Helping Seniors Stay Engaged During COVID-19

The impact of COVID-19 has been felt worldwide, from children staying home from school to small business owners forced to stop operations. In an effort to protect the most vulnerable populations, including senior communities, a self-quarantine has been highly recommended in many places and even mandated in several cities in the United States. While quarantining senior citizens mitigates their risk of contracting this complex virus, it also puts many older adults at risk of isolation and depression. Retirement communities and nursing homes have been taking on the task of engaging residents without gathering in groups, keeping physical contact extremely limited. With the help of new technologies and innovative developments, seniors have been able to learn, socialize, and stimulate their minds from the comfort and safety of their own homes. Maplewood Senior Living has compiled a list of virtual experiences, tours, performances, and online learning platforms to help residents mitigate risks of social isolation and help families feel more at ease during this time of social distancing and quarantine.

Entertainment
In light of the coronavirus, many organizations including NPR, art galleries, and museums have provided virtual experiences that are entertaining and educational.

Concerts
NPR has compiled an impressive list of live virtual concerts organized by genre and performance date. There are programs scheduled through mid April and its archives are available to stream at any time. While some of the performances require registration and fee, many of them are free to the public. From opera and classical to rock and metal, this list has something for all to enjoy. You can access the entire concert calendar here.

Many symphonies are offering their performance free to stream on your computer or phone. The Vancouver Symphony live streamed their final performance and made it available for public viewing. The Royal Opera House has made some their best performances available to view from the comfort of your own home. In addition to their opera performances, you can also watch some of their most popular ballet programs. The Vienna State Opera and Metropolitan Opera of New York City are also available to stream.

Virtual Tours
Take a trip to Vatican City and explore the wonders of the Sistine Chapel. Be sure to use the zoom option to get a good look at all of the intricate details. In addition, you can browse the other museums and special exhibits. After you’ve finished in Vatican City, you’ll land in Indonesia to visit Prambanan, the area’s largest temple complex located northeast of Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The Whitehouse in Washington D.C. and the Palace of Versailles also have virtual tours available.

Plays and Musicals
When Broadway turned dark, after mandates to close, it didn’t close doors on its creativity. Broadway HD allows patrons to watch recorded performances. While the first week is free, they do require a small monthly fee to access their programs. The New York Times recently published an article highlighting the newest plays and musicals available for streaming from some of the greatest production theaters of all time.

Exercise and Wellness
Many seniors stay active by making a daily trip to their local recreation center or silver sneakers class. With the closure of these facilities around the nation, exercise must be done from the home. However, exercising from home is easier than ever before. The National Institute on Aging runs Go4Life, a platform that offers online exercise classes specifically for older adults. These exercise classes include chair workouts, stretches, and tips for stretching and building endurance.

While social distancing and self-quarantining can be physically challenging, it also has a profound effect on mental health. Staying isolated for long periods of time can cause depression or depression-like symptoms. Meditation apps, such as Calm, can help mitigate those feelings.

In addition to utilizing apps and websites for mental health, it’s important to check-in with yourself periodically. Here are a few tools to help you maintain your mental wellness:
Reaffirm your commitment to healthy habits- During this time of uncertainty, it can be tempting to reach for foods that are convenient but not healthy. However, it’s crucial to both your mental and physical wellbeing to nourish your body with food that will sustain you. Make sure to keep hydrated, limit sugar and fat, and eat well-balanced meals during the day.
Extend kindness– Being nice just makes you feel good! While you’re spending time alone, take the opportunity to think about those you care about. Decorate cards or make a video for your loved ones. Now is a great time to let your loved ones know how you feel.
Ask for support If you do start to feel lonely or isolated, do not hesitate to reach out. Call your counselor or family member and ask for help.
Stay connected– Many facilities have asked visitors not to come for an uncertain amount of time. But, this doesn’t mean you can’t visit with your family virtually! Apps like Skype, FaceTime, and WhatsApp will allow you to see your family members without putting yourself at risk of contracting the virus or other illnesses.

