Elderly in large family gatherings

Of course we all want to include our elderly whenever there is a family event.  They are the reason we are here?  But, sometimes large gatherings can be very stressful for elderly or people with disabilities.  Consider the following:

1.  Hearing – What to us may be normal noise can be very loud and confusing.  Mom preferred that we visit her one family at a time.  She said that all the noise and commotion made her nervous.  She loved us coming but handled it much better when there were only two or three of us.

2.  Children – Children like to play with things.  They can be loud and playful.  We accept this as kids being kids.  When the grandkids were jumping around near mom, she was afraid they would either fall on her or knock something into her.  Because she was fragile (without really looking it), this could have caused a major problem.  She was on a blood thinner and any cut or hard bump could have been serious.  She also was nervous when small kids came to her house because of her medication.  In order for it to be handy for her, we left it on the table as a reminder to take it but when grandkids came around, she was afraid they would get into it.

3.  Medication – Anyone who takes medication has to have it on a fairly regular schedule.  Make sure if you are having someone to your home to make sure they have their medication with them and that they remember to take it.  It is easy for them to forget with all the excitement.

4.  Bathrooms – Some elderly have problems with either incontinence or bowel problems.  Make sure that they are close to a bathroom and have supplies in case they are needed such as pullups.  We never traveled without some.  Of course you have to be discreet but that is easily done as long as you think it out ahead of time.

6.  Diet – Keep in mind that texture and taste has to be taken into consideration.  Chewing and swallowing is affected with alot of medical conditions.  Make sure plenty of fluids are available.  Spices should be kept to a minimum on some dishes so they can eat without having problems later.

7.  Transportation – Make sure that someone is going to pick them up and take them home.

8.  Length of stay – It is easy for elderly to tire out.  They may have a rest schedule at home.  Try to limit the time they are away from home or provide an area where they can lie down for awhile.

Although you have to take all these things into consideration, it is also important for our family members not to be forgotten.  If they don’t want to attend for whatever reason, maybe take a plate of food to them or drop in later just to say hi.  Loneliness can be very depressing and many seniors suffer from it.

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