13 Ways to Make Halloween More Fun For Seniors

Halloween is right around the corner, and this isn’t just a popular holiday for trick-or-treaters, it is a fun time of year for people of all ages—including seniors! If you have a special senior in your life and are looking for fun activities to do with this individual around Halloween, we have 13 suggestions for fun, stimulating activities that are sure to help you all make memories that you will cherish.

  1. Send Halloween Cards- This is a great, unexpected time of year for seniors to send cards, letters and messages to those they care about.
  2. Decorate Pumpkins- This is a classic activity that is fun no matter what your age is. If you are worried about the senior using sharp objects, you can always paint pumpkins instead.
  3. Make Halloween Cookies- Baking is fun any time of year, so why not make Halloween-themed cookies? There are plenty of fun Halloween-themed cookie cutters out there ranging from pumpkins to ghosts and everything in between.
  4. Make Apple Cider- This is a nice, warm treat that is easy to make and delicious to enjoy—and it will keep any senior feeling nice and cozy on a cool, crisp fall night.
  5. Share Scary Stories- This is a fun campfire activity that can be just as spooky and scary indoors as well. If you don’t have any scary stories on the top of your head, you can find quite a few online.
  6. Hand Out Candy for Trick-or-Treating- If your senior loved one doesn’t live in an area where trick-or-treaters are common, invite them over to a friend or loved one’s house where they get plenty of trick or treaters. This is sure to be really fun for any senior.
  7. Decorate- Whether seniors are decorating their room in assisted living or an entire home, there is no easier way to get in the Halloween spirit.
  8. Have a Horror Movie Marathon- Pull out some of the old classic horror movies like Psycho and relive the glory days of fun yet campy scary movies with a classic scary movie marathon.
  9. Go Shopping for Kids Halloween Costumes- If you have a little one in your life who is all excited for their Halloween costume, then take your senior loved one with you to shop for a costumes—this is a fun way to get in the spooky spirit.
  10. Do Arts and Crafts- There are plenty of fun Halloween-themed arts and crafts that not only result in adorable art projects but that can be a great way for seniors to stay active during the day.
  11. Play Halloween Charades- Put a scary twist on the classic game of charades by making everything Halloween themed! It is a fun way to get in the spirit of the holiday.
  12. Go to a Pumpkin Patch- This is a fun activity for a nice fall day and a great way to get outdoors in the fresh air.
  13. Look at Old Halloween Pictures- Gather your favorite Halloween pictures from years passed and share them with your senior loved one—it is a fun trip down memory lane!

Keep these 13 fun and festive tips in mind when Halloween rolls around, they are sure to provide you and your senior loved ones with hours of fun.

 

11 Simple Soulful Tips for Seniors

By Karen Cay, Here Comes Your Sun

There are many simple things you can do in life that will help lift your spirit and brighten your day.  As seniors move into their golden years, even the smallest positive action can help reignite the spark for life.

With all of the wisdom from their vast experience, seniors can easily bring light and energy into their lives every day with the following simple soulful tips:

  1. Simply breathe. Breath is synonymous with Spirit. Take some deep breaths throughout the day to expand your lungs, open your heart and stay grounded.
  2. Keep good company. Energy is contagious, so make friends with people who are positive, supportive, and engaging to elevate your mood.
  3. Share your amazing stories with the youngsters. Grandchildren and other young people love to learn about history, hear your wisdom and laugh at the shenanigans from your youth!
  4. De-clutter your space. Clutter is just a postponed decision and eats up your energy. When you donate, you feel great. As Deepak Chopra says, “Whatever you give, comes back ten-fold.”
  5. Open some windows. Bring in some fresh air, this will flush out the old energy and enliven your space, spirit, and attitude.
  6. Buy or pick some flowers. Place fresh flowers in your home to feel joy every time you walk in the room.
  7. Practice self-healing through energy work or Reiki. Reiki practitioner and teacher, Karen Cay, defines Reiki as “an amazing healing system and the Source is Universal energy. It is the most natural way to heal another’s pain, stresses and blocks and struggles.”
  8. Spend time in nature. Hug a tree, walk barefoot on the ground to connect to the Earth, bask in the sunshine, watch all the beautiful birds, and funny squirrels to synch up with nature. “Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” -Thich Nhat Hanh
  9. Get a pet. Spending time with animals or a special pet will touch your heart and bring forth feelings of happiness and compassion.
  10. Eat a healthy diet. Consume healthy organic foods, drink lots of water, and try to drink less caffeine. Your physical body will thank you and this will bring balance and harmony with your body and soul.
  11. Practice gratitude. Being thankful and having gratitude for everything in your life can make a difference. If you run through a list every morning, this will set a positive tone for the day, every day.