Learning and Stimulation
Now is the perfect time to learn something new! Coursera partners with some of the best universities and companies in the world, like Google, Stanford, and IBM, to offer free classes to lifelong learners. Coursera offers hundreds of free lectures from top professors at world-renowned universities. TED (Technology, Education, and Design) is an online platform that provides free lectures from industry leading professionals, activists, educators, and entertainers. Their archive is vastly diverse ranging from art and education, health and wellness, to environment and ecosystem. There is truly a program for everyone.

While this is certainly an unprecedented time for our nation and the world, it can also be a time for opportunity. At Maplewood Senior Living, we’re prepared to keep our residents active, safe, and healthy during this time of social distancing through by equipping them with online tools and resources. Be safe and enjoy exploring.

Why Museums are Important for Seniors

As adults continue to age and enter into their retirement years, there’s a lot of emphasis on the importance of staying busy. Being an active older adult, whether this means going out to dinner with friends or taking a walk each morning, has been linked to decreasing the risk of depression and isolation, while increasing cognitive health. While any type of activity is beneficial, new research suggests that visiting a museum might actually help you live longer.

According to the British Medical Journal, researchers from the University College London found that older adults who visited just one exhibition a year had a 14% lower risk of early mortality. In addition, those who visited exhibitions regularly benefited from a 31% lower risk of early death. Not only can visiting museums promote longevity, it also provides a wide variety of both emotional and physical benefits.

Benefits of Visiting Museums

Whether you prefer art, history, or nature, there truly is a museum for everyone to enjoy. Along with being entertained, especially during winter months, the act of visiting a museum can help stimulate your emotional and cognitive skills. The next time you find yourself at a museum, here’s what you’re doing for yourself without even knowing it:

Nurturing Your Inner Student
No matter your interest or museum of choice, visiting an exhibition allows you to learn something new while exercising your critical thinking skills. All museums require us to be still, interpret what we’re seeing, and reflect on its meaning. At the end of the visit, you walk away knowing more than when you arrived.

Unleashing Your Creative Side
Art museums, in particular, allow us to tap into our creative sides. As we get older, our creative minds can often get neglected. Visiting an art museum is a great way to exercise our inner artist just by looking at what’s in front of us.

Building Your Inner Circle
As we age, the importance of socializing becomes important for our health. Isolation can affect many older adults. Visiting a museum gives us the opportunity to socialize with those around us and provides a common ground for conversation with other museumgoers.

Helping Those with Dementia and Alzheimer’s

The benefits of visiting a museum have not been lost on those who care for people with dementia and Alzheimer’s. Museums are even developing specific programs. The American Alliance of Museums highlighted in a piece on “Older Adults and Programming for People with Dementia” some specific programming happening in California. “The Museum of Photographic Arts, in San Diego, CA offers two notable programming initiatives for people with memory loss, and what I find most interesting is their approach to both engagement and assessment.

Tips for Visiting Museums

While making a spur of the moment trip to the museum on a rainy day is a great idea, it can be helpful to do some planning in advance. As you choose which museum you want to visit, you might consider using these simple tips to make your trip more enjoyable.

Call ahead– Before you pack up your car and begin your trip, it’s important to call your museum of choice to check their hours of operation. You might also ask when the busy visiting times are throughout the day in order to avoid crowds.
Utilize audio tours and assistive hearing devices– Many museums offer guided audio tours of their exhibitions for an additional cost. This can enhance your experience, while also allowing you to learn more about what you’re seeing. Check with your museum to see if you need to reserve the audio tour ahead of time.
Book a private tour– Many museums have volunteer docents available to give private tours of the exhibit. Many of these docents study the exhibit ahead of time and are very knowledgeable on the subject matter. Not only can the docents give you an inside look at most exhibits, but they often know more details than what is offered on a brochure or wall description.
Pack water and snacks– If your museum allows you to bring food with you, make sure to take advantage of it. Pack water and your meal or a few snacks with you since you will be walking and standing for long periods of time.
Enjoy with a group– Visiting a museum is a great opportunity for socialization. Invite a few friends or your loved ones to visit with you!

