Coping with Repetitive Questions When a Senior Has Memory Loss

September 16, 2019

Repetitive behaviors, such as asking the same question over and over, are common when a senior has Alzheimer’s. The damage the disease causes to their short-term memory makes it tough for them to learn, retain, and recall new information. This means a senior may struggle to remember the answer to a question they have already asked, even if it was only moments ago.

While most Alzheimer’s caregivers understand their loved one can’t help this behavior, it’s nonetheless stressful and frustrating. Finding ways to manage it is important.

Repetitive Questions from Alzheimer's Patients

4 Ways for Alzheimer’s Caregivers to Manage Repetitive Questions

  1. Identify potential triggers.

In some cases, there is a reason a loved one with Alzheimer’s is repeatedly asking the same question. Trying to figure out what is triggering the question can help you find a way to address it. It may be something in their environment that is the culprit.

For example, a photo of a grandchild might be causing the senior to wonder where they are. Even though you answer that they are away at work or college, the older adult can’t retain that information. It may be easier to remove the photo from the room until the senior moves on to engage in a different activity and forgets about the question and photo.

1. Redirecting their attention.

Family caregivers also say redirecting their loved one’s attention can help to reduce repetitive questions. This involves giving a senior with Alzheimer’s something new to focus on. The goal is to distract them from whatever it is that they are preoccupied with.

For example, if a loved one with Alzheimer’s is repeating the same question, answer it and then quickly redirect their attention to something new. A chore or task like folding clothes or helping dry dishes might help them to refocus.

2. Provide opportunities for meaningful activity.

In some instances, repetitive questions are the result of an older adult being bored, anxious, or agitated. Repetition is their way of alleviating that discomfort. By providing the seniors with meaningful activities, a caregiver may be able to help them find peace.

Here are several meaningful activities that an adult with Alzheimer’s can do:

  • Look through family photo albums
  • Fold a basket full of clean towels
  • Sort of a deck of playing cards by color or number
  • Dust non-breakable objects around the home
  • Arrange flowers in a plastic vase

3. Take caregiving breaks.

Caregiving for an adult with Alzheimer’s is mentally and physically exhausting. It’s vital that you take frequent breaks so you can continue to provide good care. If you don’t have another friend or family member available to assist with caregiving duties, respite care might be a solution.

Short-term respite care at an assisted living community is designed to give caregivers a break. The older adult can stay in the community for a few days or weeks while the caregiver has time to restore their sense of well-being.

Memory Care at Legacy Senior Living

The around-the-clock demands associated with keeping a senior with Alzheimer’s safe can take a toll on a caregiver’s health. Despite your best efforts, the day might come when managing a loved one’s care at home is too much. That’s where a quality memory care program, like those at Legacy Senior Living communities, can be an ideal solution. Call us today at 423-478-8071 to learn more!

Overcoming Caregiver Isolation and Staying Connected

September 9, 2019

If your role as a caregiver has left you feeling lonely and isolated, these tips can help you find balance again.

Caregiver isolation

Becoming a caregiver for an older family member can be rewarding. Providing one-on-one support to someone who cared for you as a child may allow the two of you to build meaningful memories during what is often a difficult time. The downside of family caregiving, however, is that it can be isolating, especially if the senior has challenges that make it tough for them to leave the house.

How Do Caregivers Become Isolated?

While it usually doesn’t happen overnight, caregivers often find themselves isolated and alone as time goes on. It usually starts gradually. The caregiver gives up a few favorite hobbies or social organizations they just don’t have time for. As the senior loved one’s condition worsens, the family member gives up more and more. They often fail to realize how lonely they’ve become until considerable time has passed.

