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As a caregiver, ensuring the health and well-being of your family and senior loved ones becomes even more crucial during the summer season. With warmer temperatures, children out of school disrupted access to regular meals, and other unique challenges, it’s essential to adapt your caregiving approach to meet the specific needs of the season. At JCS, we understand these challenges and are committed to supporting you as a caregiver for your senior loved one. In this article, we will provide valuable tips to help you navigate the summer months and ensure the comfort, safety, and happiness of your loved ones.

Plan and Meal Prep for Nutritious Meals: As a caregiver, planning is essential. Take the time to create a weekly meal plan. Keep in mind the meals you won’t need to make if Meals on Wheels is delivering to your senior or if they are attending Lunches at the Kosher Senior Café. Make a shopping list focusing on nutritious food options like fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Visit local farmer’s markets to find affordable, locally sourced produce, which can be a cost-effective and healthy addition to your loved ones’ meals. During the summer months, appetites change. Focus on foods that are hydrating and easy to digest. If you need help affording or accessing Kosher foods, reach out to JCS’ Kosher Food Pantry.

Stay Hydrated: You and your loved ones must stay hydrated! The days are longer, warmer, and busier; always keep a water bottle accessible. Encourage your loved ones to stay hydrated by drinking fluids throughout the day. Offer or prepare for them easily accessible water, herbal iced teas, or fruit-infused water as refreshing alternatives to sugary drinks.

Be Prepared in Case of a Fall: As temperatures rise and outdoor activities increase, the risk of falls and accidents increases, especially with seniors. Don’t wait for a fall to happen – be prepared in advance and give yourself some peace of mind with an emergency response system. Summer schedules can be hectic, especially with children. We know you can’t always be with the senior you are caring for. JCS’ Lifeline RI Emergency Response System can provide 24/7 immediate assistance in any emergency. Whether it’s a slip on a wet pool deck or a stumble on an uneven walking trail, seniors can enjoy the summer months with added confidence, knowing that help is just a button press away.

Monitor Medications: Some medications have increased sensitivity to heat or interact with sun exposure. Review your loved one’s medications with their healthcare provider to understand any potential risks or necessary precautions during the summer months. Follow medication instructions carefully and store them properly to maintain their effectiveness.

Stay Connected and Engaged: Combat feelings of isolation or loneliness during the summer by keeping your loved ones connected with friends, family, and community. Encourage family or friends to visit your loved one or attend local senior centers or activities tailored for seniors. JCS’ Senior Cafe provides activities and lunches daily, from 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM, for those over 60 and younger adults with disabilities. This program provides meaningful social interactions and nutritious meals for your loved ones. JCS’ Jewish Eldercare of Rhode Island (JERI) can also help combat feelings of isolation or loneliness with friendly visits. Volunteers will visit or call your loved one at home, in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, or hospitals. JERI will also provide spiritual support, holiday gift deliveries, and family assistance for seniors who may otherwise feel isolated from the Jewish community.

Take Care of Yourself! You can’t pour from an empty cup. As a caregiver of an aging loved one and perhaps of young children, too, you need to stay well rested, maintain a healthy diet, and seek support. Connect with JCS’ Case Manager Samantha Clark to be connected to vital services to help manage physical, emotional, or financial challenges. Samantha will connect you to resources within JCS or help to connect you with other organizations in the community. Being a caregiver is a role that many of us will experience at some point in our lives- whether caring for aging parents/family, supporting a loved one with a chronic illness, or a child with special needs. Connecting with others who share similar experiences can provide immense comfort, guidance, and understanding. These groups offer a safe and supportive space to openly share your joys and challenges with others who truly understand what you’re going through. It can also provide valuable insights and practical solutions that can help you cope better as a caregiver. JCS holds a Grief Support Group and a Chronic Illness Support Group monthly. Beginning August 9th, the Caregiver Support Group will start meeting on the second Wednesday of every month.

At JCS, we understand the challenges and are committed to supporting you. Plan ahead, stay hydrated, monitor medications, and utilize programs like the Senior Café, Lifeline, JERI, and more. Reach out to JCS for assistance and connect with support groups. You are not alone. With the help and support from JCS, you can still embrace the joys of summer while prioritizing the health, safety, and happiness of your loved ones.

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