Mother’s Day is one of those holidays that stirs emotions. I think of my friend who recently lost his Mom. I think of the women that would give anything for someone to call them Mom. I think of how far away my Mom is and that I will spend this holiday away from her. I think of how blessed I am that God chose me to be the Mom of my daughter. Now I could write another flowery post about celebrating Moms. Believe me when I say they (all Mom’s) very much deserve this honor.
But I’m going to say this with sincerity and heart. Take time to notice ALL the special Moms in your life. Sometimes they are biological and sometimes they are not.
Sometimes Mother’s Day can be hard to manage for people who live in assisted living. Let’s be honest it can be hard for many people, in general, depending on the circumstances. Life is tough. So instead of just being a “Debbie Downer”, here are some practical tips for making sure that all the ladies in an assisted living community are not forgotten this Mother’s Day.
Plan something that celebrates all the ladies in your community. Have a tea or an ice cream social. Honor each lady there. Chances are whether she had a child of her own, she helped “mother” someone through the years.
Be sure if family comes to visit others that your staff is sensitive, but not awkward about those ladies who do not have family present. Many times staff become like second families and can make someone feel extra special by sharing time and smiles. It can go a long way.
Now yes…I know this celebration is for the ladies. But don’t forget to be sensitive to the men as well. Mother’s Day to them may be very different than in years past. Some may be just fine and dandy. But be aware, we sometimes see sadness or other ways of sharing emotion as thoughts of a spouse that is no longer living or even memories of their late Mother resurface on this day. Be kind. Show understanding.
It’s not that we shouldn’t celebrate Mom’s…we absolutely should. It would be terrible not to enjoy holidays for fear of stepping on toes. That’s not the way to live. But in an assisted living or any other settings, we need to be considerate. Show compassion, show kindness, show patience and show love. You know your Mama….or whoever raised you taught you those values. Make her proud.
Happy Mother’s Day
Recently someone said to me that I seemed to always have it together. Me? Together? Now that is funny! Most days I feel like I am chasing my tail. Did they know my day that morning started with dry shampoo?? But isn’t that life? Most of us are convinced that everyone else always has it TOGETHER. We envision everyone with cleaner houses, perfectly cooked dinners and flawless families. In reality, we are all doing our best…to do our best. One thing that will de-rail our “best” in a hurry is stress. It is very common to hear from families of seniors dealing with “role reversal” that it is one of the most stressful tasks they have ever endured. It’s one thing to raise and help our children…but when it comes to helping our parents…this is no easy task. We don’t want to disrespect, but we also want to keep them safe. Here are some tips to help you be proactive and avoid making situations frustrating for both you and your loved ones.
Don’t forget your Vitamin ZZZZZ
It sounds simple, but get your sleep! According to the National Sleep Foundation, most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night for optimum performance, health, and safety. The Foundation advises: “When we don’t get adequate sleep, we accumulate a sleep debt that can be difficult to “pay back” if it becomes too big. The resulting sleep deprivation has been linked to health problems such as obesity and high blood pressure, negative mood and behavior.” Getting a good night sleep is important to your health and will help you be more effective in helping others and that includes your elderly parents.
Track Down a Paper Trail
According to AARP, an important part of getting things untangled for your elderly parents is organizing paperwork and documentation. “The first thing to do is ask your parents where they store important papers. It may be in a file cabinet at home, or in a safety deposit box or with an attorney. You can’t get organized if you can’t find anything, so come up with a checklist to write down where everything is. Documents that should be assembled and accounted for include”:
- birth certificate
- marriage certificate
- death certificate (for deceased spouse)
- divorce papers
- military records
- driver’s license/organ donor card
- passport/citizen papers
- living will
- durable power of attorney
- health care power of attorney
- letter of instruction — with funeral arrangements, important contact information such as insurance agent or broker.
- insurance policies (life, disability, long-term care)
- information about safety deposit boxes (e.g., location, number, key)
Remember to Enjoy Each Other
In this fast-paced world that we all get caught up in, it seems we can lose sight of the things that are important. Yes, making sure that everyone is safe and sound is huge! But Mom may also really enjoy sharing a cup of coffee with you. Dad may want to talk about the weather. Take time to enjoy the blessings each day. These small moments together will become larger than life soon enough. Make time to take time and as my Mom reminds me when I feel I’m at my wits end…just breathe.
If it is time to help Mom or Dad look at the option of Assisted Living please give us a call today. We would love to have you and your loved one come have lunch with us and see all that our communities have to offer.