Here are two more reasons a family caregiver may become isolated:

  • Sense of obligation: Adult children and spouses who are caregivers might feel a strong sense of obligation when it comes to taking care of their family member. This leads them to think no one else can provide the quality of care their loved one needs and deserves. Even if other family members offer to help, they may decline the assistance.
  • Not familiar with senior care: Some family caregivers don’t realize how many senior care options are available in their area. While most know about nursing homes, fewer are familiar with respite care, adult day centers, and assisted living communities. Short-term care, also known as respite care, at an assisted living community can give a weary caregiver an opportunity to take a break for a week or so. It also allows them to test out the community and see if it is a good fit for the senior to move to on a long-term basis.

If you are a family caregiver who is battling loneliness and isolation, we have a few suggestions for helping you reconnect.

3 Ways to Regain Balance When You Are a Caregiver

  1. Investigate senior care options: Most caregivers are surprised to discover how many senior care options are available in their own neighborhood. If you aren’t familiar with them, a great place to start learning more is the local area agency on aging. This nonprofit agency designed to address the needs of older adults often maintains connections with senior living communities and transportation services.
  2. Reconnect with friends and loved ones: Having a strong social network is good for your mental and physical well-being. If you’ve lost touch with your support system while you’ve been busy caregiving, make a list of individuals you want to reconnect with. Call one or two people a day to catch up. Let them know you have missed them and that the responsibilities of caregiving are the reason you’ve been out-of-touch. Try to plan something fun—away from the duties of caregiving—once or twice a month. Discuss quick ways you can stay connected when caregiving duties are at their peak, such as text messaging, social media, and video chat.
  3. Join a support group: Connecting with fellow caregivers who understand the challenges you face can also decrease the loneliness you might be experiencing. There are probably support groups that meet in your local area at libraries, senior centers and assisted living communities. If it is more convenient to connect online, the Family Caregiver Alliance has a host of support groups you can explore.

One final suggestion is to try not to feel guilty if you take time out from caregiving to enjoy your life. It is a fairly common emotion for caregivers to struggle with. “Advice for Overcoming Caregiver Guilt and Finding Peace” has some solid tips for managing it.

Respite Care at Legacy Senior Living

If you would like to learn more about day-stay programs at communities in the southeast, we invite you to call the Legacy Senior Living community nearest you. With locations in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and Virginia, there is likely a community near you.

6 Ways to Sit Less and Why It’s So Important

September 3, 2019

A sedentary lifestyle can be as dangerous as smoking, say the experts. Learn how you can stay active during retirement.

Sitting is the new smoking. Experts now say that spending too much of your day sitting can be deadly. In fact, early mortality is directly impacted by how much time you sit every day. It is linked to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and depression.

Research shows middle-aged and older adults who sat for 30 minutes or less at a time had the lowest risk for early death. It’s important to note, however, that this doesn’t mean you have to spend the whole day exercising. You just need to avoid sitting for prolonged periods of time.

If you aren’t sure how to move more and sit less, these tips may be of interest.

6 Ways to Sit Less and Move More

1. Invest in a fitness tracker.

While using a fitness tracker to count your steps each day is helpful, some of these devices come with another beneficial feature—a movement sensor. If you’ve been sitting too long, it will alert you that it’s time to get up and get moving again.

2. Move when you are on the phone.

If you spend time on the phone catching up with adult children and friends every day, it might be tempting to sit down while you talk. A better option is to keep moving. Whether it is walking around your living space or courtyard or even marching in place, staying in motion is good for your health.

3. Set goals for daily steps.

When you are retired and have more free time, it may be easy to lose track of how much you are walking each day. While lunch with friends or participating in an art workshop are great ways to spend your time, they don’t require a lot of movement.

It might be helpful to talk with your physician for a recommendation on how much walking you should be doing each day. You can break this down to a daily goal for the number of steps walked. Don’t be discouraged if you have to start slow and work up. The overall objective is to simply keep moving.

4. Adopt a senior dog.

Having a four-legged friend to love and care for is good for the body, mind, and spirit. Our canine companions keep us active and encourage us to walk more. Adopting an older dog might be more manageable for an older adult than an overactive puppy. The two of you can explore a few pet-friendly trails to walk together every so often.

