Is Your Elder Bored and Acting Out? 5 Tips to Spark Home Care

February 10, 2010 at 11:35 pm 1 comment

One of the challenges of caregiving is finding ways to add a little zest to life. Even if your loved one has Alzheimer’s, they need stimulation–to find life interesting. We all do. Caregivers can feel bored, too. Meals, meds, doctor visits become so monotonous we don’t realize it’s been weeks since we’ve had a great conversation or enjoyed something new–even a different ice cream flavor would be interesting!

In fact, care home studies have proved that bored elders act out–or worse–zone out. There’s nothing as sad as to see a once vibrant loved one completely pull in and not respond. Your mom or dad (or spouse) might be fussy and hard to get along with because they’re bored–not ornery. It takes a little work and creativity, but we can help our elders stay vibrant.

Keeping busy is important, but don’t think that’s the magic cure-all. Our elders don’t want or need as much stimulation as we do necessarily, but they do long to feel engaged. Do things together. Enjoy the connection and find things that give you–and your loved one–purpose.

5 tips to Spark Home Care:

  • Make sure that there’s something to look forward to every day: Tivo a favorite TV show you Tivo and  watch it together while sipping on hot cocoa. Consider getting Netflix so you get lots of good movies right in your mailbox. They have a decent selection of oldies as well.
  • Connections: keep ’em coming. Plan for an old friend to visit, or call your church, where your parent or spouse used to work, or civic organization and reconnect. Dial the number of a cousin and hand them the phone. They might not make the initiative, so you might have to.
  • Create a routine you look forward to: make a monthly trip to the library and another for a pedicure. It’s worth the money and trouble to get out and connect. It’s better to plan a pleasant outing than to spend all your time at yet another doctor’s visit. Lunch out is cheaper than dinner–so find a place your mom or dad likes to go–bundle them up and get out. Take a ride after you eat. There are parts of your own home town you haven’t explored.
  • Make something together–an indoor garden, a quilt (even if all they can do is pick out the colors), learn your favorite recipes from the master, or refinish a piece of their furniture. They may only be able to keep you company–or boss you around–but the more you invite them to participate, the more they realize you’re not going to let them curl in a ball and give up.
  • Enjoy nature right around you. No matter how much they balk, sunshine and fresh air is good for them–and you. Insist they go outside for at least 20 minutes a day in order to get the recommended dose of Vitamin D. Make a small barrel garden with a tomato plant and flowers (marigolds go well and bugs don’t like them). Do some bird watching or plant a butterfly bush or red flowers such as canna–hummingbirds love them.

Keeping our brains and bodies in good fitness takes a bit of a nudge as we age, but learning to enjoy life again–is worth the effort.

Entry filed under: brain fitness, caring for parents, elder care, family caregiving. Tags: , , , .

Can a Person With Alzheimer’s Live Alone? The Day I Faced That my Mom Had Alzheimer’s

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. The Day I Faced That my Mom Had Alzheimer’s «  |  February 16, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    […] February 16, 2010 I didn’t realize I had been avoiding. That’s why they call it avoiding. I was already caregiving my mom but I believed her excuses because I so wanted her life–and if we’re being honest–my life not to change. I had dealt with the fact that she had Parkinson’s and heart disease. I hadn’t faced the fact that my mom had Alzheimer’s. […]


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This Blog

Hi, I'm Carol O'Dell. This blog will include stories and lessons I've learned while caring for my mom, and now as I speak to caregivers around the country. I hope to offer suggestions, ideas and insights that will help others.

While this blog is supported by Dakim Brain Fitness, I’m not blogging to promote the Dakim company or products. Instead, I’m writing about how caring and being cared for affects your life and your family. My hope is that this blog gives you a place to learn, reflect, gain new perspective to make it another day.

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