The main reason we want to put chores, roles or tasks back into the world of those living with dementia is that each person needs to enjoy a life filled with meaning and purpose, regardless of physical and mental health. My favourite expression, which speaks to this, is "The purpose of life, is a life with purpose."
Soaking up some sun and fresh air can help us feel good, and is a relaxing way to cope with caregiver stress or treatment for serious illness. Just remember that heat and dehydration, especially for children and seniors, can be potentially dangerous. Here's what caregivers need to know to enjoy the sun safely this summer.
While the heat shouldn't prevent you from taking your loved one out for some exercise or fun, it is worth noting that many factors make seniors more prone to heat-related illnesses. Heat stroke can be deadly, and dehydration can worsen dementia symptoms such as confusion, irritability and dizziness.
Caring for seniors with diabetes comes with unique challenges. While many seniors may have been managing their diabetes on their own for quite some time, they often require more help as they age. And while managing diabetes can be tough, it's definitely not impossible. If you do your homework, take the time to understand the disease, and remain diligent, you can help your loved ones stay happy and healthy with or without diabetes. Here are some tips to get you started.
In my years of nursing and supporting caregivers, time and again I've seen the high expectations we have for ourselves. Caring for someone who has health challenges or is facing a tough diagnosis can cause so much pressure on a daily basis. Worries, decisions, coordinating care and conflicting responsibilities can make caregivers feel overwhelmed.
When Carol and Theresa's mom was diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer's and their dad's vision started failing, the news was met with some denial -- and their parents' groaning aversion to leaving their home of over forty years. The sisters, one of whom is my mother-in-law, came to realize that they are now parenting their own parents. In coming to terms with this they also realized that they each need support too. The result is an inspiring and positive arrangement. They've become "co-caregivers."
It is deeply hurtful to even remotely consider that someone from your most trusted group of allies could be intending to take advantage of you when you are most vulnerable, but avoiding this issue only leaves you more vulnerable. Your best line of defence is to increase your awareness on some of the more typical financial threats.
My 13-year-old son Jacob, who has a rare neurodegenerative disorder, was discharged last summer with 24-hour nursing care in our Toronto home. But aside from the fact that nurses can cancel at a moment's notice -- leaving parents like me to pull all-nighters so my son doesn't choke to death -- we're facing alarming incompetence when they do show up.
I hug an acquaintance, start catching up and then I start coughing. I take a sip of my wine but the mucus in my throat seems to get thicker. Cough. Cough. Wheeze. Cough. Some people are looking at me. Oh, how embarrassing. Deciding to catch my breath privately, I leave and head down the hall looking for a ladies' room while digging for my asthma puffer. Hmm, there's a distinct wheeze. It's OK. One good inhalation of this puffer is all I ever need. Uh oh. There's a problem. I can't inhale now.
The day has come, mom needs some assistance in order to stay in the comfort of her home. What do you do? Although many take on the responsibility of caring for aging loved ones, this simply isn't an option for everyone. With your own family, career, and financial responsibilities, it may not be practical.