Holiday Shopping for a Family Member With Dementia?

Holiday Shopping for a Family Member With Dementia?

Dear Donna,

Ever since my grandmother was diagnosed with dementia, I find it impossible to shop for her. Nothing I give her ever seems to make it out of its original packaging.

Do you have any advice on how to find a gift for a family member with dementia?

Sincerely,

Angela from Holland, MI

 

How to Find a Holiday Gift for a Family Member With Dementia

 

Dear Angela,

Many caregivers struggle to find gifts for family members with dementia. After all, you want to get them something they will be able to enjoy.

It’s important to remember that those in the early stages of the disease can still enjoy many of the same gifts they did before their diagnosis. The middle and late stages of the disease are when your options become limited. Here are a few things to consider when shopping for a holiday gift for your family member with dementia.

  1. Keep Them Safe

Safety is often a huge concern for someone with dementia. A few gifts that can help keep family members with dementia safe include the following.

  • A new chair. Those with dementia often have a difficult time getting in and out of chairs that sit too low to the ground. This can easily be solved with a chair that sits higher off the ground.
  • Night lights or motion sensors. Older adults often have a harder time seeing at night. Motion sensors or night lights can improve their safety, especially if they have to get up and use the restroom in the middle of the night.
  1. Give Them a Sense of Purpose

Adults with dementia may feel like they’ve lost their sense of purpose. Restoring this feeling can be one of the greatest gifts of all.

One way to add meaning to their life is to give them something to take care of. This can be anything from plants to dolls and stuffed animals.

  1. Inspire Their Creativity

Creative projects can be tremendously beneficial for adults with dementia. These gifts can boost their self-esteem and reduce feelings of loneliness. Plus, you can enjoy them together.

Coloring books, painting supplies, and puzzles are great gifts to spark their artistic side.

  1. Stimulate Their Senses

Sensory gifts are excellent for adults with dementia regardless of what stage they are in. Sensory gifts include anything that stimulates one of the five senses.

A few sensory gifts that are great for adults with dementia include the following:

  • Tangle toys, fidget blankets, and even toys designed for children are great for stimulating touch sensors.
  • A photo album can be an excellent gift for jogging their memory.
  • Music can be extremely beneficial to adults with dementia. Try loading songs from their childhood or young adulthood on to a playlist to trigger happy memories.
  • Stimulate their taste buds by cooking their favorite foods.
  • Scented lotions can be great for adults with dementia. Lavender scents can help them relax while more energizing smells like lemon can lift their mood.
  1. Give the Gift of Time

Sometimes your time is the best gift you can give a family member with dementia. This is especially true for those in the later stages of the disease. Spend time enjoying your loved one’s company this holiday season.

I hope these ideas help you find the perfect gift for your grandmother.

Many of our senior communities, including our Appledorn Assisted Living community in Holland, offer specialized care for people with dementia. Contact us to learn more about how we improve the lives of adults with dementia each day

Sincerely,

Donna

How Respite Care Helps Caregivers Manage the Busy Holiday Season

How Respite Care Helps Caregivers Manage the Busy Holiday Season

The holidays are the busiest time of the year for most people. Caregivers, who already have an overbooked schedule, can quickly become overwhelmed with the added stress. The increased workload can cause them to put their own needs on hold, jeopardizing their health and that of their loved one.

Here are 5 ways respite care can help caregivers manage the busy holiday season.

 

5 Ways Respite Care Can Help Caregivers During the Holidays

 

What is respite care?

Respite care provides short-term relief for caregivers by temporarily taking over their normal caregiving responsibilities. Respite care can involve having a professional caregiver go to your loved one’s home, or having them stay in a senior living community like Heritage Senior Communities for anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks.

It can be an excellent option for caregivers who want to participate in holiday festivities without having to sacrifice their own well-being or that of the loved one they care for.

  1. Reduce Stress

Respite care can alleviate some of the stress that comes along with caring for an aging loved one by allowing them to do something for themselves—even if it means doing nothing.

Having a few hours to relax and get some much-needed rest can make a world of a difference in their mood, health, and overall well-being.

