The Holidays are upon us. Can you feel it? The stores are filled with shoppers making sure that everyone on their list is covered. There is music in the air and people are planning their travels and events that will take them straight through to the new year. There are Christmas parties joining people together in fun and good cheer.
Love is personified as we remember all the blessings that we have in our lives. We reach out to those in need and we give of ourselves personally and financially and hearts are touched in the process.
I remember when I was a caregiver for my Mom and Dad. Mom’s brother, Uncle Tommy was her only remaining sibling and he loved my Mom so very much! He expressed such appreciation to me for caring for his sister. But he didn’t stop there. He stepped right up to the plate and became a part of the caregiver team.
Uncle Tommy would call on the phone. He would come to our home and visit. He would also encourage me in everything I was doing to care for my Mom. He would even take Dad to the barbershop for a haircut every month.
And even when he was suffering with Mesothelioma (Asbestos Lung Disease) and had to use portable oxygen every day, his involvement in Mom and Dad’s care was a constant and for us, priceless!
Uncle Tommy loved music and as a little boy, Mom would see him pull the pots and pans out from under the sink as he sat on the kitchen floor beating those pots like a full set of drums.
She often spoke of buying Uncle Tommy a little Hummel Drummer Boy figurine as a reminder to him of those wonderful times when in his own way, he poured out his little heart into his gift as he played his very best for her.
The Drummer Boy! The young one who in honor of the King, played ‘his’ very best. How appropriate those words apply to my dear uncle and to all those who give their best to their families, friends and yes the caregivers, who are walking a road that at times can be very difficult.
This is something that Care4You recognizes in our clients’ family and friends who also become a part of the team in caregiving for their loved ones. We really appreciate, admire and respect those who work alongside us as caregivers, giving us all the support that they can while trying to manage their own lives on a day to day basis.
So in my appreciation to my Uncle Tommy for his faithfulness and devotion to my Mom and to all those who show their love and dedication in giving their best in honoring their loved ones…this is for you, for this very special Season and beyond!
Ahhhh…here it is again. The Holidays are upon us! The older I get the faster the days go by. Do you find that too? I have to tell you that I love this time of year! I am an Autumn girl and having grown up in Pennsylvania, I find myself really enjoying this time of year!
The colors of the trees, football games every week, the smell of wood burning in the fireplace, the crisp Fall air, homey meals cooking on the stove and in the oven. Oh my, I am closing my eyes as I take a deep breath and allow my mind to wander!
Speaking of all of those wonderful things about Autumn, I will tell you that Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. There is so much to be thankful for in my life. My faith, the blessings that I have found working for Donna and Bill Hoover at Care4You, good family and friends, a country that I love and being able to give to those in need. Those are just a few of the reasons that I have to be thankful for and I truly am!
I received an email one day that touched my heart with an understanding of what it means to give thanks. It read something like this;
Things to Be Thankful For:
Be thankful for the clothes that fit a little too snug, because it means you have enough to eat.
Be thankful for the taxes you pay, because it means you’re employed.
Be thankful that your lawn needs mowing and your windows need fixing, because it means you have a home.
Be thankful for your heating bill, because it means you are warm.
Be thankful for the laundry, because it means you have clothes to wear.
Be thankful for the space you find at the far end of the parking lot, because it means you can walk.
Be thankful for the lady who sings off-key behind you in church, because it means you can hear.
Yes, I can be thankful for all of these things and more. Yet I know that for many this time of year, it can be difficult to feel that thankfulness, that joy.
We at Care4You believe that this can be especially true for our seniors who because of loved ones gone on and memories that fill their hearts and minds, they can respond to the holidays with what is commonly called, the ‘Holiday Blues.’
So what do we do? How do we support our seniors when they may be feeling so sad? Feelings of depression can be something that may need the attention of the family doctor so I think we should be discerning and recommend that a visit to their primary doctor just may be necessary.
For us as caregivers, validating their feelings is up there at the top of the list. Would we want anyone telling us that something we’re feeling is not legitimate? Another thing I personally try to do is lead with short and simple questions that enable our clients to talk about their thoughts and their feelings, if they so choose.
They may show all kinds of emotion and it’s ok to cry and even be angry at the unfairness of loved ones gone on or the good old days not being there anymore. They may be upset at children, grandchildren and friends who don’t keep in touch anymore.
After validating and talking with those who are feeling the blues, I think the next thing is to find a way to help our seniors focus outward. Maybe inviting them to your celebration of the holidays as Care4You does each year or maybe spending part of your holiday with them should they be unable to leave their home.
How about including them in the ‘giving?’
I am a big fan of this because it can make our seniors feel like they are doing something good for someone else in need and making someone else’s holiday better, therefore they both can feel blessed by the ‘give.’
Like what, you may ask?
