Do Mom and Dad need help?

These four short videos contain important information for adult children of aging parents!  Tools and tips to helping your loved one to age in place.

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Christmas Traditions

good memory

When I saw this meme I was taken back to my childhood and my memories of Christmas.  We had wonderful traditions that centered around time spent with family.   Sure, as kids we got presents from grandparents, aunts, uncles, our parents and Santa, but if you ask me about the presents I couldn’t really give you specifics.  I can tell you about the time spent making memories with my whole extended family.

Our Christmas would start by going to a midnight church service on Christmas Eve.  After church we would migrate to our dad’s parent’s house for a potato pancake breakfast.  There we would play with our cousins, rough house with Grandpa and perhaps watch Christmas specials on VHS.  There would be lots of laughter and fun.

Around 3 AM we would stagger home with our parents telling us that we were not allowed to get them up before 7 AM.  (They, of course, still had to play Santa.)

Seven AM on the dot would have us sending the youngest in to wake Mom and Dad.  We would have our own Christmas at home with us four kids and Mom and Dad.  Eventually Mom and Dad would go to have a nap and we would spend a blissful morning and early afternoon playing together.

About mid afternoon we would head over to Mom’s parent’s house for an early dinner.  Once again there was lots of laughter and fun.  We would play with our cousins.  Aunts and uncles would often join in with the insanity.  There were presents, but mostly I remember the boisterous antics of the time spent together as a family.

I used to look forward to Christmas for those times.  I still look forward to it because it offers a chance for me to make this time special for the next generation the way it was for me.

I have since lost all of my grandparents, sometimes I wish we could have just one more Christmas together.  Since we cannot, I take solace in the good memories they left and work to follow in their example.

Dementia friendly activity … plus something yummy to eat!

Looking for a healthy but yummy snack?  Want something easy that you can involve your loved one in preparing?  Need a dementia friendly activity?  Need a way to encourage an appetite? Have fun making these delicious

Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal

No-Bake Cookies

pnut butter choc cookies

Sugar-Free Chocolate Oat Cookies

Yield: 3 dozen

Ingredients

  • 3 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 2/3 cup natural peanut butter, optional
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine honey, peanut butter and coconut oil, stirring until everything blends together smoothly.
  3. Stir in oats, cocoa powder, vanilla and salt and mix until everything is fully incorporated and coated.
  4. Use a spoon or small ice cream scoop to drop cookies down onto parchment-lined baking sheets, then place in freezer for at least 15 minutes to set.
  5. Store in an airtight container either in the fridge or freezer (depending on how you like them) and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from 12 Tomatoes http://12tomatoes.com/2015/04/healthy-sugarfree-cookies-nobake-chocolate-oat-cookies.html

90 going on 3 …

90 going on 3 … what does that mean?

There is a fine line for caregivers to take as their loved one’s dementia progresses.  To honor and respect the person  you want to treat them as an adult, capable of making decisions for themselves.  Reality often comes to bite you when you realize their choices aren’t best decisions for their safety and welfare.  You honestly can’t allow them to go out in a snowstorm in shorts and a t-shirt, nor is eating candy for every meal a good option.

So, in reality what 90 going on 3 means is you have an adult (parent, grandparent, spouse …) who because of their disease now has the reasoning capacity of a 3 year old.

How do you continue to honor and respect your loved one, keep them safe, and allow them to have a say in their daily life?

The first thing is to give them simple choices and keep it to a minimum of 2 (maybe 3) options to choose from.  By giving them completely open options you will overwhelm them and will not get a positive outcome.

Pick out clothes that are weather appropriate – grab two tops of different colors and ask which they’d prefer.

Ask them if they’d prefer ham or turkey on their sandwich.  Or if they’d prefer green beans or peas with the meatloaf.

Would they prefer milk or tea?

Would they like to visit a park or a go listen to a concert?

Sometimes when trying to give my grandpa a choice of restaurant I would tell him “We can go to X – they have (a dish he liked at X) or we can go to Y – they have (a dish he liked at Y)”.

If we were going to a restaurant he’d never eaten at (or hadn’t been to in a long time), he would look at the huge menus and couldn’t make heads or tails of it. He would get so overwhelmed that he’d simply order whatever I ordered – even if it wasn’t something he liked.  I would usually take the menu and start by finding the drinks and ask him if he wanted something hot or cold to drink.  We would start there.  Then I would ask him if he was in the mood for fish, poultry or beef.  Then I would help him narrow down the menu to a couple of selections.  Once we got to that point he would be able to make his decision about what he wanted to eat.

Keep these to things that are immediately relevant, they won’t necessarily remember their choices hours later.  (E.g.: They won’t remember in the morning that the night before they wanted to wear a blue shirt.)

Now you are allowing your loved one some control over their daily life AND keeping them safe.  By following this technique you will usually find that there are fewer conflicts.

Take a deep breath …

If you’ve spent any time caring for someone with dementia you’ve had that time where you have the same conversation over and over and over again.  You’ve listened to the same story, or answered the same question 500 times in the last hour.

There are ways to keep from feeling like you’d prefer to run head first into a brick wall.

Distract/Redirect:

  • Play some favorite music or a TV show
  • Ask them a question about something completely unrelated
  • Ask for their help with a task
  • Excuse yourself to take care of a task (or go to the bathroom)

Offer reminder assistance:

If your loved one constantly asks you what is going to happen today, or when a particular event will take place, or when was the last time they … (fill in the blank), here are some suggestions that may help.

  • A basic month-at-a-glance calendar with all appointments and events written down.
  • A white board hung in a prominent place (like the fridge) with either a day’s or full week’s worth of activities.
  • A printed week’s calendar to keep near a favorite chair or posted in their room.

All in all it is important to remember that your loved one isn’t trying to drive you bonkers and take a deep breath.

Fall is here …

I’ve often made large pots of soup and frozen single portions.  (I found one cup glad-ware storage containers make perfect portions for soup with a sandwich.)

Give it a try … yum!  As they say, change things up to what you prefer!  This is also a great way to get your loved one involved in an activity!