3 Tips for Managing Caregiver Guilt

3 Tips for Managing Caregiver Guilt

Caring for an aging loved one can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it can also be demanding. Stress from taking care of another person can trigger a lot of difficult emotions, including guilt.

Guilt occurs when you feel like you have done something wrong or failed an obligation. It can rob you of your joy and harm your overall happiness. Although feeling guilty is often unavoidable, there are a few ways you can cope and prevent it from affecting your quality of life.

Here are a few tips for managing caregiver guilt.

Managing Caregiver Guilt

  1. Acknowledge your feelings and where they come from

The first step in managing caregiver guilt is to acknowledge your feelings. It’s a common misconception that you can get rid of guilt completely. Believing you can will only set you up for failure and lead to more guilt.

Once you acknowledge your guilt, try to understand where it comes from. A few common reasons why caregivers may feel guilty include:

  • Feeling bad that they resent the time they spend caring for their loved one
  • Not being able to spend time with other friends or family members
  • Comparing themselves to other caregivers who appear to be doing a better job
  • Feeling anger towards a loved one for something they have no control over
  1. Join a support group

Support groups can be effective tools for managing guilt. They allow you to connect with other caregivers in similar situations. Not only can you learn from their experiences, but you can also take satisfaction in knowing you are not alone.

Support groups come in a variety of formats. Online groups may be best for those who have trouble finding time to meet with others. They can also be helpful for caregivers who struggle to express their feelings in-person or want to remain anonymous. In-person groups may work best for those who need to meet face-to-face to feel connected.

  1. Take advantage of respite care

Respite care is a service that gives short-term relief to caregivers. It can be a lifesaver for those who don’t have friends or family available to share the workload. This service can be arranged for any period of time. Some caregivers choose a few hours, while others need a few days or weeks.

One of the best things about respite care is that it can take place anywhere. Professional caretakers can come to your home, or your senior loved one could stay at a senior living community.

It’s Okay to Ask for Help

Many caregivers make the mistake of thinking they can do everything. Caring for a loved one takes a lot of time and patience, and it’s impossible to do alone. Trying to do so can become self-destructive and lead to chronic stress and caregiver burnout. It’s important to remember that it’s okay to ask for help. Taking time to care for yourself will allow you to better care for your loved one.

Respite Care at Heritage Senior Communities

Heritage Senior Communities, including our Linden Square location, provides respite care services to seniors and their families. If you and your senior loved one live in Michigan and would like to learn more about our respite care services, we invite you to schedule a private tour. We would love to show you around and tell you more about our community!

Vision Health & the Importance of an Annual Eye Exam

Vision Health & the Importance of an Annual Eye Exam

As you age, you may notice some changes in your vision. Many occur from the natural aging of the eye and can be improved with extra light or prescription glasses. Sometimes, vision changes are not a normal part of aging and are the beginning stages of eye disease. These are the ones seniors need to be mindful of.

Normal Age-Related Changes

  • Your eyes produce fewer tears as you age, which can cause them to feel dry or irritated.
  • You may find you need more light to read and perform other tasks.
  • Over time, the lenses in your eyes become less flexible. This can make it more challenging to focus on objects that are closer to you.
  • Changes in the lenses of your eyes can also cause the light entering your eye to scatter, which can make glares appear more frequently.
  • Over time, the lenses in your eyes may also become discolored. This discoloration can make it more challenging to distinguish between different colors.

Common Age-Related Eye Diseases

  1. Age-related macular degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness among older adults. This disease gradually destroys the macula, which is the part of the eye responsible for focusing central vision.

  1. Glaucoma

Glaucoma refers to a group of eye diseases that cause fluid and pressure to build up behind the eye. If left untreated, glaucoma can cause permanent damage to the optic nerve.

  1. Cataracts

Most Americans develop cataracts by the time they turn 80. Cataracts occur when the lenses of the eyes become cloudy. The only way to treat them is by cataract surgery. There is not much you can do to prevent cataracts from developing, but using updated eyewear prescriptions can delay surgery.

  1. Dry eye

Dry eye occurs when the eyes do not produce enough tears. If left untreated, dry eyes can lead to complications like ulcers and corneal scarring. These can cause some loss of vision. Dry eye can be improved by keeping the eye lubricated with products like artificial tears and prescription eye drops.

