Caregiving Archives | Wesley Glen Retirement Community

Making the Transition for a Loved One to Memory Care Support

Caring for a parent or loved one with memory loss is no easy task. While it is a commendable and selfless responsibility to take on, with it comes many obstacles and challenges. With the numerous life adjustments that need to be made such as priorities shifting, adapting your home for safety precautions, and the emotional toll that it can have on everyone included, it is often found that considering a transition to a community with memory care support makes a lot of sense. At all of The Wesley Communities, we have a trusted team to help make your transition as easy as possible while putting your needs and the needs of your loved one first. Below, we’ve compiled some helpful tips you may find useful.

  • Research facilities of interest and be transparent about your desires and concerns. Talk to your loved one and family first and then, make sure to address all areas of importance with administrators, residency counselors, and all others who will be part of this important transition. By knowing the ins and outs of each community you are considering, you will feel more comfortable that you are making the right choice with the best facility for your loved one.
  • Once you do select the facility that is right for your loved one, discuss it sensitively and positively with them. Especially for someone with memory loss, having a conversation of this subject matter may bring fear, anger, and sadness. Try and speak calmly with your loved one and share with them all of the opportunities and benefits they will have available to them.
  • Give the staff useful information and hobbies of your loved one. By letting those at the facility know what interests your loved one has and what brings them joy, they will be able to make the transition as positive as possible. This will better allow them to have activities, books, art and crafts, etc. prepared ahead of time that your loved one will be happy to have.
  • Work with staff to have some of your family member’s favorite foods or snacks available. Along the lines of letting staff know what interests your loved one has, having some treats they enjoy will help as well. If they love your homemade chocolate chip cookies, work with the staff to have some available in the first week after moving.
  • Plan to take some time off from work or other demands to prioritize the move. As with any move, planning is a large portion of it. If you are employed, try and work with your team or save some vacation time so that you can take a few days off to focus on moving your loved one. By your loved one having you every step of the way, they will feel more at ease.
  • Bring a sense of home to their new home. Decorate your loved ones home or create shadow boxes to make it feel familiar. By including your loved one’s favorite home items and pictures of family and friends, their new space will feel comfortable, familiar, and calming.
  • Reassure and be there for your loved one. In many cases, you will need to remind your loved one or re-explain the transition they will be making. Of course, this can be difficult and emotional for both you and them. The memory care staff at the facility you choose will be able to assist with this conversation to try and make it as positive and comforting as possible. Make sure to try and reassure your loved one that this transition will be a good one and again, share with them the great opportunities they will have like making new friends and being able to participate in fun activities.

 Making the transition for a loved one to memory care brings many emotions, challenges, and logistics but for many, it can also be a very beneficial decision for those with memory loss and their caregivers. By working together as a family, and with the supportive staff at the facility you choose, you will find the comfort and peace of mind you deserve.

 

The above article was written by The Wesley Communities’ Marketing Communications Coordinator, Allie DeBor.


We Are Family

We are facing a difficult and scary time right now. Our lives have been flipped upside down, emotions are heightened and in more cases than not, fear has taken the front seat.

While hard times surround us, we urge everyone to take a deeper look and to remember why we are here in the first place.

We have been through a journey with each and every one of our residents, patients, and families. Why did you seek us originally? Maybe Mom could no longer do the stairs in her house. Or maybe, Grandma was having difficulty remembering to take her daily medications and needed a nurse to help. Maybe Dad couldn’t bathe himself anymore. Whatever the factor was, you needed a place that was there for you, that would care for Mom, Dad, or Grandma like you care for them. You needed us, and you found us, and from there, another form of “family” began.

We treat your loved one as if they are our family, not only caring for them, but growing with them. We celebrate the important, happy days with them like holidays and anniversaries, and we comfort them in sadness and grief when it’s needed most. We know them by name, we know their children, and we know their children’s children. We worry about them and protect them as if they are our family and we do everything we can to fight for them, not just in the face of a pandemic, but always.

Our communities and teams are made up of clinicians and professionals in a variety of specialties. We have so many passionate people in such important roles. From doctors and nurses, to life enrichment coordinators and admissions, we all have unique roles and different responsibilities, but we all share one thing in common and that is that to us, your family has become our family.

