We recently moved my mother-in-law to an assisted living community in Holland, Michigan. The process of downsizing for the move required her to part with many of her belongings, and it was still a tight fit to get her settled and find a place for everything.
With Mother’s Day approaching, we aren’t sure what to get her for a gift or how to plan a celebration. She doesn’t have very much space for more “stuff” and the community where she lives now provides almost everything she could want or need.
Do you have any suggestions for gifts? Or for planning our celebration? We feel like it is important to make the day extra special for her this year.
Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for Seniors in an Assisted Living Community
Your question is one we often receive this time of year, especially from families who are new to assisted living.
Our first suggestion is to talk to the team at your mother-in-laws assisted living community. They can offer suggestions for reserving more space at the community if you need it, as well as for helping to make arrangements for food.
As far as gift ideas, here is a list of ideas we’ve noticed have been popular with our residents in past years:
- A family calendar that has family members’ birthdays and anniversaries marked, along with family photos on each month’s page
- A handmade coupon book with vouchers to trade in for outings to the mall or a local restaurant, help with their computer, a trip to a local spa or another favorite treat
- A digital scrapbook or family video
- A photo bouquet of family pictures
- Gift certificate for the in-house beauty/barber shop
- A custom gift basket with items she can use to pamper herself, such as essential oils, lotions and other beauty products
- A gift card to a clothing store
- A pedometer or fitness tracker
- A fruit-of-the-month club membership
- Gift cards to a restaurant and/or movie theater
- Gift card to their favorite craft or hobby store
- A tablet device they can use for connecting on social media and email
- A bird feeder to place outside their window along with seed
- A basket of DVDs, games and puzzles to enjoy when the grandkids visit
Finally, don’t overlook the more traditional Mother’s Day gifts. A potted plant, a bouquet of flowers, or a box of chocolates might be the perfect treat!
Best of luck to you and your family, Tami! I’m sure your mother-in-law will appreciate your efforts.
My husband and I would like to take a vacation this spring so we can take our twin girls to Disney World. It is our last chance to do so before they start Kindergarten next fall. The catch is I am the primary caregiver for my mother. She has lived with us since she had a stroke last summer. While she tries to be independent and active, she has some disabilities that prevent her from staying alone.
I’ve talked with home care agencies about providing care for her while we are gone. But I would really feel more comfortable if she had someone nearby around the clock.
Can you explain how respite care works in an assisted living community in Michigan?
Ellie in Grand Haven, Michigan
Your situation is a perfect example of how families can benefit from respite care in an assisted living community. Respite allows an older loved one to enjoy a short-term stay at a senior living community while the family caregiver goes on vacation or takes a break from the around the clock demands of caregiving.
What Types of Services are Included in Respite Care?
From medication management to support with personal care needs, a respite stay provides seniors with the support they need when you can’t be there to help.
Most senior living communities, like the Heritage Senior Communities across Michigan, have furnished suites for respite guests to enjoy. Your mom will have access to the same services and amenities that a permanent resident of the community does.
In addition to support with personal care, a respite stay in most senior living communities includes:
- Three well-balanced meals each day served restaurant style in the dining room.
- A wide variety of life enrichment and wellness activities to participate in with other residents.
- Supportive services such as housekeeping, laundry and transportation.
We always encourage families who are considering a short-term respite stay for a senior loved one to visit us in person. One of our team members will be happy to take you and your mom on a tour. You can even stay for lunch!
Being familiar with the staff and the community will help to decrease any anxiety you and your mom have about your leaving town for vacation.
I hope this information is helpful, Ellie. And I hope you enjoy Disney World with your family!
Photo Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
Even in the earliest stages, Alzheimer’s can make it tough for an adult to maintain their normal routine. Seniors and their spouses often fear they will be forced to move or to be separated if adult children discover one of them has this common form of dementia. In some cases, older adults go to great lengths to hide what they fear are the early signs of Alzheimer’s.
Tricks Seniors Use to Try to Hide the Symptoms of Alzheimer’s
Here are a few behaviors that might indicate the older loved one in your life is trying to hide troubling symptoms from you:
- Discouraging Visitors: When a senior family member who has always loved spending time with their children and grandchildren begins finding reasons to avoid you, it can be a warning sign. They might tell you they know you are “busy with your job” or that they will be “taking a long vacation.” The real reason just might be they are afraid you will notice the changes and realize something is wrong.
- Hiding Mistakes: An older adult who knows there is a problem but isn’t quite sure what it is may hide their mistakes. From falling victim to a door-to-door scam to mismanaging the checkbook or getting lost when driving, they work hard to keep you from finding out there is a problem.
- Excuses: When an aging loved one seems to be making a lot of excuses for their forgetfulness or for unusual behaviors, it can be a sign of something more serious than the fatigue they blame it on.
- Changes in Activity: If your mother always loved cooking but has recently given her favorite cookbooks away or if your father dropped out of his longstanding poker night, it might be related to problems with memory. Pastimes that require adults to follow directions or problem solve become more challenging as Alzheimer’s progresses.
- Speaking for a Spouse: While some partners are known for finishing one another’s sentences, a change in this dynamic can be another red flag. A spouse may be trying to cover for their partner’s memory loss. They may feel it is necessary to do so to protect their partner and their marriage.
The good news is that there are other illnesses that mimic Alzheimer’s disease and many of them are treatable with early intervention. Seeking the help of your primary care doctor might reveal the diagnosis really isn’t Alzheimer’s at all.
Conditions that Mimic Alzheimer’s Disease
A few conditions that can look like Alzheimer’s disease include:
- Thyroid disorder
- Vitamin B-12 deficiency
- Medication interaction or side effect
- Urinary tract infection (UTI)
You can learn more about the signs of Alzheimer’s by visiting 8 Behaviors to Monitor if You Suspect a Michigan Senior has Alzheimer’s.