How to Avoid Caregiver Overload over the Holidays

How to Avoid Caregiver Overload over the Holidays

The holidays are often the busiest time of year. The weeks are packed with parties, family functions, and other festive activities. Despite having a fuller schedule, many people look forward to the season. They are excited to catch up with friends, spend time with family, and make memories. Caregivers for senior loved ones might view the holidays a little differently.

Family caregivers usually have a lot on their plate. They often need to balance their personal responsibilities and their loved one’s needs. Many also have careers, children, and relationships to manage.

When caregivers take on too many additional responsibilities, especially during the holidays, they increase the risk for burnout. Here are a few tips to avoid caregiver overload over the holidays.

3 Ways to Avoid Caregiver Overload

  1. Set realistic expectations.

Taking care of a loved one requires a lot of time and energy. It’s important to remember this when making plans. Being realistic about your time can help you avoid making commitments you can’t keep or find overwhelming. You may even need to change a few traditions to accommodate your loved one’s needs. For example, if you always host the holiday dinner, you might have to opt out this year to reserve your energy.

  1. Make yourself a priority.

Saying no doesn’t always come easy to caregivers. They are used to taking care of other’s needs and are often first to lend a hand. It’s not uncommon for them to put their personal needs on the backburner. However, not taking care of yourself puts your health at risk and can affect your ability to care for your senior loved one. Make sure to exercise daily, eat healthy, and get a good night’s rest.

  1. Take advantage of respite care.

Another way to avoid caregiver overload during the holidays is using respite care services. Respite care gives caregivers temporary relief by taking over their caregiving responsibilities. This service allows caregivers to rest and recharge, finish up holiday shopping, or take a vacation without worrying about their loved ones. Respite care can be provided at a senior living community, like Heritage Senior Communities, or in your loved one’s home.

Caring for a Senior Loved One during the Holidays

Caring for a senior loved one can be stressful at times, and the added pressures of the holiday season can make it overwhelming. Caregivers deserve to celebrate the holidays and enjoy time with their loved ones like everyone else. By setting realistic expectations, making your health a priority, and taking advantage of local respite care services, you can avoid caregiver overload.

Respite Care at Heritage Senior Communities

If you are struggling with caregiver overload beyond the holiday season, you may want to explore senior living communities. There are a variety of options available to suit your loved one’s needs. Heritage Senior Communities, for example, offers Assisted Living, Independent Senior Living, Specialized Dementia Care, and Respite Care.

If you are interested in learning more about respite care or would like to take a private tour, please contact the Heritage Senior Community nearest you!

Setting Realistic Expectations for a Senior’s Move to Assisted Living

Setting Realistic Expectations for a Senior’s Move to Assisted Living

Dear Donna,

My mom is selling her home to move to an assisted living community. She is ready to move but also sad to leave a place with so many happy memories. 

How can I help her set realistic expectations about the move to assisted living?


Clara from Saline, MI

Setting Realistic Expectations for a Senior Living Move

Dear Clara,

Moving to an assisted living community is an exciting transition for many seniors. Regardless of how much your parents are looking forward to their new home, the change can still be challenging. It’s not easy to leave the place where they raised their family. 

Here are a few ways you can set realistic expectations for the entire family when a loved one is moving to an assisted living community.

Transitioning to Assisted Living

  1. Be patient with yourself and your parent.

Although your loved one may be looking forward to the move, it’s important to understand it can take time to adjust. Assisted living is a new lifestyle for them. Understand emotions may arise during the move, and be patient with them as they settle into their new home.

  1. Incorporate favorite belongings in the new space.

Even though many senior living communities are designed to feel homey, it can be helpful for your loved one to bring some items from their family home. Having a few cherished belongings around gives a sense of familiarity and creates positive associations with their new space. 

Depending on the size of their living area, they can bring anything from their favorite reading chair to a few decorative elements.

  1. Plan for ups and downs.

Ups and downs are inevitable, regardless of how well you prepare. Some days will be smooth, while others will be more challenging. Reminding your loved one of this when things aren’t going as planned can alleviate some of the pressure for perfection.

  1. Ask friends and family to visit.

For many people, their new place doesn’t feel like home until friends and family come over. Encourage the important people in your loved one’s life to visit or help with the move. Some seniors may want to show off their new place by hosting an open house. Regardless of when people visit, your senior loved one will appreciate having a familiar face around when they transition.

Moving Requires Change

Moving to a senior living community is a new chapter in your loved one’s life. Although they are saying goodbye to a home full of memories, they are saying hello to an exciting new lifestyle. By supporting them during this important move, you can help them ease into their new routine.

I hope this helps your mom transition to senior living. Good luck!



Heritage Makes Moving to Assisted Living Easier

Heritage Senior Communities, including our Linden Square Assisted Living location, helps new residents prepare for their move to assisted living. By guiding seniors and their families through every step of the process, we can make the transition easier for everyone. 

To learn more about how we help seniors transition to assisted living, contact us today.

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!

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!



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.

5 Sunscreen Tips for Older Adults

5 Sunscreen Tips for Older Adults

With age, many changes happen to the skin. Not only does your skin produce less collagen and become drier, but it also becomes more sensitive. Because your immune system also weakens over time, your skin has an increasingly difficult time repairing sun damage. Wearing sunscreen can be an excellent way for seniors to protect themselves from harmful UV rays and prevent skin conditions like premature aging and skin cancer.

