The following is a guest post by Jessica Hegg. Jessica is the content manager at ViveHealth.com. Interested in all things related to a healthy lifestyle, she works to share valuable information that aims to improve the quality of life for others.
Note from the Imperfect Caregiver: I never had a day as a caregiver that was boring or with nothing to do. However, I did try to find creative ways to occupy my father-in-law when he was still able to accomplish simple tasks, including creating a precious keepsake for his great -granddaughter with my help and that of his home health aide. See photo below.
Sometimes it seems like there’s nothing to do – especially if you’re a caregiver who is taking care of an elderly loved one. Boredom is dangerous – not only for the elderly, who often are unable to participate in the same activities they loved as a youth – but for caregivers. Boredom can mean easy distraction, and a general decrease in mood, happiness, and satisfaction.
But spending time giving care to a loved one doesn’t have to be boring. There are plenty of activities that both you and your loved one can participate in to have fun together, and help pass the time. Here’s a list of 5 ways you can entertain your loved ones – and yourself.
- Reading Aloud
Reading aloud is a fantastic way to connect with your loved one. Whether you read a play, a book – or even just the news, your loved one will appreciate the effort you put into helping them stay current, or entertaining them.
If you have elderly loved ones who have vision issues or are in later stages of dementia or have reading-related disabilities, this is a particularly good choice – they can’t read on their own anymore, and will certainly appreciate updates about the world, or hearing their favorite books read to them.
- Enjoying The Outdoors
Enjoying the outdoors doesn’t have to mean strenuous physical activity – though if your loved one is in good enough physical shape, a mild hike or a walk around the park can be a fantastic way to enjoy the outdoors and experience nature.
But really, all you have to do to experience the outdoors is take your loved one out. Even if they’re in a wheelchair or otherwise disabled, enjoying a fresh breeze and the effects of nature can be a great way to pass some time, and allow you to decompress as a caregiver.
- Trying A New Hobby
Find a hobby to try with your loved one – or begin learning about their favorite hobbies. For example, if your loved one loves to knit, ask them to teach you the basics of knitting, and then collaborate on a project like a sweater or a scarf.
By helping them remember their favorite hobbies and enjoy their interests, you’ll make your loved one very happy – and maybe learn a useful skill or two in the process!
4. Looking Through Old Photo Albums
We guarantee your loved one has a bunch of old photo albums – and maybe even some slides from way back in the day.
Looking at these photos can be a great activity to pass the time, and to get to reminisce about days gone by with your loved one. You may even learn an interesting new thing or two about their lives – they weren’t always old, and certainly led interesting lives before they settled down to have kids.
You can also offer to digitize these albums or slides – making sure that they never get destroyed or lost, and allowing your loved one to easily view them in the future without digging them up from basements or attics.
5. Collaborating On Crosswords And Puzzles
Entertaining your loved one can be as simple as this. If there’s a crossword in the newspaper, ask them to help you with it. If it’s a word jumble, get them to do it with you. Or if you’re really looking to get into some puzzles, buy some simple jigsaw puzzles – and work your way up to more complex ones.
The process of doing a puzzle is fun and rewarding and can help bolster mental function by using parts of the brain that aren’t always stimulated in everyday life. So beyond just being a fun way to bond and spend time with your loved one, you’re helping them stay young and keep their brains in good shape.
These practical ways to entertain your loved ones – and yourself – are certainly not an extensive list. There are many other resources to turn to if you need a more extensive list, but these easy activities are a great starting point.