Supporting a Family Caregiver: Alleviating Stress and Anxiety

As more of the population continues to age, many older adults are relying on friends and family caregivers to close the gap in the demand for healthcare. There are more nonprofessional primary caregivers than ever before.

According to a survey conducted by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP Public Policy Institute, in 2015, an estimated 43.5 million American adults provided unpaid care, with nearly 85% caring for a family member or parent. Caring for an aging parent can often fall on one person in the family, especially those who live nearby. While caregiving can be a rewarding experience, it can also present many issues for a family caregiver. The same survey reported that 40% of caretakers felt emotionally stressed, and almost 20% said caregiving caused financial problems and physical strain. When unaddressed, long-term stress, often referred to as caregiver burnout, can negatively affect overall health and increase the risk factors for chronic illnesses and depression. The first step in addressing caregiver stress is to be able to recognize and identify the symptoms.

Signs and Symptoms of Caregiver Stress
For most caregivers, providing care for a loved one can be a fulfilling responsibility. However, with any transition or life event, it’s normal to experience a range of emotions. At some point, family caregivers will likely experience burnout, which may manifest itself with symptoms such as anger, stress, exhaustion, or loneliness. According to the Mayo Clinic, these factors can increase the risk of caregiver stress in individuals:

Living with the person for whom you provide care
Feeling socially isolated
Living with a depression diagnosis
Experiencing financial strain
Caregiving most hours of the day
Lacking coping skills and problem-solving abilities
Lacking choice in being a caregiver

If you or a loved one is caring for a family member, such as an aging parent, it’s important to look for the signs of caregiving stress and acknowledge them quickly. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, here are a few of the most common signs of caregiver stress:

Watching your loved one deal with an illness is both emotionally and physically difficult. Denial is a natural coping mechanism and can be a sign that a caregiver is beginning to experience tremendous stress. Denying a loved one’s disease or even denying feelings of stress are common among family caregivers.

It’s common to feel anger toward the person with the disease or illness for not being able to do the things they once did. Role reversal can spark anger in family members, especially adult children, as they begin to care for their parents.

Social withdrawal. You may notice a caregiver has withdrawn from people or social events they once enjoyed.
Anxiety. Primary caregivers experiencing stress may also show signs of anxiety about the future. It’s common for caregivers to worry about how they’ll provide care as their loved one’s condition progresses.
Exhaustion. Caregiving is a physically and emotionally demanding responsibility, which can result in exhaustion. Caregivers may experience sleeplessness due to distress or disrupted sleep if care is needed throughout the night. Either way, sooner or later exhaustion will set in, adding to caregiver burnout.
Irritability. Coupled with exhaustion and anxiety, you may notice a caregiver becoming irritable. Moodiness and unlikely behaviors are also signs of caregiver stress.
Lack of concentration. A primary caregiver can become so overwhelmed with day-to-day tasks that they lose the ability to concentrate on one task at a time. This can lead to missing appointments or mismanaging medications.

Tips for Preventing Caregiver Burnout
When you notice a caregiver struggling or experiencing stress, there are several things you can do to help. It can be difficult for a primary caregiver to admit they need additional support. The best way to help is to offer. Here are a few ways to alleviate stress and anxiety for a family caregiver:

Prioritize caregiver health. Caregivers are better able to take care of their loved ones if they prioritize their own health. You might consider showing your support to your family caregiver by preparing healthy meals or taking over caregiving duties so they can exercise, go to their own doctor appointments, or spend time doing something for themselves.
Create a support group. If you have a family member acting as a primary caregiver, there are many ways to help out even if you live far away. Consider organizing other family members or friends to chip in with peripheral support.

Some examples include:

  • Schedule a regular phone call for social support.
  • Offer to deliver meals from time to time.
  • Help with bill-paying, medical paperwork or other accounting necessities.
  • Provide respite by taking over caregiving for a few hours.
  • Caregiving really can’t be done alone. Family caregivers need support, even if they’re reluctant to ask for it.
  • Encouraging breaks. Taking a break is one of the best things a caregiver can do for themselves. Family members can help support their caregivers by encouraging things like respite care and adult care centers. Medicare will usually cover most of the cost of respite care in which an aide comes to the home to provide care or the individual stays in a hospital or nursing facility. Adult care centers can also provide a nice break during the daytime, so caregivers can attend to their own needs or use the time to take a break.
  • Help set realistic goals. If your family member is feeling stressed about their responsibilities, consider helping them break down large tasks into smaller steps. When we feel stressed, it can be difficult to remember how to prioritize tasks and organize our days. Offering help and encouragement can make your family member feel supported.
  • Provide resources. There are a variety of resources designed specifically for family caregivers, but it can be difficult to look for them when experiencing stress or anxiety. Other family members can compile and organize a list of resources for additional support. Providing links to websites, such as the Family Caregiver Alliance, support groups, and respite care options can help your caregiver find the support they need when they need it.

Supporting Caregivers at Maplewood Senior Living
At Maplewood Senior Living, we know caregiving has its joys and challenges. That’s why we offer a wide variety of support for caregivers providing care for family members. To learn more about these offerings or to schedule a tour, please contact us.

Benefits of Talk Therapy for Seniors

Each individual approaches their retirement years differently. For some, this period of transition may be met with excitement and anticipation while others worry about the physical and mental effects of aging. Throughout the aging process, it’s normal to experience a wide range of emotions. However, some periods might be more difficult than others. Losing a spouse or friend, learning to transition into a new home, feeling isolated, or dealing with an illness or chronic condition can severely impact one’s mental health and quality of life.

Healthcare providers often recommend senior talk therapy or psychotherapy to help navigate these difficult periods. What is talk therapy? According to the American Psychiatric Association, “psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is a way to help people with a broad variety of mental illness and emotional difficulties. Psychotherapy can help eliminate or control troubling symptoms so a person can function better and increase well-being and healing.” Psychotherapy — like talk therapy for depression — can be beneficial in many situations especially as older adults go through the aging process.

When Should You Consider Seeing a Therapist?
There are many different reasons to try senior talk therapy. While some older adults may be having difficulties with age-related life changes, others simply want to adopt a new mindset or perspective.

