Visiting Angels, Punta Gorda Blog

Family Caregiver Tips: Fun Activities to Try This Fall

PumpkinsThere’s something special about the month of October. Although we welcome fall in late September, the true essence of the season arrives in October. The days are noticeably shorter. The weather is cooler and less humid, plants and vegetation enter their dormant state, and pumpkin spice has taken over everything.

Beyond Halloween, October has much to offer, especially seniors and their families. In fact, October is a great month to reconnect with your aging loved one, before the busyness of the holiday season creeps up. Here are a few fun activities that you can do with your aging loved one to help you reconnect. The best part is that most of these activities require little planning and can include the entire family.

Visit a Pumpkin Farm

Surprise your aging loved one with a trip to a nearby pumpkin farm. Pack a picnic lunch or stop for lunch on your way home. Be sure to purchase a few pumpkins to take home too. If a pumpkin farm is too far or too difficult for your aging loved one to navigate, take them on a stroll through a garden center nearby, or just stick to a scenic drive.

Decorate for the Season

Help your aging loved one stay oriented to the season by decorating their home for fall. Put away summery decor and exchange it for pumpkins, Halloween decorations, and other harvest accents. Plant mums or make a fall centerpiece with your loved one. You can even take your loved one on a shopping trip to pick up a few new items for their home. While decorating, keep safety in mind. Forgo festive floor mats that may pose a tripping hazard and select battery-operated candles instead of flame candles.

Enjoy a Pumpkin Spice Latte

Treat your aging loved one to the flavors of fall by enjoying a pumpkin spice latte with them. Pick one up on your way over to their home or take them out to a coffee shop nearby. Then, pause to have a conversation with your loved one while you sip away. Use the reminiscence questions below if you’re looking for conversation starters or let them lead the conversation. The point is to sit together until your cups are empty, before you dive into your role as caregiver.

Reminisce about Halloween

Spend time reminiscing with your aging loved one about Halloween and other fall activities. Perhaps you’re caring for your aging mother and she made all your Halloween costumes. Reminisce about your favorites and ask her how she created the costumes. Have you ever paused to ask your loved one about their childhood and what Halloween was like? Here are a few conversation starters to help prompt discussion: What was your favorite Halloween costume as a child? Who made your costumes or where did you get them? What was trick-or-treating like for you? Did you ever pull any Halloween pranks? Tell me about it. Do you remember carving pumpkins? What’s your favorite candy? What did your neighbors pass out on Halloween? What was Halloween like for you as a teenager or young adult? What other fall activities did you enjoy?

Carve or Paint Pumpkins

Nothing brings back memories like carving pumpkins. It’s also a great sensory activity that anyone can enjoy. Take time to carve a pumpkin with your aging loved one. Let them do as much as they can, from scooping out the seeds and goop, to designing the face of the jack-o-lantern. This is a great activity to include the whole family. Make a contest out of it and serve apple cider and apple donuts. Stick to traditional pumpkin carving or keep it simple by painting pumpkins.

Pass Out Candy Together

Finally, plan to pass out candy to Halloween visitors with your aging loved one. This is a simple gesture that would bring such joy to them, especially if your loved one has limited mobility or other deficits. If the weather cooperates, sit out on their front porch so that they don’t need to get up and down every time the doorbell rings. Make sure that they’re comfortable and offer to bring them coffee or tea when there’s a lull. If you have young children yourself, bring them to your loved one’s neighborhood to trick-or-treat. If your schedule doesn’t align, dress your children in their costumes and visit on another day. Your aging loved one will love it, no matter if it’s Halloween or not.

Visiting Angels Punta Gorda understands what a privilege it is to care for an aging loved one. We also understand the many challenges that come with being a family caregiver. We’re here to support the family caregiver by providing in-home care to seniors in need. With the holiday season on the horizon, are you looking for support so that you can enjoy the holidays instead of running on empty all of the time? October is the perfect month to introduce in-home care to your aging loved one, so that you can feel settled and at peace just as the busyness of the holiday season gets underway. We offer a variety of in-home care services to seniors who need a little or a lot of help at home. Our care plans are flexible and custom, designed according to the needs of your aging loved one. If you are ready to take the next step and have a conversation with us about our services, please contact us today by calling 941-347-8288 Punta Gorda or 239-226-1620 Cape Coral.

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