Maplewood Senior Living and Museums

Our Maplewood communities have monthly field trips for residents and a trip to a museum is always a favorite. Delmy Flagg, Memory Care Director at Maplewood at Weston told us about a recent trip to the Isabella Steward Gardner Museum in Boston. “The residents found a lot of tranquility visiting the bright beautiful gardens at the museum. They also got to appreciate European, Asian, and American art, sculpture, tapestries and decorative arts. We also talked about the art pieces that were stolen in 1990. They were estimated to be $500 million and the $10 million reward that still open for anyone that may have any information about the stolen pieces of art. Varied conversations about the stolen art lead into a discussion on technology and security and residents commented on how quickly technological security has changed in such a short time.” It goes to show how a museum trip prompts conversation and engagement.

No matter where you live, there’s always a museum to visit. If you’re not sure which museums are in your city or community, you can use this museum finder to see museums in your location. Here are a few museums near our Maplewood facilities to get you started.

For our Maplewood communities in Ohio
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland documents the history of rock music including notable artists, producers, and engineers who have influenced the music industry throughout the years. Right now, at the museum, you can unleash your inner musician at the Garage exhibit, which features 12 instrument stations and a freestyle jam session room. Once you’re all rocked out, head over to the Ahmet Ertegun Main Exhibit Hall to learn about rock’s earliest artists.
The Cleveland Museum of Natural History is home to nearly four million specimens and includes exhibits featuring paleontology, zoology, and archaeology. Now until April, museumgoers can learn about Giganotosaurus, T.Rex’s bigger and badder cousin.

For our Maplewood communities in Connecticut
• Located in New Haven, the Yale University Art Gallery houses an impressive collection of art. From early Italian painting to modern art, this gallery is the place to be for all art enthusiasts. The gallery is free to the public and is currently featuring art by award-winning artist, James Prosek.
• Located in Danbury, the Danbury Museum and Historical Society acquires and preserves the city’s extensive history. The museum highlights historical buildings that would have been demolished if it weren’t for the loyal citizens of Danbury.

For our Maplewood communities in Massachusetts
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston features the incredible art collection of Mrs. Gardner, including pieces by John Singer Sargent and Sandro Botticelli. The Museum also highlights its highly publicized robbery in 1990.

Pursuing Personal Growth at Maplewood Senior Living

At Maplewood Senior Living, we know how important continuous learning is for brain function and overall health. That’s why our residents have new and exciting opportunities to learn each day. If you’d like to learn more about our offerings or schedule a tour of one of our many communities, please contact us.

Technology and Dementia

An adult child caregiver helping a loved one with

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, dementia is an overall term for diseases and conditions characterized by a decline in memory, language, problem-solving and other thinking skills that can affect a person’s ability to complete everyday tasks. Of the 5 million individuals diagnosed with age-related dementia’s in the United States, Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 80% of these cases. As dementia progresses, it can cause patients to lose some of their independence and rely on caregivers to help them complete daily tasks like bathing, eating, and getting dressed. The Alzheimer’s Association reported that nearly 48% of all caregivers in the United States provide care to someone with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. Because many Alzheimer’s and dementia patients rely heavily on caregivers, it can cause a loss of independence and autonomy. However, in recent years, new technology has allowed those diagnosed with memory disorders to feel independent for longer.

Benefits of Technology to Help Alzheimer’s Patients

Assistive technology is a term often used to refer to items, devices or technological systems used by individuals to make daily living a little easier. There a number of assistive technology devices designed specifically for those with memory diseases, such as Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. While these technologies won’t completely eliminate the need for caregiving support, they can promote feelings of independence. Here are a few ways assistive technology can be beneficial for those with cognitive diseases, especially a form of dementia:
Safety
Some assistive technology devices are designed specifically to keep people safe. Items like motion sensors and automatic lights can be installed to decrease the risks of falls or related injuries. Devices such as medical alert pendants and smart home devices can be programmed to contact emergency services when they are needed.