Here are some of the different situations in which an older adult might choose to work with a therapist:

When experiencing medical issues
According to the National Institute on Aging, approximately 85% of older adults have at least one chronic condition and 60% have two or more conditions. Chronic pain can interfere with daily life and change how you function. However, senior talk therapy can help you deal with pain and allow you to live a happier and healthier life. In addition, those who have a stroke or are at risk of stroke or those who have a family history of heart disease might also choose to work with a therapist to help cope with fear and the side effects of experiencing a medical condition.
For cognitive and mental health concerns
Older adults often experience normal age-related memory loss as they age. However, some adults may develop Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia that can interfere with daily life. Other mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression are also common among older adults and can severely impact an individual’s quality of life. Senior talk therapy can provide ways to cope with mental health concerns and conditions.
Issues that come with old age
Many older adults experience grief and loss in some form during their retirement years. For some, the loss of independence, death of a spouse or friends, or dealing with mobility issues can cause these feelings to come to the surface. Ongoing therapy sessions can help them work through their feelings.

Benefits of Talk Therapy
Physical and mental changes that come with aging can result in irritability, changes in appetite and sleep quality, difficulty concentrating, and forgetfulness. When these conditions go unaddressed, they often get worse. Speaking to a psychotherapist can help you identify issues and improve your overall quality of life.

Here are some of the benefits that come with working with a therapist:

Helps you adopt an optimistic mindset. It’s easy to get stuck in the “it is what it is” approach to life, especially when it comes to aging. However, older adults need to feel fulfilled in life, just as much as someone in their younger years. Therapy can help identify aspects of our lives that aren’t serving us and work to improve our mindset.
Teaches new sources of meaning. Retirement provides the opportunity to tap into other parts of our personalities. As we age, there’s more freedom to explore hobbies and other interests we might not have had time for in our past. Working with a therapist can help with this transition and encourage us to get more out of life.
Teaches you how to ask for help. Learning how to ask for help can be a lifelong lesson. It’s common for older adults to associate asking for help with losing their independence. However, that’s rarely the case. Therapists can help older adults build a solid support system without losing autonomy.
Creates a vision for the future. We always need a vision for the future, even as older adults. Knowing what you want your future to look like can be a powerful source of self-esteem and encouragement.
Assists in a change of behaviors. Sometimes our habits can contribute to our problems. Speaking with a therapist can help bring awareness to our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, which can allow us to regain control.
Provides support and validation. Counselors provide support and guidance by creating a non-judgmental atmosphere where clients feel safe to express themselves. Good therapists will show compassion, understanding, and empathy.
Aids in self-discovery. Seeing a therapist will provide you with the opportunity to understand yourself more deeply. By understanding your values, personality, and beliefs on a deeper level, you embark on a journey of self-growth and healing.

How to Find a Therapist
If you’re interested in working with a therapist, it’s important to find the right fit. A good way to find an appropriate therapist is to ask a friend or trusted family member for a referral or start researching online.

Here are a few tips to consider as you do your research:
First, it’s important to check your medical insurance to see what type of care is provided. For those aged 65 and older, Medicare covers individual and group psychotherapy with doctors and other licensed professionals. If you use another type of insurance, you might consider calling your patient advocate to see what’s covered.

Once you understand what is covered by your insurance provider, you can start researching providers in your area that work with your insurance type. Online review sites are helpful when deciding if a counselor might be right for you. Psychology Today’s Find a Therapist, American Psychological Association’s Locator, or ZenCare are all great resources to consider. You can search providers by location, specialties, and age group specialization.

Most providers offer a free phone-call appointment which provides the perfect opportunity to ask questions, go over any specific concerns you might have, and ask about their schedule and payment options. Remember, it might take meeting a few different counselors to find the right fit.

Prioritizing Mental Health at Maplewood Senior Living
At Maplewood Senior Living, health is our number one priority. In addition to traditional medical care, our integrated care model also offers mental health services for all of our residents. By taking care of their mental health, our residents can live more joyful and fulfilled lives. To learn more about these offerings or to schedule a tour, please contact us.

How to Become Your Own Health Advocate

Approximately 85% of older adults have at least one chronic health condition, which means as we age we’re more likely to need additional support from our healthcare providers. It’s a common practice to take a doctor’s belief as to the final word; however, individuals need to play an active role in their own healthcare. Learning how to be an advocate for your health can help you become more confident in making decisions, nurture trusting doctor-patient relationships, and lead to better overall treatment.

Staying in Control of Your Health
Every individual deserves to have control over their healthcare, but knowing where to start might feel like a challenge. Becoming your own healthcare advocate starts by thinking about what you want out of your experience and what you need to feel confident about your healthcare-related decisions. U.S. News & World Report compiled a list of tips to help you get started. Here are a few of our favorite ways to become an advocate for your health:
Understand your medical insurance
Medical insurance can be complicated, but understanding your policy will serve you well. This insight will help you know which healthcare providers are available to you and how to budget for medical costs. If you’re 65 years and older, you’re eligible for Medicare, which is the federal health insurance program for older adults and can be broken down into four parts. You can learn more about Medicare here.

Know which questions to ask
Healthcare providers typically see several patients in one day, so you may not have much one-on-one time with your doctor. Create a list of questions and ask them at the beginning of the appointment. This can help the visit progress naturally and will ensure your most important questions get answered. Getting your questions answered is paramount to being an advocate for your own health.
Maintain your medical records
If you’re seeing a new healthcare provider or adding a specialist, consider keeping your own copy of your medical records. Most healthcare providers keep electronic copies of your records, so sharing them shouldn’t be difficult. Having your records handy puts you and your doctor on common ground, and it can expedite the process of beginning a new healthcare relationship.
Always review your medical bills
Medical bills can be difficult to understand, and reviewing them can save you money. Instead of paying your medical bill immediately, take some time to review it. Question anything that doesn’t add up or seems like an extra charge. This can also help you improve your medical literacy for the future.
Ask for a second opinion
If you don’t understand your diagnosis, receive recommendations for major non-emergency surgery, or if you don’t feel comfortable with your healthcare provider — seek a second medical opinion. A reputable physician will understand a patient’s desire for this and may even recommend another doctor. A physician’s resistance to your getting a second opinion should be seen as a red flag. A second opinion can often save you money and keep you feeling confident in your choices.
Communicate concerns and needs
The best way to advocate for your health is to communicate what you need with your healthcare provider. If you have questions about the cost of your premium, treatment plans, diagnosis, or medications — you’re within your rights to ask and get answers.