We are a wonderful place filled with dedicated, hardworking people who followed a passion – a passion to serve. We give your loved ones medication, and exercise, and help them go to sleep at night. We dance with them and create beautiful pieces of artwork with them. We work to help your loved one walk again or to button a shirt again, and we smile with tears in our eyes as they do it. We work with families on new treatments and diagnoses, and we hold their hands when news might not be so good. We lend our families a shoulder when it’s needed, and we reassure them that we are here for love and support.

And when a pandemic unexpectedly hits – we rise, and we fight, and we protect. We monitor your loves ones day in and day out, constantly assessing and evaluating while still providing a lifestyle of positivity among the darkness. Our staff adapts quickly, following CDC and state guidelines, while putting important regulations and additional PPE in place. We listen to each other and support each other as a team. We react and we push forward. We work hard together, and lean on each other, and we make sure to thank each other. We do our best to keep families connected through FaceTime, window visits, and letters, and we find comfort in local businesses who donate and help. We protect your loves ones, we fight for your loved ones and soon, we will overcome with your loved ones. We are resilient and we are family.

 

This article was inspired by a Facebook post written by a Wisconsin nursing manager named Rachel encouraging those to spread the word.


Caregiving Tips for the Holidays

Help a Caregiver You Know

  • Offer to help clean and cook, wrap presents, go shopping, or pick up the kids.
  • If your family is caregiving, suggest a potluck holiday meal or secret Santa gift exchange to save time and money.
  • The best gift you could give a caregiver is help. Give them the day off!
  • Remember to say “thank you” to a caregiver and let them know they are appreciated.
  • If a member of your family is caregiving for a relative this holiday season, send a thank you gift.

Click the link above for additional tips for those caring for a loved one during the holidays.


November is National Family Caregiver Month

Recognized by President Clinton when he signed the first proclamation in 1997, National Family Caregiver’s Month has been proclaimed by an American President annually ever since. Many states and dozens of local municipalities have also proclaimed November, NFC Month.
Day in and day out, more than 75 million family caregivers in this country fulfill a vital role in caring for elderly, aging parents. Click the link above to learn more about the role that caregivers play and why this month especially, we should join together to celebrate and recognize them.
 
 
 
 
 


The Unexpected Costs of Caring for an Aging Parent

According to data collected by the National Alliance for Caregiving, there are over 66 million family caregivers in the United States. That translates to nearly 40 percent of the U.S. adult population…a stunning statistic. This number includes people who are caring for the sick or disabled, but the majority of these caregivers are assisting an elderly family member.
Other than a spouse, the most common people to be tasked with caring for an elderly loved one are adult children. In fact, a study conducted by MetLife showed that 10 million adult children over age 50 were acting as a caregiver for their aging parent(s), a number that equals approximately a quarter of all Baby Boomers.
These caregivers are helping their loved ones with everything from running errands and meal preparation to dressing, bathing, and using the toilet. In certain cases, families are able to outsource some or all of these tasks to a paid caregiver; other families are unable to afford this option or believe it is their duty to care for their aging parents.
A large majority of seniors hope to stay in their own home for as long as possible–a concept referred to as “aging in place.” There’s a common perception that this is the most cost-effective option for seniors, and some people choose this route because they hope to save money to eventually leave to their adult children. But the reality is that, depending on the level of care that a person needs as they age and if they develop health issues, staying in the home can become very costly to their grown children, in more ways than one.
The hard costs of caregiving
If you choose to take on an elderly parent’s care (or have no other option), there are potentially many costs associated with becoming an unpaid caregiver. There is the emotional cost–caring for a sick or elderly person can be extremely stressful and mentally draining. There’s also a physical cost–the strain on the body can leave you with sore muscles in additional to general exhaustion. But one of the sometimes-unforeseen costs of becoming a caregiver is the financial impact on the adult child.
When taking on the caregiver role, adult children often have to reduce their hours at work or even quit their job altogether, thus slashing their personal income. Add to that the loss of pension earnings and Social Security benefits, and according to the MetLife study, adult-child caregivers in the U.S. suffer a cumulative loss of nearly $3 trillion in earnings. For sons, the average in lost income is $283,716 per person. The news is even worse for daughters, who lose an average of $324,044 in earnings as a result of their caregiving responsibilities.
In addition to the hit to their income, caregivers may find themselves simultaneously taking on extra expenses. On average, family members serving as caregivers are spending nearly $7,000 of their own money each year on their loved one’s expenses–helping cover the cost of things like medical bills, utilities, and food.
Jeopardizing your own retirement
But perhaps the biggest unforeseen cost that many adult children pay when they become an aging parent’s caregiver is the hit to their retirement savings. That loss can come in two forms.
First, working less, making less money, and increasing expenses frequently means that the caregiver has little left over at the end of the month and is thus contributing less (or nothing) to their retirement savings account. And this savings deficit often comes at an inopportune time. According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, the average age of an adult child serving as caregiver is 49.2. Many people anticipate bolstering their savings during their 50s, since they have perhaps paid off a large part of their house and gotten the kids through college. This scenario makes taking on caregiver responsibilities in your late 40s or early 50s rather badly timed.
The second way that caregiving can be detrimental to adult children’s future retirement is that it is not uncommon for people to dip into their savings in order to pay those previously mentioned additional expenses–using their own nest egg dollars to compensate for their lost income and help pay for mom and dad’s costs. This is an ill-advised decision, but some people have no other choice in order to make ends meet during this period of reduced or eliminated income and increased care expenses.
Funding aging parents’ care
If you choose to become a caregiver to your aging parent (or have no other option), here are a few ways to manage their care and expenses while looking out for your own long-term financial security (and mental and physical health).

