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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Gift Ideas for Seniors

 

What do you get for the grandparent or senior who already has everything? The great-grandparents are even harder to shop for! What is the perfect gift for someone who is 80+? Different gifts are ideal depending upon where someone lives. Here are two gift list ideas to suit different living situations.

 

4 IDEAS FOR SENIORS LIVING AT HOME

If your 80+ relative is living independently at home (either a house, condo, or apartment), then the best gifts you can give them are practical items that will prolong their independence. Your loved one is likely very focused upon remaining at home for as long as possible; any gift you give that helps in achieving that goal is a good idea.

 

 

Here are some suggestions

 

1. Gift Certificates for property maintenance. The physically demanding activities of home maintenance are likely difficult, so provide your loved one with a gift certificate for regular home maintenance chores such as snow shoveling, grass cutting, garden upkeep, window washing, etc.

 

2. Homemaking and Household Assistance. Out-door house maintenance is not the only area of challenge for the elderly. Household chores can also become quite onerous. Your loved one will greatly appreciate a gift certificate for housekeeping. 

 

3. Assistive Devices. Assistive devices can include a whole range of products to help with any variety of needs. There are specially designed items for challenges such as hearing impairment, sight impairment, weakness following a stroke, dexterity, memory loss, etc. You might be surprised at some of the items available for purchase at your local assistive devices store. Your loved one will truly appreciate this gift if they have already acknowledged challenge in a particular area.

 

4. Transportation. Many elderly seniors no longer have a licence and no longer drive. No access to transportation can be isolating, especially in the winter months. Providing your loved one with pre-paid driving options ensures that they will not be home-bound when the winter weather hits. Warm Embrace caregivers are pleased to drive your loved ones wherever they need to go.

 

4 IDEAS FOR THOSE LIVING IN NURSING HOMES

If your loved one lives in a retirement home or long-term care centre, then different gifts might be more appropriate. Their personal quarters are much smaller, so they do not have space to keep many belongings. Here are some ideas that won’t take up too much space but will still bring a smile on Christmas day.

 

1. Window Ornaments. Glass window ornaments are pretty to look at, and cast a cheerful glow when the sun is shining. There may not be much shelf space available for knick-knacks, but adding a personal touch to the window doesn't take up any additional space.

 

2.Personal Items. Residents in long-term care use their own preferred personal care items such as hand soap, lotion, toothpaste, etc. A care package of your loved one’s favourite items is always appreciated! The scent is strongly linked with memory and emotion; selecting a favourite scent can induce positive memories.

 

3. Blanket or Lap Quilt. Having a cozy item such as a small blanket or lap quilt is always comforting. It can be left on the bed or on a chair in your loved one’s room. If recognition of new items is difficult for your loved one, a blanket on the bed implies its purpose in a way that new clothing items do not.

 

4. Companionship. Providing your loved one with on-going visits is probably the best gift you could offer. Warm Embrace provides Companion Aides to long-term care centers across the region. Companion Aides visit one-on-one with residents and can take them on personal outings into the community. They provide mental and social stimulation, as well as an opportunity for physical activity. This is a gift that keeps on giving long after the holiday season!

 

If you just have questions about the above list of gift ideas, please don’t hesitate to call. We love to know that the seniors in this area will have a meaningful holiday season!

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