Summertime Tips for Family Caregivers
From popsicles to pool parties, summertime traditions delight the child in all of us. People living with serious illness or nearing the end of life are no different. It’s important for their well-being to find ways that they can be safely included in summer’s festivities. Here are few tips for family caregivers to help your loved one enjoy summertime to the fullest.
1. Get your loved one outside when possible.
If their mobility allows, bring your loved one outside to sit on the patio or enjoy some time outdoors. If there are any hazards on the route or your loved one needs a great deal of support moving, it’s always a good idea to wait for a time when there’s two able adults available to assist them.
2. Bring the outdoors to them, especially if they’re bedbound.
Placing a bird feeder outside their window can connect them with nature and give them something to look forward to. You can also try putting a potted plant or herb by their bedside that they can help care for.
3. Serve traditional foods – and include them in the preparation.
Mealtime and mealtime traditions are important to people who are unable to physically participate in other ways. Whether it’s watermelon, potato salad, a popsicle, or even a hamburger, find ways to bring the summer barbecue to them. Be sure to make modifications based on their dietary restrictions and their chewing and swallowing abilities. If they’re able, help them take part in preparing the food by giving them jobs like slicing pickles or spreading mayo.
4. Decorate their space.
Streamers, flags, and other decorations can help make your loved one’s space feel festive for traditional summer celebrations. We know of some families who keep a Christmas tree up year-round and change the decorations for each holiday—a fun idea that’s always a hit. You can even get red, white, and blue lights that are perfect for the 4th of July.
5. Strolling on sand IS possible.
If your loved one is wishing for a trip to the beach—and you’re both up for the exertion—you can rent special beach wheelchairs at many of the public beaches in Delaware.
6. Practice summer safety + prepare for holiday headaches.
While you should always practice common-sense sun safety, check with your loved one’s doctor or nurse to find out whether any of their medications require that they avoid sun exposure. Summertime fireworks and loud noises are hard to control. Blackout curtains, sound machines, and dim lighting can help maintain a peaceful environment for your loved one, especially as they near the end of life.