Arbor Day – Love For Our Planet and Those We Hold Close

Arbor Day 2020

Arbor Day – it’s one of those holidays that we don’t take off work for, or exchange gifts. But for our planet, it’s one of the most important holidays of the year. The founder of Arbor Day, Julius Sterling Morton, had a passion for nature, and trees in particular. Originally from New York, Morton settled down in the Midwest, founding this holiday dedicated to trees in Nebraska, the same state A Place At Home was founded. It is estimated that one million trees were planted in Nebraska at the first Arbor Day celebration in 1872.

Impact on our Health and Environment

Trees have a major impact on our environment, and our health. Most people know that trees clean the air. But did you know that each year they remove over 46 million tons of air pollution, just in the United States? In the same amount of time, one mature tree will absorb more than 48 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. In exchange, it releases oxygen. It’s no wonder then, that 20 percent of the earth’s oxygen overall is produced in the Amazon Rainforest. And trees don’t just affect our air quality. Studies have shown that just being able to see a tree significantly reduces stress levels and improves quality of life.

Impact on our Heart

Traditionally, people across the world celebrate Arbor Day by planting trees. Not just to be kind to the environment, but to honor loved ones who have passed away. It’s for this reason that Arbor Day, and the Arbor Day Foundation, is near and dear to our hearts. At A Place At Home, trees represent powerful meaning.  Like others, we think of trees as the symbol of the vitality of life, and those that came before us, and those that will carry on after we are gone. It stands for families and ancestors. It stands for strength, stability, and nourishment.

Rooted in Care

For every client we have been honored to care for that passes away, A Place At Home plants trees in their memory. Since 2014, A Place At Home franchise network has planted almost 2,000 trees. Memorials to our clients are growing in Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, Superior National Forest, Chippewa National Forest, Custer-Gallatin National Forest, and Klamath National Forest. Each tree we plant reminds us of how grateful we are to have been touched by the lives of those families and clients.

If you’d like to celebrate this Arbor Day by planting a tree, why not go the extra mile and become a member of the Arbor Day Foundation. First time members get 10 trees free and you can sign up here.

If you or someone you know can benefit from extra support in the home, please reach out to us to see how we can help.

10 Tips for Navigating the Holidays and Alzheimer’s

A Place At Home Caregiver

Taking care of a loved one who has Alzheimer’s this holiday season? While being a caregiver is both challenging and rewarding, the holidays bring some special challenges and require a prepared, proactive approach.

Here are 10 tips to help you navigate the holidays while caring for someone with Alzheimer’s:

1. Find Ways Your Loved One With Alzheimer’s Can Be Involved

Just because your loved one has Alzheimer’s Disease doesn’t necessarily mean he or she can’t be involved in the holiday celebrations. Even if it’s something simple like packing holiday tins with cookies, assisting in decorating or wrapping gifts, or signing and sending greeting cards – it can mean a lot to the person doing it.

2. Write A Holiday Wish List 

Some holiday gifts can be inappropriate or even dangerous for someone who has Alzheimer’s. So, take the time to create a wish list for your loved one this season. Get ideas from your loved one and others who know him/her, cross off anything that wouldn’t be a good idea given your loved one’s condition – and share the list online. Check out these gift ideas.

3. Let Others Know What To Expect This Holiday Season

Be sure to keep the whole family informed on all developments in your loved one’s Alzheimer’s condition. Let them know what he/she can handle and what he/she can’t. For example, patients with Alzheimer’s tend not to do well in conversations with multiple voices all going at once – one-on-one conversations are best.

4. Maintain Routine As Much As Possible

People with Alzheimer’s generally need to follow a pretty strict routine. It helps them avoid confusion, disruption, and needless stress. Thus, while there will be special events during the holidays, regular day-to-day activities should be maintained at all other times.

5. Consider A Holiday Lunch Or Brunch Instead Of Dinner

Alzheimer’s symptoms may be more prevalent during the evening hours, and it’s just harder on them to have guests over for a dinner party as opposed to earlier in the day. See if you can have people visit for a holiday lunch or brunch at Mom or Dad’s house instead of the (usually) more traditional dinner gathering. Or check with the Assisted Living community as sometimes Holiday meals may be offered.

6. Be Creative With Introducing New Holiday Traditions

Most of us tend to get stuck in a holiday rut, as it were, and the very thought of changing old holiday traditions may seem unsettling. But new traditions can be founded that accommodate the family member with Alzheimer’s and the fact you are spending a lot of time caring for him/her. Watching a favorite holiday movie together or meeting at a special restaurant are some examples.

7. Simplify The Holidays To Reduce Stress

As a caregiver, you will have less time to deal with the holidays than you may have had in the past. You don’t have to “skip” the holidays, but you probably do need to scale things back a bit. Little things like doing your Christmas shopping online or using gift bags instead of wrapping paper will save time and reduce stress.

8. Know Your Limitations & Ask For Help

Nothing can be more stressful than trying to do what you don’t feel qualified to do or what you simply can’t find the time to do. Ask other family members to help as needed and go to professionals for timely assistance and for help with anything outside your field of expertise.

9. Consider Holiday In-Home Care

You may not want to have your loved one move into a senior living community, or at least not yet while their condition is not too far along. De-stress the holidays by hiring in-home care and giving your loved one some special attention while you run errands. Contact A Place At Home – Omaha to learn how we can help your loved one during the holiday season and beyond where needed.

10. Join An Online Support Community

Finally, 10 tips are never enough – you need more! So be quick to join an online Alzheimer’s caregiver support community or talk with other caregivers to “pick their brains” for ideas and find resources, support, and encouragement!

In the end, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming for you and your loved one with Alzheimer’s. Remember that regardless of any memory issues your loved one lives with, it’s still important to include them in holiday events.