Recently in our mission to offer senior living resources for clients and families, we published an article about summer fun and including everyone in the family in the festivities. We asked a few of our professional peers to chime in on this subject asking: “In what ways have you or your family included elder loved ones in summer family festivities, such as travel and holiday get-togethers, when physical and cognitive limitations made it difficult for them to participate?” We’d like to share their senior living ideas with you here:
Getting the family together:
We have rented vehicles that allowed us to travel together and help our loved ones with mobility challenges, while sharing in laughter of great memories we’ve shared as we travel to family reunions/get togethers.
Tony R. Derico, CEO/ Independent Broker, Diversified Benefits Administrators
When my parents reached their 70s, both had limited mobility and multiple medical issues. Would a family beach trip work for them? Turns out they loved the idea and wanted a space where we could all be together and an outside deck to see the ocean and people on the beach. We found the right place and everyone had a great time – because we found out what they wanted and needed in the planning stage.
Lee Laskody, Attorney, Sage Elder Law & Estate Planning
When the whole family cannot be there:
I recently had a client who hired a videographer for a family reunion so she could share the video with her mother who was in a nursing home due to significant physical impairments. Her mother was overjoyed to be able to see everyone on the video, and many of them had left messages of well-wishes to her on the video.
Jackie Bedard, Estate Planning & Elder Care Attorney, Carolina Family Estate Planning
When the family visits members who may have cognitive challenges:
Spending time with family and friends is important to people with Alzheimer’s disease. They may not always remember who people are, but they often enjoy the company. Here are some tips to share with people you plan to visit:
- Be calm and quiet. Don’t use a loud voice, or talk to the person with Alzheimer’s as if he or she were a child.
- Respect the person’s personal space, and don’t get too close.
- Make eye contact and call the person by name to get his or her attention.
- Remind the person who you are if he or she doesn’t seem to know you.
Have ready some kind of activity, such as a familiar book or photo album to look at. This can help if the person with Alzheimer’s may be confused and needs to redirection.
Andrew Olsen, Elder Law Attorney, Cranfill, Sumner & Hartzog
When families are traveling, prepare:
From a legal perspective, an important consideration as families plan holidays and outings for elderly family members is to make sure that the necessary legal documents are handy in case of emergency. On any trip, even a short one, make sure that whoever is responsible has the health care power of attorney, the general durable power of attorney, and/or the Letters of Guardianship. Proving your authority to act quickly and efficiently can be essential to access services and avoid delay.
Dee Wallis, Elder Law Attorney, Wallis Law Firm
I remember as a child going on vacation with my parents and bringing my Abuela (grandmother) along. If there was an activity like a hike where she couldn’t participate, we made sure to include other activities as well that day like going to the pool, playing cards and board games back at the cabin with her so that she felt this vacation was also about spending time with her and doing activities she likes as well. Now that I have children of my own, more recently we have gone on vacation with my parents, my children and still my grandmother who is much older and has more limitations. No matter the vacation we plan we look for ones such as a cruise which tends to offer different activities for each person no matter their age, then at one or two times a day we make sure to all do something together like a dinner, playing bingo or watching a show!
Crystal Carrerou Beard, Attorney, Arnette Law
When families move to be together:
My wife and I recently moved back to Raleigh, N.C., after being out of state for 13 years. We have three young kids and wanted to be closer to our parents who are in their 60s and 70s. Being close not only allows us to lean on them for an extra hand, but it allows our kids to grow up with their grandparents and cousins in their life. It is good for all involved.
As a financial planner who works primarily with baby boomers, I see many of my clients involved in their parents’ care as their health declines. It is good to see this coming over time, and spending time together is the best way to be there when a family member needs help.
Justin Struble, CFP®, Financial Planner, Wealth CAPS
Return to simpler times, together:
My family includes our older loved ones in our summer fun by traveling to visit them since their physical limitations pose challenges for their travel. We ensure that our older family members set the pace for our activities. Often, simple summer joys like ice cream cones or catching fireflies at twilight bring our older family members far more delight than any fast paced summer activities. It’s a reminder to all of us to enjoy the slower pace and simpler pleasures of summer.
Kara Gansmann, Elder Law Attorney, Cranfill, Sumner & Hartzog
As I absorb their sage advice for senior living, a theme that emerges is that a little forethought, talking (did we say HAVE THE CONVERSATION?) and some planning enables families to enjoy being together. Indeed, everyone can be included.
The memories created will be different to each person but it takes the “all persons” to make that memory. And that is what shall remain, after all.
It is our hope at NAVIGATE NC that folks with HAVE THE CONVERSATION –about care, planning, change, preparation, and more. If we may be of assistance in senior living planning for you and your loved ones the first conversation is complementary. Simply CONNECT WITH US or call us to schedule a time to talk at 919.628.4428.