Keep It Simple and Avoid Stress
Avoid stress, just keep it simple. A very simple solution to a life that can be quite complicated. But for our elderly loved ones, it might provide the difference between frustration and peace.
What does keep it simple mean?
Our seniors may be dealing with:
- hearing loss
- vision issues
- physical challenges
- less ability to move freely
- discomfort or even pain in sitting or standing for long
- other considerations
These can create various difficulties. Let’s look more closely
Not only does hearing loss make it more difficult to hear words or sounds. It also creates confusion when several people are talking at once. This then leads to stress as the person attempts to understand each voice. Keep it simple. At family gatherings, keep your loved one a bit off to the side during major conversations. This creates less mingling of the voices. Also, consider keeping the TV off during these times.
Similar to hearing loss, trying to focus on blurred images, whether objects or faces, creates a great deal of stress on our elderly loved ones. If their vision cannot be corrected, consider the best distance for them to view people. Making sure you are near their “best sight zone” when speaking to them is extremely comforting to most.
Also, consider a comforting touch when you are speaking to your loved one. Most find great comfort in a hand placed gently on their arm or back. Touch is soothing. Use it to calm and reduce stress.
As we age, our bodies experience some wear. If your loved one is less able to move about freely because of arthritis or just aging muscles and bones, consider ways to keep them active, but not in pain. Moving about is necessary to keep able. But too much might create pain. If possible, use relaxation or even water therapy. This might be as simple as a small pool where your senior can move about without injury.
For many, sitting and standing for more than a few minutes might also prove painful or stressful. Lift chairs are not inexpensive, but prove incredibly helpful in maintaining comfort and helping loved ones get up more easily. Watch for our review of lift chairs coming up very soon!
Incontinence might be among the most stressful issues. Many seniors are embarrassed by the problem, even if no one else is aware. Using protective underwear helps, but that, too, may create stress. Finding the right undergarments and using clothing that makes changing easier does help.
I’ll be doing a full review on undergarments soon. But to summarize, Depends offer an easy to find and less expensive solution for many. For those without major incontinence issues, they may be the best product to try first. However, Tranquility offers a more absorbent product which can be further enhanced with the pad, sold separately. Tranquility are more expensive, but we find them quite useful for night use and for times when we are away from home. In fact, many find them more comfortable than Depends. Try each and let us know your findings!
Dementia and the need to keep it simple
If your loved one is living with dementia, each of these suggestions might be greatly magnified. No matter which type of dementia, the added stress creates even more reason to keep it simple. Watch for signs of stress. Listen to his or her needs for a quieter, less complicated life.
Keep It Simple, other considerations
Most of us understand that keeping walkways open to avoid tripping is essential. However, consider keeping all clutter at bay. Your loved one will appreciate the large clock to view date and time, However, too many objects on the wall might prove distracting and therefore stressful. Clutter on counters should be avoided, too.
Most find that keeping the living space clean and simple is much more relaxing and less stressful. However, family photos and important memorabilia creates warmth and comfort.
I noticed a few years ago that my parents no longer managed holiday festivities as easily as they had. Now that it’s just Dad, the observation proves more obvious. Keep it simple has become my theme.
At first, Dad seemed to enjoy family get-togethers after Mom’s passing. But after just a couple of hours, he went home. The extra voices, sometimes loud laughter, and activities stressed him.
He explained that he found it difficult to hear anything with so many people talking. And the noise, that challenged him. Many times, we discussed the differences. And now that Dad moved in with us, I see it more than ever.
Keep it simple, even more
We’ve always maintained a quiet household, but with 9 kids, 5 still at home, and pets, it may not seem so quiet at times. Dad has a separate residence, similar to a Granny Pod, but someone is always with him. Since his stroke, he needs and appreciates that.
We usually have dinner all together and often spend family time with my Dad for a short while each day. That works for Dad. Again, Keep it simple.
However, when life gets busy, when family or friends visit, I find Dad needs a buffer. That might be time with just one or two people, separate from the crowd. Or it might be a chance to just enjoy an hour with all, then time away. Often, I find it best to limit the overall time of the festivities. That way, Dad does not feel like he’s a bother to us, nor does he feel separated. But he is comfortable and not stressed.
Keep it simple.
Many of us try to simplify our lives. In fact, entire businesses are built on such a theme. However, for our elderly loved ones, it might prove essential in an effort to avoid stress in their lives and ours.