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What's a Quiet Room?

 

Are you hosting any holiday gatherings where you have invited elderly relatives who have health conditions? You have probably already thought about accessibility accommodations such as helping them into your home and ensuring they have access to a bathroom. Those elements are very important and should not be overlooked.

 

 

Another element that should not be overlooked is how to make the overall

environment more manageable for your elderly loved ones, especially when there are health conditions to consider.

 

  • If someone has a chronic illness such as CHF or COPD, they may fatigue very quickly and need an opportunity to rest. 
  • If someone has edema in their feet or legs (swelling) they may need a chance to sit with their legs elevated. 
  • A stroke survivor may find the environment overstimulating and may need relief.
  • Someone with dementia may need some peace and quiet and a break from the noisy environment. 
  • Hearing aids may blur the sounds into a din so that individual voices are difficult to discern, and someone with hearing loss may need an auditory break.

 

To help facilitate these needs and more, you can create a Quiet Zone for your holiday gathering.

 

Part of the beauty of a Quiet Zone is that it can meet the needs of so many different health conditions. It is one solution that actually meets numerous needs simultaneously. It may even be appealing to younger family members too!

 

A Quiet Zone is a space dedicated to quieter interaction and less stimulation.  Ideally, the Quiet Zone would be a separate room, but if that’s not possible, then a nook or area that can be allocated as the Quiet Zone.

 

The Quiet Zone should be less stimulating than the environment of the main event.  If there are Christmas carols blasting on repeat in the dining room, the Quiet Zone does not have any music. If the Christmas tree in the living room has blinking lights and a miniature train set zooming past, the Quiet Room has steady, ambient lighting that isn’t distracting.

 

While the main event likely includes loud chatter, many people speaking at once, laughing, and loud voices to be heard over the din, the Quiet Zone is where people can have one-on-one conversations that can be more easily heard and understood.  For relatives of any age, the chance to step away from the noise and engage in a more in-depth one-on-one conversation might be a welcome relief. 

 

 

Someone who tires easily in a crowded room of people might appreciate the relief of settling into the Quiet Room.  Other guests can then take turns, one at a time, visiting within the Quiet Room.  This way, everyone is supported to be part of the family gathering, but they can participate in a way that matches their individual needs.  Having a space to retreat may allow people to reserve their physical and mental energy to join the group for dinner. 

 

The Quiet Room makes it possible to have a quick cat-nap if needed.  Giving the brain an extra boost of sleep can make the difference between enjoying the rest of the event, and just feeling overwhelmed and overstimulated. Family members who are stroke survivors or who have dementia will particularly appreciate the opportunity to have a power nap. 

 

 

When the brain has been impacted by stroke or dementia, part of the brain may not be working the way it once did. The remaining parts of the brain are functioning on overdrive to compensate for the losses. Those over-active brain areas tire easily and benefit enormously from rest. A Quiet Room creates the space and permission to invite such guests to rest their brains when they need it most.

 

This holiday season, consider creating a Quiet Room for large family gatherings.  The Quiet Room will be a retreat space to ensure that all your guests find the event manageable and can enjoy it fully.
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"My father can no longer care for my elderly mom"

 

In a few months, your parents will be celebrating their 62nd wedding anniversary.  After more than six decades together, they’re practically inseparable.   Their staunch European background has rendered them rather emotionally reserved, but of course, they love each other in their own quiet way.

 

Your mother was the queen of the domestic domain, cooking and cleaning and raising children and managing the household. Your father worked hard to provide for the family and took care of the yard and cars and the handyman jobs. His way of demonstrating love to his family was to work hard and provide well. These roles worked well for your parents for decades of marriage and through countless life challenges.

 

But now your mother has Parkinson’s Disease. It has been progressing over the past few years and what started as a minor tremor in her left arm, has now become debilitating. She struggles with tasks that require dexterity because her tremor is so pronounced. Her walking gait is halting and unsteady and she has fallen numerous times.  She has trouble keeping track of the medications she is supposed to be taking every four hours to help manage her symptoms.  Basic daily tasks such as getting dressed are now proving to be a challenge.  More complex tasks such as cooking or baking are pretty much out of the question.

 

Your father dearly loves your mother, but he is entirely ill-equipped to provide the help that she needs.  He proudly declares that he can’t even boil water; he has never cooked a day in his life. He has been depending on ordering in takeout food, but your parents are already tired of fast food.  When it comes to helping your mother get dressed, he is flummoxed by her undergarments and embarrassed about helping her to dress.  His no-nonsense, high-efficiency mentality made him an excellent businessman, but those same traits are not helpful when trying to assist his wife to get dressed. It’s not a stellar start to their day when getting dressed becomes a major mission and sets the tone for the day.

 

 

Although your parents insist that they’ve gotten this far by weathering life’s storms together, it’s time for some expert assistance.  While your father has many great talents and skills, providing personal care and household assistance are not his specialties.  Your mother deserves the care and attention that a trained caregiver can provide.

 

Someone who can not only support her physical needs but someone who can also set her up for success each day.  Someone who can make the morning routine feel like daily pampering instead of a chore. Someone who can linger overdoing her hair and her makeup and helping her to select her outfit and jewelry for the day so she can maintain the poised appearance that she always prided herself in.

 

Your father wants this outcome for your mother—he wants her to feel well each day, to look her best and take pride in her appearance and start each day strong.  He may just need help in recognizing that he isn’t the best one to provide this support.  His heart is in the right place, but he has limited life experience in this department and for your mother’s sake, it is worth it to enlist a professional who can make an enormous difference.

 

It is okay to acknowledge that everyone has different skills and strengths and life experiences. Your father has many valuable skills that made him an excellent businessman. He continues to use those skills to manage household finances and continually monitor their stock portfolio.  But he is ill-equipped to manage the nuances that come with personal care and supporting his wife through her Parkinson’s journey. 

 

 

Enlisting additional support does not mean that he does not love his wife sufficiently to help her; it means he loves her enough to ensure that she has the professional and experienced care that she deserves.  

 

Let your father play to his strengths and let us demonstrate our caregiving strengths to support your mother in her journey.

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