  • Find out if there is a long-term care insurance policy, which may provide financial assistance for certain care services.
  • Check to see if there are any government programs that your parent is eligible for, such as Medicaid, veteran’s, or disability benefits.
  • Look at your parents’ expenses (as well as your own) and determine if there are simple cost-cutting opportunities such as a less expensive cable package or fewer meals out. Do anything you can to avoid dipping into your own retirement savings.
  • Enlist the help of siblings or other family members, both financially and time-wise. No one person can care for another full-time with no breaks.
  • Consider if it might be more cost-effective to hire a home care worker to assist your parent so that you can continue to work or can at least take less time off.

Preparing for your aging parents’ future
Having a crystal ball would come in handy in so many life situations but perhaps none more so than knowing what will happen as a person ages. It’s this unknown that can create so much stress as our parents grow older and we must make decisions about their care. This is why I strongly encourage adult children to have a frank discussion with their parents about their long-term living situation and their potential care needs down the road.
It’s also why some seniors consider the possibility of moving to a retirement community such as a continuing care retirement community (CCRC, also known as a life plan community), which offers residents a full continuum of care services, if and when needed. Yes, on the surface, CCRCs can seem expensive and some much more pricey than others, but the peace of mind they offer to both the aging parent as well as the adult child may just turn out to be priceless.
 
 
 
For Digital Use (please use the exact hyperlink):
The above article was written by Brad Breeding of myLifeSite and is legally licensed for use.
 
 
 
 


Traveling With Your Aging Parents

With so many of us living with and caring for our parents, we are constantly searching for ways to incorporate that care into our daily lives…and our vacations.
Remember back when our travel plans required that we consider feedings, strollers, diaper changing, and playgrounds? Now, we are considering walkers, oxygen tanks, hydration, and benches for resting. It can be challenging to assure you have covered all your bases and to assure everyone will have a smooth, enjoying, and relaxing vacation. Click the link above to learn some tips that will help when traveling with your aging parents.
 
 


4 Tips for Talking to Parents About Assisted Living

As your parents age, there may come a time when they are not able to live as independently as before, whether because of a chronic illness, injury, or decline in general health. As an adult-child of an aging parent, it may fall upon you to begin the conversation about a move to a retirement community or even assisted living, depending on the degree of need. Having this conversation can be challenging and emotional, especially because the majority of aging Americans are more attracted to the idea of “aging in place” in their current home.
Here are four tips that will help you approach this fragile subject with empathy and openness that will put you and your loved one on the same page about this transition. To learn more, click the link above.
 
