Thanks to You, Be a Santa to a Senior 2017 Was a Huge Success!

seniorsWe are humbled to report that once again this holiday season, Minneapolis volunteers went above and beyond to make Christmas memorable for local seniors who may not have otherwise received gifts or companionship.

The Be a Santa to a Senior® 2017 program was a huge success this year and I cannot thank the many volunteers involved enough for all your support. Without the workshop full of elves taking care of putting up the trees, selecting tags and shopping for local seniors, storing the gifts, and helping to make the deliveries, this program would not exist. A heartfelt thank you goes out to each and every one of you! We at Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis understand the holidays are a very busy time of year for all, but hopefully seeing the smiles on the faces of the seniors and knowing how much fun the volunteers had participating warms your heart as much as it does mine.

Delivering over 3,000 donated gifts, this truly was a memorable Christmas and I’d like to give a special shout out to the West Metro Fire Station who received and distributed over 250 gift bags. Overall, the donated gifts were delivered to 34 different locations!

To stay in touch and make sure that you’re informed about our Be a Santa to a Senior® program next year, like us on Facebook and you’ll see our timely updates. Check out some of the fun pictures on our Facebook page and take a moment to watch this video:

The Be a Santa to a Senior® campaign is all about helping seniors who are alone or in need. The Minneapolis office of the Home Instead Senior Care® network has partnered with local non-profits groups such as East Side Neighborhood Services in Minneapolis, Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly, Meals on Wheels, several nursing homes and low income housing to provide gifts and companionship to seniors who otherwise might not receive either during the holiday season. What began with just one nursing home has since grown into a movement. The official kickoff began with decorating Christmas trees with ornament tags inside the establishment of our participating partners. Thank you to the 2017 partners:

From there, generous donors selected an ornament tag from the trees with the name of a senior and some suggestions of what they would like. The donors delivered the item(s) back to the location in a gift bag and the Be a Santa to a Senior “elves” picked up the gifts and delivered them to seniors in nursing homes, low income senior housing, adult day centers and personally nominated individuals.

Home Instead Minneapolis is thrilled to partner each year with local fire stations. Relief associations, retired and off-duty firefighters from Hopkins, Golden Valley, Wayzata, Minneapolis, New Hope and St. Louis Park fire stations all assisted the program by picking up and storing the gifts.  When the gifts were all collected they also helped to deliver the gifts to several of the nursing homes, assisted living and senior apartment facilities in and around the Minneapolis area. THANK YOU once again to the firefighters, retired members as well as spouses and family members for being involved with our Be a Santa to a Senior® campaign! We could not pull this off without you! We appreciate your partnership and your volunteer time.

Since its inception, the Be a Santa to a Senior® campaign has attracted over 60,000 volunteers throughout North America, and has donated more than 1.2 million gifts to over 700,000 seniors who are in need of assistance or companionship. We’re doing our part here in Minneapolis and surrounding communities – you can join the movement and help a senior in your Minnesota community too!

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Surviving Awkward Conversations and Determining a Loved One’s Needs During the Holidays

senior giftsThe holidays may be the only time some family members are able to come together. Situations such as long-distance travel or celebrating with in-laws may prevent having the entire family together some years. For many, the holidays mark a time of joy, nostalgia and celebration, but others are feeling maxed out. And some may be in for an unpleasant surprise if they haven’t seen parents or grandparents for a while and realize they are aging faster than expected and need help. Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis understands the added stress that is placed on families when visiting during the holidays and offers ways to manage awkward conversations as well as tips to pin-point your aging loved one’s needs.

Knowing how crushing it can be to a young boy when Grandpa’s dementia has progressed to a point where he no longer remembers the little boy’s name or the dread of having a conversation with a sibling you resent for not doing their part in caring for a parent adds to the stress of the family gatherings. Home Instead Senior Care offers some guidance to having that awkward conversation or helping you respond to these challenging situations and more.

Consider these four common scenarios caregivers or their relatives might encounter during the holiday season:

You want to discuss with siblings your need for help in caring for Mom or Dad
While speaking up to ask for help is a good way to garner help from others, is the family dinner table really the right time to address a touchy subject? Read tips to help you navigate the conversation successfully.

You’ll be seeing a relative for the first time after they have received a serious medical diagnosis
With the dire diagnosis statistics for cancer, heart disease and other serious health conditions increasing with age, the likelihood of seeing a relative who was recently diagnosed goes up each year. Consider these tips for what to say.

