Every year since 1983, November has been proclaimed National Family Caregivers Month. It’s a time to “recognize the love and sacrifice of millions of American caregivers” and celebrate their efforts in assisting and supporting their loved ones. It’s also a time to raise awareness and educate others about the struggles all caregivers face and provide them with the tools they need to succeed.
One of the challenges confronting caregivers is feeling overwhelmed and isolated, which can lead to burnout. However, there are steps individuals can take to reduce their stress.
Take Care of Yourself
First and foremost, take care of yourself. If you are not at your best, your ability to care for someone else is diminished. Think about being on an airplane. During the safety announcements, attendants instruct you to put your mask on first so that you can then help others.
How do you go about caring for yourself? Start by getting enough rest and eating healthy. Beyond that, be willing to accept help from those around you when you need it. And give yourself a break every once in a while. If you notice you’re feeling depressed, irritable or moody, that’s probably an indication that you’re getting burned out. Take a step back and seek support, either from a professional, a group or organization, or even your friends. You can even learn some coping mechanisms.
Organize Legal and Medical Documents
At some point, part of being a caregiver may require that you acquire power of attorney over your loved one’s finances or healthcare. To avoid confusion, file their paperwork separate from your own. If you are managing records digitally, make sure they are on a secure device and set up folders so you can easily locate and identity information. Learn how to best communicate with medical and legal professionals so you can advocate for your loved one.
Be open to technologies that can ease your stress when caring for a loved one. For example, give your family member a personal emergency alert device. It will not only provide peace of mind for them, but you as well, knowing that help is just a click away when you are not with them. Apps on your smart phone can also come in handy. Set reminders to notify yourself for appointments or check-ins. Schedule a medication delivery service that sorts and packages prescriptions together so your family member receives the appropriate dosage to take and knows when to take it. Subscription services ensure that prescriptions are filled in a timely manner, as well.
Don’t Wait To Find Assisted Living
Though bringing up the subject of moving to an Assisted Living community may be uncomfortable, it’s better for everyone to talk about it and research options before the need is imminent. Determine what’s most important to your loved one. Is it location—staying near family, friends or current healthcare providers? How much does the size of the residence matter? Do they wish for outdoor spaces to explore? Most people are on some sort of budget to cover living expenses. Know what it is.
Once you’ve decided on the must haves, visit multiple communities so you can compare services, amenities and experiences.
How is the quality of life for residents? In almost any senior living setting, only a small percentage of “living” actually occurs within someone’s apartment. That’s why The Carolina Inn has multipurpose rooms, common areas and beautiful outdoor spaces for gathering, Additional amenities such as concierge services, a salon, housekeeping and laundry, transportation, and more make residents feel like they’re staying in a resort-style hotel. Often, the people are what make someone feel comfortable and at home. So pay attention to how the caregivers, nursing staff, activities coordinators, and even food service workers treat you and your family member when you visit. Ask current residents about their experiences, too.
What type of care is offered? In general, Assisted Living residents receive help with tasks of daily living such as dressing, bathing, personal hygiene, mobility, and medication management. But some communities go above and beyond the standard. Take The Carolina Inn as an example. The Carolina Inn has the highest nursing-to-resident ratio for assisted living communities in the Fayetteville, North Carolina area with nurses on each floor and staff available around the clock. Every resident is equipped with a 24-hour emergency response system, as well. Additional services such as diabetic care, podiatry, and lab resources are available as needed.
How is the food? One of the keys to staying healthy during aging is proper nutrition. Assisted Living communities commonly provide three meals a day for residents. At The Carolina Inn, menu options change daily and feature locally sourced and grown produce when possible. The main dining room reflects the décor and service of a four-star restaurant and more casual fare is available in the Sky View Bistro. Room service is offered, too. However, dining is more than just a nutritious meal. It’s a time for residents to gather and share stories of their day, laugh together, and build friendships.
Are there opportunities for socialization? Many of today’s senior living communities pride themselves on keeping residents active and engaged. And The Carolina Inn is no exception. A wide variety of Life Enrichment programs and activities are available for residents to participate in. These include musical performances, pet therapy, arts and crafts, games like Name That Tune and bingo, exercise sessions, movie nights, holiday dinners, birthday celebrations, and wine and cheese socials. Morning devotion and church services are also offered for spiritual as well as physical and emotional wellness.
What is the pricing structure? Some Assisted Living communities require a hefty down payment. As a rental property, The Carolina Inn offers monthly lease options with no high entrance fee. A selection of furnished and unfurnished, one- and two-bedroom apartments are available to fit a variety of budgets and lifestyles. Featuring Universal Design for safety and comfort, each residence has a refrigerator, handicap accessible bath, and private telephone and cable TV. Many apartments also have patios for enjoying the outdoors.
Remember, when providing care to your aging family member becomes too much to handle alone, Assisted Living is ready at The Carolina Inn in Fayetteville’s Village Green neighborhood.
To schedule a tour of The Carolina Inn, log onto www.CarolinaInnNC.com or call (910) 501-2271.