Coping with Sibling Rivalry While Caring for an Aging Parent

Coping with Sibling Rivalry While Caring for an Aging Parent

When an aging parent’s health begins to decline, it can be emotionally difficult for their adult children. The stress and tension it creates can increase the likelihood for conflict between adult children who often have differing ideas about what type of care an aging parent s needs.

One person may want to take a proactive approach and begin searching for senior living communities, while another child might be in denial that their parent is struggling. The situation often brings long forgotten childhood squabbles to the surface again.

Finding ways to manage these conflicts and create a plan for care that keeps an aging parent safe becomes even more challenging.

5 Ways Prevent Family Feuds over an Aging Parent’s Care

Here are a few tips you can use to avoid a family feud:

  1. Put Your Parent First: If your loved one is able, ask them to share their wishes for future care with all of you. Don’t make assumptions about what he or she would want. Whenever possible, include your parent in the decision-making process.
  2. Divide Up Responsibilities: Create a comprehensive list of tasks and activities your older loved one needs help with. Assign each task to a family member. If one sibling lives far away and can’t pitch in, ask if they are willing to contribute financially to the plan. They might be willing to hire a cleaning service to come a few times a month or for a few hours of care from in-home caregiver.
  3. Communicate Frequently: As with all things in life, good communication is important. Make an extra effort to stay in touch with one another and to share updates and changes in a parent’s condition. Don’t put the burden of communication on the primary caregiver though. He or she is probably already overwhelmed. Instead, designate one sibling to call the sibling who is handling most of the responsibilities to obtain updates. Then have them communicate those updates to the rest of the family. It can even be done using an app like Care Zone or a private group on Facebook.
  4. Exercise Patience and Respect: Aging services providers see every day how family squabbles can lead to permanent rifts among loved ones. It can be tough not to let your emotions get the best of you when you are worried about a loved one. Remind yourself to be patient and respectful of one another. The old practice of taking a deep breath and counting to ten before you say or do something you will regret later is one to remember and adopt.
  5. Hire a Mediator: Sometimes families just can’t work together. If you feel like your family has reached an impasse, consider hiring an elder care attorney or an elder care mediator. These trained professionals provide unbiased guidance about senior care solutions and can make recommendations for moving forward.

If you have questions about senior living in Michigan or how to tell what type of care your parent might need, please call the Heritage Senior community nearest to you. We will be happy to answer your questions and point you in the right direction for help!

Can Berries Help Prevent Alzheimer’s?

One of the challenges when it comes to Alzheimer’s prevention is that scientists still don’t know exactly what causes the disease. Current thinking is that Alzheimer’s is linked to plaques that build up between nerve cells in the brain. But researchers still aren’t sure how those plaques develop. They do have some ideas that might help you prevent the disease.

7 Lifestyle Changes That May Help Prevent Alzheimer’s

  1. Brain Aerobics: Continuing to take on new challenges and learn new skills and hobbies can provide your brain a workout. Many scientists believe that is a key reducing your risk for the disease. You might consider learning a new language or taking up a musical instrument like the guitar or drums. Reading, working puzzles, and playing cards also help to pump up your grey matter.
  2. Berries and Veggies: Adopting a lifestyle that includes a diet rich in nuts, fish, beans, berries and vegies have all been linked to lower rates of Alzheimer’s. The Dash Diet and the Mediterranean Diet are two food plans believed to be the best for living a longer, healthier life.
  3. Break Out the Red: This prevention tip is a little more controversial. Some studies show that Polyphenol, an ingredient found in red wine, might reduce plaque formations in the brain. Just a glass a day though! Too much alcohol can have the opposite effect and create more health problems.
  4. Indulge Your Coffee Habit: For many years we were told to avoid drinking more than one cup of coffee a day. More recent studies show that drinking 3 or 4 cups of coffee a day may prevent Alzheimer’s. (Heart patients and others with coronary diseases should check with their doctor first. Many cardiologists tell adults with heart problems to avoid coffee and caffeine.)
  5. Opt for Omegas: Omega-3 fatty acids are also believed to help slow the development of cognitive problems and conditions like Alzheimer’s. The best ones to work in to your diet are salmon, tuna, walnuts and even those smelly little anchovies.
  6. Get Moving: Thirty minutes of moderate exercise at least five days a week can help lower your blood pressure and reduce stress. Both conditions are linked to Alzheimer’s. Walking, Chair Yoga and bike riding are easy, low-impact forms of senior-friendly exercise.
  7. Kick the Habit: If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to kick the habit. Besides the damage smoking does to your heart and lungs, studies now show that smoking can put you at as much as 157% higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s.

If you are currently struggling to care for a Michigan senior who has Alzheimer’s disease, the Heritage Senior Communities can help. Call the location nearest you. We offer short-term respite care and long-term Memory Care for people with Alzheimer’s.

Overcoming the Risk of Isolation Among Seniors

Health care professionals have always suspected that loneliness in seniors can cause health problems beyond depression. Newer research proves just how right they are. We now know social isolation increases a senior’s risk for a variety of serious health problems ranging from obesity and high blood pressure to diabetes. In fact, it’s even linked to a shorter life.

The good news is there are many ways older adults can stay active and engaged with life. One of them is by volunteering their time and talent to a cause they believe it. Besides being a lot of fun, volunteerism has a positive impact on the mind, body and spirit.

Benefits of Volunteering after You Retire

Most senior volunteers will tell you just how rewarding the experience is for them. About nine million seniors serve as volunteers. Experts say those older adults who volunteer 100 hours a year volunteering receive the greatest rewards. They benefit from better mental and physical health.

Aging experts believe volunteerism has such a powerful impact on seniors because it provides them with a sense of purpose they might be missing after they retire from their jobs and the kids are grown and gone. That in turn leads to a more physically and socially active lifestyle.

How to Find a Meaningful Volunteer Opportunity in Michigan

Seniors in Michigan have a variety of volunteer opportunities from which to choose. It might help to first decide what time of project you are interested in and how much time you have to dedicate to your volunteer work. Also think about the skills, hobbies and interests you have and are willing to share.

These sites can help you explore opportunities near you and see what agencies are looking for in their volunteers:

  • Volunteer Michigan is a great organization that helps Michigan residents find opportunities near them that match their interests. The site even has a place where you can share your volunteer story to help encourage other Michigan seniors to join the fun!
  • Volunteer Match is a nationwide organization with opportunities from coast to coast. You can choose from a variety of categories including animal and arts organizations.
  • United Way of America can also help you find a volunteer project near you. They do so by connecting you with your local United Way office. Each local office maintains a database of volunteer opportunities for their partner agencies.

Finally, don’t be discouraged if health conditions or mobility challenges make it tough for you to drive or even leave your home. Some organizations provide transportation for volunteers. And there are also Virtual Volunteer opportunities for homebound seniors that allow you to participate from the comfort of your own home.