Caregivers – 5 Things You Should Do This Spring
If you’re like most caregivers, you're juggling approximately one million things all at once. But have you forgotten that writing things down can help you both keep track of what needs to be done and derive a sense of satisfaction every time you complete a task?
No time to make that list? We thought we’d help you out by identifying five things caregivers should do this spring.
1. Clean House
The arrival of spring also means the arrival of one oft-dreaded household task: spring cleaning. While the thought of cleaning out and getting organized may not be all that appealing, you’ll be grateful for the results. But setting aside time for this chore isn’t just about cleanliness. It’s also about ensuring that your aging loved one’s living space is safe. Spring cleaning offers the perfect opportunity to eliminate fall hazards, and look for signs that may suggest your aging loved one’s needs are changing. Unopened bills, unfilled prescriptions, stale or expired food in the refrigerator, and household clutter may be just a few examples that your loved one is having greater difficulty living independently.
2. Tour a Senior Living Community
Whether your aging loved one’s care needs have changed over the past year or you’re simply trying to plan ahead, spring is a smart time to tour an assisted or independent living community. If you haven’t yet talked with your aging loved one about about the many senior living options available, it’s never too soon to start an ongoing conversation which acknowledges their own desires, needs and concerns. Schedule a lunch tour or take advantage of a spring open house to get familiar with the lifestyle, benefits, and costs of senior living. (And after all that spring cleaning, downsizing to a manageable senior living apartment will mean a maintenance-free lifestyle for both you and your loved one!)
3. Know Your Loved One’s Wishes
Talking about death and dying is never easy, but knowing your aging loved one's wishes and choices can help you and your family members come together to honor them. Advance directives, which include both living wills and durable power of attorney (DPA) for health care, are legal documents which can speak for individuals who can no longer speak for themselves. One thing to keep in mind: Advance directives aren’t just for the elderly. If your aging loved one is resistant to talking about this subject, setting up your own advance directives and sharing them can help foster a healthy discussion.
4. Consider a Senior Alert System
If you see your loved one frequently, you may not notice the little changes that add up to big ones over time. While these changes don’t necessarily mean a senior is no longer able to live independently, they may indicate that some extra precautions are in order. For many seniors -- as well as the people who love them -- senior alert systems, which allow aging loved ones to call for help with the touch of a button in a medical emergency, don’t just offer enhanced safety and security, but also invaluable peace of mind.
5. Check In
Many caregivers spend so much time thinking about the welfare of their aging loved ones that they neglect their own needs. But the switch to spring offers a chance to assess your own health and wellness. Are you due for a physical? Are you getting enough sleep? Do you have a sufficient support network? All of these things matter, and can help you enjoy a better quality of life and be a better caregiver at the same time. Spring will come and go before you know it, bringing sunshine and warmer days. Start the season off on a positive note by proactively crossing these items off your list.
- The changing of the seasons offers a chance to check in on your aging loved one’s living situation and evaluate everything from spring cleaning to changing care needs.
- Spring is also a good time to either start or continue important conversations about senior living and care options and/or advance directives.
- In addition to checking in to make sure your aging loved one’s basic needs are being met, it's also important to check in on your own.
About Marissa Salvesen
My journey into the world of senior living began when I started working for United Methodist Homes in 2010. Starting as an Activities Director at one of our-winning assisted and independent living communities and then transitioning to Marketing and Promotions Manager for UMH, I now work as the Manager of Mission Development, fostering the Mission and Values of our organization. I love sharing stories about the many ways we build meaningful relationships and enrich the lives of those we serve, and am proud to be part of building UMH’s 140-year legacy of caring. Wondering what makes our communities such special places to live and work? Connect with me and find out!
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.