Sunscreen is most effective when you use it properly. Here are a few tips for seniors who want to get the most out of their sunscreen.

5 Tips for Using Sunscreens

  1. Choose a sunscreen with broad spectrum protection: The sun emits both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays are responsible for premature aging, while UVB rays cause sunburn. Both damage the skin. Choosing a sunscreen that says “broad spectrum” on the label will protect your skin against both types of UV rays.
  2. Use a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher: SPF stands for skin protection factor, and the number indicates how long it will take before the sun burns the skin. The American Cancer Society recommends using a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to protect against UVB rays.
  3. Apply sunscreen generously and periodically: Older adults should apply a generous amount of sunscreen before they go outside, even if they only plan to be out for a few minutes. Cover every exposed area, including your face, ears, and hands. As a general rule, reapply sunscreen every two hours, more if you are in the water or sweating.
  4. Look for a water-resistant sunscreen: When choosing a sunscreen, look for one that is water-resistant. Even if you don’t plan to be in the water, it also keeps you protected if you sweat.
  5. Pick a cream formula: There are a lot of options when it comes to sunscreen. You can pick sticks, lotions, and sprays. It’s often best to use a cream-based formula as opposed to a spray. Although sprays may be easier to apply, they may not cover as evenly as a cream-based product.

Don’t Rely Solely on Sunscreen

In addition to sunscreen, seniors should use other best practices to protect their skin. This includes wearing protective clothing, sunglasses, and hats. Try to avoid spending time in the sun between 10 am and 4 pm, when the sun’s rays are strongest. By using a combination of sun protection measures, seniors can reduce their risk of developing skin cancer.

Heritage Senior Communities

If you are concerned about your ability to protect yourself from the sun, consider moving to an assisted living community where safety is a priority. Heritage Senior Communities offers an assortment of indoor and outdoor activities during the summer. Seniors who want to avoid the sun can stay engaged by only participating in indoor activities. Contact us today to learn about how we help seniors stay healthy and engaged.

8 Frequently Asked Questions about Senior Guardians

8 Frequently Asked Questions about Senior Guardians

If a senior loved one is having trouble making decisions for themselves, you may have considered becoming their guardian. Senior guardianships can be difficult to understand. Many families don’t know everything the role entails. Here are a few things caregivers should know before seeking guardianship for a senior loved one.

Understanding What It Means to Be a Senior Guardian

  1. What is a senior guardian?

A senior guardian, also known as an adult guardian, is an adult appointed by the court to care for a senior who is incapacitated. Once a guardian is appointed, the senior becomes their ward. The guardian is responsible for managing the ward’s life and making decisions in their best interest.

The guardian can legally make decisions about:

  • Where the ward will live
  • How to handle their finances and other assets
  • Health care and medical treatments
  • End-of-life decisions
  1. What types of responsibilities does a guardian have?

In addition to making decisions in the ward’s best interest, the guardian is also responsible for the following tasks:

  • Making sure they get to their doctors’ appointments
  • Helping manage their medications
  • Paying their bills
  1. Who needs a guardian?

A senior can benefit from a guardian if they have an illness, injury, or disability that makes it difficult or impossible to make personal decisions for themselves. A senior may benefit from a guardian if:

  • They have trouble making good decisions
  • They were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia
  • They recently had a stroke or have suffered a brain injury
  1. When is guardianship granted?

A guardian is appointed if the senior does not have a power of attorney and the court decides that they are incapacitated. The person petitioning for guardianship must provide evidence from a medical professional that the senior is unable to make decisions about their personal affairs.

In the event the older adult doesn’t have someone who can act on their behalf, the court may appoint a professional guardian.

  1. How do you choose a guardian?

Guardianship should be appointed to someone who plays a significant role in the senior’s life. This person should understand the senior’s needs and be sensitive to their condition.

If more than one person is petitioning for guardianship, the court will appoint the person they feel is best qualified for the role. In most cases, this person is the senior’s spouse or a family member. If neither is feasible, the court will appoint guardianship to a close friend. The final option would be a professional guardian.

  1. What are the limitations of guardianships?

Guardians can only handle small amounts of money like monthly stipends, Social Security benefits, and veterans’ benefits. If the senior has a significant amount of assets, a conservator is usually required. A conservator, also appointed by the court, handles the ward’s finances.

  1. What are the cons of guardianship?

Guardianships can be helpful in many instances, but there are a few downsides:

  • Guardianship petitions can be expensive due to court costs and other legal fees.
  • Seniors don’t always get to choose their guardian; the court may decide who is best suited for the role.
  • The court is involved in family decisions.
  1. How long does a guardianship last?

A guardianship typically lasts until the ward or the guardian dies. The relationship can also be terminated if the guardian resigns, or the senior is no longer incapacitated.

In some cases, the court may remove the guardian if they find it in the best interest of the ward.

Guardianship Is an Important Decision

Becoming a guardian for a senior loved one is an important decision. It restricts a senior’s rights to make certain life decisions.

At Heritage, we always recommend that seniors and their families seek assistance from a professional when it comes to legal matters. An attorney with experience in family law, probate law, or elder law will likely be familiar with adult guardianship. They can help you determine if adult guardianship is a good choice for your family.

Heritage Senior Communities

Heritage Senior Communities offers memory care programs that cater to seniors with special needs, including those who are incapacitated. Contact us today to learn more about our communities or to schedule a private tour.