Everyday Living

Other technologies are designed to help complete basic daily tasks like remembering when to take your medicine, automated curtain controls, robot vacuums, and touch censored toilets and sinks. As dementia progresses, it can affect a person’s range of motion, making it difficult to bend fingers and hands. Devices designed towards everyday living allow a person to complete tasks in a different way.

Location Monitoring
In some cases, dementia patients can often become wander risks. This can quickly become a scary situation for both the patient and the caregiver. Some assistive technology devices such as door and exit sensors can immediately alert family members or caregivers when a loved one has left.

Communication
As dementia progresses, communication can become difficult. Some technologies provide innovative ways to communicate with healthcare providers, family members, and friends to encourage socialization, while also receiving timely answers to medical questions.

Technology and Dementia: Available Types

Whether you’re a caregiver supporting someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s, or if you have been diagnosed with a memory disease, there are many assistive devices that can help complete daily tasks. Here are a few devices you might find helpful:
Calendar Apps can be helpful for both the caregiver and the person receiving support. Apps such as Google Calendar can be set up to give reminders for appointments or tracking medication schedules.
Video calling services such as Skype and FaceTime can help those living with dementia feel more connected with their families, especially if they live far away.
Voice-activated assistants can provide entertainment, reminders, and safety alerts. These devices offered by Amazon and Google can play music, read audiobooks, tell jokes, and even be set up to control the lights in your house. These devices can be programmed to call emergency services in the event of a fall, injury, or other medical situations.
Adapted Telephones are programmed with important numbers of family and friends to eliminate the pressure of remembering them for those with dementia. Some phones even give the option of programming a picture of a loved one to correspond with their telephone numbers.
Automated pill dispensers are relatively inexpensive and can be easily programmed to make a signal when it’s time to take medication. This can be helpful especially as the disease progresses and memory gets worse.
A dementia-friendly music player is another device to consider especially if your loved one enjoys listening to music. Many studies have shown that listening to calming music can have a positive effect on dementia patients. Some speakers can be programmed to play certain songs for a specified amount of time. The large buttons make it easy to control the volume.

Technology and Dementia: iPad Apps for Alzheimer’s Patients

In addition to assistive technology devices, the iPad has shown to help those diagnosed with dementia improve their cognitive and communication skills. Because of its user-friendly and lightweight design, the iPad can be used easily by dementia patients. Here are some apps that were created specifically for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Labyrinth 2 HD– This app is designed to help those with dementia strengthen their cognitive skills by working to navigate mazes, which can be made more or less challenging by changing the level.
MindMate– Designed specifically to strengthen the mind, this app provides games and mental exercises that help enhance problem-solving skills, speed, memory, and attention. There are also exercise and nutrition lessons available on the platform.
Peak-Brain Training– Developed by neuroscientists, this app offers over 40 games designed to challenge cognitive skills while also encouraging creativity and mental agility. In addition to a wide variety of games, the app also provides a personal trainer for the brain called, “Coach.” Coach tracks progress and also provides suggestions for improvement.

Finding Additional Support at Maplewood Senior Living

At Maplewood Senior Living, we know how important it is to exercise the brain, especially for those living with dementia or Alzheimer’s. That’s why we provide residents the opportunity to learn new iPad games and programs to help improve and maintain their cognitive skills. If you’re interested in learning more about our offerings or to schedule a tour, please feel free to contact us.

