Fall is alive and well in Oklahoma, or is it? The trees remain rich shades of green, the grass maintains its emerald hues and flip-flops linger on big box store shelves. Do cooler temperatures and falling leaves have a hidden agenda? Where are the changing colors, the harvest festivals and seasonal rains? For many caregivers and the loved ones cared for, this is great! September’s perfection has faded into October and with it a delay of arthritis symptoms, fall allergies, ragweed, mold and pollen. Time to celebrate this much needed delay. Open doors and windows to fresh air, enjoy late summer breezes and a lingering equinox; gather family and friends under a harvest moon.
Lingering summer temperatures is a perfect time for outdoor activities. The dangers of seniors overheating and of cold weather are held at bay. Spend a Saturday morning in a pumpkin patch, go to an outdoor fair, browse an outdoor market. Prepare for the upcoming holiday season. Big box stores have jumped the gun – Thanksgiving and Christmas is already on display. The elderly enjoy doing their own shopping, choosing foods they enjoy eating and giving presents they selected themselves. Be prepared however.
October in Oklahoma can be a “shady” month. Temperatures can rise and fall overnight or during the course of the day. As a caregiver, being realistic and planning ahead is a must. A change in the barometric pressure, an unexpected cold front or a sudden rain can be painful. Seniors who are physically or emotionally ill experience weather changes more acutely. Chronic pain, lethargy, fatigue and depression are affected by changes in weather.
Grab a jacket or sweater, a couple bottles of water and a detailed plan of the day’s activities. As caregiver share the agenda and get everyone’s buy-in and willingness to change plans or cut an outing short if needed. Seniors and the elderly feel guilty and embarrassed when their limitations restrict the activities of others. Open communication is a must.
Caregiving is affected by the weather in an abundance of ways. As you enjoy these last days of warm weather, summer rains and the emerald green of Green Country, be sure the loved one you are caring for has the opportunity to enjoy it too.