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‘Tis the Season – for Shopping with Seniors

November 30, 2018

Shopping is a big part of the holiday season and is an activity that really can be a lot of fun – even for senior citizens. Over the next few weeks, most of us will make many trips to the shops and malls (and online websites) searching for gifts, holiday outfits, cards and groceries that are essential for a fun and festive Christmas and Hanukkah. Seniors enjoy this process as well and appreciate being included – especially when shopping trips are planned with them in mind.  Here are a few easy ways to do that:

  • Help seniors make a list (and check it twice) – It is always a good rule to be prepared before heading out to the mall to know what you are looking for and how much you are willing to spend. Offer to help seniors write down what they want or need to buy and then focus on going to stores that most likely will have what they want. You may need to help seniors track what they have purchased and what they have spent.
  • Shop early and during the week – Malls and smaller shopping centers are least crowded during times when most people are at work or at school. Take advantage of this by timing your trip to start well before noon and try to end right before (or perhaps after) lunch. Shopping can tire anyone out so keep it short and maybe take two or three trips before Christmas to break up the chore.
  • Take advantage of gift-wrapping services – Many stores or malls have free or low-cost gift wrapping during the holidays. Seniors who may have some physical limitations may appreciate having this job handled by someone else.  Just be sure to label each box immediately and keep track of what is in each wrapped box so you don’t forget anything when the big day arrives!
  • See the sights – While you are out and about with a senior citizen, be sure to make one or two stops simply to enjoy some holiday decorations and perhaps some caroling. Malls and downtown spaces are often dressed up early in the season and offer special touches such as singing, music and cocoa.
  • Take a virtual shopping trip – If the weather or illness get in the way of a trip to the mall, online shopping is the way to go! Help seniors safely shop online by navigating to only trusted and secure websites, finding online coupons and discount codes, and helping them take advantage of things such as free gift wrap and shipping. Most importantly, help them through the payment process so you know it’s done correctly and securely. If seniors do not have a credit card or do not want to put their credit information online, offer to pay for them and let them write you a check.  It is best to do all online shopping before December 10, so you are certain packages arrive well before Christmas.
  • If the senior citizen lives in a retirement or assisted living community, be sure to check the activity calendar to see if they are hosting any in-house craft fairs, bazaars, or other events that might be good for holiday gift or clothes shopping. These types of events are the most convenient and are usually a lot of fun (with plenty of cocoa, music and friendship).

Holiday shopping with seniors can be fun and enjoyable – and can add to all the wonder of the season!

For a private tour of The Saybrook at Haddam or its Safe Harbor memory care neighborhood, please fill out the form below or contact David Downey at 860-345-3779.

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Celebrating Thanksgiving Day with Seniors

November 16, 2018

Thanksgiving is always a time for family, friends, football and parades, and we at The Saybrook at Haddam happily celebrate all! We are already preparing for our annual Thanksgiving Day filled with all of the traditional favorites.  Our beautiful dining room is decorated elegantly and the kitchen team is working overtime to prepare everyone’s beloved dishes (and desserts).  We also will be celebrating with activities and entertainment, and by watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and plenty of football on television.

Some residents head out for their Thanksgiving meals with friends and family – carrying on their own traditions.  Some stay local and others travel to meet up with loved ones.  This change of pace to their daily routines and the change of scenery often adds to the excitement of the season. Our wellness team is happy to help residents prepare for travel if needed by organizing medicines or sending along any other health-related information. This helps ensure time away with family is stress-free and more enjoyable for all.

Regardless of how and where you are celebrating Thanksgiving, we would like to suggest a few fun ways to maximize time with elderly relatives.  We like to encourage as much interaction between generations as possible – and one of the best ways is simply through conversation.  Have younger children write down open-ended questions such as:

  • “How did you celebrate Thanksgiving when you were growing up?”
  • “What was school like when you were young?”
  • “What was your favorite Thanksgiving Day food that you helped make when you were young?”

Have kids put their many questions into a basket or jar and pass around the table for everyone – including grandparents – to take a turn picking out a question and sharing an answer.  You could have someone video tape the conversation to add to your family history and archives (and perhaps to share on social media).

Other ways to share quality time with older family members include making a simple centerpiece for the dining room table, doing a puzzle together, or playing cards.  Everyone can participate in these types of activities – and enjoy the friendship and conversation that is sure to come about.

For residents who stay at The Saybrook at Haddam over the holidays, we offer plenty of entertainment and activities to set the tone for a wonderful holiday season.  We always open our community to friends, family and other visitors to share their time with us – and stay for a chef-prepared meal. We do have two private dining rooms for families to host small meals.  Simply talk with our kitchen staff to make reservations and arrangements. And, we have our Country Kitchen which is available any time of day to do some of your own baking.  The ideas are endless, so bring your best ones to us and let us help you make the holidays a wonderful time for the senior citizens in your life – and for all!

For a private tour of The Saybrook at Haddam or its Safe Harbor memory care neighborhood, please fill out the form below or contact David Downey at 860-345-3779.

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Senior Citizens and the Flu

November 1, 2018

The Saybrook at Haddam’s Wellness Team hosted its flu shot clinic this week, which is a vital and convenient service we provide for residents each year.  We know age weakens our immune defenses which means older people are most vulnerable to severe flu disease – sometimes even sending them to the intensive care unit.  So, to help fight the flu, it makes great sense that we do all we can do to build up our defenses early in the flu season.

It is important to note that the Center for Disease Control recommends people 65 years and older get a flu shot and not a nasal spray vaccine.  This should be done annually because flu immunity wanes over a year and because viruses (and therefore vaccinations) change each year.  It is also important to note that it takes about two weeks for actually immunity from vaccination to set in after so getting vaccinated earlier is better.

The CDC recommends seniors receive either a high-dose or adjuvanted flu vaccine (vs. standard-dose seasonal shots). Some mild side effects can include pain, redness or swelling at the injection site, headache, muscle ache and malaise.

As always, the Wellness Team at The Saybrook at Haddam recommends everyone take precautions by covering coughs, washing hands often (or using Purel which is located throughout the community) and avoiding people who are sick.  Additionally, the team is available to discuss vaccinations as well as treatment of colds and flu (symptoms could include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue).  For seniors, it is crucial they begin treatment of the flu within 48 hours after symptoms start, especially if seniors are experiencing difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.

Many families tell us they are comforted that their loved ones have so many health resources available to them at The Saybrook at Haddam.  There are many eyes and ears watching carefully for any signs of illness and health monitoring takes place directly and indirectly on a daily basis.  When an issue is suspected, families and physicians are contacted and treatment is planned immediately.

We hope all families remember that flu vaccination has been shown to reduce flu-related illnesses, hospital visits, and even length of ICU stays. For residents or friends who may have missed our flu shot clinic, we suggest visiting a pharmacy or doctor’s office soon as the cold season is upon us!

For a private tour of The Saybrook at Haddam or its Safe Harbor memory care neighborhood, please fill out the form below or contact David Downey at 860-345-3779.

 

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