Time Management Tips for Caregivers and Care Partners

As the aging population continues to increase, especially with 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 each day, the need for caregivers has also seen a spike in demand. Many family members and spouses have taken on the role of caregivers to support their loved ones through illness and disease. In fact, according to the National Alliance for Caregiving and Evercare, more than 65 million people, or roughly 29% of the U.S. population provide care for a chronically ill, disabled, or aged family member or friend and spends nearly 20 hours per week providing care. While caregiving is a noble undertaking, it certainly comes with unique challenges and obstacles.

Defining Your Role as a Caregiver

For many adults providing care for a loved one, the role of a caregiver can become a major part of one’s identity. In fact, many caregivers struggle with separating their role as a caregiver from their own personal identity. However, it’s important to acknowledge and exercise other ways of identifying themselves. Here are a few ways you can practice setting boundaries, especially when it comes to time management:

Don’t be afraid to express yourself
It can be difficult to process your emotions, especially when you are tasked with supporting and caring for a loved one. Jim Taylor, who writes “Advice for Care Partners” and has been featured in the New York Times, says one of the most important aspects of caregiving or care partnering is to remember to, “honor your own reaction and emotions to the diagnosis. When you need to grieve, grieve.”

Set personal goals
Caregiving can limit the amount of time you have to set aside for yourself and your own personal goals. However, it’s important to make time for these things, too. Finding ways to grow and exercise your talents is important. You might consider setting a few personal goals each week or month, whether it’s writing in your journal or learning how to cook a new dish.

If you’re a caregiver, you’ve probably experienced the feeling of never having enough time in one day. That is certainly a normal feeling. But there are ways to manage your time so you don’t feel so overwhelmed each day. Here are a few time management tips and techniques for caregivers to make it feel less overwhelming and more enjoyable.

Time Management Tips for Caregivers: In the Home

For caregivers who provide care out of their own homes, or who live with the person they are supporting, there are many ways to make sure the home is an area of comfort rather than stress.

Declutter
Nearly 20% of Alzheimer’s patients exhibit hoarding behaviors that can likely cause safety hazards in the home. In addition, living in a cluttered space can also add difficulty to basic daily tasks like getting dressed or cooking. As you attempt to declutter your loved one’s space, always start by setting a priority and making a plan. For example, if your goal is to reduce the risk of falling, make a series of small plans identifying which items present the most risk. Don’t forget to utilize the help of your family and friends. If you’re unsure if something should be thrown away or kept, you can always ask a family member to hold onto it for a bit of time.

Organize
If you find yourself short on time, the best thing to do is to get organized. Here are a few simple ways you can save yourself some time each day:
• Keep all your paperwork and important documents in one location
• Keep a daily to-do list in the same place and update it daily
• Store all medications in the same place and sort them weekly. It can also be helpful to keep a list of all medications being consumed
• Utilize gadgets. There are so many senior-friends tools and resources available for caregivers and their loved ones. For example, if your loved one has trouble getting dressed, you might look into tools that help with buttons, Velcro shoes, and clothing with elastic waistbands
• Keep track of your regular household tasks, like grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning, and food preparation. Scheduling time in advance for all of these tasks will help you manage your time most efficiently

Focus on Comfort
As the disease progresses, you might find yourself spending more time at home, rather than going out. When this happens, it’s important that the home becomes a place of peace and tranquility, rather than chaos. These simple home modifications can make anyone’s home a place they want to be.

• Install a raised toilet and grab bars for the bathroom and bathtub
• Trade regular door knobs with grab easy alternatives such as lever handles
• Place your loved one’s favorite pictures and memorabilia in easy to see places
• Install monitors and alert systems for those who present wander risks, such as door alarms and motions sensors
• Use bright lighting to reduce the risk of falling

Time Management Tips for Caregivers: For the Day

Staying organized during the day will help you to complete tasks while making room for the unexpected. As you go about your day, keep these tips in mind that will keep stress away.

Organize Your Daily Essentials
It might sound obvious, but keeping your keys, wallet, and other essentials in the same place can actually help you save time and decrease stress as you get ready to head out the door. Nothing is worse than being late for an appointment because your keys are in your pocket instead of in your purse. You might consider keeping these essentials by the door to make it easy to remember. Staying organized helps free up mental space you might need later in the day.

