be fun. A jello mold shaped and colored like a cake. Red velvet cupcakes with blue and white frosting or colorful fruit skewers.
- Simply organize a family ice cream social with everyone bringing their favorite ice cream or topping.
Sometimes loved ones simply cannot attend the festivities. They also may not be completely versed in the use of social media or computers and tablets. grand Pad was created to provide a safe environment that is easier for seniors to navigate. Families create a social media stream from that can help seniors feel like they are part of the action without creating a computer support nightmare for the family.