Well, as we turned the calendar to December we hit the ground running! So much to do, see and hear. Many residents began making some surprise gifts for their loved ones. A few of us went to the Clinton Historical Society building and saw the beautiful Christmas tree display. Our lunch outing to Culvers was so much fun. We enjoyed the food especially the custard and each others company. Many of the ladies took advantage of spa day with facials as the specialty! We trimmed the tree together and sipped on Baily's Irish Cream. Yummy! Our Book Club met after finishing our first book. We had great conversation and some delicious treats. Last night we celebrated with our Winter Festival/Christmas party. We had a huge turn out and everything went well. All the staff pull together to make it a fun, memorable evening for our residents and their families. On Friday, my sister's third grade class will visit. The children along with the residents will get together and decorate gingerbread houses. This is my 5th Christmas here at Bickford and each year the 3rd grade class has come for this activity. It has become a right of passage and one that the children in 3rd grade really look forward to!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. For most people. For some it is a time of sorrow and hardships. If you’re dealing with grief, whether it’s new or old, the holidays can be really difficult.
Remember just because everyone else is happy doesn’t mean you have to be. It can be daunting while everyone around you is happy and merry to handle grief at Christmas time, so here are a few pointers.
You don’t need to plan to the second, but I find when you have a schedule and know what you are doing, it can help a little. You can prepare yourself for events rather than have them sprung on you unexpectedly. This way you can give yourself some breathing room.
2. Don’t force yourself
It doesn’t matter if it is Christmas or that whats-her-face from the office will be devastated if you don’t show to the party; you don’t have to attend everything. Don’t push yourself too soon to show up at social events, especially during a time of grief. There is always next Christmas where whats-her-face will be able to burn your ear off.
3. Watch the bubbles
If you do end up going to parties mind the amount of fancy champagne you have. Sometimes you don’t realize the feelings you have managed to bottle are still there, and all they need are a few fancy bubbles to come up again. Just watch yourself with the drink, just so you don’t have a breakdown and have the fear in the morning.
4. Don’t fake it
Don’t plaster a fake smile on for your teacher, your boss or your friends or even your family. Even if you think you are being strong, there is no need to cover pain. Remember a problem shared, is a problem halved. And chances are the people you talk to will feel much more empathetic towards your feelings this time of year than any other.
5. Give yourself time
Whether it’s a step outside or a whole day in bed with bad movies and an abundance of ice-cream, give yourself the time you need to heal. Remember there is always next year, or even the year after that, where you will be a lot more capable of handling these things with company.
6. Enjoy the Christmas spirit
While it may be difficult, chances are the person who you will miss this Christmas would want you to enjoy it. Don’t dwell too long on things you can’t change or regrets. Try to find a balance between enjoyment and sadness. Always remember it’s okay to be sad, but Christmas can be the most warming loving time of year. Channel that energy and enjoy the joys.
7. Lastly find the balance
For some, Christmas can help with grief, for others it can be a burden on handling grief. Try to find your own middle ground between the joys of Christmas time and your own healing. Just remember to allow yourself to feel all the emotions whether happy or sad, grief or joy. They can all help to deal with grief.
What a week! So many things to do. John and Kay started us off on Monday, they always attract a big crowd. Tuesday the "Senior Strings" came and played for us. Harp, violin and bass along with an entertaining piano accompaniment. Such a treat! Speaking of treats we did take advantage of National Peanut butter fudge day, yummy! Ron a good guitar player came for the first time to entertain us on Wednesday. We had our first (of many) lunch bunch delivery. A good size group of us enjoyed lunch from Stouts. Deputy Tom came and visited with a packed room of residents on Thursday. It was really great hearing about our new jail. At the end of the day some of us helped Peggy fill Christmas boxes for the poor. It is such a good time of the year to think about others. I would like to wish all of our Bickford families a blessed Thanksgiving. I am so thankful for being able to spend my days with your loved ones. I love them too!
I read an article recently about our elderly loved ones and Christmas gift giving. As many of the elderly live on fixed incomes and struggle with the increasing costs of medications and utility bills, a perfect gift to give to your loved one is the gift of heat. Put money towards their utility bills or pharmacy bill. There are so many elderly that do not take medication as prescribed due to the high cost of medications and a result of this is poor health and even hospitalization. Or what about that little lady or man that will hang out in public places for hours because they are cold and can't afford to heat their home efficiently. They would cherish this gift more then another nick knack or new outfit, gift the gift of heat or health. Hope you all have a wonderful holiday season.
And on a side note; Bickford offers Retreat Stay, your loved one could spend the winter season living with us at Bickford and enjoy 3 home cooked meals daily, heat, fun and happiness. Call Peggy for more information 563-242-2400
Remember as colder temperatures approach that our seniors can be especially vulnerable to the weather extremes. It’s important that they’re dressed properly for winter conditions. Keeping them bundled up in layered, loose-fitting clothing and wear warm hats and waterproof gloves or mittens can help stave off dangerous winter maladies such as hypothermia, pneumonia and bronchitis. Making sure seniors are equipped to stay warm when outdoors is a good way to encourage them to spend at least some time outside when possible. Fresh air and sun light can go a long way toward improving seniors’ mood, which has a positive impact on their physical health as well.
If seniors are still driving on their own, it’s important to prepare their vehicle for winter as well. Cars should be inspected by a qualified mechanic to make sure they’re in good working condition to minimize the risk seniors become stranded in cold weather. Mechanics should check the car’s heating system and defrosters to make sure they works well, and cars should be equipped with snow tires and winter windshield solution to help melt ice. Seniors should also have a working cell phone and know how to use it in case they get stuck in the car and need to call for help.
While it’s important for everyone to be ready to deal with dangerous winter conditions, seniors are especially vulnerable to the dangers that come from cold, icy weather. Taking the time to think ahead and make sure seniors are prepared to remain happy and healthy until spring. And of course if it is below zero like our temps last year - STAY IN! We will enjoy hot cocoa and cookies by the fireplace!