How to Prepare a Senior’s Home to Sell

How to Prepare a Senior’s Home to Sell

Dear Donna:

Our mom has finally agreed to move to sell her house and move to a senior living community. While we are thinking of having her move first and then worry about selling her home, we aren’t sure if that is the best approach.

Do you have any advice for selling a senior’s home when they are ready to move to a senior living community?

The Keller Family in Saline, Michigan

Prepare a Senior Loved One’s Home to Sell

Dear Keller Family:

Your mom has made an important and difficult decision that brings a unique set of stressors. The following tips should help make the transition and sale go as smoothly as possible.

How to Prepare Your Elder Loved One’s Home to Sell

Many families choose to sell a loved one’s home after they move to a senior living community. This involves a lengthy and potentially stressful process of downsizing, cleaning, and preparing the home to sell. The right approach can help you make the sale go as smoothly as possible.

  1. Start early.

The process of downsizing should start as soon as possible to give yourself and your loved one plenty of time to decide what to keep and to get used to the change. This can help keep families from feeling overwhelmed.

  1. Create a plan.

Take some time to plan your approach to the tasks ahead. Organize tasks by time and importance. When preparing the home, tackle one room at a time.

Decide what you will do with unwanted possessions. You might consider holding an estate sale if there are a lot of things to sell. Another alternative is to use online communities or an app to sell your items.

  1. Get plenty of help.

The changes will be more than what you and your mom can manage alone. Enlist the help of other loved ones, as well as outside services. Many charities offer pickup services for items like furniture. There is also a growing industry of senior move managers who help older adults relocate.

  1. Stay flexible.

While you might have a specific timeline for selling your loved one’s house, it is important to give yourself plenty of leeway in reaching your goals. Work, illness, and other scheduling conflicts can quickly throw off a well-thought plan. On the other hand, a willing buyer may appear sooner than expected.

  1. Update the home without renovating.

Increase the home’s curb appeal by neatly trimming shrubbery and lawns, sweeping porches and pavement, and power-washing the siding. Make sure the lawn and roof are free of debris.

Make sure rooms are bright and clean. Every closet and cupboard should be tidy since prospective buyers will look at them. Consider staging the home or hiring a home staging company to help it look its best.

Make minor repairs, such as replacing malfunctioning lights and fixing leaky faucets. Avoid major renovations, though, since you are unlikely to recoup the cost, and not all buyers will appreciate the results.

Best wishes,

Donna

Make the Transition Easier

Leaving one home for another can be difficult for senior loved ones. Heritage Senior Communities offers amenities and comfort to help elder adults settle in to their new environment.

Our Linden Square assisted living center in Saline, MI, offers a convenient location, inviting common areas, and a well-supplied activities room to help new residents feel at home. Contact us today for a tour.

How to Avoid Weight Loss While Caregiving

How to Avoid Weight Loss While Caregiving

Weight loss may be a goal for many Americans in the new year, but there are right and wrong ways to achieve it. Stress, poor nutrition, and tight schedules can contribute to unhealthy weight loss among caregivers.

As a caregiver, it is important that you take care of yourself as much as you care for your elderly loved one.

But how can you achieve balance in your life and avoid unnecessary weight loss while being a caregiver?

How to Avoid Unhealthy Weight Loss When You’re a Caregiver

  1. Practice proper nutrition.

Caregiving can keep you too busy to prepare or eat healthy meals. However, good nutrition may help you maintain your health, allowing you to tackle the tasks ahead of you.

  • Try to slow down and give yourself time for full meals. Consume smaller meals more often if you can’t find time in the day for three big meals.
  • Aim for five servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
  • Avoid overly processed foods.
  • Make sure your snacks include some carbs, fats, and protein, which can help you feel fuller and keep blood sugar stable.
  • Keep healthy snacks (nuts, bananas, carrot sticks, or whole-grain crackers) where you can grab them quickly.
  • Look at your schedule for ways to make time for healthy grocery shopping and preparing balanced meals.
  1. Manage stress healthfully.