5. Rethink how you watch television.

Watching the news or a few favorite game shows can be a great way to unwind. The catch is not to get in a rut and spend too much time sitting on the sofa. A healthier option is to limit how much time you spend in front of the television. When you do watch TV, consider riding a recumbent bike or getting up to stretch and take a brisk walk every half hour.

6. Volunteer for a youth organization.

Children help us stay active and young at heart. If you don’t have grandchildren or if they don’t live nearby, consider volunteering for a local youth organization or helping out in the nursery at your church or synagogue. You’ll likely stay busy and enjoy a boost in spirit that naturally occurs when you spend time with children. Alternatively, the Life Enrichment Coordinator at your community is great at bringing in young volunteers and hosting fun activities that are worth being involved in.

Many Ways to Stay Active at Legacy

At Legacy Senior Living communities, you’ll find a wide variety of life enrichment activities to participate in every day right in the comfort of your community. Our “Live Well” program is designed to meet the unique interests and needs of every resident. Call the Legacy Senior Living community nearest you to learn more!

Understand and Manage Agitation in a Senior with Alzheimer’s

August 26, 2019

It is common among seniors with Alzheimer’s disease. Use these suggestions to help manage agitation.

One of the most common challenges family caregivers face when a loved one has Alzheimer’s disease is managing agitation. The behavior can negatively impact their quality of life as well as that of the family. It is often cited as a reason why families begin to explore memory care communities for their loved one.

In order to prevent agitation, or take steps to minimize it, Dementia care experts say caregivers must first understand the possible causes.

Potential Triggers of Agitation in a Senior with Alzheimer’s

  1. Disease-related changes in the brain

Alzheimer’s disease and similar forms of dementia can cause damage to the frontal lobe of the brain. This is the area that controls functions such as motivation, planning, self-control, and sequencing. When this area of the brain is damaged, it can be difficult for people to manage their reactions and understand consequences. The senior probably doesn’t realize their behavior is aggressive and intimidating.

  1. Undiagnosed pain or discomfort

A person with Alzheimer’s disease often loses their verbal communication skills. This makes it difficult for them to express their feelings or explain that they are in pain. As a result, when the older adult feels pain, fatigue, hunger, or sorrow, they may act out in frustration.

When your family member seems agitated or aggressive, try to identify the root cause. Ask if they are hungry, tired, or thirsty. Show them to the bathroom and see if they need to use it. It may also help to point to different areas of the body and ask them if it hurts.

  1. Overstimulation

Another outcome of the physical damage caused to the brain is difficulty processing too many things at one time. As a result, persons with Alzheimer’s can be easily overwhelmed. Noisy, hectic environments may be especially difficult to handle.

Because the adult may have difficulty managing multiple demands, they might become anxious, agitated, or aggressive. By controlling the environment, a caregiver may be able to help their loved one avoid becoming overstimulated.

  1. Confusion

Sometimes a person with Alzheimer’s disease will become anxious or agitated when they don’t understand what is happening around them. They may not understand why they need to get in the car or who the person in their home is. Irritability or agitation may be the result.

Family members may be successful in reducing some of this confusion by explaining who people are, even if they are someone the senior has known for years, or why they are being asked to do something.

Understanding Sundowners Syndrome

Another cause of agitation is actually a combination of symptoms that appear as the sun begins to make its descent. Sundowners Syndrome, also known as Sundowning, causes anxiety, agitation, and aggression.

Although caregivers may not be able to prevent Sundowning entirely, here are suggestions on how to better manage it:

  • Having a structured daily routine
  • Limiting caffeine intake
  • Reducing stimulation in the home, especially late in the day
  • Pulling the blinds and turning on the lights as the sun starts to set
  • Playing soothing music during the hours sundowning typically occurs

Compassionate Memory Care

If you are struggling to care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s at home, we can help. Our nationally recognized memory care program in some of our communities, known as The Harbor, is thoughtfully designed to meet the unique needs of people with Alzheimer’s disease. Contact Legacy Senior Living online to learn more!

