Posts tagged #homebound seniors

Laughter Is Still the Best Medicine

by Yolanda Webb

“Act as if what you do makes a difference...It does” - William James

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Getting older comes with its ups and downs. For some people, life after 65 represents the golden years, but for many, those years can be filled with loneliness, aches and pains, poverty,  unexplained illnesses, and a plethora of doctor visits that can make life itself really hard. While there are many options in caregivers, the best caregivers are those that understand that one of the best ways to help someone feel better is also the simplest.  Laughter.  Bringing laughter and light into the life of a senior can often alleviate many of the pains of growing old.  Here are a number of reasons why laughter and light heartedness may have been lost, and why laughter may be the best medicine:

As we age, we often lose touch with the people that enriched our lives the most when we were younger.  Friends may move away for retirement or have medical problems of their own that can make it harder to stay in touch. Just as friendships and community participation are important parts of growing up, they are also essential for us as we grow older.

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  • While there are many senior opportunities to connect, some seniors, like those who are bed fast / bed bound, may not always have the chance to reconnect with the community behind the walls of their own homes.  Getting involved can be hard at first.  Helping the senior or disabled person to focus on activities they’ve always enjoyed such as games, singing or card playing, can help them reconnect with that laughter and light heartedness they thought was long gone.

  • Helping the senior or disabled person to connect with church or community groups that may be amenable to doing home visits  can help the individual make new friends while enjoying an afternoon or evening of laughter.

  • The people we have around us can easily influence our own outlook and attitudes.  Working with a senior who may already be experiencing the pains of loneliness or depression can only be exacerbated if we bring our own problems or negative attitudes into their lives.  If you have negative friends, family members, or outlook on life, they could be harming those we serve. Look for ways to bring more laughter and light into your daily life as your share the joy of laughter with someone who needs our help..

Many seniors feel they have little control over their circumstances, but simply changing your focus when we serve and support them can bring welcome relief.  As caregivers and those who serve we must always try reminding ourselves every day of the importance of laughter, and you may be able to affect change in those around you.

“I Got My Joy Back!”

October 12, 2017

Yolanda Webb, MA                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Associate Vice President of Home and Community Based Services

Photo Credit: iStockPhoto Monkey Business Images  In Home Services 

Photo Credit: iStockPhoto Monkey Business Images

In Home Services 

When I first spoke with the caregiver over the phone, a daughter who had uprooted her life to move back home after more than 30 years living halfway across the country, I could tell she was in despair.

On the verge of tears she told me that she had moved back to the area about a year ago. What could be so hard, she had said to her other siblings, after all this was their mother!

But, as their mother’s Dementia worsened, she found she was both physically and emotionally exhausted.  What she learned was that being a caregiver felt more like being a lone ranger than a dutiful daughter.  

She had done all the things she thought she should do.  She had created a schedule for her mom, had scheduled activities and appointments, took care of the house, ran errands and so much more.  

When her mother could help out it wasn’t so bad.  However, as the Dementia rapidly worsened she found that she needed help.  She also realized that she was becoming angry.

She was riding an emotional roller coaster, she knew her mother wouldn’t get better, she knew that taking turns with her younger siblings was out of the question.  They both lived out of town and had families of their own.  

She was tired and she knew that even though she had promised her mother she would always be there, she was failing.  

She could no longer fulfill that promise.

She called Meritan and we worked through a plan to get her mother the help she needed, and connected her to resources she needed as a caregiver as well.

Recently she called me and we talked.  This is what she said, “Thank you to Meritan, the two wonderful staff you sent me, and to you for helping me find care for me as the primary caregiver.  

   “You don’t know how good it is, she said, to have my joy back!”

   She said that over and over, “I got my joy back!”

Here at Meritan our caregiving philosophy includes both client and caregiver to support the whole person through a person-centered approach.  Thanks to all the wonderful staff we have who help support our clients and their families through their own unique journeys…to get their joy back!        


 

Holiday Gifts for Homebound Seniors

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Thomas Bell, representing Cory's delivering a meal for a homebound senior.

Thomas Bell, representing Cory's delivering a meal for a homebound senior.

“Help a Senior Have a Happy Holiday!

Meritan’s Silver Bells rang once again this holiday season, and they rang louder than ever before! Meritan, Inc. brightened hundreds of  homebound seniors' holiday through its Silver Bells program. We collected gifts and monetary donations beginning November 7th and concluding December 16th. Because of our gracious donors like you, Meritan adopted 651 homebound and frail seniors this holiday season. Not only did we have individual donors throughout the community who supported our Silver Bells Program, but we also had corporations and small businesses adopt Silver Bells. Pictured to the right, you see Thomas Bell, a Corky’s BBQ representative. Corky’s BBQ was gracious enough to donate a hot holiday meal to a homebound senior. This year, we had a total of 364 donors that supported our Silver Bells Program. Our recipients of our Silver Bells Program are gracious for holiday gifts that they receive. Sometimes, these are the only gifts that they do receive.  Here’s a letter written by Randy V., one of our homebound senior clients, and how much the Silver Bells program has meant to him. Randy writes:

“I want to thank Silver Bells for bringing me joy and happiness around Christmas time when I have no family here. The first year I received gifts, my heart was overwhelmed. I don’t have any family here, and your Silver Bells program helped fill that void. Because of you, I have hope, and I feel that someone cares about me. This will be my third year participating in the Silver Bells program, and I always look forward to my gifts. In the past, I’ve received a coat, gloves, pajamas, and a housecoat. This year, I’m hoping to get new covers for my bed, a full size comforter set, tennis shoes, a hat, and a scarf set. I can’t thank the Silver Bells program enough!”

We also visited one of our other home health senior client’s named Alma. This year, Alma asked for cozy pajamas, house shoes, and warm blankets. When we asked her to open up her gifts, she said, "It is not Christmas if you open them up early."  So instead, Alma gave us some warm cookies. During our conversation Alma said, “I love to give more than I receive.” Everyone deserves holiday cheer, and we are happy that Meritan and our community supported our clients. Alma has been a part of the Silver Bells program for now 3 years. She has loved her gifts and the Homemaker program! She especially adores her caregiver Phyllis. Not only did she want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, but she also wanted to thank everyone who donated.

Throughout the years, thousands of seniors have enjoyed happier holidays because of gifts and contributions just like those given to Randy and Alma. Your generosity enables Meritan to continue fulfilling its mission of providing care and services to more than 2,000 Mid-Southerners annually who experience a renewed sense of self-worth through our Senior Services.

Posted on February 23, 2017 and filed under Silver Bell.