November is not only the month of giving thanks and enjoying the last of fall foliage, but it’s also Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers Month. This month, the Country Meadows assisted living team wanted to celebrate the people who selflessly give to those closest to them.
More than 40 million Americans act as caregivers for family members or friends above the age of 65. These individuals often spend an average of 77 hours per month on caregiving, all while balancing working full-time (39%) or part-time (13%).
Being a caregiver for a loved one with dementia is a true labor of love, so it is important for the caregiver to take care of themselves in the process too. Family caregivers can strike a healthy balance with care for loved ones and care for themselves by using tips from our guide, “Finding Your Way to Caring for a Loved One and You.” Other tips include the following:
- Join or build a community of other caregivers. Lean on community and interpersonal relationships with people who understand both the joys and the heartaches of caregiving in ways that others do not. Caregivers can find other kindred spirits in local support groups through community agencies, churches, synagogues or even online apps like Meetup. Country Meadows offers Memory Support Groups at all of our locations.
- Stay organized. Caregivers should organize all important papers and legal documents for the person for whom they are caring. This includes birth certificates, employment records, monthly bills, insurance policies and all online passwords. Moreover, developing a daily routine and implementing notes, tasks and reminders for both the person they’re caring for and for the caregiver themselves allows them to ensure all medications are managed, all meetings are made and all administrative tasks are in order.
- Practice self-care, too. It is not selfish to practice self-care. Caregivers of loved ones with dementia should continually assess their own lives and health, too. Marion Somers, a geriatric care manager and author of Elder Care Made Easier, told AARP that caregivers are “less likely to go for regular checkups, fill prescriptions, get mammograms, cook healthy meals for themselves or get enough sleep.” Caregivers should remember the old adage: Before you can help/care for others, you must first help/care for yourself.
Consider an affordable assisted living facility with dementia care services
The advice doesn’t stop there. At any time, we encourage caregivers to utilize our online resources for families and loved ones dealing with dementia, memory loss or any disease related to aging. Our guide, “Understanding Dementia’s Effects on Your Loved One and Family,” provides insight on adjusting to loved ones’ changing needs.
We’re often asked many questions about life in a retirement living community. But one recurring question, “what is assisted living?” is often asked by family members searching for the best retirement communities with memory support and personal care options for their loved ones. While there is much that our assisted living facilities offer, we are proud of our caring, trained staff that’s on-duty 24-hours every day. Not only that, but our co-workers enjoy connecting with residents on a personal level, making their unique care needs their top priority.
We invite caregivers in the process of choosing a retirement community or assisted living facility near them to contact us. We have 10 Pennsylvania retirement communities—in Lancaster, Hershey, Mechanicsburg, Pittsburgh, Wyomissing, York-South, York-West, Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton—as well as a Maryland retirement community in Frederick. We would be glad to schedule a visit to any of our active retirement communities or affordable assisted living options and introduce our full range of services.