July is Social Wellness Month, a month where everyone is encouraged to nurture their relationships with friends and focus on taking care of themselves.
So what does this mean for busy caregivers, who can barely find time as it is? Here are some tips for sneaking in some time for yourself and time to spend with friends, among all the demands on your time:
Buy some plants and water them while doing other things
Plants can bring new life into a house and make things a little more vibrant. But watering them can be a pain to remember. Try combining two activities, like watering in the morning while brushing your teeth. This way you can watch the plants grow during the couple minutes of brushing time.
Chat during dinner The speaker mode on your phone can be a life-changer. Assuming you’re not eating anything too crunchy or slurpy, a very good friend likely won’t mind if you chat with them over a meal. Hopefully they’ll just be thankful that you found a few minutes to catch up with them.
Include your friends in your caregiving duties Do you take a stroll everyday with your caree, either walking or with them in a wheelchair? If not, you may want to try to add that to your routine – it can do wonders for both of you. And if you do, could you invite one of your friends to join you on that walk? And maybe stick around for an afternoon cup of coffee? Even if you only have time for a half-hour visit, don’t be afraid to ask a friend to drop by. They probably have been hoping they could, but don’t want to impose.
Even if you’re not able to fit these ideas into your busy schedule, try and focus on the fact that you need time for yourself and you are worth it. Even entertaining fantasies of doing things alone or with friends is better than getting stuck in the idea that everyday is crazy.
One of the more amazing things about aging is that sometimes the things a person didn’t like as a younger adult are the exact things they love as an elder. So be sure to offer new activities to an elderly person every so often, just to see they’ll take you up on it this time. Here are a few suggestions.
In their youth, many people are intimidated by the talents of others. Sometimes this leads to a feeling that they themselves are not creative. But as time goes by, shyness begins to disappear and, occasionally, whatever was holding someone back years ago disappears. There are stories of the elderly that have never painted before but started painting late in life, all because someone introduced them to the materials and they no longer have that that little voice that says “I can’t.”
Televisions are a ubiquitous part of everyday life, and you’d be hard pressed to find a retirement home without one parked in the main gathering area. But sometimes television can be too hard to concentrate on: too many images, too many options, too much violence. Don’t underestimate the power of simply turning on a baseball game and sitting quietly with your senior while the runs are scored.
Tai Chi is that activity that you see people doing in the park, often in large groups, that looks like very slow karate mixed with yoga. It’s a meditative form of exercise that can be both relaxing and practical. Check out this list from Inside Elder Care that names twelve benefits of Tai Chi, including improving balance, something very helpful for those seniors who are a fall risk.
What are your favorite hobbies? We here at TotalHomeCareSupplies.com would love to hear about them and how they’ve changed over the years.