You notice during a recent visit that your aging parents need more help than you thought
Typically, when you speak to mom and dad, they assure you everything is fine and they don’t need help, but when you arrive to stay over the holidays you discover that isn’t exactly the case. Concern creeps in when you realize the pile of mail is quite large and their home is beyond cluttered. Read ideas of how to handle this situation.

Preparing your children for Grandma or Grandpa’s different behavior due to Alzheimer’s disease
Young children may become frightened by the often-inappropriate behaviors or symptoms of Alzheimer’s or other dementias. Keeping the details and conversation age-appropriate will help, as well as staying calm and patient. Learn tips to help prepare your children.

Be prepared to manage any changes you notice in your aging loved one.

Keep your eyes open for some common issues that can threaten a senior’s independence, such as:

• Pain
• Memory
• Depression
• Social Engagement
• Safety
• Housekeeping
• Medication

Learn details about each of the above common issues as well as how to address the issues uncovered, by reading 7 Ways to Investigate Your Loved One’s Needs During a Holiday Visit. If you’re unsure how to discuss concerns with your loved one, refer to Home Instead Senior Care’s conversation starter guide.

At Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis, our passion for serving seniors and their families runs deep. We are invested in the communities we serve and believe every family in the area deserves individualized in-home senior care with a compassionate touch to help seniors live independently at home. It’s our mission.

Caring for seniors is a job that requires a special personality with just the right touch. Could that be you? As a Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis CAREGiver, you have the opportunity to meet wonderful seniors, build fulfilling relationships, and make a difference in the lives of your aging clients. Contact Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis to learn more about the home care job opportunities and becoming a Home Instead Minneapolis CAREGiver.

If you or a loved one could use some assistance with senior care, contact us for a free care consultation to learn how we can help. Call us today at 763-634-8247.

Angels on Earth: 2016 Be a Santa to a Senior

bastas2015-1Although our Minnesota weather may not admit it, it’s time to kick off the 2016 Be a Santa to a Senior® program! Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis is proud to announce we will set up trees around the Minneapolis area and ensure seniors who are alone or in need receive a gift this holiday season. As once described by a senior who has received a gift from us, the Be a Santa to a Senior® program “shows there are angels on earth!” Join us in our movement once again this year to ensure seniors feel the love and be a part of our campaign.

This program targets seniors in our community who may not otherwise receive gifts or visits from family during the holidays and was first launched by our parent organization in 2003. Partnering with local non-profit and community organizations, Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis identifies seniors who perhaps live alone, do not have family members nearby, or are experiencing financial difficulties and ensures they receive a little TLC during the holidays.

Home Instead Senior Care® network is the world’s largest provider of non-medical in-home care and companionship services for older adults. The Minneapolis, Minnesota Home Instead office has partnered with local non-profits such as East Side Neighborhood Services in Minneapolis, Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly, Meals on Wheels, low income housing, and several nursing homes to offer gifts and companionship to seniors in need.

You can help us brighten a senior’s life too! Home Instead Minneapolis will set up the gift trees beginning November 14th in the local businesses and retail stores that are partnering with us. The participation of the busy retail stores allows for great visibility of the program and provides a convenient way for shoppers to be part of the gift giving during the holiday season. Here’s how it works:

Head to any of the following locations:

senior_giftsLocate the Christmas tree decorated with ornament tags within the store. Select any ornament tag where you will find a senior’s name as well as gift suggestions printed on the tag. The next steps are to purchase the item(s) listed, place them in a gift bag, return to the store where the ornament tag was selected and deliver the gift to a store employee. We would also be delighted to take any donations of money or gift cards to ensure each gift wish is filled. To ensure timely delivery of all gifts, please return donations to the store by December 12th.

Since this amazing program began in 2003, there have been over 60,000 volunteers who have helped distribute over 1.2 million gifts to more than 700,000 deserving seniors nationwide. Join our movement and make a senior’s holiday special.

Home Instead Minneapolis is thrilled to partner with several local fire stations. Relief associations, retired and off-duty firefighters from Hopkins, Golden Valley, Wayzata, Minneapolis and St. Louis Park fire stations are volunteering their time by picking up and storing the gifts. Once the gifts are all collected, they will also help deliver the gifts to the nursing homes, assisted living and senior apartment facilities in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area. THANK YOU once again to the firefighters, retired members as well as spouses and family members for being involved with our Be a Santa to a Senior® campaign! We could not pull this off without you! We appreciate your partnership and your volunteer time.