  1. Avoid Unnecessary Conflict

When you are overwhelmed, it’s not uncommon to lose your temper and lash out at people. This can be especially true with family members you feel aren’t pulling their weight when it comes to caring for your loved one.

Respite care can give you time to cool off and unwind. When you’re well rested, you are more likely to hold back your resentment and confront family members calmly.

  1. Prevent Serious Complications From an Illness

When you are overly stressed, your immunity suffers. A strong immune system is critical during a busy time like the holiday season.

Not only can respite care help protect your immunity, but it can also provide your love one with a place to stay if you get sick. The last thing you want to do is spread your illness to an older adult.

  1. Give You Peace of Mind

One of the best things about seeking respite care at an assisted living community is the “community” aspect.

Your loved one will be able to spend time with people their own age who are in similar situations. While you get a break, your loved one can make friends. Relationships and feeling connected to others is crucial for longevity and overall well-being.

  1. Allow You to Enjoy the Holidays

Everyone deserves to enjoy the holiday season. Respite care can allow caregivers to do some of the activities they may have had to skip because of their caregiving duties, such as attend a holiday party or do some holiday shopping. Respite care can give caregivers the opportunity to do so.

 

Respite Care at Heritage Senior Communities

 

The holiday season may be the first time your family has seen your loved one in a while. During your time together, you may begin to talk about a senior living community as a more permanent situation. Respite care provides the perfect opportunity for your loved one to experience the community first-hand before committing to a more permanent stay.

Heritage Senior Communities offers respite care services such as adult day care and short-term stays. If you would like to learn more, call the Heritage community nearest you today.

Dear Donna: What Does a Senior Move Manager Do?

Dear Donna: What Does a Senior Move Manager Do?

Dear Donna,

My parents recently decided to move to a senior living community, and they asked me to assist them with the transition. I’d love to help them as much as possible, but I have no idea where to start.

A friend of mine told me I should hire a senior move manager. Can you explain what a senior move manager does and how they can help us make this transition go more smoothly?

Sincerely,

Patricia in Saline, MI

 

Understanding the Role of a Senior Move Manager

 

Dear Patricia,

A senior move manager is a professional that assists older adults when they relocate. One of the best things about move managers is that you can hire them to help you manage the entire move or with specific activities.

The main benefit of a senior move manager is their expertise. They have extensive knowledge of senior moves, including cost, quality, and the availability of resources in the community. As a result, employing them can save you time, money, and resources.

Here are a few things senior move managers can do to help seniors relocate.

 

What Does a Senior Move Manager Do?

 

  1. Create a Centralized Process

As a caregiver, you already have a lot on your plate. Tackling the logistics of a senior move can be overwhelming, especially if your loved ones have a lot of belongings.

Move managers can help create an easier transition to assisted living by establishing a centralized moving process for you and your parents. They can handle every aspect of the move and prevent you from having to call a different company for each service.

  1. Develop a Plan

This is likely your first time helping older loved ones move to a senior living community. So it’s understandable that you don’t know what to expect or what services you should consider. Move managers can help seniors and families develop a plan of action based on your senior loved one’s needs.

Senior move managers can help you with the following:

  • Develop a timeline. Senior move managers specialize in moving seniors. They can help you develop a realistic timeline and come up with a checklist of everything that needs to be done for a successful move.
  • Measure your space. By measuring how much space your parents will have in their new community, senior move managers can help identify exactly how much they can bring with them.
  • Come up with a floor plan. Because they specialize in moving older adults, senior move managers understand their needs. They can help your parents come up with a floor plan suited to their lifestyle.
  1. Make Decisions About Belongings

Making decisions about what to keep is one of the most demanding challenges when it comes to senior moves. Their new home is likely smaller, which will require them to make decisions about what to keep, sell, and donate.