Well, we need to find out what they are capable of doing. Some of our seniors may not be able to contribute money or they may not be able to address envelopes for the cards because their handwriting is not as good as it used to be but they can put stamps and address labels on all those envelopes. Simple? Sure, but oh that wonderful feeling of being a team player! You just can’t beat it!
What else can our seniors do to feel good about being a part of this holiday season?
Helping to make a batch of cookies. Stuffing envelopes with the cards or newsletter updates. Taking them to the mall for Christmas shopping. Helping to decorate your tree. Helping them to decorate their tree and their home if they want to. Wrapping presents for special charities. Finding out the seniors favorite recipes and asking them to supervise or even help you make them and then at your dinner, acknowledge them in their contribution. With their permission, take them to the Senior Centers during the holidays where they may find some new friends.
What else can we do?
Please share with us your suggestions and let us all do what we can to care for our seniors, right through the holidays and beyond! Let’s ‘give’ the boot to the Holiday Blues!
What a beautiful combination! Can you imagine the joy that goes on between the young and the old when they connect? I remember clearly my relationship with my grandmother. All through my childhood she was there in one way or another in my little life.
She would send me cards for my birthdays and letters that always ended, “Love and Prayers!” During the summer months, my sisters and I would spend our whole vacation with her. She always made something special for us. She must have spent hours in the kitchen creating her famous Raisin-filled cookies where she would then fill an empty Charles Chips can all the way to the top with those wonderful delicasies!
Just one of many loving memories, for sure!
I think that children play a very important part in their grandparents lives, too. The excitement of youth, the joy of the ‘play!’ Together they bring a strong emotional bond that has the possibilities of lasting forever.
I believe that caring grandparents can provide their grandchildren with a sense of history, of culteral pride and also protection and safety. Today when the world can seem like a very scary place sometimes, grandparents can be a real comfort to their grandchildren!!
Don’t you think that children brought up in the company of our elderly where they are taught to respect, speak kindness, give compassion and understanding, makes a difference in their lives? I do. And these are the ones who one day may be a part of determining how our elderly are treated and cared for, from teaching their own children to voting on legislation in our government.
I recently heard of a story about a child who was left to run rampant around a food market while their parent shopped. This child ran into an elderly woman, knocked her to the floor where she broke her hip. As the story is told, the elderly woman saw a hand reach down to her or so she thought but as it turned out, it was the child’s mother who was reaching for the child to quickly get her out of the store, leaving the woman on the floor in pain.
I grieve at the thought of this as I have been told by seniors themselves how fearful they are of falling. I wonder what that little child took from that experience and what she felt as her mother pulled her away from the dear woman she knocked to the floor.
The foundation of disrespect can start in childhood. I am hoping beyond all hope that someone will come into this child’s life and show her the value of our wonderful elderly population and she will remember her behavior in the store and feel remorse.
Care4You is aware of the fears of falling among our seniors and we strive to walk beside them to protect them as we care for this beautiful generation. I believe that we all need to be aware of this concern among our elderly and do everything we can to protect them, in their home and when they are out and about.
As I sat there mesmerized not only with her gorgeous voice, the words, oh those words just filled my soul! When she was done, I turned towards my husband to remark how beautifully she sounded and there he was….my dear 6 foot 4 inch, football linebacker built man had major tears streaming down his cheeks and as I looked at him, I said, “What?” He pointed at me and exclaimed in a very strong voice through those tears, “That’s what I think about you…those words Deb, that’s what I feel about you!!!” Oh my…he took my breath away!! I never had anyone in my life declare a song for me and mean it with such love!! And then within a very short time from that joyful moment, my dear sweet husband’s own breath was suddenly taken away one evening when massive blood clots filled his lungs and as I held him in my arms trying my best to help him while waiting for rescue to arrive, my very best friend in this world was gone. Did we squabble through the years…oh yes! Did we have deep personal talks about everything from the meaning of life, the news in the world, our families, our faith, our caregiving? You betcha!! We were living ‘life!’ We had our ups and our downs, our laughter and our tears, we celebrated weddings of friends and family, we suffered in the losses of those we loved and all in all, even in the most difficult times….leaving each other was never on our minds. We had dreams going into our marriage and while sometimes that road we were on took a surprise turn and those dreams were not met, new ones took over and we forged ahead. And every time I hear Celine Dion sing that beautiful song, ‘Because You Loved Me,’ my heart just swells with the knowledge that we might not have made the golden 50 together…gee, we didn’t even make 30 years together but like so many of those before us and those after us, we were truly in love! What kind of love? The kind of love that we see in our clients at Care4You.The kind of love that makes us as caregivers smile in appreciation of the reality of two who are or have walked together through all kinds of circumstances. The kind of love that transcends even death… A ‘Forever Love.’