At this time of year, there are so many gift programs aimed at children and families in need, but we can’t forget the seniors! Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis understands there are many seniors in our local communities who have just as much need for a gift and companionship during the holidays, so join us and make a difference in the life of a senior!

For more information or to find a participating organization near you, visit the Be a Santa to a Senior® website and use the locator tool provided.

Huge Success: Be a Santa to a Senior 2015!

Once again this holiday season, Minneapolis volunteers went above and beyond to make Christmas memorable for local seniors who may not have otherwise received gifts or companionship.

The 2015 Be a Santa to a Senior® program was a huge hit this year and I cannot thank the many volunteers involved enough for your support. Without the workshop full of elves taking care of putting up the trees, selecting tags and shopping for local seniors, storing the gifts, and helping to make the deliveries, this program would not exist. A heartfelt thank you goes out to each and every one of you! We at Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis understand this is a very busy time of year for all, but hopefully seeing the smiles on the faces of the seniors and knowing how much fun the volunteers had participating warms your heart as much as it does mine.

Delivering over 2,500 donated gifts, this truly was a memorable Christmas and I’d like to give a special shout out to the following businesses:

  • Security Life Insurance
  • Herzing University
  • Women’s Club of Minneapolis
  • Wells Fargo
  • Polaris
  • Lennox Senior Program
  • Federal Bankruptcy Courts
  • HealthPartners
  • Tommy Hilfiger Outlet
  • St. Louis Park Retired Firefighters
  • Plymouth Fire Department

To stay in touch and make sure that you’re informed about our Be a Santa to a Senior® program next year, like us on Facebook and you’ll see our timely updates. Check out some of the fun pictures!

BASTAS_poster

The Be a Santa to a Senior® campaign is all about helping seniors who are alone or in need. The Minneapolis office of the Home Instead Senior Care® network has partnered with local non-profits groups such as East Side Neighborhood Services in Minneapolis, Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly, Meals on Wheels, several nursing homes and low income housing to provide gifts and companionship to seniors who otherwise might not receive either during the holiday season. What began with just one nursing home has since grown into a movement.

The official kickoff began with decorating Christmas trees with ornament tags inside the establishment of our participating partners. Thank you to the 2015 partners:

From there, generous donors selected an ornament tag from the trees with the name of a senior and some suggestions of what they would like. The donors delivered the item(s) back to the location in a gift bag and the Be a Santa to a Senior “elves” picked up the gifts and delivered them to seniors in nursing homes, low income senior housing, adult day centers and personally nominated individuals.

Home Instead Minneapolis was thrilled to partner with several local fire stations. Relief associations, retired and off-duty firefighters from Golden Valley, Minneapolis, St Louis Park, Plymouth and Hopkins all assisted the program by picking up and storing the gifts.  When the gifts were all collected they also helped to deliver the gifts to several of the nursing homes, assisted living and senior apartment facilities in and around the Minneapolis area. THANK YOU to the Golden Valley Fire Family, Plymouth, Minneapolis, Hopkins and St. Louis Park fire stations and relief associations for being involved with our Be a Santa to a Senior® campaign! The members of these stations, along with retired members, spouses and family members, partnered with us and donated their own time.

Since its inception, the Be a Santa to a Senior® campaign has attracted over 60,000 volunteers throughout North America, and has provided 1.2 million gifts to over 700,000 seniors who are in need of assistance or companionship. We’re doing our little part here in Minneapolis and surrounding communities – you can join the movement and help a senior in your Minnesota community too!

3 Tips to Help Seniors Avoid Diabetes Complications and 10 Superfoods

In the midst of the holiday season with decreasing daylight hours and temperatures so cold in Minnesota you only want to stay inside and eat hotdish, it’s difficult to get motivated to eat right an exercise. Yet, with the rate of Type 2 diabetes among seniors over 60 continuing to grow, it’s imperative that seniors and their caregivers stay informed and vigilant in fighting the disease. Given that one-quarter of seniors over age 65 have been diagnosed with diabetes, it’s likely you’ll find yourself helping a senior and their home care team manage a disease that brings along a host of potential complications whether or not they’re living in a senior care facility or living independently in their Minnesota home.

home care mn3 Ways to Help Seniors Avoid Diabetes Complications

Type 2 diabetes rarely exists alone. It brings with it hypertension (high blood pressure), neuropathy (loss of feeling in the limbs) and vision trouble. Here are three ways you can assist seniors with diabetes.