What Are You Advocating For?
Before any appointment, spend some time reflecting on what would make you feel most comfortable and cared for during a medical visit. This could be anything from the level of attentiveness from staff to the ease of parking at the office. You want to advocate for your ideal appointment, whatever that might look like. Here are a few things to consider:

Office. What does your ideal doctor’s office look like? Spend some time thinking about your expectations and start advocating for them right away. Do you want an office that is clean and organized? Do you prefer your office to have a dedicated wait space that is well maintained? Are the chairs easy to get in and out of? By evaluating the importance of these items, you’ll have a better idea of your expectations and how to seek them out.

Staff. During an ideal medical appointment, think about how you’d expect to be treated by the office staff. Are they friendly and attentive? Do they put in extra effort to explain your billing questions and professionally address your concerns? If you’re dissatisfied with the way you’re treated, mention it to your doctor. Ultimately, they’re in charge of your experience.

Practitioners. While all aspects of a medical appointment are important, it’s crucial to evaluate the expectations you have for your practitioner. What values are important for you? Is a certain amount of time with the provider an expectation? By clarifying what qualities are non-negotiable — to yourself and your provider — you’ll know when you’ve found an ideal doctor-patient relationship.

What to Do Before Your Appointment
Preparation is part of being an advocate for your health. The more prepared you are for your appointment or medical event, the more confident you’ll feel. Here are a few things you can do to get prepared:
Research your provider
Learn about your provider, especially if it’s your first time. Do an online search about them. Ask friends if they have a provider they trust and would recommend, or call the provider’s office and ask for some additional information.
Guide the conversation
If there’s certain information you want your practitioner to know before your appointment, you can always disclose any additional information when scheduling the visit. For example, if you’re overweight and you would prefer not to discuss this topic, the staff can make a note of this and share it with the healthcare provider.
Keep track of your symptoms
If you’re seeing a practitioner for a specific reason, keep track of your symptoms or whatever might be bothering you. This can help speed up the diagnosis process and help you get the right treatment quickly.

Advocating for Health at Maplewood Senior Living
Protecting the health and well-being of our residents is our priority at Maplewood Senior Living. Our communities offer high-quality care that is patient-centered and customized to meet the needs of each individual. If you’d like to learn more about our offerings or schedule a tour, please contact us. It’s a smart step toward becoming your own health advocate.

How to Balance Being a Caregiver and a Spouse

As we age, there is an increased risk of developing a disabling chronic condition, which often leads half of a married couple to become a spouse-caregiver. According to the National Institute on Aging, 79% of people age 70 and older have at least one of seven chronic conditions, including, arthritis, hypertension, heart disease, respiratory diseases, and cancer. The risk of developing other conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease or another form of, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease, also increases with age. As these conditions and diseases progress, many people will begin to need assistance with basic daily tasks. For married couples, this usually means one person will become a caregiver to a spouse. A report by AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving reported that one in 10 caregivers is a married person who looks after their spouse. While caregiving can be rewarding for many individuals, it can also be stressful. According to the American Psychological Association, spouse caregivers experience a 23% higher level of stress hormones, which affects their health and their close relationships. It’s not uncommon for marriages to flounder as roles and responsibilities often change. This change, compounded with the stress of disease, can be overwhelming.

Challenges of Spousal Caregiving
Learning how to take on the role of being a spouse caregiver can take some practice. The Family Caregiver Alliance compiled some of the most common challenges for individuals who are caregivers for their husband or wife. Here are a few things you might expect to experience when caring for your spouse:
Emotional impact
Caregiving can be emotionally draining even when done professionally. Caregiving for a spouse brings additional layers of emotional distress, which can lead to mental and emotional exhaustion. It’s common for people patients who experience diseases that affect their quality of life to experience depression. However, studies have suggested that caregivers who attend to a spouse are as equally at much risk of depression as their loved one suffering from a debilitating illness.

Physical challenges
Caregiving is a physically demanding role. It can include lifting an individual for bathing and dressing and engaging in more physical activity like walking and standing. This can put a strain on the physical health of a spouse caregiver, especially as they age. In addition, long-term stress and anxiety, which are common in caregivers, can lead to poor quality sleep, increased blood pressure, and unhealthy affect eating habits.

Changes in intimacy
While all marriages experience changes in intimacy at one point or another, a shift in roles — from an established partnership to spouse caregiver, and patient — can influence these changes. Sexual intimacy can also change when a relationship of mutual responsibility becomes more one-sided. Stress, physical challenges, and fatigue that comes from caregiving can cause a loss of sexual interest. However, physical touch and emotional support remain crucial to any healthy relationship.

Loss of balance
Disease and illness can influence every decision within a family structure. As roles within the marriage shift and one takes on new responsibilities, that balance can feel uneven. Juggling friendships and individual interests on top of caregiving can be an added challenge.

Tips for Creating Balance
Becoming a spouse caregiver can create strain in any marriage. However, there are ways to manage these situations. If you’re a caregiver to a spouse, you might consider using these tactics to help you navigate any difficult or challenging situation:

  • Prepare for change. An illness or diagnosis can put pressure and stress on a relationship, especially in a marriage. Once you receive a diagnosis, it’s important to have an honest conversation with your spouse about your future. This is a conversation that can be revisited whenever the situation changes or when new problems need to be addressed. The sooner you can have a conversation about how the relationship is changing, the sooner you’ll be able to identify solutions that work best for both individuals.
  • Reassess your roles. Responsibilities within the marriage may evolve by necessity, as one person’s abilities diminish. It’s best to review household responsibilities and determine which spouse will be responsible for each task. While these may need to be readdressed throughout the progression of the disease, it’s a good place to start.
  • Separate caregiving from being a spouse. Caregiving is a full-time job, but when you’re a caregiver to a spouse, there need to be boundaries. This might mean setting times during the day where the discussion is not about medical issues. Making time to do enjoyable activities together can also help bring friendship and emotional intimacy back into the relationship.
  • Seek support. Becoming a spouse caregiver is a life-changing event that may require professional support. Both individual and couples counseling can provide the tools necessary to manage stress and promote growth and happiness.
  • Avoid isolation. Caregivers are at an increased risk of isolation and depression. This becomes an added risk if the patient-loved one is homebound. To avoid caregiver loneliness, exhaustion, and caregiver burnout, join support groups, schedule outings and phone calls with friends, and make time for yourself.
  • Create joy. While your life and marriage might feel different than they used to, it’s important to find and create joy, both individually and within your marriage. Whenever possible, create time for fun.
  • Create a care plan. Having a plan can help reduce feelings of stress and ensure that both spouses have the same expectations in terms of treatment and responsibilities. This might include discussing a move to an assisted living community or scheduling respite care to support the caregiver.