4 Tips for Talking with a Parent about Giving Up Driving

August 19, 2019

Driving represents independence to most adults, including seniors. If you need advice for talking with a loved one about giving up their keys, this will help.

Bringing up the topic of safe driving, or hanging up their keys for good, with a senior parent can be difficult. Adult children typically dread this conversation. It’s often easy to avoid the discussion until a crisis forces the conversation. Hopefully, this will never be the case.

If you are struggling with how to initiate a conversation about driving with a senior you love, we have a few tips that will help.

  1. Demonstrate empathy and kindness.

Before you tackle a sensitive topic like driving, take time to reflect on what this change will mean for your loved one. Not being able to drive can be damaging to a senior’s self-esteem if not handled well. For most people, driving represents independence and freedom.

Giving up driving may also take an emotional toll:

  • Feeling forced to rely on others for transportation
  • Feeling like a burden on a busy loved one’s schedule
  • Feeling frustration at the inability to leave the house freely or without preplanning

Keep these factors in mind as you talk about driving with your senior loved one.

  1. Do some research first.

Before you initiate a conversation about driving with an older loved one, do some research. Explore local transportation services that are accessible and priced fairly. If you create a list of options, so they know they will be able to remain independent, the senior might not be as reluctant to limit or give up driving.

  1. Explore limitations and adaptive equipment.

Some age-related changes can make it more difficult to drive, but that doesn’t always mean the senior should stop driving altogether. Seniors can choose to impose personal limitations on when or how far they drive. There may also be adaptive devices or vehicle modifications that allow a senior to be a safe driver for a few more years.

Consider a few examples that might keep your older loved one driving longer:

  • Avoid nighttime driving: If night vision is an issue, as it is for many seniors, suggest they limit their driving to the daytime.
  • Drive during off-hours: Driving during rush hour can be daunting for people of all ages. Suggest your family member avoid driving during the busiest times of day.
  • Drive only to locations nearby: Encourage your loved one to only drive to locations within a few miles from home, such as to the grocery store or bank. By setting a personal boundary as to how far they drive, seniors can still maintain some independence.
  • Explore adaptive devices: From swivel seat cushions to extra large mirrors, there are a variety of devices designed to overcome common challenges older drivers face. Many are inexpensive and easy to install.
  1. Don’t let age be the primary determinant.

There is no particular age when seniors should stop driving. An older adult’s fitness for driving should be the primary determinant in whether or not it’s time to stop. Is the Senior Driver in Your Family Safe Behind the Wheel has good information and resources for helping you objectively assess a senior’s driving skills.

Transportation Is Available at Legacy Senior Living

One of the most popular services at Legacy Senior Living communities is transportation. Residents rely on it for everything from physician appointments to shopping trips. It’s much easier and less expensive than maintaining a car.

Call us today at 423-478-8071 to learn more!

How to Connect with an Online Caregiver Support Group

August 12, 2019

An online caregiver support group can help adult children and family members find ways to manage the challenges they face.

Being a caregiver for a senior loved one can be a rewarding experience. Whether it is helping a grandparent get back on their feet after a serious illness or caring for an aging parent whose health is declining, caregiving creates a sense of purpose. Knowing you are making a difference in the life of someone you love is gratifying, but with it also comes natural challenges.

Over the long term, caregiving can become physically and emotionally exhausting. As the demands of the role increase, it’s common for a caregiver to feel fatigued, overwhelmed, and isolated from their old life. The emotional side of watching a loved one’s health deteriorate is also difficult.

Because the demands of caring for a family member are so unique, caregivers may feel alone in their struggles. While friends may empathize, they don’t always understand the challenges. According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, between 40 and 70 percent of family caregivers find themselves battling depression caused by their caregiving situation.

One way to manage the rollercoaster of emotions and challenges that come with caregiving is by connecting with peers. Joining a caregiver support group allows you to do just that.