Excessive stress can cause weight loss in many people, and caregivers are at particular risk of stress-related health issues.

  • Maintain a healthy social network through support groups, and keep in touch with friends and family.
  • If you work outside the home, consider asking your human resources department about the possibility of unpaid leave.
  • Smoking can be a difficult habit to kick when you’re stressed, but it’s worth the effort.
  1. Talk to your health care provider.

Schedule regular checkups with your health care provider. This can help you keep track of your weight, as well as other health factors like sleep and nutrition.

Discuss your lifestyle, including your caregiving responsibilities, with your provider. They may be able to help you create a plan to reduce stress, eat right, and keep your weight at a healthy level.

  1. Seek help for depression and anxiety.

Depression or anxiety, both of which are common among caregivers, sometimes cause weight loss. Depression in particular affects 40–70% of caregivers.

Talk to your provider if these symptoms begin to interfere with your life:

  • Persistent feelings of hopelessness or guilt
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Difficulty concentrating or accomplishing normal tasks
  • Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy
  • Stubborn headaches and digestive problems

Weight Loss is Not Inevitable for Caregivers

If you are experiencing weight loss as a caregiver, help is available. A balanced diet, stress management, and social support can help keep you healthy and fulfilled.

Heritage Senior Communities provide numerous resources that can help busy caregivers. Contact us about respite care options that can give caregivers a break without compromising their loved ones’ needs. Also make sure to check out our newer communities in Saline and Holland, Michigan.

5 Stress Remedies for Caregivers

5 Stress Remedies for Caregivers

Anyone who has ever been a caregiver knows that it is a stressful job. Women who are caregivers are especially likely to experience stress.

Symptoms of stress include mood swings, social withdrawal, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating. And stress can lead to serious health risks, including high blood pressure and anxiety.

Here are a few natural stress-management techniques you can use to lower the amount of stress in your daily life.

5 Ways to Manage Caregiver Stress

 

  1. Get enough sleep at night.

The stress of caregiving may cause you to lie awake at night worrying about your loved one and your to-do list. Unfortunately, this only increases stress and fatigue.

For a good night’s sleep, it’s important to practice good “sleep hygiene.”

  • Go to bed at the same time every night.
  • Avoid caffeine after noon.
  • Limit screen time, such as using tablets or watching television, beginning a few hours before bed.
  • Get plenty of natural light during the day and keep your bedroom dark at night.
  • Make sure you have a comfortable mattress and pillows.

Many people find that journaling also helps with the anxious thoughts that keep them awake.

  1. Practice thoughtful stress management.

Meditation, controlled breathing, and mindfulness may reduce stress by helping you focus scattered thoughts. These activities also can reduce certain symptoms of stress, such as rapid heart rate and muscle tension.

Set aside time every day to practice slow, deep breathing. Concentrate on a single thing in the room, like a spot on the wall. You might also close your eyes and focus on a sensation in your body, such as your feet against the floor.

You can also try one of the many free apps that can help guide you through relaxation techniques.

  1. Incorporate exercise into your routine.

When you’re mentally and physically exhausted from caregiving, exercise may be the last thing on your mind. However, exercise can help reduce stress, improve mood, and even boost your energy.

Just about any type of exercise can help, whether it’s a walk around your neighborhood, a water aerobics class, bicycling, or yoga. If you do not exercise already, talk to your doctor about how to start. It’s important to start slow and gradually build up your fitness level.

  1. Build a social network.

We tend to isolate ourselves from others during difficult times, but it’s important to reach out for support. Not only can you ask others to help care for your loved one, but social contact itself can relieve stress.

Calling a relative or going out for coffee with a friend can distract you from the things that cause stress and give you the support you need. If you can laugh about something together, even better—laughter also helps reduce stress.

  1. Take advantage of respite care.

A short-term respite stay at a senior living community can provide a loved one with an opportunity for socialization, while also giving the caregiver a break. Most senior living communities welcome respite stays of a few days or a few weeks.