Spousal Caregiving at Maplewood Senior Living
Maplewood Senior Living communities offer additional support for spouse caregivers. Access to 24-hour medical care, support groups, and dining help relieve some of the burdens on caregivers and give couples time to spend together. To learn more about our offerings or to schedule a tour, please contact us.

Osteoporosis- How to Improve Bone Health

It’s not uncommon for older adults to feel a bit weaker than they used to in their younger years. However, maintaining bone health and muscle strength becomes increasingly important as we age. Keeping our bones healthy is vital to our overall well-being. According to the Mayo Clinic, “bones play many roles in the body by providing structure, protecting our organs, anchoring our muscles, and storing calcium.” While all people should monitor their bone health, it’s especially important for older adults as bone diseases, such as osteoporosis, are more prevalent in adults over the age of 65.

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, osteoporosis literally means “porous bone”.  Healthy bones look like honeycomb but as they age the spaces get bigger causing bones to become more brittle.

Our bodies naturally change. Our bones are continuously breaking down and rebuilding. By the time we reach the age of 30, the rate at which our bones rebuild decreases. When older adults have low bone mass, they are more at risk of osteoporosis. People who are diagnosed with osteoporosis easily break their bones, especially in their wrist, spine, and hip. Unfortunately, a broken bone is often the first sign of the disease. While we are all at risk of osteoporosis to some degree, certain factors increase the risk of developing the disease.

Risk Factors of Osteoporosis

According to the National Institutes of Health, many risk factors play a part in developing osteoporosis. Here are some of the most common factors that we can’t control:

• Age- As we get older, our chances of developing osteoporosis increase. Women should get screened for the disease at age 65 and men at age 70.
• Gender-Women are at greater risk of developing the disease when compared to men. The National Osteoporosis Foundation reports that women are more at risk of osteoporosis because they are likely to have smaller bones than men. The hormone estrogen, which protects bones, decreases when women go through menopause and can cause bone loss.
• Ethnicity- Women who are white or of Asian descent are statistically more at risk of the disease.
• Family history- If your family has a strong history of broken bones, or if a family member has been diagnosed with the disease, you are at a greater risk of developing the disease yourself.

Fortunately, there are some risk factors that we can control. When the proper steps are taken to address these risk factors, they become less of an issue.

• Diet- Vitamin D and calcium deficiencies have been linked to osteoporosis.
• Physical activity- Those who are inactive for longer periods are likely to have weaker bones than those who exercise.
• Body size- Those with a body mass index (BMI) of 19 or less are at risk of developing the disease because bone mass is likely to be too low.
• Eating disorders- People who have struggled with eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia are likely to have impacted their bone mass without fueling themselves properly. Diseases such as Crohn’s, celiac, and Cushing’s can impact the body’s ability to absorb calcium, affecting our bone density.

5 Ways to Improve Bone Health

Whether you’re looking to prevent osteoporosis or strengthen your bones after a diagnosis, there are many different ways to improve and maintain bone health. Here are a few recommendations made by the National Institutes of Health.

1. Physical activity
Exercise is important for our overall health, not just our bones. However, consistent daily exercise can help improve bone strength and decrease our risk of osteoporosis. Certain exercises such as weight lifting and strength training focus on bone strength and can improve our exercise performance. The next time you go to exercise you might consider walking, climbing stairs or dancing.

2. Prevent falls
Falling is the leading cause of injury in older adults. Falls can be especially harmful to those with osteoporosis. However, most falls can be prevented by clearing hallways, installing good lighting, and removing other fall risks in the home.

3. Consult with a doctor
If you’re at high risk of osteoporosis or are concerned with developing the disease, you might consider making an appointment with your healthcare provider. Your doctor can give you a bone density test and prescribe medicine if needed.

4. Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Overall health will help reduce your risk of osteoporosis. Limiting your alcohol and tobacco consumption will help protect your bone mass along with other healthy habits like a healthy diet.

5. Eat a well-balanced diet
Just like exercise, maintaining a healthy diet is crucial to our overall wellbeing, especially as we age. Certain foods can help prevent bone loss and ultimately reduce our risk of osteoporosis. There are also certain foods to increase bone density that you should include in your everyday diet.

Foods that Help Prevent Osteoporosis

While eating a well-balanced diet and focusing on fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats can help our bodies get the nutrients they need, there are some foods and food groups that have been linked to bone health:

• Calcium: This mineral is primarily responsible for maintaining our bone health as well as supporting our heart and nerves. Unknowingly, many people suffer from calcium deficiency. You can add more calcium to your diet by consuming dairy products, green leafy vegetables like broccoli and kale, fish, nuts, and enriched foods.
• Vitamin D: This vitamin is necessary for the absorption of calcium. Most of our vitamin D intake comes from getting exposure to the sun’s UV rays, however, it can also be found in food. Salmon, swordfish, tuna, orange juice, milk, and egg yolks are all high in vitamin D.
• Protein: Many older adults struggle to consume enough protein, which is vital for bone strength. Protein is found in meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, milk, cheese, and beans.

Protecting Bone Health at Maplewood Senior Living

Helping our residents live healthy lives is our number one priority at Maplewood Senior Living. Our team of dedicated foodservice professionals uses their experience and knowledge to provide a variety of meals that promote wellness and healing. To learn more about our offerings or to schedule a tour, please contact us.

What Is Hospice? And Why Is It Important for Pain Management?

What Is Hospice Care?

Hospice care provides compassionate care for people in the last stages of incurable diseases. The purpose of hospice care is to provide comfort and relief in the last months and days of their journey. Hospice care professionals do not cure or treat diseases; instead, they treat a person’s symptoms and address pain management to improve their quality of life. They also work to include family members and caregivers in decisions that affect the patient’s comfort and care. A team of professionals works together to ensure the person’s last days are as comfortable as possible while being surrounded by their loved ones. 

 

What’s the Difference Between Hospice and Palliative Care?

