It’s the start of a new year, and with that goals and plans come to mind. Having caregiving goals and plans for a loved one you are caring for is a good idea because caregiving can sometimes feel disorganized. You can sometimes feel like the days fly by and nothing gets done. Having a plan in mind can set tracks that lead to happier days and better quality of life.
While there are many aspects to caregiving, this blog is dedicated to leisure, recreation, socialization, and other life fulfillment possibilities and opportunities for an elder family member or friend.
The following is a list of activities and plans to start this year with an elder that is in your life.
Add your own things to start when you think of them.
- Starting a lunch club with your loved one and one or more family members or friends will help keep him or her in touch with others. Schedule a lunch once a month, or more if you like, and invite family or friends to meet you. If your loved one can’t leave the house, invite others over for a simple lunch. This increases socialization which becomes increasingly important for elders. Invite the same people or invite different folks each time. If lunch is too much activity for your loved one, how about a coffee club?
- Start a home library. It can be as small or large as you wish. It can be a basket of books and magazines, or a whole bookshelf full. It can be a bible sitting on the coffee table, or the daily newspaper. You can have a stack of children’s books to read with the grandkids when they visit in a very special place as well. You may also have a kindle or a nook where a loved one keeps their books. (My mom just got a kindle for Christmas and at 84, she loves it!) For someone who is visually impaired, audio books may be the answer. For those elders who love to read, a home library offers something they can pick up whenever they wish.
- Get together to make meals once a month. Getting together with a loved one or other family members to make meals for the month can be two-fold. Making the meals together can be great fun for those involved, plus meals in appropriate portions will feed your loved one and lessen the worry of their nutritional health. Come up with a meal plan, look for recipes, go shopping, then plan a time when you will cook. Lastly store it for future meals.
- Start a walking club in your elder family members neighborhood. If your loved one enjoys walking and you know of others that enjoy walking, why not invite them along. Plan the same time each day or week and plan a walk. Folks who use wheelchairs can also participate with someone wheeling them (if they need assistance).
- For those elders who love to send cards, visit the Dollar Store once a month to purchase greeting cards for various occasions. First have a list of all the birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions taking place during the month, then visit the dollar store to purchase all the cards. Take the cards home and fill them out for the entire month, then they will be ready to send. This is a cost-effective way to purchase cards.
- Start a book club or a book reading with an elder. Invite a few family members or your loved ones friends to read a book each month. Then meet to discuss what everyone thought of the book. If a book club doesn’t sound interesting, pick a book to read together. Read out loud to each other or listen to an audio book.
- Start researching your family’s genealogy. Start with scrapbooks, pictures, family bibles (many older bibles have family members and birth/death dates written in them.), and any other information you have available. Graduate to an online genealogy website, like Ancestry.com that will take your family search even further.
- Take a class at a community center, senior center, recreation center, painting studio, ceramic studio, etc… Many of these have classes your elder can commit to, but there are also “drop in” programs that allow you to go whenever you want. This might be more appealing to some people. Go online or look at a program from one of these places.
- Plan a trip once a month to somewhere interesting. How about a museum, an antique store, a drive in the country, or a drive through a state or national park? Where would he or she enjoy visiting?
- Start an activity plan. A daily, weekly, or even monthly activity plan first starts with your older family members interests. What are his past and current interests? What might he be interested in that is new? What can you both do together? Write down all interests, then make a plan to do them. Remember, often times adaptations can be made for many activities and hobbies.