By June Fletcher, AgingCare.com 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 AgingCare.com 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.
–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.
14 Tips to Make the Fourth Fun For You and Elderly Loved Ones originally appeared on AgingCare.com