 


Caregiving Is A Marathon

Too often we underestimate the time obligation of caregiving. Adult children step up to be the primary hands-on caregiver having no idea that they may spend as much time caring for their parents as they spent raising their children.
We tend to think that we can burn the candle at both ends – that we can do it all. We think we can manage kids, career, spouse, house, and parents. If caregiving were a sprint, we could probably do it all. Unfortunately, it’s not. Caregiving is a marathon that you could easily spend 15 years focused on the health and well-being of your parents.
Further, this race is no one-man show, but rather a relay race. Your team will consist of siblings, an attorney or two, doctors, financial advisors, clergy, neighbors, geriatric specialists and more. Ask them for help.  Encourage them to notify you if they have concerns. Remember to have the HIPPA-compliant releases signed so you can access your parents’ medical records and speak freely to the professionals providing care. Work with your parents to obtain a Power of Attorney (POA) before you think you need one. Engaging the assistance of an attorney who specializes in eldercare will help assure you that you have covered all your parents’ needs and concerns.
Caregiving is certainly a marathon. If you prepare for the race, you will prevail.
 
This article was written by Barbara McVicker
 
 


Caregiver Assistance: Addressing Caregiver Stress

Caring for an aging family member is a labor of love. But study after study also shows the emotional, physical, and even financial stress that the caregiver incurs as a result.
Research conducted by MetLife revealed that approximately 10 million adult children over the age of 50 (that’s roughly a quarter of all Baby Boomers!) have taken on the role of caregiver for their aging parents, helping with a variety of tasks–everything from running errands and cooking to bathing and using the toilet. It’s a lot to take on, especially for caregivers who may also be juggling a career and their own children, which is likely why caregivers over age 50 who work and provide care to a parent are more likely to have fair or poor health as compared to peers who do not provide elder care.
A few other noteworthy stats from the study:

  • Adult daughters are more likely to provide help with daily care, and sons are more likely to provide monetary assistance.
  • The total estimated aggregate lost wages, pension, and Social Security benefits of these adult-child caregivers is nearly $3 trillion.
    • For women, the total individual amount of lost income (wages, Social Security benefits, pension) due to leaving the labor force early and/or reducing hours of work because of caregiving responsibilities averages $324,044. For men, it averages $283,716.*

Yet despite all of these physical and financial drawbacks, the adult-child-as-caregiver trend continues to grow rapidly in the United States. The MetLife study showed that the number of adult children providing personal care and/or financial assistance to an aging parent has more than tripled over the past 15 years.
Caring for the caregiver
It seems that caring for an aging parent is here to stay. So what can caregivers do to help alleviate some of the stress associated with the gig? Click the link above to learn more. 


How to Love Your Loved One When They Have a Life Limiting Illness

By: Peg Carmany
When someone you love is diagnosed with a life limiting illness, it may be a time when the kaleidoscope of your life suddenly snaps into focus. Or it may be a time when the laser focus of your life becomes scattered. And very likely, there will be some of both. Of the research I have done, and the practical tips I can share from my own experience, these are my favorite pieces of advice:
1. Remember there is no right answer on how you’re supposed to act, and you should not assume that you are supposed to know exactly what to do and exactly how to act. It’s OK to fall apart, but one word of caution about that: try not to let the person who is ill be your primary source of comfort when you do hit a wall.
2. When trying to follow Tip 1, remember that your established role with this loved one doesn’t necessarily switch at the moment of diagnosis. Perhaps only one of you has ever been good under stress? It’s okay to keep it that way. Both of you may take great comfort in continuing on with familiar patterns.
3. Make it a priority to show your love as your loved one is facing what may be overwhelming and scary. It’s not all roses and chocolates – be authentic, be honest, and be yourself. Express gratitude to them for how they have positively impacted your life – and share happy memories – and don’t be afraid to say goodbye, tenderly.
4. Respect their authority to make their own decisions, whether you like it or not. These are their choices, not yours.
5. Keep things as normal as possible. Continue watching your favorite tv shows together or listening to their favorite music, it can be a very meaningful thing.
6. Laugh when you can, and don’t be afraid to poke a little fun at the whole situation. A sense of humor will lighten any mood!
7. And perhaps most importantly: listen, and give advice only when asked. This one can be the most challenging. Often, we are great talkers, but not the best listeners.
Remember, your loved one needs your emotional support. If you are feeling overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Often family and friends who live near by are more than willing to help with errands. And, if you need further support, Wesley Hospice can visit your home, the community you live in, and even hospitals.
We send our deepest condolences to the families who are faced with a loved one being diagnosed with a life limiting illness. And, we hope that with these tips you’ll be able to better love your loved one during this time.