Sam Bauman: There’s no shortage of activities for willing seniors
January 6, 2014
After all the frenetic activity of the holidays, seniors often slump into the same old routines, watching television or browsing the Internet. But there is lots of activity out there that you might not have considered.
Take a look at the daily activity board at the Carson Senior Center. There's an exercise class that puts students in chairs and goes through easy stuff that can help with aches and pains. There are a library of books and a collection of video tapes of all kinds.
Maybe it's time to enlarge your life. Skating at the rink at the Carson Nugget may be challenging, but remember when ice skating was childhood joy?
Caregiving has its own rewards
There are hidden benefits to caregiving that can reduce the stress of helping others. Here are some tips from Today's Caregiver magazine and the Family Caregiver Alliance:
• Learn to recognize warning signs of stress and frustration, whether it's losing patience more quickly or physical symptoms such as headaches or fatigue.
• Practice physical and mental relaxation techniques: exercising, meditating, listening to music or whatever works for you.
• Rethink a difficult situation objectively, so you can avoid unhelpful thought patterns that may be causing more frustration.
• Don't be afraid to ask for help. Family members and friends may be willing to assist with caregiving duties or household chores, or simply provide a sympathetic ear. Sharing your feelings with a counselor, spiritual advisor, or support group can also be extraordinarily valuable.
Caregiving isn't difficult; it can be as simple as sitting and letting the client take a nap.
OFFERING Another point of view
Sarah J. Stevenson is a writer living in Northern California. Here are some of her tips for traveling with seniors:
Consult with a doctor for travel approval
The all-important first step is making sure your loved one is cleared for travel by his or her primary care doctor, especially if you're accommodating a health condition such as Alzheimer's disease.
Arrange special services ahead of time.
If your loved one needs a wheelchair at the airport, advance boarding of the airplane or train, or special seating in a disabled row or near a restroom, get in touch with the airline personnel or travel company to make sure these are available upon arrival. Remember the TSA security checkpoints, too: be aware of any surgical implants that might set off metal detectors.
Research medical facilities at your destination.
Prepare all necessary documentation and identification.
Make sure your loved one always has a way to contact you.
Providing your loved one with a calling card or a prepaid cellphone, if they don't already have one, is an ideal way to make sure they can get in touch with you at all times. If your loved one has cognitive impairment, you may want to put your name and phone number on an ID bracelet.
Make sure you have essentials close at hand: necessary medication, important documents and phone numbers, favorite snacks or drinks, a deck of cards or other entertainment, a light sweater, a hat, sunscreen, a travel pillow.
Sam Bauman writes about senior issues for the Nevada Appeal.
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