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Elizabeth Bemis

By: Elizabeth Bemis on April 8th, 2013

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7 Things You Need to Know about Senior Caregiving

assisted living  |  Senior Living Communities CT  |  senior caregiving  |  senior care  |  Aging & Caregiving

Senior CaregivingDoes this sound familiar… Mom needs to get to the doctor’s for an urgent medical concern and you are stuck at work, Dad just fell and needs help so someone has to get over to the house, or Auntie’s prescription has just run out and she doesn’t have medication to get through the rest of the week. 

Who should take on the care of mom, dad or other family members? This question suggests that a decision is made among siblings to share the caregiving role, but the reality is that even if there are multiple siblings to choose from, one child usually bears the brunt of this responsibility. What follows next is burn-out. Many caregivers start to believe that they now have to be superwoman/man, and their new role is to do it ALL. 

These seven (7) guides will help define your senior caregiving role and preserve your well-being:

1. Gratitude – The Best Way to “Give Back” to Parents

This one word ‘gratitude’ can sum up all that needs to be said here. As a caregiver and child of advanced-age parents, cultivating a grateful heart will get you through the tough care giving times. This is how you honor your parents, being there and showing thankfulness. 

2. Let Go of Guilty Sentiments

These five sentiments, common among caregivers may ‘ring true’ for you, too:

1)    You have difficulty watching loved-ones decline

2)    You wish you could do more

3)    You feel a need to be present all the time

4)    You complain about the demands of care giving

5)    You miss spending time with family

If so, recognize these are normal emotions, and then let it go! Think anew, knowing that you make a positive difference in your parents’ lives and that’s enough.

3. Be the Best You!

Caregivers who bottle-up emotions (resentment, moodiness and depression) tend to have trouble sleeping and mental ill-health issues. To be the best YOU, plus an effective caregiver:

  • Find time for you (take mini breaks, even 15 minutes during care)
  • Listen to music, find spiritual inspirations or chill-out with friends
  • Ask siblings to pitch-in with Medicare paperwork and other indirect support 

4. Utilize Basic Well-being Techniques

Scientific studies show the healing benefits of aromatherapy, music therapy and outdoor exercise (gardening or daily walks) in promoting higher states of well-being. A basic aromatherapy treatment using light bulb rings to diffuse essential oils (such as lavender or rosemary) may be beneficial for you and those you care for. 

5. Let Seniors Do as Much as They Can

A caregiver’s role is -- to provide support -- not control the lives of their loved ones. This means encouraging mobility and daily self-care while you manage the home and build upon the relationship.

6. Lower the Financial Cost

If you’re paying for more than half the cost of senior care you might be able to receive tax return benefits. Speak with a financial advisor to learn how it works for your unique situation.

7. When to Consider Assisted Living

Consider assisted living under these three conditions:

  • Safety at home is a serious concern
  • A social environment is paramount
  • Supervision of domestic activities is required (housekeeping, meal preparation and eating, etc.)

Key Takeaways:

  • Gratitude allows you to freely “give back” to senior parents
  • Release guilty sentiments; think of the positive difference caregiving brings
  • An effective caregiver starts by taking care of her/himself
  • Well-being techniques can enhance the quality of care
  • Don’t help too much! Let seniors do as much as they can
  • A financial advisor may help lower senior care expenditure
  • Safety, Supervision and a social environment are three “S’s” when considering assisted living

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United Methodist Homes provides a continuum of services for assisted and independent living that supports health, independence, and dignity. We build this continuum on the belief that a relationship-centered philosophy best sustains body, mind, and spirit. To learn more about our communities please contact us or visit our website www.umh.org.

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About Elizabeth Bemis

In 1998, I drove past an assisted living community construction site, learned that it was part of United Methodist Homes and realized the next stop on my professional journey was to work for a mission driven organization. Soon after, I joined the team as Executive Director of our Middlewoods of Farmington community and later served as Regional Manager for the Middlewoods properties before accepting my current role as Vice President of Marketing, Promotions, and Assisted Living Operations. I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking, reading, walking, and love working alongside our staff, residents, and families to build strong communities that reflect the mission, vision, and values of United Methodist Homes.

Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.