Keeping Seniors Interested and Connected

Once the finances and medical issues have been addressed and are under control, a challenge families, friends, and trustees often face as caregivers is keeping seniors interested and involved with the world around them. Everyone is different so their interests vary, but we have developed 20 ideas which you may find useful. Many grew out of our work with Marge who has no family and suffers from memory loss.

For the Love of Animals
Marge suddenly came alive in her wheelchair when she saw a dog on the street. She leaned forward to chat with her new friend. Seeing the joy in her eyes, we encouraged her aide to take Marge to the dog run in the park regularly. When the weather gets cold, we have a friend with a dog visit Marge in her home.

The Golden Age of Movies
Marge's eyesight was getting worse and corrective lenses were not working, so we bought her a large flat screen TV and, knowing her love of animals, signed up for The Animal Channel on cable. One day, the aide turned to the classic movie channel and Marge got truly engaged. She knew all the actors and actresses and reminisced about seeing the movie with her mother. An occasional newscast mixed in with classic movies and shows about animals are now standard TV fare - no soap operas in her house!

College Days
In sorting through Marge's mail, we found news from Duke University, so we asked Marge about her college years and she became animated. We bought her a Duke cap which she wears whenever she goes out, and sometimes even at home.

Daily Living
Marge is included in as much decision-making as possible. The aide pushes Marge's wheelchair in the grocery store and asks Marge what  food items she wants. Marge carries them in the basket on her lap. Together the aide and Marge shop for clothes which will be tried on at home. When new fixtures were needed for the bathroom and kitchen, Marge helped select them even though she thought she was doing it for someone else.

There are weekly visits to accessible restaurants for lunch with her aide and visitors.

Art Therapy and Outings
The apartment is full of pastel drawings done by Marge, so we bought her some supplies and hired an art therapist to work with her. Marge did not like the therapist, but it was worth trying. When we find someone else, we will try it again.

We have taken Marge to the Botanical Garden, the Bronx Zoo, and the Museum of Modern Art - all with great success.

Physical Activity
Marge has a physical therapist and an occupational therapist come to her home, each once a week - all so important to her physical well-being, but also helpful in stimulating her mind.

Because Marge has no family and Rebecca Eddy is one of the two powers of Attorney, Eddy & Schein has been more involved in Marge's care than Daily Money Managers usually are.

A Free Tip Sheet - If you would like some more ideas, please click here for our complimentary tip sheet - 20 Great Things to Help Keep Seniors Connected.

March 2011 - FEATURE
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