Get more information at www.greatoaksmanagement.com
Spring has sprung and one of the most therapeutic things for me is getting out and tending to flowers in the yard. Sadly, this only comes in small doses because my hectic schedule leads to the demise of many of my plants. I love to tell the story of how my Mom came for an extended stay and made it her business to water my neglected yard. She started spraying the plants on my front porch as I stood watching barefoot in the parched grass. “See how I’m reviving the porch plants? You must water them!” I nodded in approval, barely having the heart to tell her that she was doing an excellent job of knocking the dust off those fake plants. But given the chance, I love to plant, prune and water with the best of them. Being that many of our facilities have the name “The Gardens” in them it only makes sense that we have flowers and other plants on the grounds of our communities. Through the years I have learned valuable advice from many of my resident gardeners. Here are a couple invaluable tips I have discovered over the years.
Knock back the Knock Out Roses
One of my former residents, Mrs. Betty, had a lovely rose garden placed in her memory in front of our community by her family. After the garden had been there a little over a year, I was instructed by one of our sweet lady residents to cut the bushes back if I wanted them to grow. Cut it back?? But why?? It had some blooms. She explained that the blooms had become scarce and that the bush would be more full with blooms and leaves if I cut it back. So, paired with some thick leather gloves and long clippers I got to work. In no time at all the roses were prettier than they had ever been. Mrs. Betty would be so proud!
Pile Up the Pallets
In several of our other communities we have had fabulous gardens built up high so that residents do not have to stoop over to tend to them. These pallet gardens are a wonderful way to let residents get their hands dirty and show their skills. I love to get tips on when and how to grow vegetables in these gardens. One of the best tricks that a resident in Daphne once told me was to always check your Farmer’s Almanac on when and how to grow seeds or plants in the garden. Now you can access the Farmer’s Almanac online and it will allow you to pull up your location in Alabama and get tips specific to your region.
So, for some of the best therapy around, get down and dirty in the soil. Plant some pretty flowers or vegetables like our residents. It is a wonderful way to get cheap therapy and bloom where you are planted.
According to a recent article by Good Housekeeping, living longer life may have something to do with Assisted Living Communities! The article states, “Beyond inviting our older relatives and friends into our homes, it’s important to encourage elderly relationships — which is why, despite popular belief, older folks tend to thrive in independent or assisted living environments. These living arrangements provide more ways to mingle, to connect, to thrive.”
This holds true for Mrs. Carrie Miller. Mrs. Miller celebrated her 103rd birthday this past December. As we sat down to talk with her we learned a little bit about her Southern charm and grace. Mrs. Miller is from Georgia and moved to the Gardens of Clanton in 2010. She grew up with five siblings, one of which was her twin brother named Jay. She has made a wonderful life and has been blessed with 3 children, 6 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren.
A former homemaker, she enjoys going to parties and her favorite holiday is Christmas. She is quite the fashionista and when she was ready to greet us, she showed us several of her outfit choices before selecting the perfect one that was one of “her” colors. She looked quite lovely of course. She has always been a social butterfly and when asked what makes her happy she said it was her children, family, friends AND…listening to the Chosen Two singers that share music at the Gardens of Clanton. She loves life and hearing a message in song. She shared that her favorite part about living at the Gardens is having wonderful help always there for her and having friends to talk to. So blessed to have her charm and grace. Grateful that her life has been enriched by her time at the Gardens of Clanton.
As children, many of us feel that we could live forever. In this day and age, thanks to modern medicine and other interventions, many are living to be 100 years old and older! The thought of living to be Centenarian intrigues me. But after a recent interview with Gardens of Wetumpka resident Mrs. Bennie McDonald, I was more than intrigued…I was inspired.
When Mrs. Bennie moved to the Gardens of Wetumpka, she very easily could have propped up her feet in an easy chair and rested on all of her many accomplishments. She had been a loving wife and mother and spent a very fulfilling career in education. She has painted a beautiful life all without the stroke of a brush….that is until she attended an art class at the Gardens of Wetumpka. You see, Mrs. Bennie hasn’t just been biding her time in the assisted living. She has been living life to the fullest. Mrs. Bennie began painting as a result of this activity at the assisted living. Today her artwork graces the halls of the building and is actually in high demand. She has even sold many of her paintings. With a careful hand and an artist’s eye she paints many beautiful pieces on her canvases. When asked what she thinks is the key to living a long life she explained that the Lord has carried her through many trials in life and that she wouldn’t be anywhere without Him.
She also explained that besides her artwork, the thing that makes her smile the most is her “wonderful children and the memories of her husband.” She expressed her delight that many former students have told her that she was a good influence on them. She continues to be an encourager as she has always been an avid gardener and now she has passed along her green thumb to one of her neighbors at the Gardens of Wetumpka. So amazing to think you may find a new talent in your life in your golden years. Mrs. Bennie is an inspiration for all of us to live each day fully, never stop learning and paint a beautiful life. Mrs. Bennie celebrated her 100th birthday on October 23rd.