Caregiving can be immensely rewarding, with the knowledge that each day you are helping someone to have a richer, fuller, more pleasant life. It can also be immensely challenging, however, taking up time and emotional energy.
It’s not easy to see a loved one struggling with day to day tasks, or facing difficult medical issues. However, there are several steps you can take to be a better caretaker, and to see your role in a more positive light.
Cut yourself some slack. It’s easy to feel the pressure to do everything and take on too much. After all, you are helping to care for someone you care about and who is an integral part of your family. It can be hard to make tough calls, like when to contemplate assisted living, or to predict how you’ll react to unexpected events.
Don’t demand perfection of yourself, but instead give yourself permission to enjoy patience and grace as you navigate the ups and downs of being a caregiver.
Talk through it now. Go ahead and talk to your siblings, spouse, and any other very important persons who need to have a say in your loved one’s care. Have the difficult conversations now about how you will handle medical emergencies and legal matters. Plan ahead for who will have power of attorney, how to handle any assets that would go into probate, and how siblings who live far away and are not in a caretaking role will provide support, whether emotionally, financially, or otherwise.
By tackling these sometimes thorny issues up front, you can know ahead of time what to do in any given situation, and make decisions while on solid mental and emotional footing.
Plan ahead. How would you take on any other big project at work or at home? Strategize, make a list, and figure out what the best way to tackle the task at hand. Caretaking is no different. Make sure everything will run smoothly by putting items on your calendar ahead of time, making a medication schedule (if applicable), organize delivery of any regularly used supplies like oxygen or diabetes testing strip and lancets. The more you can automate and pre-plan, the simpler life will be!
Communicate clearly. Be proactive and upfront when talking with the many professionals involved in your loved one’s care. Physicians, physical therapists, in-home aids, insurance contacts, medical specialists, and more all need to be coordinated. Touch base with each of them regularly, and take plenty of notes. The more you know, the quicker and easier decision making can be, and the easier it will be to juggle medical appointments, prescription schedules, and more.
By jumping in and not letting yourself get overwhelmed, you can keep your caregiving experience positive and effective. As with any other big project, a little organization can go a long way to reducing stress and making any task manageable.
With its mild climate, low cost of living, and burgeoning cultural centers, the South is one of the best regions for retirees. Since 1950, Southern states have been drawing a steady stream of retirees from all over the United States. There’s no shortage of natural wonder, recreation, shopping, great eats, and of course there’s that world-famous Southern hospitality that gives the region such charm.
Regency Retirement is well-rooted in that history of welcome and warmth. Our first location was Riverwood Retirement in Rome, GA, and our headquarters are in Ooltewah near beautiful Chattanooga, Tennessee. Since 2003 our number of locations has expanded to include Maybelle Carter in Nashville, Regency Charlotte in North Carolina, Regency Morristown, Regency Jackson, Regency Tuscaloosa, and Rosewood Assisted Living in Tennessee, and Regency Birmingham and Regency Huntsville in Alabama. Morningside of College Park in Indianapolis, the furthest north of the Regency sites.
What that means is a network of caring, well-located retirement communities that offer the very best. From the warm, mild climate to the slew of activities available in the South’s best cities, there’s so much to see, do and enjoy. Everywhere you go, there are friendly faces, both from neighbors and caretakers at the Regency communities to the folks you’ll meet in the town at large.
Whether you want to stay close to family and grandkids, or are seeking out a new adventure in your golden years far from the old rat race, Regency offers an ideal place to call your own.
It’s not always an easy decision to begin looking for a memory care facility for your loved one. Caretaking is so personal it can be hard to admit that someone you care about needs more than the love and devotion that family can provide. Moving to a memory care facility also means disrupting household routines, changing dynamics, and such a big decision shouldn’t be taken lightly.
However, memory care facilities offer many advantages that the average American home or senior apartment does not. Many are specially designed to help memory care patients function at their absolute best, and come with customized care programs to help manage Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other memory disorders.