The Role of Caregiver Support Groups

Support groups give caregivers a judgement-free place to discuss their fears and frustrations, as well as seek advice from those who may have found a solution to a particular caregiver challenge. Some people might want a group that meets in person at a local church or assisted living care community. Other caregivers may feel more comfortable with the anonymity of an online support group.

The 24/7 accessibility of online support groups makes it easier for busy caregivers to participate. Caregivers can post questions or challenges in chat forums or on message boards any time of day or night.

How to Connect with an Online Caregiver Support Group

If you’d like to connect with an online caregiver support group, here are a few to explore:

  • AlzConnected: This popular support forum is hosted by the Alzheimer’s Association. It gives dementia caregivers access to a wide variety of resources, in addition to message boards and chat rooms. This resource offers support to both adults with dementia and to family members who are caring for them.
  • Family Caregiver Alliance: A comprehensive caregiver resource site, Family Caregiver Alliance also hosts unmoderated support groups for caregivers. Explore the options and find one with members who share issues and concerns similar to yours.
  • CareGiving.com: Another site to investigate and connect with fellow caregivers is CareGiving.com. Their resources and forums cover a variety of topics ranging from where to buy adult briefs at the best price to how to know when it’s time for a move to a senior living community.

Each of these resources can help you find a peer group where you can share the highs and lows of caring for a loved one.

Tour Legacy Senior Living and Meet Our Caregivers

At Legacy Senior Living communities, you will find some of the most experienced, compassionate caregivers in the industry. We invite you to visit and learn more about our process for screening and training caregivers. Call (423) 478-8071 to set up a time!

Senior Hydration Basics during the Dog Days of Summer

August 5, 2019

Summer heat and humidity can put older adults at risk for dehydration. Learn how to keep a senior loved one safe and recognize warning signs of dehydration.

The hot, humid days of summer can present unique safety challenges for seniors. Adults with high blood pressure, for example, need to be especially cautious during periods of high humidity. The summer sun also places older adults at higher risk for heat-related illnesses, like dehydration, sun poisoning, and heat stroke.

Now that the dog days of summer are upon us, it’s crucial for seniors and family caregivers to take intentional steps to stay hydrated.

5 Ways for Seniors to Stay Hydrated during the Summer

  1. Boost fluid intake: To prevent dehydration during the hot, humid days of summer, you must eat the right foods and drink the right beverages. Water is usually best. Your physician can help determine how much you should be drinking based on your weight. If you or your senior loved one don’t care for the taste of water, try adding lemon or lime wedges, cucumber slices, or berries to improve the taste. Increasing the amount of foods you eat that have high water content including melons, pears, cucumbers, leafy greens, tomatoes, carrots, and popsicles can also be beneficial.
  2. Avoid caffeine: Guzzling drinks like iced coffee and soda might taste great, but the caffeine they contain can put a senior at higher risk for dehydration. While 8-ounce cups may not have much caffeine, super-sized cups or having multiple caffeinated drinks can create a problem. Caffeine is a diuretic, meaning it causes fluids to pass through your system faster. That fluid loss can cause dehydration.
  3. Limit alcohol: Summer is often a season for celebrations—many of which include alcoholic beverages. Similar to caffeine, alcohol can contribute to dehydration. If a senior will be spending time outdoors in the heat, it’s best to limit or avoid consuming alcoholic beverages.
  4. Review medication side effects: Many older adults aren’t aware that some medications increase sun sensitivity. This means medications can put seniors at risk of serious sunburn rather quickly. These medications may also cause hives, rashes, and dehydration. Review your loved one’s medications to see if sun sensitivity is a potential side effect.
  5. Plan outdoor time wisely: Whenever possible, plan outdoor activities for the coolest times of day, generally before 10:00 a.m. or after 4:00 p.m. Wearing a lightweight hat with a brim at least three inches wide also promotes better hydration by helping shade the face and neck, keeping your senior loved one cooler.

Finally, we recommend learning more about the symptoms of dehydration in an older adult. From irritability to trouble walking, the signs aren’t always obvious.

