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Rural Caregiver

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Today's Rural Caregiving: Managing Mood
Without Medication

by Linda Lindsey Davis, RN, PhD  

(Page 3 of 4)

Listening to the sounds of nature
Getting or sending cards, letters
Going on an outing
Having coffee or tea with a friend
Being complimented
Going for a car ride
Grooming (make-up, shaving)
Recalling & discussing pleasant events

Use the list above to help your elder develop their own pleasurable activities that she or he can enjoy alone such as listening to music, taking a favorite walk or a watching familiar TV programs. 

The following five strategies are recommended for family caregivers who want to improve mood in a elder: 

Plan and organize additional pleasant activities that the elder and other family members can enjoy together regularly. This might include weekly family dinners and short shopping trips.

Use memory aids to encourage the elder to recall past pleasant events. For example, help him or her to organize photo albums of family pictures. Put together a memory book of photos of family members, vacation trips or other pleasant events for the elder’s purse or wallet. Encourage family members to sit with the elder regularly and review the happy experiences represented in the memory book. Add new photos to the book regularly. 

Utilize reminders to help the elder anticipate upcoming pleasant events. For example, use a large refrigerator calendar to list the schedule of daily events for the next week (e.g., family viewing of favorite TV shows, a plan for a walk or trip to the store, anticipated visits from children and grandchildren). Refer the elder to the schedule frequently so he/she can anticipate upcoming pleasant events each day.

Set realistic goals for mood management. Encourage the elder to assume some planning responsibility but do only those activities that can be accomplished without causing you and the elder stress or frustration.

Finally, become an expert on the elder’s thinking style. Listen and look for signs of blue mood thinking. Observe the elder’s behavior in stressful situations and try to avoid or reduce the occurrence of situations that cause blue mood thinking. 

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