Plan Your Days
As you think about your daily to-do list, it might be helpful to plan out your day while also being mindful that it may not go to plan. Prioritize the most important things first, like doctor’s appointments or refilling medications. Using a large calendar that your loved one can also see can be a great way to make them feel involved and encourage independence over their days.

Time Management for Caregivers: For the Self

Most importantly, caregivers need to make time for themselves. Oftentimes, caregivers forget to take care of themselves, because their main focus is to take care of their loved one. But the truth is, if caregivers don’t help themselves, they can’t help their loved one. If you are a caregiver, use these tips to remember that you are important, too.
• Seek support. Whether you share your concerns and excitements with a friend or a caregiver, it’s important to have someone to talk to
• Create a network of other caregivers to learn from and share with
• Make time for yourself! This means getting enough exercise, eating a well-balanced diet, and making sure to get enough sleep
• Work your own needs into your schedule. Don’t ignore doctor’s appointments and social events, they’re just as important to your health as taking medicine
• Connect with the people you love

Offering Support for Caregivers at Maplewood Senior Living

At Maplewood Senior Living Communities, we know and appreciate how hard caregivers work to provide support, love, and care to their loved ones. We offer a free six-week Dementia Bootcamp series for caregivers that provides education, tips, resources and support for those caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia. If you’d like to learn more about this series or the many ways in which we care for caregivers, contact us here,we’d love to talk to you.

 

Family Caregivers: How to Make Decisions for Aging Parents

An adult caregiver providing love and support for an aging parent.

Acting as a family caregiver for elderly parents comes with its own challenges and complications. However, when multiple family members are involved, caregiving can become even more complex. Many older adults are beginning to consider acting as their parent’s caregiver for a number of reasons. As older adults continue to live longer, many of them experience chronic diseases and illnesses, which can motivate their children to step in as caregivers. While keeping caregiving in the family can present some challenges, it can also be a great gift to both the siblings and their aging parents.

Common Mistakes of Family Caregivers

Whether you’ve just started caring for your elderly parents or are a seasoned caregiver, there’s always room to grow. While mistakes are inevitable, journalist and author, Francine Russo offers some mistakes to look out for while sharing caregiving responsibilities with siblings.

Forgetting to support the main family caregiver
In most caregiving situations, families will often choose one sibling to act as the main caregiver. Oftentimes this family caregiver provides in-home support if needed, shopping assistance, and help with everyday tasks. This works really well for some families, but it’s not uncommon for the other siblings to unintentionally adopt the mindset that they are “off the hook.”

Never checking-in
Caregiving can be extremely challenging and isolating. Oftentimes the main family caregiver will report that he/she feels both physically and emotionally overwhelmed. However, siblings can take small actions to help combat these feelings, such as calling their parents more often, offering a day of respite care, or even ordering groceries online.

Planning only for the short-term
Most families don’t think about a caregiver’s duties until their parents absolutely need it. This can cause some tension because decisions have to be made quickly and oftentimes don’t leave room for reflecting and long-term planning.

Thinking that everyone mourns the same way
Even if your parents are still living, it’s not uncommon to mourn the loss of their younger years. Watching them suffer from illness, both physical and cognitive, can be painful and requires mourning. We all mourn in different ways, suggests Russo, and the best way to cope with that difference is to accept it.

Things to Consider About a Family Caregiver’s Duties

Caregiving with siblings is especially complicated because there are limited models for this type of situation. Childhood feelings and roles might start to arise, and disagreements over care for your parents might also come to the surface. But, the best thing to do is to be prepared. If you and your siblings are caring for an elderly parents, you might consider the following tips:

• Understand your family dynamics. Maybe your brother is a bit of a hot-head, or perhaps you tend to disappear during difficult situations. Now is the time to understand your dynamics and own them. It’s important to take time to identify our family dynamics and together discuss what changes need to be made. But remember, instead of playing the blame game, it’s always a good idea to suggest changes that only you have control over.

