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One of the most difficult aspects of being a caregiver for someone living with dementia has nothing to do with their actual daily care.
The challenge involves acting as a loved one’s advocate, speaking up for their needs when they can no longer formulate what is best for themselves. This situation is most difficult when physical challenges arise, such as the need for surgery or rehabilitation.
These situations also occur daily. There were times I wanted to act as my mother’s bodyguard, her protector, to the outside world. It was my job, in a way, to speak the unspoken. To say the unarticulated. I couldn’t be there all the time. There had to be other ways.
Being Named “Caregiver”
When my first husband was scheduled to receive a bone marrow transplant, I was assigned the duty and title of caregiver. I had already been his unofficial one, but agreement to this designation was required for entrance to the program. I felt important. He and I were now on equal footing. I had as much to say as he did in this quest.
Not everyone has the flexibility to be a caregiver, to be the point person, at those important junctions. However, there are certain approaches one can take or learn from, to become the advocate when necessary.
Before someone enters a hospital care setting, it’s important to establish a line of communication and a routine amongst yourself and your loved one. Just as one might do when pregnant, always carry a bag of essentials. This might include copies of living wills, snacks for your loved one (my mother loved Sandies cookies), a notebook, lavender lotion, a book for yourself or a volume of poetry to read and maintain calm. While we all carry technology in our pockets to keep us connected to the outside world, consider books or magazines to keep your eyes from tiring and your focus on what’s important.
Consider making a homemade sign to leave in the loved one’s room. Words to remind those attending to a loved one of your loved one’s name, a few tidbits about them, and a reminder, if necessary, this person experiences memory loss, etc. Some care communities will also send along paperwork which might also include a type of greeting card for the doctors. A way of saying, thank you for attending to me - and it’s important you know the real me.
Is this necessary? I’ve spent many hours in hospital and care home settings. My husband works in a hospital. We’re familiar with the demands on both sides of the patient bed. The pressure for everyone to perform admirably for the sake of someone they don’t know, and someone you love intensely, is real. The stakes are high. Eliminate the stress and tension whenever possible.
Become a Manager
“As your care recipient’s advocate, be involved, don’t accept the status quo, and don’t be afraid to voice your concerns,” writes Nancy L. Kriseman, in Mindful Caregiver: Finding Ease in the Caregiving Journey.
It’s okay to challenge what some might view as norms. Our loved ones are individuals. It only makes sense they would not fall into the “norm.” The challenge is in the communication style which we choose to adopt when speaking for our loved one.
When my mother was dying, family members wanted to come to town and visit one final time. As her ongoing caregiver for over six years, I didn’t want to leave her side. I had to trust in those members, and in the staff. However, there was an issue with one family member. Given the personality of this person, I fully expected them to walk into the care home and make demands, despite the groundwork I had laid for my mother’s peaceful goodbyes. The staff understood. They had, after all, understood my mother’s needs sometimes or anticipated them better than I could. I had been correct. That person did make demands. With a kind heart, the staff convinced that person they would ensure my mother’s needs were being met.
In the end, I didn’t have to be concerned so much about my communication style, but that of the trained staff. The most important aspect is that one remains committed to the values you believe are important to uphold.
The secret to caregiving is understanding there will be days when you feel you are advocating alone and recognizing there are always ways to give yourself some backup by being prepared.
Annette Januzzi Wick is a writer, speaker, and author of I’ll Have Some of Yours, a journey of cookies and caregiving. (Three Arch Press). A frequent contributor to Cincinnati.com, her work has appeared in Cincinnati Magazine, nextavenue.com, Still Point Arts, 3rd Act Magazine, Belt Magazine (forthcoming) and others. Visit annettejwick.com to learn more.
