All posts tagged: Siddiqa Khalifa

How to Plan a Successful Outing for Adults with Alzheimer’s

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Time outdoors with seniors with Alzheimer's.

Adults with Alzheimer’s and Caregivers Deserve Time Out and About

Many of us enjoy the luxury of traveling wherever and whenever we can. We can up and leave the house whenever we want to; if we have an errand to run, we can spontaneously do it. When the sun is shining outside, we can get up and go outside for some Vitamin D. We go for walks, visit the store, travel, and go wherever our adventurous hearts take us. Even with technology accessible everywhere these days, it feels good to get up and go outside. When we’re stuck indoors, we long for a breath of fresh air. We really take advantage of the fact we can up and leave the home whenever we want. Unfortunately, it can be difficult for elderly people, and especially senior citizens with Alzheimer’s, to get up and experience the great outdoors.

There are many benefits of being outdoors, whether it’s in the sunshine or rain. Vitamin D, regular exercise, and daylight are only a few of the benefits of leaving the home, but it can make you feel great. Just by going outside you feel fresh, energetic, and healthy.  For senior citizens with health conditions like Alzheimer’s, a few minutes of daylight and sunshine can help stimulate the brain. A breath of fresh air can help reduce stress levels. Everyone can benefit from this especially those who are cooped up  and have very little social life outside the four walls of their home. Not only can it make patients feel productive, but it encourages socialization and communication.

A 10-15 minute walk or sitting in the front yard from the comfort of their own home can make them feel useful. It stimulates their brain, body, and all of their senses. They will notice people passing by, nature, and all sorts of different stimuli of the city or country. They will also observe other people, especially if you as a caregiver can initiate conversation.

Communication and socialization are some of the skills many people lose as they grow older. This can severely affect people with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other mental health conditions. Once they become reliant on others, it’s hard to maintain their care, as well as helping them socialize, especially if you’re a full-time carer and have responsibilities of your own.

From my personal experience caring for my mom, taking her outdoors usually gets crossed off the top of my list and scribbled down at the bottom. But in this sunny fall, I ensure she takes advantage of the beautiful fresh air. Here are a few tips to consider when visiting outdoors with a senior citizen with Alzheimer’s disease.

Planning the big day out

  • Planning ahead will prove to be the most successful tool here. It’s important you check the weather when taking a senior citizen outside. When planning their day out, be sure to consider where you want to take them (park, library, store, a short walk), what time (plan it around their bathroom breaks and eating schedules) and when (what day of the week is most comfortable for them).
  • Be prepared for things the person with Alzheimer’s will require when being outside. It’s likely they may not have visited outdoors in a while, so the daylight, noise, and people may be too much for them to bear. Wherever you visit, make sure there are bathroom facilities and a place close by to eat, or pack a small snack just in case. Most importantly, if you need to make a quick escape to home, ensure the destination is not so far away from their place of comfort.
  • Is the location accessible for them? My first mistake I made when taking my mom to the local park was forgetting to consider about wheelchair accessibility. When I finally got there, I observed how narrow the park’s gates were. Fortunately, I was able to wheel her into the entrance/exit with only a slight struggle, but I would strongly recommend to all caregivers to check if the location is accessible for your client.
  • Have fun! This is something I often forget. It’s something you can’t plan, but hope for. Whether it’s 15 minutes or a couple of hours, don’t forget to take advantage of the beautiful moment you’re sharing with them. As much as this experience is for them, it’s a great memory for you too.

There are no correct or incorrect ways of encouraging a senior citizen to be outdoors. Everyone is different, and it’s important you meet their needs first. Whether it’s taking them in the front yard for 15 minutes of fresh air or taking them to a coffee shop, they will feel energized. For senior citizens with Alzheimer’s, like my mom, who are unable to be as active as the rest of us, ensure wherever you take them, they have something to observe to keep their brain stimulated.

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careacademyHow to Plan a Successful Outing for Adults with Alzheimer’s
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Caregiver Tips: Help Yourself to Help Others

You’re away at sea. The deep blue ocean is all you know, and it’s all you can see. Suddenly, you notice a hole at the bottom of your boat. You’re afraid the boat may sink. What do you do? Panic, of course. But what do your survival instincts tell you? Put your own life jacket on and then, assist others. The best caregiver tips make sure you’re better prepared to care for others. Helping yourself first must come first. Only then are you physically and emotionally able to look after others as a caregiver, but it’s something we often forget to do. When you’re looking after others, you forget to look after yourself. You forget to take care of yourself because you’re putting their needs before your own. It’s normal to do this, but it’s also important to look after yourself; this is what makes you look after others more effectively. Ever found yourself nibbling on crumbs of leftover food or struggling to find time to make a well-cooked meal? If you’re running late for work, struggling to wake up on time every morning, constantly forgetting to do other things because you’re so busy trying to rush through the day, it’s time to stop and take care of yourself. Balancing your work life and personal life is tricky when being a caregiver around the clock. When do you get the time to look after yourself when all of your time consists of looking after others? When do you put your own needs before others? You may even feel selfish doing this when you have so many other tasks to complete but it’s important to do so! Self-care can range from napping, meditating, healthy eating to pedicures/manicures, socializing, reading, traveling, and other forms of relaxation. But is this going to relieve any stress or headaches you have? And most importantly, do you even have time for these self-care methods? Truth is, you may not. But I’ve managed to find a few easy tricks to look after myself while caring for my mother.

Self-Care Caregiver Tips

Facial masks, manicures, pedicures and resting your eyes all sound like the perfect “me” time. But there’s no time to get these things done and when we plan for these occasions, it feels like a chore. Instead, here’s what I would advise:
  • Multi-task: When I’m cleansing my mother’s face, I wash mine at the same time. I’ll put on facial masks and nose strips for the both of us so we can enjoy it together. I always anticipate her chuckle when she sees me covered up in a mango scented face mask with a big white strip plastered across my nose.
  • Take things slow. My biggest mistake is planning to complete all my tasks and chores in one single day. At first it seems manageable, but once 5 o’clock hits, and I haven’t finished folding the laundry or started cooking dinner, my stress levels hit the ceiling! Be more organized and plan your week ahead so you have plenty of time to complete chores and have some time to spare for yourself.
  • Help yourself first. They say you have two hands: one for helping yourself, the other one for helping others. Looking after yourself comes first, everything else can come second. When looking after a patient, all you can think about is their health and their needs. As a caregiver, we don’t have time to asses our own needs or we make up excuses. Do all the little things for yourself that help you throughout the day. Schedule in a haircut appointment or a social night during the week.
  • Ask for help. Caring for someone everyday is difficult, not everyone can do it. Most of us can’t even look after ourselves! It’s fine to say “I can’t do this” or “it’s too much”. But never give up, never let that terrible feeling inside you get to your mind and make you think that you can’t do this anymore. Ask other caregivers for help, advice, and their best caregiver tips.
  • Think positive. Set yourself some goals for the week that motivate you throughout the day. This way, you’re looking forward to something that’ll keep you going and help you stay positive. I love eating out, and I always plan to go out to eat on Friday nights. So I’ll be sure to plan my week ahead and ensure all my responsibilities are completed by Friday night at 7pm!
These are just a few ways to look after yourself. Self-care isn’t just for caregivers; it’s for every single one of us, regardless of career choice. You must take care of your emotional needs as well as your physicality. Self-care isn’t easy, but it is healthy.  

Learn more of the best caregiver tips with CareAcademy’s online classes for family and professional caregivers. 

Siddiqa KhalifaCaregiver Tips: Help Yourself to Help Others
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