by Shelley | Oct 26, 2020 | Alzheimer's and Dementia
I’ve been the primary caregiver for my dad for over 3 years. He has Alzheimer’s disease and moved in with my husband and I. His forgetfulness made it unsafe for him to live alone. He was neglecting to take his heart disease medication and was beginning to wander from home and become lost.
While I am retired and fortunate not to have to work outside the home, some days I struggle to keep up with my dad. He doesn’t sleep much, so I have trouble keeping an eye on him.
My friend suggested I look for an Alzheimer’s caregiver group to join. In all honesty, I think it’s just one more thing to fit into my schedule.
In your experience, what are the benefits of joining a caregiver support group? Is it worth the time it takes to attend?
Barb in Saginaw, MI
Why Join a Caregiver Support Group?
What a great question! I’m sure other family members wonder the same thing. While it might initially seem like more work, there are important benefits of joining a caregiver support group:
- Validate your feelings: Family caregivers experience a range of emotions. It’s sad watching a loved one’s decline. You may fear you aren’t doing a good job. Then there is the unspoken emotion: guilt. Caregiving for a family member often means sacrificing your personal time. It can make even the best-intentioned caregiver a little resentful. When you talk with fellow caregivers, you’ll quickly discover these feelings are normal.
- Share ideas: Being part of a support group gives you access to others who’ve likely experienced similar struggles. They can offer tips for how to prevent wandering or what to do when a loved one won’t eat. You can learn what’s worked for other caregivers so you have new ideas to try.
- Vent frustrations: Let’s face it, caregiving can be emotional. Families often disagree about how to handle vital issues. It’s especially tough when loved ones have strong opinions on how things should be done but aren’t willing to help. A caregiver support group provides a place to vent your anger and frustration.
- Feel connected: Family caregivers often feel isolated and lonely. This is especially true if the elder has Alzheimer’s and isn’t safe staying alone. Commiserating and laughing over common struggles with people who relate can help you feel less alone.
Online Support Groups for Alzheimer’s Caregivers
Because the challenges Alzheimer’s caregivers face are so unique, it might be easier to connect with an online support group. ALZConnected is one that is hosted by the Alzheimer’s Association.
I hope this helps, Barb! I wish you the best of luck caregiving for your dad.
Memory Care at Heritage Senior Communities
Heritage Senior Communities has been caring for adults with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia since 1946. Our family-owned company is dedicated to helping people with dementia enjoy their best quality of life, despite the disease. Call the Heritage community closest to you to learn more!
by Shelley | Jun 24, 2019 | Dear DonnaDear Donna, I am the primary caregiver for my mother, who is in the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease. I have been feeling lonely lately, but I am having trouble connecting with people who understand the challenges I am facing. I am interested in joining an online...
by Shelley | Aug 29, 2022 | Healthy Aging, Uncategorized
Assisted living is often considered an ideal solution for older adults who need a helping hand to remain independent. It’s a level of senior care that blends support with amenities in an environment that allows for resident privacy. Seniors who move to an assisted living community still feel in charge of their own life.
How does assisted living support independence? Here are a few ways these communities benefit seniors striving to maintain their independence.
Assisted Living Supports Senior Independence
- Thoughtfully designed environment: Each resident has a private apartment or suite. The layout and features are designed with the unique needs of older adults in mind. In Heritage assisted living communities, seniors will find barrier-free accessibility, grab bars in bathrooms, and emergency call systems. You’ll find more senior-friendly features throughout the community, such as handrails along hallways. It’s a thoughtful approach designed to lower the risk of falling.
- Caregivers available 24/7: One challenge families face when a senior loved one tries to age in place in their private home is the unpredictably of needs. For example, family members may not be available overnight to help an older adult to and from the bathroom. It is also difficult for working adults to remind their senior parents to take their medications throughout the day and night. In an assisted living community, caregivers are on-site around the clock to support resident needs.