Seniors move managers can help in the following ways:

  • Organizing and sorting. They can help seniors decide what to keep and what to get rid of.
  • Move managers can help seniors downsize by arranging the removal of items they decide to get rid of. This includes auctions, estate sales, buy-outs, consignment, donation, or a combination of these.
  • Arrange shipments and storage. A time-consuming job, senior move managers can help with logistics.
  • They can help you pack, label, and find a way to track your items.
  1. Help seniors move, unpack and settle in their new home

Senior move managers know that the hard work of a move doesn’t end with packing. They can also help seniors get their belongings to their new home by doing the following:

  • Moving belongings to the new place. Many senior move managers are also movers. If they are not, they can assist by interviewing, scheduling, and overseeing the movers.
  • Helping seniors unpack on moving day. Senior move managers will make sure all the furniture is in place according to the plan.
  • Assisting seniors set up their technology. Before they leave, senior move managers can make sure the internet, phone, and computer are ready to use.

 

Senior Move Managers Understand Seniors

 

One factor that differentiates senior move managers from traditional moving companies is their deep understanding of the emotional and physical aspects that are unique to a senior move. Moving can be hard, especially for seniors who are moving because they are no longer able to live on their own. Senior move managers know this and do their best to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Heritage Senior Communities, including our Linden Square Assisted Living location, provides support to make the transition to assisted living easier for seniors and their families. Contact us for more information.

I hope this gives you a better understanding of senior move managers, Patricia. Best of luck with the move

Sincerely,

Donna

 

4 Ways to Beat Caregiver Stress During the Holidays

4 Ways to Beat Caregiver Stress During the Holidays

Caregivers already have a lot on their plate. The emotional and physical toll of caregiving can be sizable, especially if a senior loved one has dementia. This makes them extra vulnerable to stress when the busy holiday season rolls around. If it’s not managed properly, stress can lead to burnout.

Here are 4 ways to beat caregiver stress during the holidays.

 

4 Ways to Beat Caregiver Stress During the Holidays

 

  1. Understand Where Your Stress Comes From

The first step to beating caregiver stress is to identify where your stress comes from. Once you identify the situations that cause the most stress, you can try to avoid them.

Here are a few common reasons caregivers get stressed during the holiday season.

  • Not having enough time.
  • Family relationships.
  • Setting unrealistic expectations.
  • Financial concerns.
  1. Know Your Limitations

One of the biggest mistakes caregivers make is thinking they can do everything. You can save yourself a lot of grief by accepting this is just a myth. Not even the most energetic caregivers can do it all.

Here are a few ways you can limit your responsibilities.

  • Modify traditions. It’s okay to simplify or even skip holiday traditions. Even if you traditionally host celebrations or prepare the meals, it’s okay to opt out this year.
  • Decline invitations. Don’t feel obligated to attend every event you are invited to. Your friends and family will understand if you have to say no.
  1. Make Your Health a Priority

During the holidays, caregivers are often so busy that they neglect their health. Unfortunately, this will put you on the quickest path to burnout.

Here are a few ways caregivers can stay healthy this season.

  • Don’t overindulge in treats. The holidays are often full of sweets, alcohol, and other unhealthy treats. While it’s okay to enjoy a few treats, it’s not okay to overindulge. Doing so can leaving you feeling sluggish.
  • When you are exhausted, exercise may be the last thing you want to do. But contrary to what you may think, exercise can boost your mental and physical energy. Try your best to incorporate exercise in to your daily routine.
  1. Ask for Help

Caregiving is a lot of work, and sometimes you will need help. Here are a few ways caregivers can get support:

  • Join a support group. Support groups can be a great way for you to connect with people who face similar challenges.
  • Ask friends and family members. If you need additional help during the holidays, don’t hesitate to ask friends and family. Most of the time they will be happy to assist you.
  • Explore respite care. Many senior communities like Heritage offer short-term respite care. This allows caregivers to take a break by offering their loved ones a safe place to stay.

 

The Holidays Can Be a Wakeup Call

 

The holidays can be a great chance for your family to see firsthand how much work you put in as a caregiver. This time of year may even encourage them to start thinking about your loved one’s long-term care. That may mean touring a local assisted living community, such as Heritage. Contact us to ask about the services offered by any of the Heritage Senior Communities.