Back to School!

September is synonymous with back-to-school time. Long after you’ve graduated, it’s hard not to feel the appeal of the fresh new school year that starts each September. The back-to-school advertisements start (far too early!) in the summer and remind everyone—even those who are not students—that the new school year is fast approaching.


With all the anticipation over new school supplies, different classes, reconnecting with old friends, and meeting new teachers, September is tinged with excitement.


the back of a yellow school bus


For some people though, September comes with a whole new set of challenges.  Those who are squeezed into the sandwich generation can feel the extra pressure that the school year brings.


The sandwich generation includes those who are caught between caring for their children, while simultaneously providing care to their ageing parents.  Those feeling the crunch in September are likely even members of the club-sandwich generation: mothers who have young children at home who are providing help to their parents and their grandparents at the same time.


Club sandwich members are lucky enough to be in families who have four living generations at the same time.  Their young children are the youngest generation, the hectic mother is the second youngest.  The grandmother may be in her 60’s or 70’s and the great-grandmother in her 80’s or 90’s.


The young mother is caught between raising her young children, getting them out the door on the first day of school and being there for them when they step off the bus at the end of the day and also helping her mother to care for the elderly great-grandmother whose needs have suddenly increased.


September may represent a time of excitement and fresh beginnings for many people, but for this sandwich generation young mother, it may mean increased stress and an even more hectic schedule as she’s attempting to ferry children to after school activities, help with homework, and also deliver meals to her nanna across town.


Those in the throes of the club sandwich generation need support to manage the needs of so many generations at once.  The help can take many different forms—extended family and friends, a nanny for childcare, a driver to chauffer children to all their activities, or a caregiver to support great-grandmother Nanna.


A professional caregiver can provide the support that Nanna needs, while also alleviating pressure off the young mother who is hoping to get her children’s school year off to a good start. September can be a time of exciting new beginnings for Nanna too!  She can look forward to meeting friendly caregivers who will become new friends. 


Who in your family or circle of friends might benefit from the back-to-school excitement of September by engaging the support of a professional caregiver?

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As summer casts its warmth and vibrancy, it presents a perfect opportunity for seniors with dementia to delight in the wonders of the season through sensory experiences. Sensory activities can evoke cherished memories, spark joy, and foster a deeper connection to the world around us.


Sensory engagement is the art of utilizing the five senses - touch, sound, sight, taste, and smell - to create meaningful interactions for seniors with dementia. As the cognitive abilities decline, sensory experiences offer a pathway to emotional expression and connection, making it an integral part of their care.



The Power of Touch

Touch is a profound way to communicate and provide comfort to seniors with dementia. Incorporate soft and textured objects like plush toys, sensory blankets, or tactile boards that invite exploration. Hand massages with scented lotions can also be deeply relaxing and soothing.


Engaging Through Sound

Sound can evoke powerful emotions and memories. Create personalized playlists with their favorite songs from different periods of their life. Nature sounds or soothing music can also create a calming atmosphere, reducing agitation and anxiety.


Visual Stimulations

Bright colors, familiar images, and nature scenes can be visually stimulating for seniors with dementia. Display family photos, art prints, or scenic posters to spark conversations and evoke positive memories.


Tasty Treats and Aromas

The sense of taste and smell can evoke strong emotions and memories. Organize baking sessions to fill the house with enticing aromas, and engage in a variety of taste experiences, like sampling fruits, trying different teas, or enjoying homemade treats.


Sensory activities to try with your loved one

  • Be out in nature: Spending time outdoors can have a therapeutic effect on seniors with dementia. Take leisurely strolls in the park, enjoy a picnic, or simply sit in a garden surrounded by nature's beauty. The sights, sounds, and fresh air can uplift their spirits and improve overall well-being.
  • Sensory Arts and Crafts: Art and craft activities can be both expressive and therapeutic for seniors with dementia. Engage them in simple projects like finger painting, clay molding, or creating collages. The process of creating art can bring joy and a sense of accomplishment.
  • Enjoying summer treats: Cool down during warm summer days with a delightful ice cream social. Set up a colorful ice cream station with a variety of flavors and toppings. The vibrant colors, creamy textures, and sweet flavors of ice cream can evoke positive emotions and create a festive atmosphere for all to enjoy.


Remember that each individual with dementia is unique, and it's essential to observe their responses and preferences to tailor the activities to their specific needs. As caregivers, family members, and friends, we can nurture these connections and create enriching experiences through touch, sound, sight, taste, and smell.

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Chloe Hamilton
September 13, 2023
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