grandparents and grandkids

Aging at home during the Christmas holidays can require some extra steps.jpgIt's the holiday season. A time of merry hearts and family get-togethers. But for elderly seniors, aging in place in their homes, it might be a quieter time spent primarily at home. Thus it's also a good time for some tips to help all of us caring for our elderly parents – either in their own homes or in ours.

  1. Keep a close eye on the ornaments and other Christmas decorations to ensure they are in safe spots and not blocking walkways or on the ground – just waiting for a wobbly foot or cane to set down and cause a slip and fall.
  2. If young grandkids or great-grandkids will be coming to visit, be sure to have some games, puzzles, and/or easy crafts available. Busy hands usually lead to quieter calmer visits that elderly seniors can more easily enjoy.
  3. Skype, Facetime, and phones make for pleasant conversations with loved ones who don't live near your elderly parents' home. Be aware, though, that they might not do well with a long conversation – especially with younger children. A child's higher pitched voice can sometimes be a bit high-pitched, young kids often talk faster than their great-grandparents can keep up with, and they often wear out easily. So stay close by to monitor how the conversation is going and be able to help them by taking the phone and continuing the conversation while they rest and re-relish what they just enjoyed.
  4. Include them in various get-togethers and outings – when they want. But also give them the freedom and flexibility to stay home if they are too tired or not feeling up to it. If they can't be left at home alone, see if a friend or neighbor could stay with them for a couple of hours while you go out. The break will do you good and if your parents are like mine, they'll be thrilled to see you have a nice time and they will also be glad to NOT feel guilty at keeping you at home. 🙂
  5. If one of your sweet seniors is having extreme health issues, you might consider setting up a visiting area in their bedroom where guests can visit, one at a time, for a few minutes. We did this when my senior dad was on hospice. We had several family members stop by and we all enjoyed a visit in the living room, while escorting them – one at a time – back to visit dad and mom for short times, interspersed with rest breaks. My dad really enjoyed that day, and they were thrilled for one last special time with him before he went to be with the Lord. 
  6. If they aren't able to get to church during the holiday season (or through the year), play a church service for them on the computer or iPad – their own church or one of many excellent ones that offer online videos. 
  7. YouTube is grand for finding lovely Christmas music – new and old – for them to enjoy – right in their own bedroom.

The holiday may not be the same for your senior parents, but they can still be quite enjoyable in their very own home. How about you? Do you have more suggestions? We'd love to hear them.

Bath mats are important safety tools for the Sandwich GenerationBig changes are coming! The seasons are ready to switch from summer to fall, the sports games are switching to football, and our Sandwich Generation family is switching sides of the U.S. As a result, I've already got some new tips to help all of us involved in moving with elderly parents and/or young kids or grandkids.

Moves often involve staying at hotels and this was no exception. I was reminded of two concerns to share:

1. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS check the windows and door locks of your hotel room – and that of your elderly parents – as soon as you check in. I usually do but on this particular occasion I was on the run with several interruptions and just plain forgot. Later that night as I prepped for bed, I noticed the hotel's safetly checklist, scanned it, and was reminded to check the windows. I immediately headed for the curtains, pulled them back and – would you believe it! – the lock had been totally broken off! 

I called the front desk and they came up quickly to check. Apologizing profusely, they moved me to a new room which I certainly appreciated. But, as tired as I was, I sure wish I'd checked sooner!

2. Don't forget to check the bathrooms as well. This is especially vital for unsteady seniors (not to mention young kids or grandkids). The hotel I stayed at was new and lovely and part of a chain I often use. I really like it BUT I was not happy when I almost slipped on their marble (?) bathroom floor when I stepped off the towel I had used as a bathmat.  I then noticed the bathtub did NOT have a a no-slip surface OR a tub mat. I was OK but I am definitely going to be asking for disability rooms for my senior mom AND packing a bath mat on future trips. Falls can be especially traumatic for aging seniors and carrying a small mat in a plastic bag is an easy solution to a possible problem. For that matter, it can be a good safety precaution for our young kids and grandkids as well.

How about you? Any hotel tips for yong or old to share? We'd love to hear. 

P.S. Keep checking back as I'll have plenty more tips and resources to help multigenerational caregivers who are in moving with OR in with senior parents! 🙂 


Say it Saturday is a fun linkup for all of us boomers and seniors including grandparents writing about their grandkids

Fun for grandparents - in AND out of the Sandwich Generation - at Grand Social