The Caregiver Cup Podcast

Creating Joy in Caregiving: Simple Summer Activities for Lasting Memories

June 18, 2024 Cathy VandenHeuvel Episode 218
Creating Joy in Caregiving: Simple Summer Activities for Lasting Memories
The Caregiver Cup Podcast
More Info
The Caregiver Cup Podcast
Creating Joy in Caregiving: Simple Summer Activities for Lasting Memories
Jun 18, 2024 Episode 218
Cathy VandenHeuvel

Send Cathy a text:)

Discover how simple, local activities can create joy and lasting memories during the caregiving season, even when grand summer adventures feel out of reach. From intimate picnics and garden strolls to cozy movie nights at home, this episode shares heartfelt personal experiences that prove happiness and connection don't require elaborate plans. You'll also learn about a new text feature for listener engagement, and find out how you can share your own caregiving stories on the podcast. Plus, joining our newsletter will keep you in the loop for even more interactive communication.

The episode also dives into the mental and emotional benefits of spending time outdoors with loved ones. Picture sipping beverages on the patio, listening to music, and attending vibrant community events like food truck rallies and church picnics. For those caring for elderly or ill loved ones, we provide practical tips for accessible outings to botanical gardens, museums, and zoos, along with the joys of gardening, crafting, and thrifting. These activities not only entertain but also strengthen familial bonds, making every moment count.

Support the Show.

Thank you for listening. If you know of another caregiver who could benefit from this podcast, please copy and share this episode.

Follow me by clicking on the links below:

The Caregiver Cup Podcast
Help us continue making great content for caregiver listeners everywhere.
Starting at $3/month
Support
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send Cathy a text:)

Discover how simple, local activities can create joy and lasting memories during the caregiving season, even when grand summer adventures feel out of reach. From intimate picnics and garden strolls to cozy movie nights at home, this episode shares heartfelt personal experiences that prove happiness and connection don't require elaborate plans. You'll also learn about a new text feature for listener engagement, and find out how you can share your own caregiving stories on the podcast. Plus, joining our newsletter will keep you in the loop for even more interactive communication.

The episode also dives into the mental and emotional benefits of spending time outdoors with loved ones. Picture sipping beverages on the patio, listening to music, and attending vibrant community events like food truck rallies and church picnics. For those caring for elderly or ill loved ones, we provide practical tips for accessible outings to botanical gardens, museums, and zoos, along with the joys of gardening, crafting, and thrifting. These activities not only entertain but also strengthen familial bonds, making every moment count.

Support the Show.

Thank you for listening. If you know of another caregiver who could benefit from this podcast, please copy and share this episode.

Follow me by clicking on the links below:

Speaker 1:

Well, welcome back to another episode of the Caregiver Cup podcast. My friend, this is Kathy here. I am excited about today's episode, and it's really a little bit more about advice and having fun, because, as caregivers, our lives can often feel like they are put on hold right, especially during the summer season, when everyone is out there planning destination vacations, they're camping, they're having barbecues. It can feel disheartening to think that the fun and relaxation of summer are out of reach for you, but I'm here to tell you that joy and memorable moments are still within your grasp, and that's what I want to talk about today. Yes, you might not be able to jet away to a faraway beach or explore a new city, but there are plenty of smaller and simpler things you can do to make the best of the season. When I'm talking about season, I'm talking about caregiving or the summer season. In today's episode, I'm excited to share some of the things I've done with my parents and my husband that brought us joy in caregiving and in their challenging time and creating lasting memories. And I'm going to smile a lot today because when I think about these lasting memories, especially with my parents, I'm so glad that I remembered the simple things. These activities are local, simple and fun. They're perfect for caregiving, for looking to infuse the summer with happiness and connection for both you and your loved one. But you don't always have to go with your loved one. You can do these on your own as well, and so I'm going to talk kind of flip-flop back. So, whether it's picnic in the park or a stroll through a botanical garden or a cozy movie night at home, there are endless opportunities to find joy right where you are. Join me today now, as we explore these delightful and accessible ways to make the most of the season, even as caregivers. But before we dive in today, I want to take a moment and really encourage you to go ahead and hit that text link that's in the show notes and say hi to me.