How to Prevent Family Conflict Over Aging ParentsWhen it comes to aging parents, certain topics are often at the forefront of the conversation senior living, health care, and financial planning, to name a few. However, there is one topic that is very common but not as openly discussed: family conflict. This type of conflict usually occurs among adult children as their parents or family members go through the aging process. Disputes can also occur between parents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, cousins, or others. Disagreements often stem from the stress, sadness, denial, anger, or uncertainty people often feel when their loved ones start to need help.Family conflict over aging loved ones is especially prevalent in the state of Florida, which has such a large senior population. In fact, family conflict became such an issue that the Florida Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts launched the Elder Justice Initiative on Eldercaring Coordination. This dispute resolution process was specifically created for families experiencing conflict over the care, autonomy and safety of Florida seniors.Clearly, family conflict over aging loved ones is a real issue that impacts seniors. While it is not uncommon, it can be prevented with the proper preparation, communication, knowledge, and guidance.This article will cover several aging-related topics that can lead to family conflicts, and how to best solve or prevent these issues. After all, the best outcomes for seniors occur when there is harmony and teamwork among their adult children. Situations that Can Lead to Family ConflictProblem: Uneven balance of caregiving responsibilitiesAdult children of seniors often have to handle many matters related to their aging parents. These can include taking on the role of a family caregiver, accompanying parents to medical appointments, making healthcare decisions, managing finances, driving them to all their obligations, managing their nutritional needs, performing household maintenance and chores, and many other duties.When multiple adult children are involved, it is natural for one child to take on more of the caregiving load than the others. This is often the case when one child lives much closer to their parents than the others.But when these duties are not evenly distributed among the children, some start to develop feelings of anger or bitterness toward their siblings.Solution: When feelings of bitterness and resentment start to develop, have a civil discussion with your siblings about the issue. Rather than being accusatory, try to make a plan to solve the problem. Write out all the responsibilities required for taking care of your aging parents, and specifically delegate each duty to certain people. Make sure everyone is on board with the agreement and is assigned a role that is achievable for them. Keep the list somewhere everyone can access it, whether it be a printed copy for each family member, or even a shared Google Doc. Plan to have frequent check-in meetings to make sure everyone is doing their part and discuss any concerns that have arisen.For example, one child who lives nearby can be in charge of driving their parents to appointments, while another child who lives farther away can take on the role of managing their finances. Or, if one person is unable to physically help, perhaps they would be willing to contribute financially to help make the other childrens roles a little easier whether that be by paying for respite care, a geriatric care manager, hospice care, or another service. Problem: One sibling is being excluded from the decision-makingSometimes, one child will take over most of the decision-making for their senior parents, causing the other siblings to feel as though they are being left in the dark about these important issues. Solution: In these situations, communication is key. In a calm manner, tell your sibling how you are feeling. It could be that they are simply unaware of their actions. Or, they might have thought they were making their siblings lives easier by not involving them. Explain your point of view and that you want to be more involved in matters relating to your aging parents. From there, you can work together to make an arrangement that you are included in.Problem: Disagreements about the amount of care neededFor some people, it can be hard to come to terms with the fact that their parents needs and abilities are changing. This can lead to denial or avoidance of the situation which is not only harmful for the seniors, but can also cause disagreements between adult children.In other situations, some adult children may believe their parents are able to safely age in place in their own home, while others may think senior living would be the best choice.Solution: Sometimes a professional outside opinion is all it takes for people to come to an agreement about their parents care needs. Consult your parents doctors for a professional report about their health status and changes in ability. It is also wise to contact an expert senior advisor like Florida Senior Consulting to conduct necessary assessments and make professional recommendations for the senior. A senior advisor can also help inform about all the possible options, whether that be in-home care or senior living. Along with involving outside sources, siblings can work together to research the situation at hand. For example, if the seniors are experiencing memory issues like dementia, adult children can research this topic to learn what level of care is often recommended in these situations. This method is always a good place to start and helps everyone be on the same page about their loved ones needs.Problem: Disagreements about end-of-life care and estate planningEstate planning and end-of-life care can be uncomfortable or delicate topics to discuss. Because of their complexity, these matters can often lead to disagreements among adult children.Solution: In these tricky situations, it is often best to leave the decisions up to your parents. If possible, have them choose a power of attorney and set up advance directives like a living will and health care surrogate designation before a crisis occurs. This will prevent any future conflicts that could arise among family members if these designations are not in place.If a crisis occurs and your parents do not have these documents or their estate in order, it is best to contact an elder law attorney, a financial planner that specializes in elder affairs, and possibly a family mediator to help with inheritances. These professionals can help get the situation sorted out without the risk of a conflict developing between family members.Next Steps for Adult Children to Help their Aging ParentsDont let conflicts about your aging parents tear your family apart. In difficult times, it is important for families to come together so the seniors in your life can receive the best care possible. This positive outcome is only achieved when the adult children work together as a team. After all, as Helen Keller once said, Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.If you and your family need guidance on how to best help your aging loved ones, always contact a professional. Florida Senior Consulting will help you every step of the way, from deciding the right plan for care, finding the best assisted living community, packing, moving, and everything in between.Our expert senior advisors are local to Florida and will help you and find the best care possible.Call (800) 969-7176 or visit FloridaSeniorConsulting.com to get started today.Senior living on your terms. The choice should be yours.