1. Encourage adherence to the treatment plan As you probably know, when a senior receives a diagnosis of diabetes, their health care team will usually create a treatment plan that includes components like medication, diet, exercise, and lifestyle modifications. According to the Mayo Clinic, adhering to the treatment plan can delay or minimize complications that may arise from diabetes. Offer seniors encouragement and positive reinforcement about sticking to the care plan.

2.  Advocate good medication practices Seniors with Type 2 diabetes may take medication not only for blood sugar control but also for coexisting conditions like hypertension or high cholesterol. Managing a lot of medications can become confusing, especially for people with memory loss or other cognitive decline. For seniors who need help monitoring their medication regimen, consider suggesting a non-medical helper or use this medication tracker. These home care aides can provide medication reminders to help seniors stay on track with the many pills they may need to take each day. This in-home assistance can be particularly useful if you’re unable to visit your senior loved one every day.

3. Encourage regular medical follow-up Some diabetes complications come on so slowly a senior may not realize anything is wrong until it’s almost too late to fix the problem. Encourage seniors to schedule regular follow-up care from eye professionals and primary care providers. These routine visits can identify ‘silent’ complications like diabetic retinopathy (decreased vision), high blood pressure and heart disease in order to secure prompt treatment. If transportation to appointments is an issue, our home care team can help.

People with diabetes have the same nutritional needs as everyone else. Eating well balanced meals is the main goal. While a healthy diet and exercise alone can help some with type-2 manage their diabetes, there are many who need medications to help keep blood glucose levels down. Insulin is required for people with type-1, and sometimes necessary for people with type-2 diabetes. With the help of your healthcare team, you can find an insulin routine that will keep your blood glucose levels under control. The good news is: with a proper management plan, you can control your diabetes and feel good.

Watch a Short Video

Even with proper healthcare, home care assistance and involved family care providers, it can still be helpful to access experts who can help you with specific issues. Dr. Amy D’Aprix, MSW, PhD, CSA, is the Executive Director of the DAI Foundation on Caregiving and hosts an “Ask Dr. Amy” program for Home Instead Senior Care. Recently, she was asked, “My husband is a very severe diabetic. He takes insulin four times daily. He suffers from severe depression and has chronic pain throughout his body. He sleeps a lot. What can I do to help him?”

Dr. Amy’s Response: You and your husband are facing a challenging situation. In terms of his physical condition, I encourage you both to speak with your husband’s doctor. Pain and depression can usually be managed with the right combination of medication, therapy, diet and exercise. Ask the doctor about all four of these. It’s important to get the pain under control, because people who suffer from chronic pain tend to manage their diabetes less well than others. Your doctor may need to refer your husband to a pain specialist. Once the depression and pain are being well managed, you can help your husband stay on track in terms of diet and exercise. You can also help by making time to enjoy the activities you used to enjoy as a couple before your husband became ill, as much as possible. Lastly, you can help your husband by taking good care of yourself. If you are rested and healthy, you will be better able to care for him.diabetes home care

Controlling Weight Key to Avoiding Diabetes

Researchers at the University of Washington, Seattle, examined the relationship between Body Mass Index (BMI) at 50 years of age, weight, fat mass, waist circumference, waist-hip ratio, and waist-height ratio and discovered that all factors were strongly related to the risk of diabetes. Participants who were obese (BMI 30 or greater) at 50 years of age and who experienced the most weight gain (more than 20 pounds) between the age of 50 years and entry into the study had five times the risk of developing diabetes compared with weight-stable participants with normal BMI (less than 25) at 50 years of age. Ask your doctor to recommend a good diet and exercise program. If you’re having trouble managing mealtimes, why not consider joining friends for lunch at a senior center or local coffee shop. Shopping, meal preparation and mealtime companionship are among the most requested services provided by local Home Instead Senior Care® CAREGivers, who are screened, trained, bonded and insured.

diabetes diet10 Diabetes Superfoods Seniors Can Say “Yes!” To

Seniors who receive a diagnosis of diabetes may feel they have to give up all the foods they love. That’s not entirely true. Sure, they may have to say no to ice cream and white bread, but you can help the senior you care for adapt by offering new choices that will satisfy his or her desire for sweets and starches while keeping blood sugar levels stable.