• Reinforce caregiving as a shared responsibility. There might be one sibling who does the majority of the caregiving, however, this does not mean other siblings do not share the responsibility. It’s important for both the main caregiver to know when to ask for help and for the other siblings to consistently offer the other caregivers support.

• Hold family meetings. When it comes to shared caregiving, communication is non-negotiable. You might consider holding consistent family meetings. You might have to improvise for those who aren’t local, but Skype and other video chat tools make great in-person alternatives. If you’ve never hosted a family meeting, here are a few tips to consider:
o Take turns setting an agenda
o Assign roles, like note-taker or timekeeper
o Share all information after the meeting ends through an email

• Understand and plan for differing opinions. There will be times you and your siblings disagree on care-related decisions. That’s completely normal and to be expected. However, it never hurts to plan for these moments. You might create a plan of action with your siblings that all of you promise to honor when a conflict arises.

Consider Your Limits as a Family Caregiver

As you and your family members consider care options for your parents, it’s important to first assess your own abilities and limitations. You might consider reflecting on these statements published by the National Institute on Aging before committing to certain caregiving responsibilities.

• Are you already overcommitted? We all have a wide variety of responsibilities at work and at home that make our lives busy. Taking on more than you can handle can ultimately cause conflict and tension within family dynamics.

• Can you afford it? Family caregiving is a tremendous time commitment. If you work full-time it’s important to think about how this change will affect your finances.

• Are you emotionally prepared? Caregiving can be an emotional experience. If you plan to take on caregiving full-time, make sure you have your support systems in place. This might mean planning for respite care once a week or consistent appointments with a therapist or counselor.

Caregivers Support

Even if you are not the main family caregiver, there are many ways to show your support both for your siblings and your aging parents. Remember, caregiving can’t be done without a group of supporters. Here are some ways you can give caregivers support even from a distance:

• Provide emotional support by calling both the caregiver and the aging parents on a consistent basis.

• If the time comes to find a nursing facility for your parents, you can show your support by researching local facilities, scheduling tours, and gathering information.

• Caregiving can be expensive. It’s important to discuss how finances will be managed. Siblings can show their support by buying groceries, managing respite care, and if needed, sharing the cost of home health and nursing aides.

• Help with basic daily tasks can go a long way. You might consider hiring a laundry service, cleaning help, or grocery deliveries.

Finding Support at Maplewood Senior Living

At Maplewood Senior Living, we know how difficult it can be to watch your parents age. Our high-quality services and programs can help siblings navigate the caregiving responsibilities that come with aging parents. If you’d like to hear more about our offerings or see our facilities, please contact us.

Benefits of Inter-generational Programming and Volunteering

Laura Carstensen, a Stanford psychology professor and Director of the Stanford Center for Longevity, said, “Contrary to widespread beliefs that older populations consume resources that would otherwise go to youth, there is growing reason to think that older people may be just the resource children need.”

Carstensen’s prior research has found that as people age, their brains actually improve in many ways, including in complex problem-solving and emotional skills. “It is a huge loss for society not to offer such counsel and experience to others, especially young people,” she said.

The aging population has “distinctive qualities to meet the needs of youth,” she and her co-authors wrote. “Older adults are exceptionally suited to meet these needs in part because they welcome meaningful, productive activity and engagement. They seek – and need – purpose in their lives.”

As for older adults, Carsten’s report pointed out, they benefit as well, experiencing emotional satisfaction in relationships with young people. One way to achieve such contact is through volunteer service, which is associated with better physical health and cognitive performance for aging people. From a societal view, these interactions are positive, too.

“Focusing volunteer efforts on young people improve their (young people’s) chances of success in life,” Carstensen said. “These mutual benefits are perhaps the most compelling reason for programs that connect young and old.”

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