As the population ages, the need for quality long-term care becomes increasingly significant. The expenses associated with senior care can be daunting, prompting individuals to explore various financial options to alleviate the financial burden. One such avenue is long-term care insurance (LTCi), a specialized insurance product designed to cover the costs of extended care services. As you delve into the complexities of LTCi, Amada Senior Care Dallas and owner, Eric vanGoethem offers invaluable assistance in navigating the intricacies of long-term care insurance. Understanding Long-Term Care Insurance Long-term care insurance is a crucial financial tool that provides coverage for services not typically covered by health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid. These services include assistance with daily living activities such as bathing, dressing, and eating, often required by seniors or individuals with chronic illnesses. Amada Senior Care recognizes the importance of LTCi in ensuring that seniors receive the quality care they deserve without the overwhelming financial strain. Reviewing Policies and Confirming BenefitsThe first step in maximizing the benefits of LTCi is understanding the intricacies of the policy. Amada Senior Care Dallas takes pride in offering expert assistance in reviewing policies and verifying benefits. The process involves a thorough examination of the policy's terms and conditions, ensuring that the policyholder comprehends the scope of coverage and potential limitations.By providing clarity on the nuances of the LTCi policy, Amada Senior Care enables individuals to make informed decisions about their long-term care. This level of understanding is crucial to avoid surprises and ensure that the benefits are utilized effectively when the need arises.Managing Claims and Documentation One of the most significant challenges in utilizing LTCi benefits is the complex claims process. Amada Senior Care plays a pivotal role in guiding individuals through the labyrinth of claims forms and documentation. The experts at Amada understand the importance of a streamlined process, and their guidance expedites the approval and disbursement of funds for quality senior care.The meticulous handling of claims and documentation not only accelerates the process but also ensures that individuals receive the financial support they need promptly. This proactive approach reflects Amada Senior Care's commitment to easing the administrative burden on families facing the challenges of long-term care.Dedicated LTCi AdvocatesNavigating the bureaucracy of insurance carriers can be a daunting task, often leading to frustration and extended wait times. Amada Senior Care Dallas distinguishes itself by providing dedicated LTCi advocates who act as intermediaries between policyholders and insurance carriers. This eliminates the need for individuals to spend hours on hold or engage in protracted communication with insurance providers.By fostering professional relationships with multiple carriers, Amada Senior Care ensures efficient communication and resolution of issues. This personalized advocacy not only saves time but also enhances the overall experience for policyholders, allowing them to focus on the well-being of their loved ones.Optimizing Benefits and Monitoring PaymentsAmada Senior Care Dallas goes beyond mere assistance in claims processing; they are committed to optimizing the benefits provided by LTCi policies. By tailoring the benefits to align with individual care plans, Amada ensures that policyholders receive the maximum utility from their coverage.Additionally, the organization takes on the responsibility of monitoring payments, alleviating the stress associated with managing financial transactions with insurance carriers. This proactive approach ensures that payments are processed promptly, allowing for a seamless provision of quality senior care services.Expert Support from Eric vanGoethemEric vanGoethem, a recognized expert in the field, brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Amada Senior Care team. With a deep understanding of the intricacies of long-term care insurance, Eric plays a crucial role in guiding individuals through the complexities of policy interpretation, claims processing, and benefit optimization.Eric's expertise extends to establishing and maintaining professional relationships with various insurance carriers, enhancing the efficiency of communication and issue resolution. His dedication to the well-being of seniors and their families is evident in the personalized support he provides, ensuring that each individual's unique needs are addressed comprehensively.Long-term care insurance is a vital tool for safeguarding the financial well-being of seniors and individuals with chronic illnesses requiring extended care. Amada Senior Care Dallas, supported by owner Eric vanGoethem, stands out as a beacon of support in navigating the challenges associated with LTCi. From policy review to claims processing and benefit optimization, Amada Senior Care's comprehensive approach ensures that individuals receive the care they need without the undue burden of financial stress. As the aging population continues to grow, the importance of expert guidance in long-term care insurance becomes increasingly apparent, making Amada Senior Care Dallas a trusted partner in the journey towards quality senior care.
As we gracefully age, nurturing mental wellness becomes increasingly vital, especially for our beloved seniors. The pursuit of a positive mindset is essential for a fulfilling and joyful life during this phase. In this blog post, we'll explore effective strategies that seniors can adopt to promote their mental well-being, allowing them to embrace each day with optimism and resilience.Strategies for a Positive Mindset:Seniors can significantly benefit from fostering social connections, whether through family bonds, friendships, or community engagement. Loneliness and isolation can be mitigated by participating in social activities and events. Encouraging mindful activities like meditation or gentle exercises can contribute not only to physical health but also mental clarity and emotional balance. Additionally, seniors can embark on a journey of continuous learning, exploring new hobbies or interests to stimulate their minds and instill a sense of accomplishment. A healthy lifestyle, encompassing nutritious meals, regular exercise, and sufficient hydration, forms another pillar of positive mental well-being. Establishing a daily routine, along with open communication channels, further enhances a senior's sense of control, purpose, and overall contentment. In combining these strategies, we empower our seniors to age gracefully with a positive and resilient mindset.
Lely Palms Independent Living offers a variety of apartments (studio, 1 & 2 bedrooms) and 2 bedroom villas. Full Service rental plans are designed to simplify your lifestyle with many services included. General Rental plans allow you to customize the services you desire while not having to pay for those you don't need. No matter what plan you choose, you will be glad to call Lely Palms Retirement Community home.
Located on 28 acres of beautifully tropical landscaped property in Naples, Florida, Lely Palms Retirement Community offers independent living for persons ages 55 and over. Lely Palms also offers the only retirement villa rentals in Naples. Choose from an all-inclusive rental package, general rental, or trial stay with an array of floor plans including studios, alcoves, one and two bedroom apartments. Our rental community is designed for your active and healthy lifestyle.Independent Living Apartments and VillasFull-service rental plans for those looking to simplify their lifestyleGeneral rental plans to customize and add the services you desireOne of the few Naples area Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) with rental units
Our family of assisted and independent living communities offer a sense of home with a variety of amenities.We know you have your own individual routines and interests, capabilities and needs and we strive to accommodate each resident's individuality.