1. Berries Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries — they all offer a sweet touch to any meal without elevating blood sugar levels too much.

2. Skim milk and fat-free yogurt Choose milk fortified with Vitamin D, which can help seniors maintain bone health. When it comes to yogurt, look for sugar-free varieties.

3. Citrus fruits Avoid fruit juices (which almost all contain added sugar) and go for the whole fruit. Oranges, lemons and limes can be eaten whole or used to add zest to other dishes. The exception? Grapefruit. Most seniors should avoid this citrus fruit because it contains compounds that may interact with medications.

4. Sweet potatoes Sweet potatoes satisfy that craving for a starch with the meal but don’t cause post-meal blood sugar spikes the way white and red potatoes do.

5. Whole grains Whole grain breads, oatmeal, brown rice and barley allow your senior to enjoy bread with meals.

6. Tomatoes Tomatoes are loaded with Vitamins C and E, along with iron. Eat them raw or cooked. (Read the labels of canned tomatoes and spaghetti sauces, which can contain undesirable levels of added sugar and salt.)

7. Dark Green Leafy Vegetables These nutrient powerhouses include spinach, kale, collard greens, beet greens and many others. Seniors who take a ‘blood-thinning’ medication like warfarin (Coumadin) should avoid dark green leafy vegetables, but all others can consume these with abandon.

8. Beans Packed with fiber, beans of all types — navy, kidney, pinto — provide protein along with the essential minerals magnesium and potassium.

9. Fatty fish Choose fresh or frozen fish like salmon once a week or more to garner the healthful effects of its Omega-3 fatty acids.

10. Nuts Almonds, walnuts, pecans and other tree nuts provide nutrients and protein, which helps keep blood sugar levels stable. Go for unsalted varieties.

Changing one’s eating pattern can be very difficult, especially for elderly loved ones. Instead of telling them what they can’t eat, help your senior with diabetes overcome dietary challenges by suggesting foods they can say ‘yes’ to every day.

Successful Family Gatherings With a Senior Who Has Alzheimer’s

By John Stuck
senior giftsIn November, we had a great chat with Dr. Amy D’Aprix and Confidence to Care author Molly Carpenter about dealing with Alzheimer’s and other dementias around the holidays. In case you missed the live chat, download the transcript here! This sparked a lot of conversation from those caring for a senior with Alzheimer’s which continued in December when we chatted with expert David Troxel about Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias: Handling Anger and Combativeness. View the transcript of that discussion as well! molly carpenterBetter yet, join Molly Carpenter on January 21st in a live webchat where you’ll learn tips from other caregivers who have been in similar situations, discuss the successes and challenges you face day to day and share your advice and offer solutions. Register Today!

Whether you’re anticipating a holiday get-together in Minnesota, an anniversary celebration or a family birthday party, including a loved one with Alzheimer’s often requires special considerations. Here are four pieces of advice about hosting a successful holiday family get-together with a family member who has Alzheimer’s:

1. Stick to a familiar environment. Even if Grandma isn’t able to cook the meal this year, consider gathering at her home in Minneapolis like always. Less change, less anxiety.

2. Adjust expectations. If your loved one with Alzheimer’s can’t handle cooking the meal, go the easy route! Purchase the entire cooked meal from a grocery store and use disposalable or dishwasher-safe dishes. Same great family time, less hassle and stress.

3. Prep the kids. Talk to younger family members ahead of time about being patient with Mom or Dad and offer conversation tips. For example, instead of saying, “You already asked me that, Grandma,” just politely answer her question and change the subject to something new.

4. Create opportunities to reminisce. Keep traditions alive such as decorating cookies or doing a craft. Great activities keep the kids busy, and your loved one may not struggle as much with their memory when they’re recalling happy stories from long ago.
alz_app
Hopefully these tips are helpful to you and your other family members who are adapting to the reality of your loved one’s memory loss.

Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias Daily Advice App

In addition to trying this advice, I invite you to download the free Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias Daily Companion iPhone app, you can search for helpful tips there, too.

Gaining the Confidence to Care Book

This book focuses on both memory and behavior symptoms that family caregivers often need help with, including their senior loved one’s resistance to common personal care activities. Each of these chapters offer plenty of care approaches and prevention tips, and begin with a relevant and moving real-life family caregiver story.

cta-book-large

Get 3 Free Chapters now Or, Get the Entire Book for Free!