Speaker 1:

We've just implemented, or I've just implemented, the text feature just for a few weeks now, and I love getting the feedback, questions and stories. But I've gotten a few ask of how does this work, that sort of thing. Now, your local fees of texting may apply, but just know that the texts are personal and confidential. I actually it's not even my text number. I use this text feature through my podcast app and it actually is a program and they are very protective of, because you know, when you give somebody your phone number, you think, oh my gosh, I'm going to get texts back and back and back. You'll never get one from me. So there's no risk of getting over text from me. I only see your last four digits of your phone number and your location. And the podcast app that I go on did this purposely and they're very thoughtful in this process. But if you want me to know your name, go ahead and say Hi, this is Kathy or Hi, this is Sarah, whatever your name is, and I can go ahead and at least know who you are and you can be confidential. Or you can go ahead and give me everything you want. I can't respond back to your text.

Speaker 1:

So what I'm going to do each and every week is share these on the podcast, or I might save them for one week on the podcast if they're feedback or questions or stories. But the first time that you get this feature, it's going to say do not delete this first part of the information. This is kind of a code for me, because what it does then, when this feature gets the text, it knows through these codes that it goes to the caregiver podcast. If you delete these, that first part, then it just goes out in la-la land and I never get it. So just kind of. So you know, if you do have questions, just let me know. I can go ahead and answer some more of those so you can send me a text and saying what about this, what about that? Now I received one question this week and it was from Sacramento, california, and it had asked me do you ever take guests on this podcast? And I do so.

Speaker 1:

If you're listening to this, I welcome guests on the Caregiver Cup podcast, but I am very, very selective. I want caregiver stories, I want topics that are going to benefit you. I've been lately getting a lot of wanting people to promote their inefficiency app or a product. I don't do that because I don't want this to be a sales pitch to you. I want these to be personal stories. So if you want to go ahead and request a podcast or you want to be a guest on my podcast, you can send me a text or you can go to my email, and it's kathywithac at kathylvancom, and I can go ahead and answer some of those questions that you have and we can have what I usually do with podcast guests is we have a like a short little 20 minute chat to make sure it's a good fit for you and it's a good fit for me, as always, to now kind of transforming off of the text. If you want to stay connected with me and you want to reply back, then you need to get on my newsletter list, because when you're on my newsletter list you can reply to that newsletter and you're on my subscriber VIP list and we can go back and forth that way as well. So with the texting on the podcast I can't respond back, but I always can respond back with emails and I love them. I love them and I block off time each and every week to respond to my emails and have interactions with you, and I love it.

Speaker 1:

Okay, let's jump on now to today's episode, and my goal of this episode for you is to find summer joy in the season of caregiving. It may not look like you want it to right now, you may not feel the way you want to feel in the summer right now, but you can still enjoy it and even have some quality time with your loved one or quiet time with yourself, and so you need to just go ahead and look at what are the times, what are my restrictions, what are the location, and kind of play it by ear. Now, if it's not summer where you are or you're listening to this later in the year, not summer where you are or you're listening to this later in the year, I think you can still get some things out of it. Or maybe your environment is not ideal for you to be out in the heat or the environment. You can still get ideas and they can be helpful and you can customize your situation. This may be the perfect time for you to grab a pen and paper or your notes app and start. As you're thinking through and I'm talking through this, you might have some random thoughts coming up and say, oh, this is a good idea that generated a new thought for me and this might be the perfect time for us to do something. And so I truly believe that when somebody goes ahead and shares their information, it generates more ideas.