Oftentimes hospice and palliative care will be used in the same context, but it can be helpful to understand the difference between the two. Palliative care, which can also be referred to as supportive care, symptom management or comfort care, can be given separately from hospice and aims to control pain and problems for those who are experiencing serious but not life-threatening illnesses. For instance, those undergoing cancer treatment may be given palliative care to address the side effects of the treatments like nausea, nerve pain, and shortness of breath. Hospice care is about easing pain and also helping families prepare for the death of their loved ones. Palliative care can be included in hospice care but is usually just one part of the overall hospice program.  

 

What’s Included in Hospice Care?

While you can choose what you’d like to include in your hospice care plan, all hospice providers must offer certain services. These services can be adapted to fit your needs and are designed to provide comfort to the patient and their family. According to the American Cancer Society, these are a few of the support services included in hospice care:

 

Home care and inpatient hospice care

Most times hospice care is centered in the home, where the patient and family would feel most comfortable. However, there might be times where you need to receive care in the hospital, long-term care facility, or an inpatient hospice center. The same team providing you care at home can stay involved in your care no matter where you are. 

 

Spiritual care

Spiritual care can look different for each individual. Spiritual care will depend on your own unique needs and desires. This could include helping you talk about death, assisting you with saying goodbye to loved ones or supporting you with planning a ceremony or funeral. 

 

Family meetings 

Part of hospice care is to provide education and support for the patient’s family as they come to terms with the loss of their loved one. Often, a hospice nurse or social worker will schedule regular meetings to help keep families informed on the patient’s condition and what to expect moving forward. These meetings provide an opportunity to ask questions, share feelings, and create a plan for the future. 

               

Coordination of care

A hospice care team will coordinate all aspects of care to be provided anytime, 24/7. This team ensures the patient and family members are informed and know who to ask when they have questions or concerns. Care is always available. 

 

Respite care

Many times family members or friends serve as caregivers for their loved ones. Hospice provides them with a break or respite care. This provides an opportunity for caregivers to recharge and attend to their own needs, even if it’s just to rest. 

 

Bereavement care

After a loved one passes, the hospice care team will work with the family and friends to guide them through the grieving process. This can include phone calls, visits, support groups, and therapy with a trained professional. 

 

Who Makes Up a Hospice Team?

A hospice team is made up of professionals who provide holistic and medical support to give comfort and peace to those preparing for the end of life. According to the Mayo Clinic, a hospice care team will usually include:

 

  • Medical staff. A primary care doctor and hospice doctor will oversee the medical needs of the person receiving hospice care. Nurses will either come to your loved one’s home or inpatient facility to provide care. Nurses are usually responsible for coordinating the hospice care team. Home health aides will provide extra support for routine activities like eating, dressing, and bathing. 
  • Spiritual counselors. Depending on a person’s religious and spiritual beliefs, chaplains, priests, lay ministers, or other spiritual counselors will help guide the patient and their families throughout the hospice journey. 
  • Social workers. Social workers provide counseling and referrals to support groups. They also act as an advocate for a patient’s physical, spiritual and emotional needs. 
  • Pharmacists. Hospice care is focused on providing comfort to a patient in their last months and days. Pharmacists are included in hospice care teams to provide medication oversight and suggest the most effective ways to relieve symptoms and control pain. 
  • Volunteers. Many hospice care teams include volunteers who provide respite care, companionship or help with transportation or other needs such as preparing meals. 
  • Therapists. Other medical professionals such as speech, physical and occupational therapists can be included on a care team to provide therapy when needed. 
  • Bereavement counselors. Trained counselors offer comfort, support, and guidance to family members after the death of a loved one.  

 

Benefits of Hospice Care

Hospice is a wonderful way to prioritize and coordinate the needs and wishes of a patient and their loved ones during a distressing time. Death can be a painful and difficult journey. However, hospice care can provide comfort and support to those who need it most. Here are some of the benefits of choosing hospice care for your loved one:

 

Provides a comfortable environment 

While hospice care can be given in a hospital, it can also be given in the comfort of one’s home. This offers a degree of normalcy and comfort in a family environment. The focus of hospice care is to provide a sense of calm and quiet, which can often be challenging when in the hospital. 

 

Provides a comprehensive plan 

With hospice care, all the immediate and future needs are taken care of by the hospice team. Families don’t have to worry about caregiving, medication, transportation, therapy, or even everyday tasks like feeding and bathing their loved ones. Hospice relieves loved ones of caregiving roles, allowing them to connect and support each other as cherished family and friends. 

 

Offers unique and individual support 

Hospice care is designed to be exactly what you need during the ordeals that accompany the end of life. It eases family anxiety and allows family members to rest in-between visits. In addition, care can be customized to fit the patient’s needs.

 

Lessens financial burdens 

Medical bills can be overwhelming, but paying for hospice doesn’t have to be a burden. Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurances help cover the cost of hospice care to make it accessible for most people. It’s important to check with your insurance provider to see what elements of hospice care are included in your plan. 

 

Planning for Hospice at Maplewood Senior Living 

Losing a loved one is a difficult journey. However, hospice care can provide comfort and support throughout the process. At Maplewood Senior Living, we’re honored to provide hospice care to our residents and their loved ones. To learn more about our hospice care teams, or to visit our communities, please contact us. 

Depression in Seniors: Is It Normal?

Depression is a mood disorder that can affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities such as eating, sleeping, and connecting with others. While depression in seniors is common, it’s not a normal part of aging. However, the risk of depression in seniors increases when other chronic health conditions are present, such as cancer and heart disease. It can also be a byproduct of isolation, which becomes more common among older adults. According to the National Institute on Aging, 80% of seniors have at least one chronic health condition, and nearly 50% have two or more, which dramatically increases the risk of depression. While feeling occasional sadness is a normal part of life, long-lasting depression is not. Depression requires medical treatment. Other conditions can mimic depression, so it’s important to be able to spot the symptoms and signs of depression to help you know when it’s time for medical intervention.

