This Christmas was hard. I was really sick with the flu and I had to rely on my husband and daughters to do the lion’s share of holiday preparations.  When you are so sick you can do little more than take medicine, rest and accept the loving help your family is providing; you have a lot of time to pray and reflect on your life and the year coming to an end. One of the greatest sorrows of 2017 was losing my mother in law. Not having her sweet presence with us this Christmas was a challenge.  She was missed!  I feel like I honor her by sharing today's tips. They come from personal experience of helping my family navigate the stresses and challenges of family caregiving while we helped care for my mother in law before her passing earlier this year.

Put love into the doing.- Mother Teresa #ad #FamilyCaregiving

Tip One: 

Talk more often. 

If your loved one has retired, they are going to need more socialization than ever before. If in the past you waited for them to reach out to you; now’s the time for you to initiate contact as well. Ask lots of open-ended questions to get them (or keep) them talking. Silence leads to loneliness. On one of your visits, ask about their friends. Do they have a social circle in place? If not, help them find new ways to get active. Join Bingo; go to church or bible study, take walks, even volunteering if they are able will help give your loved ones life purpose. 

Tip Two:

Help keep them hydrated.

Keep them hydrated. #ad #FamilyCaregiving

I don’t know how many times over the years I asked my mother in law if she was drinking enough water. She would always say yes she was. We saw her personal water bottles and pitcher every time we visited.  Still, she became dehydrated and had to be hospitalized once for it. 

When we asked her why she wasn’t drinking more water, she mentioned having difficulty pouring water from the pitcher or taking the top off her to-go water bottle. We assumed because we saw her with water around her she was, in fact, drinking enough, but we were wrong. 

We decided it was easier to buy her water bottles.  Sure, you will have to recycle them, but getting your loved to stay hydrated is so important! Make sure you take the water bottles out of the stores packaging and place them where your loved one sees them often. You may want to grab a water bottle and open it for them. If they say they don’t like the taste of water, see if you can get them to accept lemon water, eat more water dense produce, or drink a chilled meal replacement drink at least once a day. The key is to get and keep them hydrated.

Tip Three:

Make a master shopping list.

Make a master shopping list #ad #FamilyCaregiving

Discuss foods and meals your loved one likes to eat. Make sure you add small amounts of fruits, veggies and meal replacement drinks.  As my mother in laws health declined, we found she would forget the name of a product, which would frustrate her and stress us out when we wouldn’t be able to understand what she was asking for. She would explain it to us and say, "You bought it for me last week, dear", when in reality, another family member had done the shopping that week. You can eliminate or at least lessen, the stress of shopping trips by having a master shopping list and by giving copies to all family caregivers and any friends who may shop for your loved one; and by deciding who will update the shopping list and how often.

Tip Four: 

Have “The incontinence Talk”. 

Depend in stock at Sam's Club #ad #familycaregiving

We’ve all had to have uncomfortable conversations with our loved ones, and this one will be uncomfortable as well. With a little compassion though, you will both get through it. You probably didn’t know, but your family member may have been buying bladder leakage protection for themselves for some time. Once they can’t handle shopping on their own, they become embarrassed to ask anyone else to buy these products for them. Without them though, your loved one may start staying home more and more. 

You may have to look for signs that it’s time for this talk. Things like, is there a towel on your loved ones favorite place to sit when you come over? Do they change their clothes more frequently, or perhaps complain about more laundry? Have they been canceling appointments, or deciding at the last minute they don’t want to go to lunch with you?  These are tell-tale signs that your loved one needs products designed for this stage of life.  My mother in law shared with me that she stopped going on long lunch dates with her friends because she feared needing to change in a public bathroom. Your loved one might be envisioning embarrassing scenarios too. 

It’s our job as family caregivers to listen and read between the lines so we can help in the best way.  The key here is to make these talks and purchases as easy, simple and discrete as possible. Now, thanks to Sam’s Club Caregiver program, getting products like Poise, Depend and Ensure to your loved one is easier than ever. With their discreet free shipping options and club pick-up, you’ll have peace of mind. 

I wish Sam’s Club would have had their Caregiver program available to us for our mother in law. It would have been such a game changer for us. If you are taking care of a loved one, or feel you will be soon, I urge you to read the highlights of this program below.

Sam’s Club Caregiver Program:

Discreet shipping – This is a big one, especially with our grandparents and parents! They were raised in a time where discretion was a requirement when it came to personal care items.  With Sam’s Club discreet shipping methods, you will have peace of mind ordering sensitive items knowing that no one will know what’s in the box but you.  Free Shipping on select items from select locations. Check your location for this option.

Club Pick-Up:

#ad Sam's Club pick up easy to read pricing labels #ad #familycaregiving

We shop at Sam’s Club often, but if you are short on time, use these amazing caregiving tools to speed you through the shopping process.
  • Shop online and looking for items marked “Club Pick-up”. You can also use the “Easy Reorder” option and select from a list of your past in-club and online purchases.
  • Get time back in your day as a member of the Sam’s Club team fills your cart with your items.
  • Bypass the register and check in on the app, at the kiosk inside or pull up in our Drive Thru area (available in select clubs).

We found out by trial and error that my mother in law preferred the Depend Flex-Fit underwear for women.  Sam’s Club offers a wide variety of personal care products for women and men including Depend, Poise and Ensure at affordable prices.

Scan & Go:

Sam's Club Scan and Go App saves you time #ad #familycaring

There’s a scan and go app for Sam’s Club? That’s what I asked when I read about this cool scan and go feature. I’ll be using this on those days when the lines are long at our local club. Save yourself time and the stress of waiting on line by prepping now. Download the Sam’s Club Scan & Go app to gain access to great deals, pay quicker, and beat the checkout lines.

Here’s how it works: 

  1. Barcode scan: Scan each item’s barcode in the store with the item scanner.
  2. Payment: Pay fast for wholesale items directly in the app. It’s a time saver.
  3. Wholesale savings: Pay fast by showing your digital payment receipt to the exit greeter.

Once you get home with your personal care products, remove some of them from their packaging and place them in a discrete yet convenient location. I suggest using a colorful basket that coordinates with your loved one's bathroom. Add a special touch to the area, maybe a candle or a houseplant; something that will reinforce positive feelings. We want them to see these personal care items as helpers; something that most everyone will need at some point in their life.  

Depend Flex-Fit can keep your loved one active. #ad #FamilyCaregiving

As we wrap up 2017, if you are able, why not reach out to your older loved ones and wish them a Happy New Year? Spend just a few minutes chatting with them, it really doesn’t matter what the subject is. It’s the love and connection that is the balm for their soul. Once I am 100% sure I’m not contagious anymore, I’m going to volunteer at our local senior living center. I think that would make my mother in law very happy.  

If you know of someone who could benefit from the Sam’s Club Caregiver Program, why not reach out to them as well and share this post? I’m sure they would be happy to hear from you and feel blessed that you wanted to help them.

From my home to yours, I wish you a joyous, happy, healthy and safe New Year!

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