Why Daily Routines Are So Important For Seniors

Ask any professional what one of the best things for seniors is and they will tell you that routine is everything. Routines are important for any adult—particularly older adults who tend to have days that are unstructured and unpredictable, especially when they are no longer working or taking care of children. While this can seem great to some, it can actually add a great deal of stress to any senior’s live.

This is where a set routine comes in.

Routines can help seniors in the following ways:

Creating a Better Sleep Routine

One of the most important benefits of having a regular routine, is that it can help anyone get on a better sleep routine. Routines will not only help seniors fall asleep and stay asleep, but they can prevent seniors from waking up in the middle of the night as well.

Sleep schedules can also serve as the foundation of any senior’s routine. Seniors should be waking up at and going to sleep at the same time every day and night. This will help set their internal clock and help make sure that they actually feel tired at night when it is time to drift off.

Once seniors have a routine with going to bed and waking up, they should add dressing, grooming and meals to their set daily schedule as well.

Helping Seniors Feel Safe and Secure

Another great benefit of a set daily routine is that it can help any senior feel more safe and secure, particularly if they are dealing with conditions such as dementia or memory loss. When seniors live in a constant state of uncertainty, it can lead to increased confusion.

Routines can help with memory, cognitive issues and stability and help prevent seniors from feeling surprised when new or confusing things come their way.

Reducing Stress and Anxiety

When seniors have an unpredictable routine, they can start feeling stressed or anxious and this stress and anxiety can start seeping in to other areas of their lives. A predictable routine can help reduce this stress and make any other challenges that come that senior’s way seem more manageable.

This way, seniors know when they will be doing things, who will be helping them and how it will be done. Plus, over time, when seniors have the same routine day after day, it will become  part of their body memory, meaning even if they are struggling with cognitive issues, they won’t be consciously worrying as much about what they can expect next.

Routines can help seniors and they can help those who care for seniors as well, but sometimes creating this routine is more difficult than it seems. It can take some time, effort and diligence to make a routine a real habit. It is also important to know why these daily routines are so important, as this can help any senior and their loved ones help make these routines a reality.

How to Help an Elderly Individual With No Appetite

If you are caring for a senior who is reluctant to eat as much as they should—nothing can be more frustrating. Obviously, every senior needs to eat square, healthy balanced meals throughout the day, but there are many older adults who lose their appetite as they age. Living a sedentary lifestyle, certain medications and dementia can all cause seniors to lose their appetite. But as their caregiver—what can you do when a senior just doesn’t want to eat?

Here are a few tips that can help.

  • Create a Routine- Having a regular meal and snack schedule can help seniors get in the habit of eating, even if they aren’t necessarily hungry or craving food. Many seniors won’t feel their hunger naturally, as this sensation tends to decline as they age—so serving food at the same time every day can help encourage seniors to eat, even when they don’t feel they need to.
  • Serve More Nutrient Dense Foods- There are many seniors who don’t like to eat a lot in terms of quantity, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t make up for it with quality, nutrient-rich foods. Avocados, peanut butters, almonds and soft cheeses are all great, dense foods that can help give seniors the nutrients and calories that they need without having to eat a great deal of volume.
  • Make Smoothies- Smoothies are a great way to encourage seniors (or anyone) to get all of the nutrients that they need without having to eat a great deal in terms of volume. Smoothies can be sweet and delicious and filled with fruits and veggies. To add more calories to these smoothies consider adding peanut butter or full-fat milk.
  • Remove Utensils From the Situation- There are many seniors who struggle with using utensils. Whether cognitive issues, trembling, arthritis or anything in between is to blame, issues like this can make it frustrating for seniors to use utensils. This may be enough to frustrate seniors so much that they decide not to eat. Replace foods that require utensils with finger foods like chicken nuggets, fish sticks, fruit or raw veggies.
  • Keep Snacks on Hand- If seniors aren’t ready to sit down and eat big meals during the day, consider having plenty of prepared, easy-to-eat snacks around during the day. These snacks can include fruit, cheese and crackers, yogurt or string cheese.