Speaker 1:

I'm going to start simple and I'm going to start with my mom as an example. My mom, when she moved into her senior living apartment after my dad had passed away, she had this deck and she was on the third floor I think third floor and she had this patio deck that was maybe 10 by 12, something like that, and so she had this nice patio deck and what we did is we went out and looked for a small little table and some chairs for her patio deck so that she could sit outside. I can't tell you how many times we would go ahead and sit out on the patio deck and we would just enjoy conversation. She loved her Coca-Cola, I love my coffee and we would have just fun conversations. She would put her little radio out. She bought batteries and her little radio and she would sit outside and just listen to music. She would have her little book or she would have her little crossword puzzle book and she would sit outside for hours and just enjoy the birds and she could see people walking by and getting outside. We would have our little lunches out there when I was over there and we just took advantage of the few months that we had in northern Well.

Speaker 1:

I'm in the middle part of Wisconsin and enjoying that, so think about where you could sit outside. There's so many people when I go for my walks that are sitting in their garage on a little lawn chair in the shade and they're just enjoying the outside. Another thing that you want to think about is either with yourself alone or with your loved one is walks outside during the summer months. Obviously you want to play it by ear, to look at the weather and the heat, but walking outside is something that can boost your mood. It can help your stress for your loved one and if you have to help them with their walks with a wheelchair or a walker, or you walk slower, it helps their mental stimulation. It enhances their focus and their attention.

Speaker 1:

I can't tell you how many times like Dennis and I would go for a walk during his stem cell transplant. Now we're talking Wisconsin. It was cold, but we brought a winter jacket and our hat and we waited until midday until the sun was up and it was warming us a little bit. By getting outside for just 10 minutes or 30 minutes, it enhanced his focus and it boosted our mood and it just made us feel a little bit alive. And it also gives you quality time for yourself or for your loved one. I walk every morning and I was going to say just a sidebar I'm trying to work on. You know I don't know why I say you know so much, but now you're going to pay attention to this. But having quality time outside does so much for yourself, because your circadian rhythm recognizes that you're getting natural light. It helps your sleep, boosts your energy, and so thinking about you and your loved one and how important it is to be out in nature, especially when you can take advantage of the weather Okay, another one that is something that you can use during this time is check for local activities that are going on, and I'm like a freebie person, especially the freebie stuff.

Speaker 1:

There are so many things that are happening in our city and nearby, like bands in the park. If you can get away, there's a lot of local bands that will set up a stage and sing during the lunch hour, and so, whether you're working during the day and you can get away by yourself and eat your lunch outside, or you can take your loved one. We have a local college nearby where was near my mom's apartments and she would we would go on Tuesday night and the local college would have a band and it was along the river and they would set up, and so we would go ahead and I would pack some snacks and some drinks. I had a wagon so we didn't have to carry our lawn chairs and our snacks, and so we pulled the wagon and we set up out there, and it was only from 6.30 until eight o'clock and then we were able to go ahead and go home. As my mom got more frail and she was having more difficulty, there was a handicap parking spot and they had a golf carts that would go ahead and take you to your spots too. So think about that when you are planning your event.

Speaker 1:

Ask those questions. What about food trucks? It's kind of fun to be able to say I'm going to take the night off and we're going to go ahead to the local food truck rally and go ahead and have our dinner or our lunch with the food trucks. That was so fun and it was something out of the norm. Check your local festivals and church picnics. The church picnics in our area had outdoor masses, and so my mom loved to go ahead and go to church outside, and then we would go ahead. And we're big into the Wisconsin, we're big into the bouillabaisse. And what bouillabaisse is? If you don't know what it is, it is almost like chicken soup, but they dump everything into it and they cook them in these big barrels over on a fire and they go ahead and have this chicken soup with all sorts of vegetables and tomato paste and sauce in there. It's awesome, it's really really good. And then they have burgers and all of that kind of stuff too, and so we could go to the local church picnics and we didn't have to make it a very long time.