To request a free copy of the book, go to our Contact Us page, enter your information and, in the Comments section, provide your address and note that you’d like the Confidence to Care book. We’ll ship it to you for free! If you’d like to share about your experience with Alzheimer’s and the holidays or managing your loved one’s repetitive behaviors, join our book discussion.

One of the chapters in the book focuses on Anger and Aggression. Here’s a snapshot of what some of you have shared about your experience with anger and aggression in a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other dementias:

“My husband was such a gentle man, but now he has fits of angry outbursts.”

“Mom is quick to raise her voice and become angry with me. I am her daughter and live-in caregiver for the past 2+ years.”

“My mom-in-law has dementia, & it’s really getting bad. She slaps me, curses me, but I just walk it off. It’s really hard, but that’s what I do. It’s really, really hard. Believe me.”

My hope in sharing these experiences is that if you’re dealing with similar behaviors, you’ll find some amount of comfort and hope in the realization that you are not alone.

(Before I go on, I should also mention that not all people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias eventually become violent or aggressive. While these situations happen in some cases, not everyone experiences these behaviors.)

If you are at a loss for how to deal with a loved one’s aggression or anger, I want to assure you that there are ways to help minimize those behaviors.

Here are a few couple tips from the Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias Daily Companion app that the caregivers in our Minneapolis community found most helpful:

  1. Arguing with someone with dementia isn’t helpful. It often adds to their frustration and anger. Try redirection instead.
  2. Look for triggers. Was your loved one scared, tired or frustrated? Did you push them too hard to take that shower?

For additional tips, you can download the app for free or access aggression and anger tips via the Home Instead Senior Care Dementia Support Network online.

(By the way, many of you have asked about an Android version of the app. Currently it is only available for iPhone, but an Android version is in the works! Stay tuned.)

Finally, I invite you to learn more about our Alzheimer’s and dementia CARE services where you can request a CAREGiver who can assist and monitor your loved one so that you can enjoy your holiday gathering as well.

The Trees Are Up! Be a Santa to a Senior!

senior videoIf you’re wondering what the Be a Santa to a Senior program is all about, one senior who received a gift from us last year explains it perfectly, “It shows there are angels on Earth.”   Trees are set up all over Minneapolis making it easy for you to be an “angel”. Tags on the trees show names of appreciative seniors like the one in this video that can’t wait to receive a gift. KSTP reporter Joe Mazan interviewed Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis’  own John Stuck as a proud supporter of the Be a Santa to a Senior program.

senior trees

Join the Be a Santa to a Senior Campaign

The Be a Santa to a Senior® campaign is all about helping seniors who are alone or in need. The campaign, which first launched in 2006 by our parent organization, helps seniors to get a little TLC during the holidays. The Minneapolis office of the Home Instead Senior Care® network, the world’s largest provider of non-medical in-home care and companionship services for older adults, has partnered with local non-profits groups like East Side Neighborhood Services in Minneapolis, Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly, Meals on Wheels and several Lunds/Byerlys, several nursing homes and low income housing to provide gifts and companionship to seniors who otherwise might not receive either this holiday season. It began with just one nursing home, and has since grown into a movement.

Now you can help brighten a senior’s life too.

How to Participate in Be a Santa to a Senior

senior_gift_tag Here’s how it works:
1. Head to any of the following locations:

  • Lund’s or Byerly’s stores with pharmacies in Minnetonka, St. Louis Park, Wayzata, Plymouth or downtown Minneapolis, MN
  • Starbucks 2661 Campus Drive, Plymouth, MN
  • Starbucks 16725 C.R. 24, Plymouth, MN
  • Starbucks 7802 Olson Memorial Highway, Golden Valley, MN
  • Home Instead Senior Care of MPLS, 9684 63rd Ave N., Maple Grove, MN 55369

2. Locate the Christmas trees, and choose any ornament with a senior’s name on it. You will find gift suggestions for that senior printed on the ornament.
3. Purchase the item(s) listed, put the item in a gift bag, return to the store with the ornament and deliver them to a store employee.

Hurry! The program ends soon, giving us time to gather and distribute the gifts to seniors. If we are going to meet and possibly exceed last year’s amazing accomplishment of delivering over 2,000 gifts, we need your help!Your participation can make a difference!

be_a_santa_to_a_senior_mplsAbout the Be a Santa to a Senior Campaign

Here’s how the program works. The Home Instead Senior Care network partners with local non-profit and community organizations. Together they identify seniors who perhaps live alone, do not have family members nearby, or are experiencing financial difficulties. The program targets many seniors who otherwise might not receive gifts or visits from family during the holidays.