Remember, if seniors aren’t eating for an extended period of time, it is important to take them to visit their doctor. A medical professional may be able to diagnose a more serious underlying issue. Dental problems, medication side effects and serious health conditions can all lead to a sudden and dangerous loss of appetite. Plus, some seniors who refuse to eat long enough can develop serious health complications and malnourishment as a result of this action.

Visiting a doctor when you feel concern is always a smart move.

Fancy Footwear: Tips For Seniors Looking to Find the Right Shoes

As we grow older, it starts to get more and more difficult to stay on our feet all day long. Seniors are notoriously prone to issues with their feet—and while there is nothing you can do to prevent aging and nothing that seniors can do to stop themselves from getting older and having issues with their feet, wearing the right footwear can really help any senior stay comfortable on their feet all day long.

The right pair of shoes cannot only help with foot pain and discomfort, but ankle swelling and even back pain and discomfort. The right pair of shoes can also help prevent falls. Seniors just need to make sure that they are buying the right shoes to fit their needs. Unfortunately, that isn’t always as easy as it seems.

As people age, it is common for them to start losing the feeling of their feet. This can result in anyone starting to feel less balanced when they walk—which can easily lead to falls. Sensible shoes can help counter-balance this, by offering support and stability. This means shoes that are comfortable, have plenty of support and have a lot of traction on them to prevent falls if seniors do lose their balance.

It is also important for any senior looking for a new pair of shoes to make sure they get their feet measured before buying a new pair of shoes. A majority of seniors who are shoe shopping won’t do this—and just assume that they always have the same size shoe no matter what. However, shoes that are too small can cause pain and discomfort in the feet, while those that are too big can cause trip and fall accidents. It is important to pay attention to not only the length but the width as well. For example, if seniors have growths or bunions on the side of the feet, it is important that their shoes are wide enough to accommodate this without causing any extra pain or discomfort.

It is also important to make sure that any senior can easily get their shoes on and off. If the shoes have difficult straps or ties, making them difficult to get on and off—it can cause some serious issues. Make sure that the shoes either have Velcro straps, can slide off and on, or that seniors are able to tie their own shoes—which is a skill that can be difficult among older adults especially those with arthritis.

The right pair of shoes can really go a long way in helping any senior stay confident and comfortable all day long. Keep these tips in mind when shopping for senior-friendly shoes that can help keep those foot aches and pains at bay.

Elderly Anxiety: What to Be Aware Of

Anxiety can impact any person at any time—no matter what their age. However, there are some specific types of anxiety that are more common particularly in elderly individuals. There are also many seniors who do not understand or realize that they are starting to experience anxiety—and they may need help from their friends and loved ones to spot that they are struggling with anxiety.

This is why it is so important for anyone with a senior in their life to be aware of common elderly anxiety disorders, their symptoms and when seniors need help. The best thing that concerned loved ones can do is to help spot these problems and then help their senior loved one get the attention that they need. Here is some important information to understand about elderly anxiety disorders:

  • Seniors who are on multiple medications can sometimes exacerbate their anxiety. It is important to be aware of all of the side effects of different medications, as well as the side effects of mixing medications as well.
  • There are other medical conditions that can make anxiety worse, such as depression or Alzheimer’s disease. These, of course, are also conditions that are increasingly common among elderly adults.
  • Don’t dismiss excessive worrying. It is important that you don’t just dismiss a senior’s worrying as “nothing” or as a result of a change in their current routine. While it is normal for seniors who are moving to an assisted living home to experience more worry than usual—if that senior is constantly, excessively worrying, it may be time to intervene.
  • Pay close attention to seniors when they move. Moving can be really difficult for any senior, particularly if they are moving for the first time in years or decades—so make sure to pay close attention to the signs of anxiety during this time.
  • Look for signs of seniors not wanting to leave the house. If an elderly adult all of a sudden is more home-bound and unwilling to leave their home—this can be a sign of developing anxiety. Many times, this anxiety can prevent seniors from wanting to leave the home or go out and socialize in public.

Common senior anxiety disorders include: acute stress disorder, PTSD, panic attacks, social attacks, generalized anxiety and even obsessive compulsive disorder. It can also manifest in phobias or even insomnia.

