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The Challenges Facing Seniors and Their Family Caregivers

Considering Your Future Needs

We all want to believe we’ll be able to maintain the activity level and independence we’ve enjoyed well into our autumn years. However, we may fail to consider what life may look like if our health changes and more support is needed. What support will I need and what will that look like? Who will provide that support? Caregivers come in many forms. Across the country, approximately 34 million Americans have provided unpaid care to an adult age 50 or older for the last year or longer. These caregivers can be spouses, partners, friends, neighbors or most often, adult children caring for an aging parent. On average, a family caregiver spends upwards of 24 hours every week providing care to a loved one, helping with duties like household chores, transportation, meal preparation and assisting with daily living activities such as dressing, personal care assistance, medication management and other healthcare tasks.

There’s no doubt that caregiving can be a rewarding experience for both parties. There are benefits for the caregiver and the care recipient that include a closer relationship, better cognitive function and even greater longevity. But caring for an aging loved one does have some downsides which shouldn’t be ignored. Sometimes, caregivers can face burnout and caregiver stress syndrome from their duties. Not only is this detrimental to their physical, mental and emotional health, but it can also lead to being a less effective caregiver and can impact their relationship with the person they’re supporting, as well as others.

Challenges Family Caregivers Face

If you’re currently thinking about aging in place in your home, it’s important to consider the situation you may be putting your adult children, spouse or other family members into in the future. While all caregiving experiences are unique, there are certain duties and challenges your loved one will face when they’re providing your care. Some of these include:

  • Assisting with daily living activities. Depending on your needs and abilities, your loved one will be helping you out with tasks like bathing and dressing, as well as cooking and cleaning. The more reliant you become on your family caregiver, the more time they’ll be spending on your needs, often putting them above their own needs.
  • Mobility assistance. With aging comes chronic conditions like osteoporosis or arthritis, which can make it difficult for you to move easily about your home. This means you may need your family member to help get you from one place to the next, such as from the bed in the morning to a chair in the living room. Or, helping you get into and out of the home or up a flight of stairs to the bedroom. The labor involved in assisting with these mobility issues can be a demanding task that often puts the caregivers’ own physical well being at risk.
  • Transportation. There may come a time when it’s no longer safe for you to continue driving, so it’s common for family caregivers to step in and transport you to doctor appointments, shopping trips, social activities and more. While this is not a strenuous task, don’t forget that driving from one place to the next can take a great deal of time out of your loved one’s day, leaving them less time to complete their own errands or spend time with their families.
  • Monitoring medication and various healthcare tasks. If your health begins to decline further, family caregivers are often required to administer medications or even intravenous fluids and injections – tasks for which they have no formal training and may feel uncomfortable to perform.
  • Financial strain. Family caregivers often miss hours or even days of work to provide support and care for you. This can cause financial strain on their own households. The longer they’re helping with your care, the more financial strain they could feel.

All the above are great reasons for you to consider downsizing your current home while you’re still active and independent. Instead of waiting until it becomes medically necessary, and putting your loved one’s own health and happiness at risk, consider moving to a retirement neighborhood early on to help relieve family caregivers of undue stress. This not only empowers you to retain personal control of your life, but is also an important step that will allow you to continue to enjoy your parent-child relationship for years to come.

Making the decision to move to an assisted living community sooner rather than later ensures a smooth transition for all those involved. Knowing that you will receive the best care possible leads to a higher level of independence and a better quality of life. Not only will your physical health be top priority, but you’ll enjoy a boost to your mental and emotional wellness, too, as you take part in lifelong learning opportunities and build meaningful relationships with your neighbors.

Vibrant Senior Living Options in Chelsea at Silver Maples

Silver Maples Retirement Neighborhood offers a variety of senior living options designed to fit your lifestyle. From spacious independent living villas and comfortable residential apartments to all-inclusive support in the Meadows assisted living apartments, you’re guaranteed to feel right at home the minute you walk through the door. We even offer short stays so family caregivers may take a break from their duties, travel or attend to their own needs for up to several months. The staff at Silver Maples is dedicated to providing the most independent lifestyle possible to our residents and short term residents/guests. We strive to support both the individual and the family through the aging process to maintain a good quality of life for all.  Family members J & K Myles agree, saying, “Silver Maples restored mom’s dignity, social life, and our ability to get through our demanding day and still give her loving care and attention she required.”

Contact us today to schedule your personal tour to see all that our beautiful community has to offer you and your family.

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