HOLIDAY VISITS ARE OPPORTUNITY FOR LONG DISTANCE CAREGIVERS
TO ASSESS AGING PARENTS CARE NEEDS
The holidays bring families together.In fact, it may be the only opportunity that long-distance caregivers and family members have to observe their aging parents’ well-being.
The number of caregivers considered long distance is significant. According to a study conducted by the National Alliance of Caregiving, in collaboration with AARP, 15% of the estimated 34 million Americans who provide care to older family members live an hour or more away from their relative.
Instead of relying on regular telephone conversations for assessment, your upcoming holiday visit may offer a window into how your aging parents are faring and a chance to pick up any worrisome clues.
Assisted Living Locators,a free referral and placement service for seniors and families, offers an easy-to-use Assessment Tool on its website that can quicklygive you insightinto whether or not it’s time to find a new environment and appropriate senior housing for your aging parent.
The assessment checklist covers several categories including: safety, mobility, nutrition, mental status, communications, medications, bathing, dressing and grooming, finances and physician contact. After entering the description that applies to your senior, the assessment feature calculates which type of housing or care may be most appropriate for your loved one.
According to Assisted Living Locators, it’s important to make the most of your holiday visit by starting the conversation with your parents about their present circumstances and future needs. Your parent may not be aware of a gradual decline and may be reluctant or unable to plan for needed care. Allow time for them to express anxieties and needs. You can decide together what needs to be done and who can help.
Although long-distance caregivers often focus all of their energy on their loved one during their holiday visits, it is absolutely essential that you take some time for yourself, so that you can continue to give effective and loving care.
Stephen Covey tells a story in his book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” about a man who is sawing a tree. A woman approaches and asks the obviously exhausted man how long he has been sawing the tree. He tells her that he has been there for hours.She says “Well, I see that your saw is dull, if you would just sharpen your saw you would be able to saw it much faster and with less effort.”He replies, “I don’t have time to stop and sharpen my saw, I need to chop this tree down now!”
It seems pretty silly that the man just doesn’t stop for a few minutes to make the work easier. It is common for caregivers to do the same thing. They focus on caring for their loved one and run themselves down instead of stopping to “sharpen their saw”.
Covey states that “sharpening the saw” is to take care of yourself by keeping your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual self balanced. This is what makes us efficient and happy. Try not to place unrealistic expectations on yourself during the holidays or throughout the year. Your attitude and a little care for yourself can make a big difference in the care that you give in the coming year. Remember, it is ok to ask for help.
Assisted Living Locators offers a free service for seniors and their families to help you explore and understand elder care options.A Senior Care Advisor will meet with you and/or your family member to discuss your current situation and what is needed. We evaluate all aspects of an individual’s care plan such as healthcare needs, social activities, memory care, location and financial situation.We are committed to matching an environment of compassion and concern with the needs of our clients.
If you are a senior or a family member looking for help navigating the often complicated decisions related to senior care, especially during the emotional holiday season, we can help. Contact Jaime Daniels and her team at Assisted Living Locators at 941.479.3500 or via email at JDaniels@AssistedLivingLocators.com. You can visit online at AssistedLivingManasota.com. Be sure to “like” the Company on Facebook at facebook.com/AssistedLivingLocatorsManasota.