Speaker 1:

If she was tired, we could go out and do that. My dad, when he was alive, we would do that where they were located and I would join them. Now, during my mom's Sunday fun days, when she was better, my husband would tag along if he wasn't sick or he didn't have the effects of the chemotherapy, and we would look at what festivals are going on. On Sundays we went to a cherry festival, a strawberry festival and different events that went on, and sometimes they had parades, sometimes they had bands, sometimes they had things going on on the lake. We could go out and sit and just enjoy the event.

Speaker 1:

Now you can think simpler too. If your loved one can't get out of the car or it's too much work for you, you could think about things where you could do in your car. Let's go for a ride today and we can go ahead and drive along. We can park in the park. Sometimes you have the state parks that you can go to and you can park and look out over the water, or you can look at the scenery and drive through the park. That was always fun. There's nothing more fun to go ahead and try to find a place where you can go through a drive-through or get ice cream and just enjoy that. Or an evening where you can go ahead and keep them up later. Or you can go sit in your car and watch the fireworks. Those are always fun things to do and it doesn't cost you a lot. And if your loved one doesn't want to get out of the car, that's perfectly fine. You can go ahead and do that.

Speaker 1:

Now, another thing to do is what about? You know? Maybe you have a botanical garden or a museums in your area or local zoos. There's nothing more fun than going ahead and going on a stroll, especially if you have a nice, comfortable day. And don't forget about the fact that you can go ahead and ask for assistance. You can call them or email them or text them and saying I have an elderly parent or I have somebody that is sick and ill, but I want to still take them to your facility. What do you offer and what do you have available for them, and so you can go ahead and make sure you get close parking. You can make sure that maybe they have something that will help you, maybe they have wheelchairs available there, or maybe you can go ahead and see what the Sometimes they have certain days where they have more attendees that they can accommodate elderly or they can accommodate. I know the Botanical Garden had a day for caregivers where they knew that the caregivers were bringing in people and so they had a lot more hands-on activities for the loved ones and the caregivers.

Speaker 1:

Now my mom, if you didn't know, she was the Energizer Bunny until maybe the last two months of her life. No matter how sick she was, she was very active, and anytime she saw that there was a new thrift store or there were garage sales going on in the area some people call it rummage sailing we had to go. If I said, well, what about I take a day off, mom, or I'm done early? Do you want to go rummage sailing? Well, that lady would be sitting down on the bench in her apartment waiting outside, tapping her watch, saying okay, she said she was going to be here. Where is she? And she would be waiting to go. To be honest with you, it exhausted me, but for her, it gave her 30 minutes or an hour of fun where she could go ahead and look at other people's trash and find treasure in it. She loved it, and so thrifting was her thing. Another thing she loved to do is their local pottery shops and the local painting and the crafting things. She loved to go ahead and see if there were opportunities for her, and we did a lot of pottery painting and that really brought her joy.

Speaker 1:

Now, the last thing that I wanted to bring up is really not an activity, but things that you could do to enhance the outdoors or get you to think more about being outside. I was this big gardener and when caregiving season came and I'm still trying to get myself into it back seven years ago oh my gosh I had a vegetable garden, flower gardens. I had enough time to go ahead and keep those up. Well, when caregiving came, I didn't have that much time, and so things started dwindling down. Now you may have a loved one or you may still have a passion to that.

Speaker 1:

What's fun is, you can still bring some of that into a simpler approach. Maybe you plant pots of flowers and those are easier to manicure and maintain, maintain, or maybe you. There's nothing more fun than watching, like my dad or my mom or other elderly, when you plant a tomato plant or you plant a pepper plant and they get to go ahead and take care of it. They get to go ahead and watch it. And my mom, when she would get those cherry tomatoes, she'd be like, oh, this is what I got from my cherry plant. Again, you could do something simple. We bought the pot hangers that hang on the railings of her deck and we could go ahead and plant things along there.

Speaker 1:

Also, what my mom found fun was to put some lighting out there too. So during the evenings or in the early mornings the lights were still up, and so if she got up in the middle of the night or somebody was coming to visit, she had lights. She would take lights and stroll them around. Actually, as a matter of fact, I have 4th of July red, white and blue lights from her that I'm trying to figure out where I should put those. I have these poles on my front porch and I'm thinking about wrapping the pole with those lights, and so they would be. Or maybe you buy a solar light or two and you go ahead and display those.