Signs and Symptoms of Depression in Older Adults

    • Adults experiencing depression will often have feelings of sadness and anxiety that consistently last for weeks at a time. While depression can look and feel different for each individual, some common symptoms can act as warning signs. People who are depressed might experience any of the following:
    • Feelings of despair, hopelessness, or chronic pessimism
    • Loss of interest in activities and hobbies that usually provide joy and comfort
    • Overeating or loss of appetite
    • Feelings of worthlessness
    • Fatigue and changes in sleeping habits
    • Memory problems, difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
    • Neglecting personal care such as skipping meals, forgetting medication, and neglecting personal hygiene
    • Thoughts of suicide and suicide attempts

Causes of Depression in Older Adults
While there is no single cause of depression in seniors, there are biological, social, and psychological factors that can contribute to depression. Complications and significant life changes associated with aging can also increase the risk of depression in older adults. Here are some of the most common causes of depression:
Health problems. Chronic conditions are common among older adults and can contribute to feelings of depression. Depression is often linked to illness, chronic or severe pain, and cognitive decline.
Loneliness and isolation. Living alone, losing a spouse or friends, and decreased mobility due to aging can be hard to cope with and often lead to feelings of depression.
Loss of purpose. Transitioning from work to retirement can often cause loss of identity, status, financial security, and lead to depression.
Genetic factors. Those with a family history of depression are more likely to develop it than those who do not have a history of the illness.
Personal history. Older adults who have experienced depression in their younger years are more at risk for developing depression later in life.
Brain chemistry and anatomy. People with depression have different brain chemistry than those without the illness. In fact, according to Harvard Health, the part of the brain called the hippocampus — which plays a role in learning, emotions, and memory — is smaller in some depressed people.
Stress. Life doesn’t always go the way we’ve imagined. Difficult relationships, fears, prolonged substance abuse, and traumatic life events can all trigger depression in seniors.

Depression and Other Illnesses
According to the National Institute on Aging, depression — especially in older adults — often occurs with other serious medical conditions such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and Parkinson’s disease. It’s not uncommon for these conditions to be made worse by depression. Depression can also occur when one is diagnosed with serious or terminal health conditions. Medication used to treat these illnesses can also cause side effects that contribute to depression and anxiety. However, doctors who are well versed in treating these illnesses will help find the best treatment and solutions.

How to Help a Parent with Depression
If you suspect your loved one is suffering from depression, it can be difficult to know how to approach the topic. Whether you notice your parent disengaging from friends and family, avoiding activities they once enjoyed or displaying any of the warning signs listed above — talking with your loved one about their behavior can lead them to receive the treatment they need. As you prepare to talk with your loved one, you might consider using these tips to frame your discussion:

  • Stay calm. It’s completely normal to feel anxious about the conversation you’re about to have with your loved one. Depression is often a personal topic and can be uncomfortable to share with someone else. As you ask your loved ones about how they’ve been feeling, take their answers in stride. Your calmness may encourage them to open up more and share more candidly.
  • Offer a support system. If there are obvious contributors to your loved one’s depression, such as loneliness, work together to find a solution. Scheduling family and friends to visit or call each day, spending meal times together, or even considering making moving arrangements could help eliminate some of the factors contributing to the depression.
  • Suggest treatment options. Once your loved one is ready to address their depression, you might consider making an appointment with their health care provider to discuss treatment options.

Treatment Options for Depression
Many older adults find improvement in their depression symptoms when treated with antidepressant medications, psychotherapy, and through making small lifestyle changes. Finding the right treatment can take time, so don’t get discouraged.
Medications: Some medical providers might prescribe selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), selective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and tricyclic antidepressants.
Lifestyle changes: Increasing physical activities, creating time for a new hobby, having regular visits with friends and family, getting enough sleep, and prioritizing a well-balanced diet can all help reduce feelings of depression. These adjustments in daily life are linked to decreasing depression in seniors.
Therapy: In addition to, or instead of, prescribing medication, many health care providers might suggest some form of therapy as part of a treatment plan. Talk therapy with a trained therapist can help those struggling with depression talk through their feelings in a safe and confidential environment. Art therapy has also shown to be very effective in treating depression. Painting, pottery, and sculpting can be used to promote self-expression and facilitate conversations about feelings and emotions. Pet therapy can also be extremely helpful for older adults working through depression. In fact, research has shown that just a few minutes spent with pets can boost mood and even decrease blood pressure.

Finding Depression Support at Maplewood Senior Living
Our trained medical staff and caregivers are dedicated to providing high-quality support for every resident living in our Maplewood Senior Living communities. We know how difficult depression can be for both individuals and their families. From support groups to exercise classes and high-quality meal offerings, each of our communities is dedicated to offering extra care to those suffering from depression. To learn more about our offerings or to schedule a tour, please contact us.

Why Couples Choose Continuing Care Retirement Communities

As couples age, they are often faced with deciding where to spend their retirement years. While many couples wish to stay in their family home, there are several benefits of moving to a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC). What is a Continuing Care Retirement Community? CCRCs offer Independent Living along with Assisted Living and Memory Care, but also have Skilled Nursing and Short-Term Rehabilitation services. Some even offer Respite Care. What makes it one of the best senior living options for couples is that you can both move in while you can still take advantage of all the lifestyle benefits — from activities and exercise to dining and local attractions. Couples who retire in CCRCs will be able to remain nearby despite their need for different levels of care. While this is helpful for caregivers and family members, there are also many benefits for couples who age together in the same place.

To help you with the process of deciding what your retirement options are we have created a guide, A Couple’s Guide to the Benefits of Living in a Continuing Care Retirement Community. You can get a FREE copy of our guide by clicking HERE

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Benefits of Aging as a Couple
We all age differently and can require different levels of support and care along the way. Often one spouse will require more support than the other, requiring a transition to a different facility out of the home. However, CCRCs offer every level of care, allowing couples to age together. Here are some of the benefits that come for couples who age together:

Physical health. Couples tend to care for each other in a variety of ways. When separated, physical health can deteriorate due to depression and changes in sleeping and eating habits.

Cognitive health. For some couples, long-term separation can lead to feelings of anxiety and loneliness. When gone unaddressed, long-term loneliness can have a profound effect on cognitive health in addition to increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke. For those with dementia, separation from a spouse can lead to increased agitation and confusion.

Cost. In addition to physical and emotional benefits, couples who age together are also at a financial advantage. For many aging couples, one spouse will act as the caregiver for the other, especially in cases of dementia and other memory-loss conditions. This can pose a financial benefit compared to having one spouse in residential care and the other living independently at home.

Support. Aging can be difficult for several emotional and physical reasons. Couples who work to take care of one another as they deal with these emotional and physical challenges often feel more supported than those couples who age separately.

Connection. Research suggests that the human touch can alleviate depressive symptoms, reduce pain and stress hormones, and improve immune functions. While maintaining physical touch is possible even for couples who age separately, it’s more accessible for couples who are aging together.

