As a busy caregiver, you’re working all the time trying to fill all the needs of all those you love. So it’s really important to have those simple pleasures in life that help make the day a lot brighter. Even that special person you’re caring for can become bored or depressed, and that’s when a plan for special pleasures can make the day so much better.
A Change of Scenery
When life gets dull or mundane, sometimes just a new view can brighten the day. When weather permits, coffee and the newspaper on the porch can be a blessing. Pour that hot coffee in a special mug or even a pretty tea cup. Serve it with fruit or even a cookie for a treat. If you have flowers in the yard, cut a few and put them in a pretty vase to sit by your chairs. Bring the paper out and read to your mom or dad, or have them read to you. I’d choose the funny papers over the crime reports and keep it light.
Sunshine is a tonic for the blues, so even if your loved one can only sit inside, make sure their chair is next to a sunny window. I hang my hummingbird feeders by the window so I can see them from where I like to sit. And I hang the wind chimes just out the kitchen door so I can hear them during meals. Small changes can make a big difference.
Take a Drive
Most of us are so busy that when we get in the car we have a purpose in mind — groceries, post office, doctor’s appointments etc. errands aren’t really any fun, but a drive in the countryside can really lift your spirits. Your loved one probably doesn’t get out that often so take them along when you can. Even a drive through your town’s park to feed the ducks or a visit to a former home your parent lived in can be a fun way to change the mood of the day. Stop at the drive-in for an ice cream cone and you’ll make it really special.
A Special Meal on a Pretty Table
Getting your mom or dad in the kitchen to remind you how they made those great recipes can be a lot of fun. Even if they just sit and talk to you while you cook, they’ll appreciate you wanting them to “help.” If you’re sick of cooking, then order a favorite take-out meal but serve it on the good china in the dining room or on the patio. You can talk about the meals you shared while growing up and which foods were your favorites. Pleasant conversation is the best appetizer.
Take a Little Walk
Many times it’s hard for caregivers to actually leave their parent for more than just a few minutes, but you can take a walk around the block for a little “me time.” A brisk walk and happy thoughts can be a lifesaver. Choose a time your parent likes to rest and it will be a guilt free experience.
If your loved one is able, take them on walks around the neighborhood once in a while. They’ll enjoy the out-of-doors and perhaps they’ll even see a neighbor or two to stop and chat with. It will make their day!
Gentle Hands and a Warm Heart
Touch is so important to us all and especially to older people. Giving them a foot message before they lay down at night can be a huge treat for them. Pick a lotion that is pleasing to smell and be very gentle. Older skin cannot take very much pressure. Take off their rings and message their hands. They will feel so cared for by you and they’ll sleep like a baby. Touch is truly healing when done by someone you love.
These are just a few ideas to encourage you to bring beauty and joy to your everyday life. Our souls need to be fed just as much as our bodies and sharing those experiences will give you sweet memories to last a lifetime. Isn’t it the little sweet things we remember best?
(This article was reviewed February 2024 since it was originally published in July, 2016.)