There is help for caregiver stress.

When managing the stress of caring for a loved one, it is important not to neglect your own needs. If you believe that stress is seriously affecting your health, talk about it with your physician. He or she can help you find other ways to manage stress and stay healthy.

Healthy New Years Resolutions for Caregivers to Make in 2018

Healthy New Years Resolutions for Caregivers to Make in 2018

Caregivers for older adults are the unsung heroes of families all across the country. They give their time, energy, and love to their family’s elders every day. Unfortunately, this commitment to a senior loved one may cause them to experience problems of their own. They often neglect their physical and mental health, which can result in increased stress, depression, and an overall weaker immune system.

That’s why we’ve compiled a list of healthy New Year’s resolutions for family caregivers to make as we head into 2018.

5 Healthy New Years Resolutions for Caregivers in 2018

The coming new year gives each of us an opportunity for change and renewal. This applies to caregivers as much as anyone. Here are five New Year’s resolutions caregivers can make to improve their own quality of life in 2018.

  1. Ask For Help

No matter how rewarding an endeavor it is, caring for an older adult is a big responsibility filled with stress and hard work. That’s why it’s imperative caregivers ask for and receive help from other friends and family members. Resolve to ask for help consistently in the new year or to take advantage of respite care at a senior living community.

  1. Practice Stress Management Techniques

One of the most common struggles caregivers experience is the inordinate level of stress that often accompanies their responsibilities. Finding positive ways to manage this stress should be one of every caregiver’s top priorities. Resolve to learn and practice relaxation techniques, such as meditation, guided imagery, or yoga.

  1. Practice Proper Self-Care

Just like anyone else, caregivers need to tend to their own well-being before they can be of assistance to others. Let 2018 mark a new era in your self-care habits. Resolve to get adequate amounts of sleep, exercise, and nutrition this year so you can begin to restore your own health and wellness.

  1. Explore Senior Living Options

We know the idea of moving a senior loved one into an assisted living community is difficult for some caregivers to consider. You might be surprised, however, at the high quality of life it provides to the older adult and to the family. Make early 2018 the time you begin to visit senior living communities and learn more about what they have to offer.

  1. Enrich Your Personal Life by Pursuing Your Own Interests

Our fifth and final tip is one that caregivers often struggle the most with. That is, to resolve to enrich your own life in 2018 by reconnecting with former hobbies and interests or establishing new ones. It can help to renew your spirit and reduce your stress. Both of which make you a better caregiver for your loved one.

The team at Heritage Senior Living hopes this information serves to encourage and inspire you. We also hope you’ll return to our Senior Care Blog often for more tips on aging well.

Tips to Avoid the Holiday Blues When You are a Family Caregiver

Tips to Avoid the Holiday Blues When You are a Family Caregiver

Judging from movies, TV commercials and the lyrics to popular carols, there’s no happier time than the holidays. The season is filled with nonstop cheer as people attend parties, create wonderful memories, and experience a generosity of spirit and goodwill that exists no other time of year.

However, some experts—and many caregivers—paint a different picture. While it’s definitely a joyful time of year, it is not unusual for caregivers to experience a bout of the holiday blues.

Family Caregivers are Especially Vulnerable to the Holiday Blues

Family caregivers are already some of America’s overworked people. For those who care for a spouse or a partner, an average of almost 45 hours per week is spent providing unpaid care. That’s the equivalent of a full-time job!

The work they perform is vital but it can cause caregivers to feel overwhelmed with their daily responsibilities. When the holiday season starts up and those responsibilities multiply, the added stress can cause anxiety or depression… otherwise known as ‘the holiday blues’.

Tips for Avoiding the Holiday Blues

If you’re a family caregiver, you’ll be glad to know that there are ways to reduce the chances of feeling down during the holiday season. Here are five steps you can take.