Why Couples Should Consider Continuing Care Retirement Communities
With all the other lifestyle options available, why choose a CCRC? Continuing Care Retirement Communities help provide the key elements needed later in life, including medical care, social activity, and support with basic daily tasks. CCRCs can help with the burden of loss, create friendships, support good health and wellness practices, and lead happier lives. While CCRCs are a great choice for all older adults, they are especially beneficial for couples. Here’s why:

Care You Need
Each person ages differently, and this is just the same for couples. Often quite quickly, one spouse may have different medical needs or be declining more rapidly cognitively. The other spouse finds they suddenly need help.

Levels of Care
In a CCRC, you get a full continuum of care as it is needed. CCRCs provide Independent Living, Assisted Living and Memory Care, in addition to Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation. If one spouse wants to participate in a Memory Care program activity while the other, more active spouse heads to the pool for a swim, it is possible because everything is located on one campus.

Peace of Mind
One of the most valuable benefits of living in a CCRC is peace of mind. The worry of home maintenance, shopping, cooking, laundry, activities, declining health and care needs has been eliminated because all the services you need are included as part of your fee.

Lifestyle Benefits of a CCRC
Once the decision is made to live in a Continuing Care Retirement Community, stress and worry are alleviated, and couples will have time to enjoy all the extra benefits of living in the community and surrounding area.

Dining
Imagine waking up, making yourself a cup of coffee or tea, getting dressed, and then walking out your door to get breakfast. This is life in a CCRC. Meals are beautifully prepared for residents every day. Menus include a wide range of delicious dishes — many made with locally sourced ingredients prepared by expert culinary teams.

Programming
Looking to stay active and engaged? Love socializing? Most communities have their activity calendars booked weekly with live entertainment, movies, quiz games, or coffee and conversations. Whatever your interest, you will have plenty to choose from.

Wellness
Keeping fit and healthy both physically and mentally as you age is important to your well-being. Many CCRCs have gyms and pools, and others are located where there is plenty of local walking and cycling trails. Exercise classes and group activities help keep you moving and engaged with fellow residents.

Community
The convenience of having a large community right outside the door to your apartment is quite special. When you want to retreat to your “home” to read or have some quiet time you can, but otherwise, plenty is going on in the community daily, giving you and your spouse ample opportunity to meet new friends and keep engaged. The surrounding local community can offer opportunities for additional community events, clubs, churches, restaurants, and local shopping.

Aging Together at Maplewood Senior Living
CCRCs offer senior living for couples that provides peace of mind by allowing them to receive high-quality care and additional support whenever they need it. This senior living option can also ease any potential future burden on adult children and family members. While it might seem like it’s too early to make a move into a residential community, it’s truly never too soon. To learn more about our offerings or to schedule a tour, please contact us.

Importance of Eye Health in Seniors

As we age, our bodies undergo physical changes that can impact our quality of life. Vision loss, for example, is common in older adults. Approximately one in three adults over the age of 65 have some form of vision-reducing eye disease. As we age, so does our risk of developing eye conditions such as cataracts and glaucoma, which can severely damage our eyes and result in vision loss when left untreated. In addition to developing age-related eye conditions, older adults are also more likely to develop other medical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes, all of which can lead to vision impairment. Seniors must take extra precautions to maintain optimum eye health and reduce their risk of developing eye conditions, especially those of which are commonly found in older adults.

Common Eye Conditions in Older Adults

There are certain eye conditions that physicians often look for when consulting with senior patients. Cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma are some of the most common eye-related ailments that arise later in life. While all three can result in vision loss, they affect the eyes in different ways. Here’s how they work, along with a few other common eye conditions:

Cataracts

Our eyes have a clear lens that helps focus light on the retina. When we get older, this lens can become cloudy, which is referred to as a cataract. Most people experience a progressive decrease in vision and might notice using their readers more often, or still, struggle to see even when using corrective lenses.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, nearly 24.2 million Americans age 40 and older experience cataracts. Furthermore, nearly half of all Americans have cataracts by the age of 75. While cataracts are the most common cause of visual blindness globally, they are highly treatable and vision loss can usually be corrected through a surgical procedure.

Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affects the macula and can cause central vision loss. The macula is the center of the retina at the back of the eye that allows us to see colors and fine details. The most common type of macular degeneration, dry form, results in the atrophying of the macula’s cells, which can build up on the retina and cause a slow progression of vision loss. AMD can affect daily activities like cooking, reading, driving and even watching TV. Depending on the case, macular degeneration can be treated with injections, or eye drops and vitamins.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma describes a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve. This can result in the loss of peripheral vision, which can be hard to notice in the beginning stages. Many people only notice changes in their vision when the center field of vision becomes impaired. Glaucoma is typically treated with topical eye drops, however, irreversible vision loss can occur if left untreated.

Dry eye

Tears help to protect the surface of the eye and can also provide clear vision. Dry eye occurs when too few tears are produced, resulting in dry and itchy eyes. It’s not uncommon for older adults to develop this condition, especially when taking certain medications or if they live in windy and dry climates. Usually, dry eyes can be treated with artificial tears or prescription drugs.

Retinal detachment

Retinal detachment occurs when the retina separates from underlying tissue, which can be caused by a backup of fluid, head or eye trauma, or health problems such as diabetes. If left untreated, retinal detachment can cause permanent vision loss.

Importance of Eye Care

Although the risk of developing an eye condition comes with age and can be influenced by family history, there are some things we can start doing now to preserve and improve our eye health. Diet is a key lifestyle factor that can have long-term effects on our ocular health. Eating a balanced diet is good for overall health, but it’s especially good for our eyes. Colorful fruits and vegetables, essential fatty acids, lean red meat, beans and whole grains all contain nutrients and minerals that are good for ocular health.

In addition to our diet, overall lifestyle choices are important factors in maintaining good eye health. For example, quitting smoking can greatly reduce the risk of developing age-related vision problems. Wearing sunglasses, taking breaks while working at the computer or reading a book and checking your blood pressure are all helpful tips to implement into our daily lives. Likewise, exercising each day can help promote good circulation and oxygen intake, which is important for our eyes.

It’s also recommended that those 65 and older have their eyes checked every year. If you are experiencing any symptoms of eye conditions, like blurry vision or slow progressive vision loss, it’s important to consult a doctor right away. Identifying and treating eye conditions quickly can help prevent additional eye damage.