The Importance of Regular Eye Exams

Getting regular eye exams is the best way to protect your vision. It gives doctors a chance to catch the disease early, and treatments can significantly slow its progression.

During an eye exam, doctors can also uncover other health conditions. Hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, and carotid artery blockages are a few diseases that can be identified in an eye exam. By catching these early, seniors have a better chance of reducing their risk of suffering from more complicated health problems down the road.

The American Optometric Association recommends that adults 60 years and older get an annual eye exam. Medicare Part B covers eye exams if you have diabetes. It may also cover tests related to particular treatments. To learn more about which eye exams and screenings your Medicare benefit will cover, visit Your Medicare Coverage.

Staying Healthy at Heritage

Heritage Senior Communities offers a variety of senior living options throughout Michigan. From assisted living to respite care and specialized dementia care, we have an option that will meet your unique needs. Contact us today to learn more about our communities.

3 Ways to Make It Easier for Seniors to Part with a Home

3 Ways to Make It Easier for Seniors to Part with a Home

Dear Donna,

My mom is moving to an assisted living community in a few weeks, and she is having anxiety surrounding the move. She has lived in her home for over 40 years, and it is challenging for her to accept that she will be leaving. She knows the move is best for her safety, but the memories she has in her home are making it difficult for her to let go.

How can I make it easier for her to part with the place she has called home for most of her life?

Sincerely,

Jasmine from Holland, MI

Making It Easier to Part with a Senior’s Home

Dear Jasmine,

Moving can be tough at any age. It can be more challenging for seniors who have lived in their house for a long time. They have years of memories in their home, including raising their children and spending holidays with friends and family. These recollections create an emotional attachment to their home and can prevent them from wanting to leave.

Here are a few ways to make it easier for a senior loved one to part with a home.

Making It Easier for Seniors to Part with Their Home

  1. Dig up perennials to plant in their new garden

Some seniors may find it easier to part with their home if they can take a piece of the home with them. Taking perennials from their old yard to plant in their new garden can be an excellent option. Before your loved one moves, help them dig up a few of their favorite plants and plant them in their new garden. Not only is gardening great for senior health, but every time your loved one sees their perennials, they will remember where they used to live.

  1. Make a video of parties that happened at the home

Another way you can make it easier for your loved one to move is by creating a video of parties and special events that took place in their house. If you don’t have much video footage, you can create a slideshow of photos instead. Your loved one will love watching their video and reminiscing whenever they miss their home.

  1. Have a going away party

Having a going away party is another way you can help your senior loved one part with their home. Invite all their friends and family over the night before they leave. This is a fun way to help seniors find closure and prepare for the new chapter in their life.

Remember to Be Understanding

The best way you can help your loved one part with their home is to be there for them when they need you. Change can be difficult for anyone. Understand that your loved one is going through a transition. Sometimes, the only thing they need from you is a listening ear.

I hope these tips make it easier for your loved one to part with their home. Good luck!

Regards,

Donna

Heritage Senior Communities

Heritage Senior Communities, including our Appledorn Assisted Living location, offers support to seniors and their families while they transition to assisted living. Contact us for more information or to schedule a private tour.

Can Engaging in Art Projects Prevent Alzheimer’s?

Can Engaging in Art Projects Prevent Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s disease affects a person’s memory. As the disease progresses, many people lose their ability to communicate verbally. Art therapy has increasingly been used to help adults with Alzheimer’s cope with their symptoms. Not only can art help them express their thoughts and feelings when they can no longer do so verbally, but it can also improve other areas—including cognitive health.

The positive effects that art therapy has on adults with Alzheimer’s begs the question: Can engaging in art help protect you from getting the disease in the first place?

Research says it’s possible.

Understanding the Relationship Between Art and Alzheimer’s

A study observed seniors between 85 and 89 years old without memory problems to see if they could find a relationship between engaging in art projects and risk of developing cognitive impairment. At the end of the study, they found those who engaged in art-related activities were less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment than those who did not.