Home Instead Minneapolis then works with local businesses and retail stores that are willing to help by placing trees and ornaments within their various locations. The involvement from busy stores gives the program visibility and provides a convenient way for shoppers to volunteer their assistance during the busy holiday season.

Since its inception, the Be a Santa to a Senior has attracted nearly 60,000 volunteers throughout North America, and has provided 1.2 million gifts to over 700,000 seniors who are in need of assistance or companionship. Now you can join the movement and help a senior in your Minnesota community.

Need Further Information?

The Be a Santa to a Senior website, provides a locator tool that enables you to find a store by zip code.

Get Involved With Home Instead’s Initiatives to Help Minnesota Seniors

Be a Santa to a SeniorBy Home Instead Senior Care

The snow is just starting to sneak up on us here in Minnesota and the Be a Santa to a Senior®  campaign is in our sights! This popular campaign that delivered more than 2,500 gifts in 2012 to local needy Minnesota seniors needs your help to provide even more gifts and companionship this year to seniors in the Minneapolis area who otherwise might not receive either.

“Seniors faced with medical bills and the high cost of living can find they have little left at the end of the year,” said John Stuck, owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office serving Minneapolis and the Western Suburbs.

Senior SantaChristmas trees will be going up soon in which generous folks will pick up ornaments with the first names of seniors and their gift requests, buy items on the list and return them in a gift bag to the location. From there, gifts need to be collected, organized, stored & distributed and that’s where we need your help! If you are a corporation, church group, school group or senior care residence who has compassionate volunteers and space to store gifts, please consider volunteering your time and location to our Be a Santa to a Senior program.

The huge success of last year’s program would not have been possible without our partners which include Byerly’s & Lund’s Pharmacy locations, Starbucks, TwinWest Chamber of Commerce, Mulitband, Minneapolis Women’s Club, Park Nicollet Orthopedic Group, Sharepoint Credit Union, MN School of Business, Woodland Elementary. Please consider adding your name to this list and putting a smile on thousands of seniors’ faces.

Contact Us Today!

Join Our Book Discussion – cta-book-largeGaining the Confidence to Care

Subscribe to our blog, Like us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter to respond to discussion topics we’ll be posting over the next month. We’d love your feedback and fellow caregivers will love your ideas!

Get 3 Free Chapters now Or, Get the Entire Book for Free!

To request a free copy of the book, go to our Contact Us page, enter your information and, in the Comments section, provide your address and note that you’d like the Confidence to Care book. We’ll ship it to you for free!

What You’ll Learn from This Book

This book focuses on both memory and behavior symptoms that family caregivers often need help with, including their senior loved one’s resistance to common personal care activities. Each of these chapters offer plenty of care approaches and prevention tips, and begin with a relevant and moving real-life family caregiver story. The chapter topics include:

  • Aggression and Anger
  • Agitation and Anxiety
  • Bedtime Struggles and Sleep Problems
  • Confusion and Memory Loss
  • Delusions
  • False Accusations and Paranoia
  • Hiding/Misplacing Things/Rummaging
  • Hostility
  • Judgment (problems with decision-making and problem-solving)
  • Medication Mismanagement
  • Mood Changes
  • Repetition
  • Sexually Inappropriate Behavior
  • Social Withdrawal
  • Wandering

All profits from this book will be donated to the Home Instead Senior Care Foundation and designated for dementia-related organizations and causes.

Tips for Seniors and Caregivers to Survive the Holidays

Be a Santa Minneapolis
Click here for more information!

Whether you’re senior with a large family or young family with small children, the holidays can take their toll on your time and emotions. That is why the Home Instead Center for Successful Aging focused on providing you these holiday stress busters.

