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14 Tips for an Elderly-Friendly Fourth of July

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14 Tips for an Elderly-Friendly Fourth of July

By June Fletcher, editor-in-chief

Almost everyone looks forward to gathering with family and friends for a backyard barbecue. But if you’ve been dreading going to one because of your responsibilities as a caregiver, never fear: Both you and your elderly loved one can have a fine time, if you plan ahead.

But first, make sure that your relative is in good enough health to attend a party where there will be heat, bugs, noise, smoke from the grill and possibly rambunctious children. Also, check with your hosts to ensure that they understand and can accommodate your loved one’s limitations. If not, find another caregiver to look after your relative while you attend alone; it’s important for you to socialize and recharge.

However, if your hosts are amenable and your loved one is up to it, don’t leave him or her behind. Joan Wright, a certified geriatric manager at NVNA and Hospice in Norwell, Mass., told that you should remember that every elderly person was once young, mobile and eager to socialize. “Those desires are still there even if their physical capacity to fulfill them is not.”

Here are some tips from Ms. Wright and others to ensure that everyone has a good time:

Before the barbecue

–Talk to the host or hostess about dietary limitations your elderly relative may have. If the menu is too spicy, fatty or hard to chew, plan to bring some food that the senior can eat, and request that the meal be served at the same time as everyone else’s.

What to Serve Seniors at a Cookout

–Find out what sort of seating the hosts will have for guests. If they just have backless picnic benches, which can be difficult for an elderly person to sit on and provide no back support, ask if you can bring a folding chair or stackable plastic chair.

–If your relative is in a wheelchair, find out in advance if your hosts’ gates are wide enough and slopes gentle enough to maneuver it into the back yard.

–Ask if there’s any shade in the backyard; if not, ask if you can also bring a portable beach umbrella.

–Lay out comfortable clothes that include layers, since some seniors feel cold even when it’s warm out. Include sturdy shoes to prevent falls and trips.

–Before you go, make sure that the senior has put on some sunscreen.

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14 Tips to Make the Fourth Fun For You and Elderly Loved Ones originally appeared on

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Read more: 4th of July, Aging, Caregiving, Family, Holidays, Life, , , , , , ,

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8:49AM PDT on May 26, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

10:47AM PDT on May 25, 2012


3:57AM PDT on Jul 11, 2011

Thanks for this article.

8:27AM PDT on Jul 4, 2011

very considerate

5:52AM PDT on Jul 2, 2011

I saw two seniors medically evacuated from a graduation ceremony on June 18th. It was 'only' about 85 degrees. Direct sun, sitting on picnic benches or bleachers, a unexpected walk up stairs or a hill, all these things can be rough on a senior who appears to be just fine when they're in their own home. For example, my Dad requires a bathroom with a ledge or shelf where he can deal with ostomy materials; a port-a-potty is a no-go. Tell the senior beforehand *exactly* what weather conditions, terrain, bathroom and rest facilities will be available. No surprises!

5:26AM PDT on Jul 2, 2011

Thank you!

12:52PM PDT on Jul 1, 2011

As an inadvertent senior, I thank you for your consideration!

6:12AM PDT on Jul 1, 2011

As an elderly person--although I am still able to take care of myself in these situations, someday I might not be--I am glad to see people taking note of the special circumstances we are in at times. I especially like the hints about not embarrassing the senior. Thank you.

5:40AM PDT on Jul 1, 2011

Thank you so much

4:37PM PDT on Jun 30, 2011

Interesting article. Thanks for sharing.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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