Remember that people can develop anxiety at any point in their lives. Just because a senior is a certain age, or just because they haven’t gone through a particularly stressful or anxiety-producing life situation, it doesn’t mean that they can’t start experiencing anxiety.

There are more seniors than ever who are struggling with anxiety disorders. If you have a senior loved one in your life who you feel may be dealing with anxiety, then you can be there to help them get the assistance they need to find relief.

Fall Cleaning Tips for Seniors

Fall is right around the corner, which for many people means it is time to start thinking about fall cleaning. A “fall sweep” is a great way to clean out the home and to reorganize after a busy and hectic summer. If you have a senior loved on in your life, and want to help them get more organized before they get holed up for the winter, then a fall sweep is a great idea.

If you are looking to get started with some fall cleaning, here are a few tips to help you and your senior loved one get organized and clean for the season:

  • Check smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. There is no better time to make sure that the house is safe and that fire extinguishers aren’t expired, and smoke detectors don’t need their batteries replaced.
  • Clean out the medicine cabinets. Make sure that any old or expired medications have been thrown out so that seniors aren’t accidentally taking medicines that no longer work. This is also a good time to make sure all medication is properly labeled and easy-to-read.
  • Put away clutter and consider getting seniors lots of organized, clearly-marked bins, so that everything has its place.
  • Space it out. When cleaning and organizing with a senior, it is important that you know your limits and know their limits. Only a few hours at a time will help keep seniors focused, and prevent them from getting burnt out.
  • Organize important documents while you clean. Track down and file away all of your senior’s important documents. This is also a great time to make sure that everything is in order, that no documents are missing and that everything such as power-of-attorney and advanced health-care documents are all up-to-date. This is a great way to reorganize, reduce stress and prevent further anxieties for seniors.
  • Make sure that the home is safe. This fall cleaning time is also an important time to reevaluate your senior loved one’s living conditions. Make sure that the home is free of fall-risks like loose rugs and open extension cords. Check all of the support bars in the bathrooms, reattach throw rugs with non-slip backings, and reorganize items in shelves to make sure they are easy to reach. This will prevent seniors from feeling like they need to climb on things to grab everyday items—while keeping the home organized and clutter-free.

There is no better time than the present to start getting your senior loved one more organized. Taking on a big cleaning project can seem like a big undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be stressful or overwhelming for you or your loved one. Take your time, plan you “fall sweep” over several days, and take these tips to heart in order to get the most out of your fall cleaning venture.

Tips For Buying a Senior-Friendly Car

If your senior loved one is in the market for a new vehicle, then it is important that you step in to help them make sure they are buying the right car. There are many seniors that are able to be safe and cautious drivers, but who just need the right vehicle to help keep them safe on the road.

With this in mind, here are a few tips to remember when helping a senior loved one find a senior-friendly new car.

  • Look at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for crash rate testings to see how any vehicle performed during safety tests. The administration ranks cars out of a five-star rating system to help consumers find the safest vehicle possible.
  • Back-up cameras are now a fixture in new cars, but it is important that you make sure the vehicle you purchase comes with one of these cameras. It can help adults who are less flexible easily see what is behind them.
  • Blind spot monitors are another great feature for seniors who may not be flexible enough to peer over and see what is in their blind spot. It is also a great feature to help prevent accidents. These monitors can include an audible signal, a warning light or even vibrations on the steering wheel to indicate when a driver has someone in their blind spot.
  • Power adjustable seats are another way to help make sure that seniors can safely get in and out of their car, and then adjust the seat to go back to a comfortable driving position. It is a small feature that can make a big deal when it comes to entering and exiting a car.
  • Automatic tailgates are great for seniors who are looking to drive bigger SUVs or crossovers. These tailgates open and close with the press of a button, making it easy to load and unload groceries.
  • Parallel parking assistant is a pretty high-tech feature, but it is one that will prevent unnecessary fender-benders and it is great for seniors who struggle to turn their head or look over their shoulder in order to safely parallel park their cars.
  • Adjustable steering wheels are important for seniors and every senior should test out not only how adjustable the steering wheel is, but whether or not it is easy to grip securely. When the steering wheel is thick, it is easier for seniors to hold on—especially if they struggle with arthritis.

Taking an extra look at safety features such as this can help you and your senior loved one make certain they will be in the best possible car for whenever they hit the road.