- Transportation services for residents: Another struggle older adults often encounter is transportation. Some may continue driving despite no longer feeling safe doing so simply because they don’t feel they have other options. Seniors may also feel like they are burdening their adult children with continued transportation requests. That’s why the transportation services provided by assisted living communities are so popular. In addition to regularly scheduled group outings to local restaurants and shopping malls, staff can arrange transportation for residents’ doctor’s appointments and other errands.
- Maintenance-free lifestyle: Another convenience that promotes independence is having household chores and maintenance tasks covered. Everything from snow removal to appliance repair is handled by the community’s staff. In most communities, housekeeping and laundry services are included in the monthly fee or available as an add-on service. No more worries for seniors about asking adult children or grandchildren for help or trying to track down a contractor.
- Wellness made easy: When a senior is struggling at home, their diet often suffers. It becomes easier to rely on convenience meals and processed foods. However, most are high in sodium and fat. That can lead to poor nutrition, which puts older adults at higher risk for illness and falls. In an assisted living community, well-balanced meals and healthy snacks are standard. Most dining services teams can also accommodate special diets, such as low-sodium or gluten-free. With Heritage Hospitality, residents have a choice of menus at every meal.
- Medication management: Finally, the caregivers at an assisted living community help residents stay on track with their medicine. It’s another area that can be difficult as health needs require older adults to take multiple over-the-counter and prescription medications. Depending upon the community and state regulations, staff can help by providing reminders or even assisting seniors in taking their medication.
Schedule a Tour of a Heritage Community Today
The best way to learn about assisted living and its benefits is to tour a community in person. If your search includes Michigan or Indiana, we invite you to consider Heritage. View our list of communities and schedule a visit to a location that interests you!
by Shelley | Mar 16, 2020 | Healthy AgingOver time, you may notice diet plays an increasingly important role in your overall health and wellness. The foods you consume can affect everything from your waistline to your energy levels. More importantly, they can affect your memory and brain health. Here’s...
by HSC-Admin | May 28, 2016 | Caregiving, Uncategorized
November is National Family Caregiver Month, a month dedicated to providing support and raising awareness for the 66 million Americans who are providing care for ill, disabled or aging relatives.
If you are caring for a senior loved one in Michigan, you know that this job can be both rewarding and demanding. But you may not be aware that helping an older adult with daily-living tasks could be taking a serious toll on your health and relationships.
Caregiving can be harmful to your health
According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, family caregivers report more health issues and seem to suffer from a lowered immunity. About 10 % report that assisting a loved one with hygiene, meals, medications, errands and housecleaning has caused their own health to decline. A stunning 40-70% of caregivers report symptoms of depression.
Most family caregivers devote about 20 hours a week to their loved ones in need. Research shows that adults who spend more than a few hours a week caring for others are more likely to suffer from physical illness and mental strain. They are also less likely to visit a doctor, to exercise and to eat a balanced diet.
But there is good news. Studies confirm that that education, access to resources and community support can relieve a lot of the stress and strain of caring for an aging parent, whether they are in the home or in an assisted-living community.
Resources for healthy caregiving
These websites can help you locate the information, resources and services that will support you as a caregiver.
- AARP Home and Family Caregiving: An educational resource where caregivers can learn strategies for juggling work and caregiving, dealing with stress and living healthier lives. This is also home to a busy online community where you can talk with other caregivers and ask experts for advice.
- The Alzheimer’s Association Caregiver Center: If you are providing Alzheimer’s or dementia care, this is a great resource for support. You can talk to others in the caregiver discussion boards and access materials that may ease your caregiving duties. This website also offers a Community Resource Finder that can help you locate events, services and support options in the Great Lakes State.
- Michigan Aging and Adult Services: These government agency websites offer links to educational resources, support groups and workshops that can make caregiving less stressful. You can also find information about adult-day care and enrichment programs, assistance with in-home care and services like home-delivered meals.
- The National Caregiver’s Library: A storehouse of information covering every aspect of caregiving. This helpful resource includes a section dedicated to educating employers of caregivers.
- Video Caregiving: An online library of informative mini-documentaries where people share their stories and offer informative tips to support caregivers.
Please help us spread the word about National Family Caregiving Month by sharing this article with your personal network of family and friends!
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