Speaker 1:

She loved that because that would bring her out from inside of her apartment, all locked up, and she would go out there to check the lights. She would go out there to look at the lights. She could sit on her chair and look out her patio door and see the lights. What we also did is we pitched in as a family and bought her this little fountain for her deck, and it's a little water fountain. It was just maybe around, but maybe I don't know. If I held my arms out in a circle, that would be how big it is. It wasn't any bigger than 20 inches across. But she had this and there was a little bird inside of it and you plugged it in and it ran water. It always made me feel like I had to pee. I sat next to it, but she loved it. She would clean it once a week and give it fresh water. The birds would fly into it. So she really, really loved it. So that's kind of the thoughts for me.

Speaker 1:

These are just a few of the things that you want to think about to try to make your summer a little bit more fun. Maybe for you personally, it's taking and having your coffee outside on a table in your front yard or your backyard, or maybe it's a stroll after dinner and enjoying the sunset while you're walking. Think about it Again. You can't go on these big camping trips or these big destinations, but you can still remember the most intimate times, I mean, with my dad. It was cooking hot dogs over his fire. He had a fire pit up in his cabin up north and we would cook hot dogs and he would have to have his little drink out there and we would watch the hot dogs. My mom would always be yelling out the window Jim, make sure you don't burn the hot dogs. You know how you cook, you know that kind of thing and I still smile to this day. And so you want to think about that. So I made this kind of a shorter episode today just because of the fact that I want you to just be able to think about it.

Speaker 1:

First of all, I want to thank you for joining me on this episode of the Caregiver Cup podcast, where we explore the importance of finding joy this summer season as a caregiver. You know I've shared my topics and I did you know again. I shared some of my own experiences, from enjoying picnics in the park to taking spontaneous trips to local attractions. These moments have taught me that joy can be found in the simplest things, and it's essential to really carve out time for yourself to find these simple things. But also you can find those with your loved one and they don't feel like oh, summers used to be fun, they're not anymore. No, you don't have to make it that way. You can change that. I know you have your own unique ways of creating joy and making the best of the season, so that's why I told you to grab a pen or a paper or a notes app and take some time to brainstorm ideas or go out to the events pages wherever you look Maybe it's Facebook or you Google events in your area and find some new activities in the next week or so.

Speaker 1:

Whether it's a short walk in the park or going to a local museum, or going to listen to a band in the park, or sitting in a garden planting a garden and going ahead and doing that with your loved one, these small moments can make a big difference in your well-being. They shouldn't actually be adding added pressure to you. They should be some things where you have fun and you're enjoying things. Making the best of the summer weather and embracing these moments of joy can help you recharge your spirit and strength and help you bond with your loved one. Remember, it's not about the grand things and the big things, but the small, meaningful experiences that bring you little moments of joy and light in your caregiving journey. Hey, if you have stories or ideas about finding joy in the summer, can you hit that text link and send it to me? Send it to me so that I can go ahead and start next week's podcast episode with some more ideas and get people to think differently. Let's inspire each other and make this summer a season of joy and connection in the midst of all of these challenges. So until next time, my friend, take care of yourself and keep making space for these joyful moments.

Speaker 1:

I want to personally thank you for listening to the podcast episode today. It means so much to me. I think last week 370 people listened to my podcast and I don't do any advertising. It's out of the homegrown organic space that I have and I am so grateful. If I had 370 people coming into my home, I would be like holy cow. I love all of you and it just means so much to me. So remember my friend. Caregiving is more than caring for your loved one, though. It's finding yourself and making these moments of joy and simplicity and taking care of your well-being. So until next time, we'll see you next week. Bye for now.

Finding Summer Joy in Caregiving
Embracing Outdoor Activities With Loved Ones
Summer Caregiver Activities and Ideas