Therapy Dogs for Elderly Adults

Therapy dogs can be used in a number of situations to help all types of people from those with visual impairments to individuals with physical disabilities. They can also help those who need emotional support and even people with certain serious medical conditions like seizures.

However, therapy dogs can also be a great asset to elderly adults as well. Whether seniors have their own personal therapy dog, or if they are living in a community that has therapy dogs, there has been a great deal of research done on what the presence of these dogs can do. Here are a few of the many ways in which therapy dogs can help seniors thrive.

  • Help seniors maintain a routine.
  • Provide companionship to lonely seniors.
  • Help seniors with socialization and verbalization.
  • Promote alertness and a more positive mood in seniors who otherwise struggled with this.
  • Help to spark memories and encourage seniors to reminisce.
  • Treat depression and depression-like symptoms.
  • Give seniors something to look forward to.
  • Help seniors with physical challenges such as opening doors.
  • Provide visual stimulation to seniors with visual impairments.
  • Promote decreased aggression and resistance among seniors.
  • Help seniors who struggle with anxiety.

These are a few of the many reasons why more and more seniors are not only getting therapy dogs of their own, but why many senior housing facilities are also bringing in therapy dogs for their residents.

There are many reasons to consider adding a therapy dog to a loved one’s current situation. Dogs can be a source of mental, physical and emotional stimulation—seniors and their families just need to determine their individual need for a therapy dog and the senior’s ability to take care of that therapy dog.

Seniors who are unable to take care of a therapy dog on their own or who are unsure if they need a full-time therapy dog can consider working with a program that brings therapy dogs in for short sessions, once, or multiple-times a week. This is a great compromise for seniors who want the emotional and physical boost that interacting with a canine companion can offer. In fact, research shows that just 15 minutes of bonding with an animal can have a tremendous impact on any person’s emotional and mental responses.

If you have been considering a therapy dog for the senior in your life, there are many local organizations that can help pair seniors with dedicated, loyal, loving and highly-trained therapy dogs.

Unhealthy Snacks For Seniors to Avoid

Snacking is an important activity and one that can help any person stay full throughout the day without eating a large meal. Snacks can give you energy, help you fight cravings and more—however, not all snacks are healthy (as most people know). If you happen to be a fan of snacking, it is important to make sure that the snacks you are eating are healthy—particularly if you are a senior or older adult.

Unfortunately, there are many snacks out there that are touted as being healthy, but really aren’t as healthy as they seem. Seniors are already prone to different health issues, which is why it is so important for older adults to be aware of potentially unhealthy snacks that may be unintentionally impacting their diet.

Here are a few different unhealthy snacks for every senior should be aware of and try to avoid.

  • Flavored yogurt. While plain Greek yogurt can be a delicious, healthy snack and filled with good bacteria, not all yogurt is healthy. Try to avoid yogurt that is flavored, filled with candies, sprinkles, fruity syrups and sugars—they can be filled with unexpected carbs and sugar.
  • Trail mix. Sure, trail mix sounds healthy, but most trail mixes are filled with salty nuts and chocolate that can be very unhealthy, especially when consumed in mass quantities.
  • Veggie straws. Veggie straws are all the rage right now, and seem to be everywhere. While the name “veggie” can seem like these snacks are healthy—don’t let the name confuse you. Most of these veggie straws and chips have just as many calories, salt and sodium in it as regular potato chips.
  • Mixed nuts. While raw or unsalted almonds in small quantities are healthy—eating too many nuts can be very unhealthy as they are typically covered in salt and sodium. Eating handfuls of salty nuts can dehydrate any senior and increase their sodium levels. Salt can be very dangerous for seniors, especially if they already have high sodium levels.
  • Granola Bars. This is another food that seems like it would be a healthy snack for on-the-go. However, if you really look at the labels on granola and protein bars, you may be surprised to find out just how unhealthy they really can be. Most of these bars are filled with sugar and high-fructose corn syrup.
  • Dried Fruit. Lots of seniors like munching on dried fruit when they need a sweet and healthy snack—but this is another one of those foods that you need to check the label on. Make sure that this dried fruit isn’t overly processed and covered in sugar. Otherwise, it may be no better than munching on candy.

The thing to remember about these snacks is that they often are advertised as “healthy” options, which can be confusing for anyone. Just remember to do your best to avoid these snacks when trying to stay on a healthy diet.