(618) 692-CARE (2273)

Posts Tagged ‘end-of-life care’

Tips For First Time Caregivers

tips for first time caregiversBecoming a caregiver is something we rarely plan for. Few children say, “I’m going to be a caregiver when I grow up,” but when faced with age and/or chronic illness, many people do turn to their grown children or other family members for help in dealing with their newly-fragile state, including some of the more basic aspects of day-to-day care.

If you now find yourself thrust into the position of caregiver and don’t know where to begin, we’ve got some tips for you:

Get Informed

Whatever medical issues your loved one is dealing with, you should make sure you at least know the basics. What are the typical outcomes? Treatments? Side effects of the medications? You should know as much as you can because you’re going to be the one dealing with them. This can mean a quick internet search (or very intensive internet search, depending on your research style), asking a librarian or bookseller for book recommendations, and talking to medical professionals who specialize in that field.

It should also mean you’re present at doctor’s meetings. Patients often fail to ask their doctors the right questions (or any questions) or they forget to mention symptoms. As a caregiver, you are responsible for acting as your loved one’s advocate and nowhere is that more important than the doctor’s office. Not only do you have to keep the doctor informed of all developments, but you are in the best position to make sure the patient takes all their medication when they’re supposed to, gets the prescribed exercise, eats right, etc.

Get Help

Aging can be a lonely time of life for many people, but sometimes the caregiver can also be left feeling isolated. Even if you’re surrounded by friends and family, they might not understand what you’re going through or the specific challenges associated with being a caregiver.

Fortunately there are communities out there to provide support, advice, and a sympathetic ear. There are online communities as well as ones that meet in person. You can check MeetUp.com to see if there are any groups in your area already meeting to discuss these things. If not, you can start your own group. Either way it’s important to know you’re not alone.

Take Care Of Yourself

As any mother will tell you, when you’re caring for someone else, it can be easy to forget to take care of yourself, and what little time we do spend in self care can often leave us feeling guilty. But the fact is that taking care of yourself is an important aspect of taking care of your loved one. If you’re not at your best, then you won’t be able to provide the best care. So make sure you eat right, exercise regularly, and take time to enjoy some of your favorite hobbies every now and then. You and your charge will both be better off for it.

And remember there’s no reason you can’t make taking care of yourself part of taking care of your loved one. You’re probably in charge of their meals anyway, so while you’re cooking up something delicious and nutritious for them, make some for yourself. Consider what exercises they’re capable of and exercise together. Do a puzzle together. Read out loud to them. Taking care of them will be a lot of hard work, but there’s no reason it can’t also be fun every now and then.

Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.

CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.

How To Recognize Signs That It’s Time For Assisted Living

time for assisted livingMaking the choice to put a loved one into an assisted living facility can be one of the most difficult choices we have to make as adults. It can be a painful process that’s often met with resistance from those who are most in need of assistance with day-to-day chores and activities, but you must remain firm. In order to do that, it helps to know for sure that it really is time for your loved one to go to an assisted living facility.

You’re Afraid To Leave Them Alone

Even the most capable of us have times when we forget to turn off the oven or unplug the iron, but if it happens regularly, it might be time to consider an assisted living facility. Many people can continue taking care of themselves well into their golden years, but if your loved one appears to be slipping in even the most basic aspects of self-care, you should probably start looking for an assisted living facility for them.

Changes in Housekeeping

Failing to maintain their normal level of cleanliness around the house and/or hoarding can both be signs that their ability to care for themselves is declining and they need help.

The Level Of Care They Need Continues To Rise

Many people try to take care of their senior friends and family members themselves by having them live with them. This can be a great way to make sure they remain an active part of the family, but if the amount of care they need rises too high, it can become a problem for all of you. There’s only so much friends and family can do, and when the level of care needed by the senior citizen starts to rise above and beyond what you can provide, it’s time to start looking for professional help.

Wandering

Wandering can be one of the earliest signs of cognitive decline if your loved one tries to go to a store that no longer exists or insists on shopping at odd hours. When that starts to happen, their confusion could potentially put them in dangerous situations. You can do your best to keep an eye on them, but you cannot possibly watch them 24/7. What you’ll need instead is an assisted living facility with the resources necessary to care for your loved one and make sure they don’t wander off.

Paranoia

Paranoia can take all sorts of forms, from hiding money in various places around the house to outright accusing friends and family members of trying to harm or trick them. It’s a common sign of aging, as well as cognitive decline from a variety of sources (Alzheimer’s, stroke, etc.). It can be especially difficult to convince a paranoid senior to move into an assisted living facility, but it’s more necessary than ever. Paranoid individuals can often end up hurting themselves by accident and no one wants to take that risk with their loved ones.

Here at Stillwater Senior Living, we treat our residents like family. Our apartments include studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. They are designed with security features, maximum accessibility, and include walk-out patois with a full range of amenities for the entire family.

CONTACT US today for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.

How To Talk To Your Kids About End-Of-Life Care

end-of-life careNot everyone wants to think about what will happen as they age, especially when it comes to considering possibilities like dementia or a stroke leaving them incapable of making decisions about their own health. But the fact that those possibilities are so frightening is exactly why it’s important to talk to your children about end-of-life care now, before things take a turn for the worse.

Nevertheless, many people continue to put off having this extremely important conversation because it makes them so uncomfortable. Here are some ways you can ease the stress on both you and your children.

1) Plan ahead.

By doing your research ahead of time, you can plan for what comes next. Know what the average costs of end-of-life care are and put a plan in place for how you’re going to pay for it. Even if you don’t currently need an assisted living facility, doing your research and knowing where you want to go if it comes to that can make the transition that much easier on both you and your children.

Not only will this step make you feel better, it will make the idea more palatable for your children. Even those who don’t want to think about what’s coming will most likely find comfort in knowing there’s a plan in place and what that plan is. It will let them see it’s not so bad after all and will create a guideline for them to follow when it’s time to put the plan into action.

Be sure to write everything down and make sure everyone involved has a copy so there will be no second-guessing in the event of an emergency.

2) Talk about it early and often.

You don’t necessarily need to have one big Talk with your children about what they should do as you age. You can drop it into conversations throughout your lives together. As situations arise with friends and family, you can mention what you want done if you ever end up in a similar situation. Make it a two-way conversation by asking them what they think they would want if they found themselves in a vulnerable position. It can help introduce empathy into the discussion by forcing them to consider the situation from the other side, making them more likely to see things from your perspective, and by extension, respect your wishes.

3) Use media to help you broach the subject.

No one likes to hear the words, “We need to talk,” and trying to start a conversation that way can sometimes have the unintentional effect of making everyone defensive before the conversation has even begun. In order to avoid that, you can watch a show or movie together that addresses the issue. Talk about a book or show them an article you recently read on the topic. Use that as an icebreaker to start discussing the issue in general before moving on to what you specifically want to happen at the end of your life.

At Stillwater Senior Living, we do everything we can to answer the questions of our seniors in our community. If we do not have the answer, we will find someone that does.

CONTACT US TODAY for more information and a tour of our beautiful state-of-the-art community.