  1. Acknowledge Your Emotions

First, you can’t combat the holiday blues if you’re not mindful of your own emotions. Family caregivers may experience a range of feelings during the holidays, including sadness, fear and frustration. Be open and honest with yourself and admit the emotions you’re feeling.

  1. Know the Signs of Caregiver Burnout

As a family caregiver, you’re already giving much of yourself to your role. During the holidays, you’re apt to try and give even more—cooking, entertaining, and shopping. Don’t let the stress build to a point where you become vulnerable to burnout. The signs include low energy, emotional and physical exhaustion, or a feeling of mental ‘numbness.’

  1. Make Time for Yourself

No matter how hectic your schedule becomes, try and carve out some time for a bit of light to moderate physical exercise. Yoga, walking, dancing, or anything that gets your heart rate up just a bit will improve your mood and reduce stress levels. If you’re starting a new exercise routine, be sure and check with your doctor first.

  1. Stay in the Moment

One way to stay balanced is to keep your mind in the moment.

Concentrate on the task at hand and try not to let your mind wander. Stay positive and focus on all that you’re able to accomplish, letting go of what you can’t control or are unable to do.

  1. Find Your Stress Reliever

Each of us has our own way of relieving stress. Only you know what works for you, so find your stress busters and use them.

Heritage Senior Communities Supports Caregivers All Year ‘Round

Many people feel blue during the holidays, but family caregivers are especially in need of support this time of year. One final tip is to ask for help. From the online resources we provide to respite care services designed to give families a break, there are a number of ways we stand behind caregivers like you.

If you’d like to learn more about short-term stays or respite care, please call us today.

How to Prepare a Senior’s Home for a Michigan Winter

How to Prepare a Senior’s Home for a Michigan Winter

As strikingly beautiful as they are, winters in Michigan can also be very difficult for residents. This is especially true of the state’s senior population, for whom the snow, ice, and brutal cold of a Great Lakes winter can be dangerous. Preparing a senior’s home for winter is key.

Tips to Prepare a Senior’s Home Before Winter

If you have a parent, grandparent, or other senior loved one who lives in Michigan, you’ll want to take every precaution you can to protect them for the frigid winter months ahead.

These guidelines can help ensure your senior loved ones enjoy the beauty of a Michigan winter without incident.

  1. Driveway. Have a plan in place to keep the driveway and walkways clear of ice and snow throughout the winter months. Include plans for frequent layers of salt for extra traction.
  2. Furnace. Hire a professional to test the furnace and make any necessary repairs for optimum heat and efficiency. Carbon monoxide poisoning is one danger that can be deadly if not detected and corrected. Make sure the furnace filter is also replaced.
  3. Space Heaters. If your older loved one uses space heaters during the winter, make sure they’re functioning properly and don’t pose a fire risk. Also, investigate to be certain they’re placed at least a few feet away from any materials that might catch fire. Read the manufacturer’s instructions if you haven’t already.
  4. Supplies. Purchase backup supplies of food, clean water, and other necessities. Depending on your older loved one’s living situation, this might include flashlights, blankets, batteries, extra doses of any medications, and an emergency cell phone. Don’t forget extra food for Fido if the senior has a pet!
  5. Vehicle. Make sure your senior family member’s vehicle is prepared for winter. This means checking the tires, brakes, fluids, and heater. Fall is also an ideal time for new windshield wipers and fresh anti-freeze. And investing in an auto club membership might be a good idea.
  6. Cover Drafts. Using plastic sealant on large windows and caulking drafty door frames can also help. You’ll simultaneously warm your senior loved one’s home and reduce their heating bill.
  7. Pipes. Last but certainly not least, make sure that the pipes are protected against freezing during the winter months. You can find detailed instructions on how to accomplish this right here.

With communities across the Great Lake state, Heritage is a leading provider of senior living in Michigan. Caregivers at our family-owned company have been welcoming Michigan seniors for four generations.

We hope you’ll contact us if you ever need more information or wish to arrange an inperson tour of one of our communities.