Living with Vision Loss

Some diseases like glaucoma and macular degeneration can cause vision loss when left untreated for long periods. However, low vision resources can help with regaining some independence after vision loss. Here are a few tools that can be helpful for those experiencing changes in their vision:

• Magnifiers. A magnifying lens can be mounted in spectacles to form a microscope, which can be used for close-up tasks like writing a letter. Magnifiers can also come as handheld telescopes to help people see longer distances or modified for reading tasks.

• Video magnification. Table-top systems can be used to read magazines and newspapers, while smaller more portable systems are good for reading menus or labels at the grocery store.

With today’s technology advancements, researchers have been able to develop a wide variety of tools that can help make daily tasks easier for those with low-vision. The American Foundation for the Blind has compiled a list of the best low-vision solutions for seniors, which can be found here.

Living with Low Vision at Maplewood Senior Living

Our Maplewood Senior Living Communities are dedicated to providing the tools and solutions that improve the quality of life for all residents, including those who have low-vision. To learn more about our offerings or to schedule a tour, please contact us.

Caregiving 101: Preventing Burnout and Maintaining Self-Care

Nearly 10,000 baby boomers reach the age of 65 every single day. As the number of baby boomers retiring begins to increase, so will the demand for caregivers. In fact, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, nearly half of older adults will require outside support by the time they reach 85 years old. Traditionally, caregivers assist older adults in daily activities such as medication management, eating, bathing, getting dressed, and running errands. Caregivers can be unpaid family members or professionals who are hired by the individual or the family to assist a loved one. While caregiving is a rewarding profession, it can also be emotionally and physically demanding. Over time, it’s not uncommon for caregivers to experience stress, which can ultimately lead to caregiver burnout.

What is caregiver burnout?

Caregiver burnout occurs as a reaction to the emotional and physical strain of caring for another person. It’s not uncommon for caregivers to report high levels of stress when compared to those who are not caregivers. While caregiver stress can show up in different ways, some warning signs are common amongst caregivers according to the Mayo Clinic:

Caregiver Burnout Symptoms

• Feeling overwhelmed and worried
• Fatigue
• Gaining or losing weight
• Becoming irritated or angry
• Losing interest in activities
• Experiencing headaches or body aches
• Sleeping too much or too little
• Abusing alcohol or drugs, including prescription medications
• Feeling sad
• Lack of concentration

When these warning signs are ignored, it can lead to dangerous mistakes, such as making errors in managing medications or slower responses in emergencies. When caregiver stress goes unacknowledged for long periods, it can also lead to long-term health concerns.

Long-term effects of caregiving on health

Caregivers can experience a wide range of emotions in a single week, let alone a single day. Caregiving can reinforce feelings of helpfulness, love, and commitment, and provoke feelings of worry and exhaustion at the same time. When left unidentified, chronic stress releases stress hormones in the body, which can have serious long-term effects on your health. Here are some of the most common ways stress can affect the body:

Depression and anxiety. Long-term stress can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression, which can increase your risk of developing other conditions like heart disease and stroke.

Weakened immune system. When stress is left unacknowledged it can cause additional stress on your immune system. The immune system works to fight off illnesses and diseases. Weakened immune systems can increase your risk of developing a cold or flu, and reduce the effectiveness of vaccines.

Obesity. Chronic stress can produce betatrophin, which blocks a protein that breaks down body fat. Long-term release of betatrophin can lead to weight gain or obesity, which can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Increased risk for chronic diseases. Ongoing stress can also increase the risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and arthritis.

Problems with short-term memory. Those who experience high levels of stress can also develop problems with their short-term memory, making it difficult to care for another person.

Self-care for caregivers

While stress is common for caregivers, leaving it unaddressed can cause long-term problems on our overall health and wellness. Our bodies have a natural way of combatting stress, which is regulated by our nervous system. However, if you’re experiencing high levels of stress, you may need to activate your body’s natural response through a variety of activities. Here are a few ways to help address stress and prevent feelings of burnout:

• Practice self-compassion. It’s not uncommon for caregivers to feel like they’re not doing enough for their loved one. This can lead to feelings of guilt, especially when caregivers take time to care for themselves. However, practicing self-care allows a caregiver to be present and focused when caring for a loved one.

• Practice breathing exercises. Meditation and relaxation techniques have been proven to be effective ways to process and redirect feelings of stress. Taking five minutes at the beginning or end of the day to breathe deeply or practice meditation will help you relax your body. Here are a few exercises to get started.

Eat well. Forgetting to eat or not getting enough quality sleep can contribute to caregiver stress and burnout. The simplest thing caregivers can do for themselves is eating a balanced diet and create a relaxing nighttime routine. To prevent inflammation in the body, avoid foods that are processed and high in refined sugars. Focus on eating foods that are high in nutrients, protein, and fiber.

Connect with others. Caregiving can be isolating, especially for those caring for a spouse or family member. Reconnecting with others and prioritizing socialization can help combat feelings of isolation and depression. You might even consider scheduling social activities, like talking to a friend on the phone, into your weekly calendar.

Reduce stress. It’s important to be able to recognize warning signs that might occur when you begin to feel stressed. These signs might include disruptive sleeping patterns, forgetfulness, or feelings of loneliness. Once you understand what is at the root of your stress, you can begin to take action.

Ask for help. It can be extremely difficult for caregivers to accept help. But, accepting someone’s offer to help can allow you to manage your stress and conserve your energy. Make a mental list of ways that others could help you if they offer and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

Start to exercise. Consistent daily exercise can help reduce your risk of caregiving related injuries, illness, depression, and anxiety. A mind-body practice such as yoga, tai chi, or meditation can help reduce stress. Just 30 minutes of exercise each day can promote better sleep, help manage your sleep, and reduce physical and mental tension.

Services for caregivers

In addition to prioritizing self-care, there are many resources available to caregivers who may be feeling overwhelmed or burnt out. Many communities offer meal delivery and other non-medical services like housekeeping, cooking, and making changes to your home like installing ramps or modifying bathrooms. Respite care, which is when a substitute comes to relieve a caregiver, can help free up time for full-time caregivers who may need to run errands or schedule appointments. The National Eldercare Locator can help you identify caregiving services in your area.

Caregiving support at Maplewood Senior Living

At Maplewood Senior Living, we are constantly looking for new ways to show our support to caregivers. We also are available to discuss options to relieve the strain of caregiving if having your loved one live in one of our communities would be a more suitable option. If you’re interested in learning about our offerings or to schedule a tour, please contact us.