For Caregivers

  1. Communicate your needs
    Difficult family dynamics can take center stage during the holidays. Conflict may arise if family members can no longer continue their traditional holiday roles. Let yourself be heard and invite conversation around conflicts. Communicating is the best way to help smooth out problems and avert new ones.
  2. home carePlan ahead
    Lower your level of stress by starting your holiday preparations way in advance. Make a list before the season arrives of what needs to get completed and purchased.
  3. Be flexible
    The holidays are steeped in personal, family and religious traditions. Maintaining those is a lot of responsibility for anyone, especially family caregivers, who lead busy lives while caring for aging parents. Diane K. Hendricks, social worker for the Center, recommends: “As a family, ask yourself, ‘What is important to continue and what can we adapt or let go?’”
  4. Be resourceful
    Take a look at your list from suggestion #2 and think about who might be able to help. Think about their skills and time commitment. Sometimes, people simply need to be asked. Maybe a Home Instead CAREGiver could help?
  5. Take care of yourself
    You hear it every year – don’t over-eat during the holidays and keep exercising. That’s easier said than done, for sure. Make a concerted effort to schedule time for exercise and keep healthy snacks handy to help avoid sugary holiday treats.
  6. Make time for your traditions
    One of the most important things about the holidays is creating memories with your loved ones.  Don’t let favorite traditions go by the wayside during the busy holiday season. If time or circumstances make them difficult to maintain, adapt them as necessary. Consider making volunteering for the Home Instead Be a Santa to a Senior program part of your holiday traditions!
  7. Look for comic relief
    Nothing lifts the spirit like a good laugh! Gather friends together for a game night or to watch a funny holiday movie. Or, for immediate relief, let the queen of aging humor, Mary Maxwell, give her a one word solutions for those that might not want to cook a large holiday dinner.

For Seniors

    1. Reconsider the menu
      If Mom can no longer handle preparing and cooking the traditional meal on her own, make it a group effort. It’s a win-win: Mom can supervise and the next generation can learn all the secrets to making those favorite family recipes. Involve Mom’s home care provider to do the grocery shopping and prep work.
    2. Be their eyes, hands and feet
      When arthritis prevents seniors from writing cards or macular degeneration damages eyesight and makes it difficult to shop for gifts, you can offer to take on those tasks. If time is short, suggest more efficient options such as online shopping and sending e-cards.
    3. Mix it up
      Older adults are usually most alert and at their best earlier in the day. Why not plan a holiday brunch rather than a lunch, or attend a daytime religious service instead of the evening one?
    4. Go Skype
      Distance can separate older adults from loved ones, which exacerbates loneliness, isolation and depression during the holidays. Use the latest technology to help an older adult stay connected to loved ones from afar.
    5. Think simple
      You may love seeing the family home all decked out for the season, but hauling boxes of decorations may become impossible for seniors who struggle with mobility and balance issues. Get together with family and friends and decide which holiday decorating traditions to keep and what to forego.

  • Hit the road
    You no doubt remember it as a child – those holiday light tours that you and your parents loved. A holiday driving tour is an easy way to bring back the memories and joy to an older adult who can no longer decorate. Get a list of places to visit in Minneapolis!
  • Compensate when necessary
    If hearing impairment keeps Dad from enjoying the annual holiday movie, check out the latest sound enhancement technology. If Mom is having trouble seeing the deck of playing cards, look for large print cards or activities that can help keep her in the game.
  • minneapolis holidayRelive memorable moments
    Seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias will especially appreciate opportunities to tap into old memories. Read our post on preserving family memories for ideas.
  • Make new memories
    Sometimes, things must change. If an older adult can’t participate in the holiday or is hospitalized, why not create a simple video that shares highlights of the season? Or arrange to have a group sing carols to your senior loved one – traditional songs from his or her generation.
  • Get help – fast!
    One of the best ways to adapt holiday activities is to ask for help . Enlisting the help of a professional caregiver to help with meal preparation or to provide transportation for your loved one can lighten the load for families and free them up to maximize special holiday time with their senior loved one.

Be a Santa to a Senior Program a HUGE Success in Minneapolis!

In 2011, 2000 gifts were given to local Minneapolis area seniors who needed holiday cheer.
We appreciate your participation!

senior careThe faces of both the seniors and the volunteers lit up as gifts were distributed to seniors in nursing homes, low income senior housing, adult day centers and personally nominated individuals. Just a few of the senior residences include the Ebenezer Tower, Friendship Center and Augustana.

home careThis huge success would not have been possible without our partners which include Byerly’s & Lund’s Pharmacy locations, Starbucks, The Brost Clinic, Health Partners, Minneapolis Women’s Club, Upsher-Smith, Park Nicollet Orthopedic Clinic, Allina Health Clinic Medical Arts, Oakwood Elementary, MN School of Business and Herzig University.

With this experience in our hearts, we look forward to 2012 with positivity and gratefulness.