4 Reasons Why Engaging in Art Might Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

  1. Strengthens the brain. Making art may prevent Alzheimer’s because creativity has been shown to help build connections in the brain. New connections strengthen the mind, which can stop memory loss and preserve cognitive functioning.
  2. Improves focus. Making art requires concentration. Like meditation, art requires you to focus on the present moment. Over time, this can reduce anxiety, minimize depression, and result in overall better brain heath.
  3. Reduces stress. Stress can be harmful to the brain. Chronic stress can kill brain cells, reduce sociability, and even shrink the area of the brain responsible for memory and learning. Art can be an effective way to reduce stress. This may slow the progression of age-related cognitive decline.
  4. Regulates blood pressure. Research suggests that high blood pressure may increase the risk of dementia. By reducing stress and calming the mind, engaging in art can help seniors regulate their blood pressure.

Art Projects That May Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

Seniors don’t need to be “good at art” to reap the benefits. Activities like coloring require little artistic ability while providing big mental benefits.

Other forms of art that can benefit seniors include:

  • Painting and drawing
  • Craft projects
  • Photography
  • Dancing
  • Creative writing
  • Playing a musical instrument

The Cause of Alzheimer’s Is Unknown

One of the most difficult things about Alzheimer’s is that researchers don’t understand what causes it. This makes it difficult to know with certainty which factors can prevent the disease. But engaging in art is indeed worth considering.

Heritage Senior Communities Provides Memory Care

Heritage Senior Living provides memory care programs across Michigan. We help seniors with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia live their best quality of life.

We help seniors maintain as much independence as safely possible. We invite you to schedule a visit to see how seniors with dementia thrive in our care.

How to Keep Aging Parents Safe on Senior Dating Sites

How to Keep Aging Parents Safe on Senior Dating Sites

Dear Donna,

My mom is dating for the first time since my father’s death. I am happy for her, but also concerned about her safety. I have heard there are scammers who specifically target seniors.

How do I keep my mom safe while dating?

Grace from Holland, MI

When Aging Parents Start Dating

Dear Grace,

It’s normal for adult children to worry when their senior parents start dating. This is especially true if their parents are widowed or haven’t dated in years. A lot has changed since they were in the dating pool, largely due to the internet.

Using the internet to find love is a new concept for many seniors. Various websites are available to help singles connect.

Senior Dating Sites

  • SeniorMatch: SeniorMatch caters to singles over 50 years old. In addition to romantic relationships, this site also helps seniors looking for other connections like companions and travel buddies.
  • eHarmony: eHarmony uses a series of questions to match statistically compatible singles who share the same values. They claim to help people of all ages find love.
  • Niche sites: Various niche sites cater to specific groups of people. EliteSingles, for example, targets educated, mature singles. Other platforms, like FarmersOnly, attract farmers and singles who love the outdoors.

Like anyone seeking a partner online, seniors should be cautious. Many seniors have nest eggs, and scammers may try to take advantage of them. By learning the warning signs, caregivers can help keep their loved ones safe from online dating scams.

4 Ways Seniors Can Stay Safe While Online Dating

  1. Avoid anyone who professes love quickly. Saying “I love you” early in an online relationship isn’t normal. Scam artists commonly use this tactic to make their victim emotionally attached. Seniors should be wary of anyone who professes their love too quickly.
  2. Deny requests for money. Asking for money is red flag that seniors shouldn’t ignore. It’s best to avoid sending money regardless of what they tell you.
  3. Make sure their dating platform is reputable. If your loved one starts online dating, find out what platform they are using. Do a little research to make sure it has a good reputation. If it doesn’t, direct them to a site that does.
  4. Be aware of their plans. When your loved one goes on a date, learn as much about their plans as possible.
    • Who are they going with?
    • Where are they going?
    • When will they be home?

Knowing this information can help you determine when to worry and what to report if something occurs.

Online Dating Isn’t for Everyone

Intimacy and strong relationships later in life are essential for senior loved ones’ longevity and overall well-being. But meeting people after retirement can be challenging.

Senior dating sites aren’t for everyone. It’s common for seniors to feel more comfortable meeting face-to-face than through a computer. Assisted living can be advantageous in these cases. In assisted living, there are plenty of opportunities for seniors to meet and interact with potential partners.

I hope this helps your mom stay safe on senior dating sites. Wishing her lots of luck in finding love!

Regards,

Donna

Heritage Encourages Friendship

Heritage Senior Communities, including our Appledorn location, understand the importance of friendships in later life. We provide an environment that fosters connectedness and provides plenty of opportunities for social interaction. Contact us for more information.