When you are investigating a memory care facility, we suggest asking these questions and looking into the following qualities to ensure you are finding the best possible place for your loved one:
What programs are in place to keep the residents engaged, entertained, happy, and fulfilled? Are there planned activities? Outings? What opportunities are there for socialization and interaction with others?
Is the building designed in such a way that best accommodates those with memory care needs? Is it safe and secure, easy to navigate, or possibly designed on a loop pattern? Studies have shown that building design can have a big impact on the happiness and health of memory care patients.
How are staff hired? Are they required to have special credentials or training in memory care? How are they chosen from a pool of applicants? What background checks and personality tests are required, if any, to ensure safety and quality of care?
How will the facility keep your loved one safe? Are there procedures and processes for visitation, check in, and check out? What security measures are in place? Is there a safe space for residents to enjoy time outdoors without risk of elopement or getting lost? How carefully managed is the facility to prevent abuse, whether physical ,mental, or through some other means like financial theft or fraud?
By knowing what questions to ask, you can make the retirement residence selection process simpler and more effective. You may need to tour and interview several facilities to find the one that is the best possible fit for your loved one, but when you do, you can have confidence that they are having a wonderful experience that encourages their strengths and effectively treats their weaknesses.
We’ve all heard that exercise can have a huge impact on health and the quality of senior years, especially when health conditions associated with aging start to crop up. Heart disease, Alzheimer’s, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and even depression can seriously affect your ability to manage day to day and get the most out of life. They can also all be changed through greater physical activity. You don’t have to be an former Olympic champion to reap the benefits of movement. You can have lead a largely sedentary life and still make positive changes now.
“Better late than never” defiantly applies in this scenario. Exercise can affect the rate of mental decline in patients in need of memory care, and can affect when you may need to arrange for residential memory care, assisted living, or even independent living in a retirement community. If you already are living in an adult care facility, or are planning on it soon for health reasons, you can still make a big difference in your comfort level and your ability to recover from illness, hospital stays, and how your current conditions affect you day to day.
Many senior living facilities offer plenty of options for fitness and exercise. Regency’s Retirement Village locations offer a variety of ways for seniors to stay active, from gardening plots to organized walks to Wii Fit tournaments to organized fitness classes like yoga, to dedicated work out equipment. Senior services include more than prescription scheduling, doctor’s visits, and transportation for shopping. It’s about helping residents get those most out of their golden years, so they can live life with dignity, comfort, and enthusiasm.
Whether you are choose independent apartments, assisted living, or a memory care facility, there are ways to build different degrees of confidence and sufficiency for all seniors. We believe that activity and encouragement builds self esteem. That end Regency Retirement’s locations offer a variety of levels of care, all with plenty of activities and opportunities for engagement to suit ever ability.
Independent living offers many of the same advantages as living in one’s own home, but without the isolation and frustration that come from living alone and trying to manage everyday tasks that become more difficult with age. By living in a retirement community, you can take advantage of planned activities and outings, or create your own adventures. You’ll have neighbors nearby with whom to socialize and a caring staff to assist with household chores like cooking, cleaning, and laundry. It’s many of the benefits of maintaining your own house or apartment, but with so much more to maximize your fun and enjoyment.
Assisted living is there for you if your needs include help with bathing, dressing, and supervision of medications. In addition to help where and when you need it, you’ll be part of a group of caring friends with access to a full roster of events, from local concerts and symphony performances to bridge tournaments, bingo, and group exercise classes. It’s the ultimate balance of dignified assistance and maintaining the lifestyle you’ve always enjoyed.
Memory care provides the same benefits of interaction, community engagement, and fun with the safety and security needed by those facing memory disorders. With a program specially tailored for the needs of those with Alzheimer’s and dementia, both residents and family members can be confident in the quality of life at Regency’s Remembrances centers.
No matter the level of care, we believe that everyone should enjoy as much autonomy as possible, receiving help with dignity, and customized to each unique resident’s needs.