Common Signs of Dehydration

Recognizing when a senior loved one is experiencing early signs of dehydration will allow you to seek treatment before a more serious health crisis occurs. Here are some of the most common symptoms to lookout for this summer:

  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Dry mouth
  • Irritability
  • Sunken eyes
  • Trouble walking
  • Inability to sweat
  • Headache
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Low blood pressure

If an older adult in your community is exhibiting these symptoms, get them to a cooler location and call their physician or 911 immediately for more instructions.

While summer might increase the risk for dehydration, it’s a risk older adults face all year long. At Legacy Senior Living communities, we have programs in place to help residents stay hydrated. Call us today (423) 478-8071 to learn more about this and other safety challenges our communities help address.

The Differences between Assisted Living and Nursing Homes

July 22, 2019

If you aren’t sure about differences between assisted living and nursing homes, this information will help you learn more.

When a senior in the family begins to require a little extra help, sometimes their loved ones can be confused about what type of care they need and how to find it. Because the differences in senior living aren’t always obvious, deciding between an assisted living community or a nursing home can be challenging.

People don’t always know that these are two very different types of senior care. Adult children who haven’t been through the process of finding senior living for a family member often think an assisted living community is just a more upscale version of a nursing home.

There are many myths surrounding senior living that further complicate the issue. It’s no wonder families end up confused and unsure about what type of care is the best solution for their loved one.

To help make your search a little easier, we’ll explain the differences between an assisted living community and a nursing home while also dispelling the most common myths.

Dispelling Myths About Assisted Living and Nursing Homes

Myth: The only difference between a nursing home and an assisted living community is their appearance. Both types of senior living offer the same care and services.

Fact: While these two kinds of senior housing typically differ in appearance, the primary contrast is in the types of care and services that are offered. That’s why it is important to learn a little more about each one.

Assisted living communities are home to older adults who need support with life’s daily activities. Some require assistance with personal care (e.g., bathing, grooming, and dressing) and many need help with medication management. These communities are also known for providing well-balanced meals, and a variety of life-enrichment programs every day.

A nursing home is designed for those who require medical care delivered by skilled health care professionals. For example, it would be a solution for a senior who needs skilled nursing assistance with a wound that won’t heal or an older adult with a tracheotomy that requires respiratory therapy.

Myth: Seniors who need help with medication can only go to a nursing home, not an assisted living community.

Fact: While nursing homes do provide medication management services, so do most assisted living communities. In fact, most assisted living residents receive some type of medication support. Considering some older take 5 or more medications/supplements each day, it’s easy to understand why this service is standard in most assisted living communities.

Myth: Only wealthy people can afford an assisted living community.

Fact: This persistent myth might be caused by seniors and their families not understanding all of the services included in the monthly fee. As they learn more, they discover what a true value assisted living can be.

Many of the expenses associated with maintaining a private home are included in the basic monthly fee at an assisted living community—room and board, utilities, basic cable, local phone service, some transportation, healthy meals and snacks, housekeeping, lawn care, and snow shoveling. Other expenses that are often part of the monthly fee are fitness classes and life-enrichment programs.

Myth: Assisted living and nursing home residents don’t have much to do beyond watching television and playing bingo.

Fact: Both assisted living communities and nursing homes offer a variety of daily activities. They tend to be programs that nurture the body, mind, and spirit. The difference is that activities in nursing homes are designed to work around the medical needs and limitations of residents. Some even offer one-on-one activities, such as reading, with nursing home residents who aren’t mobile.

Myth: The food is always terrible in senior communities.

Fact: This is another popular myth that simply isn’t true, especially for assisted living communities. While nursing home residents may have special dietary needs, such as pureed foods, the staff tries to make them both nutritious and delicious.

Assisted living communities often employ chefs to plan menus and supervise cooking. Residents typically have a choice of several menu options at each meal. Because dining rooms are usually restaurant-style, mealtime is often a social affair that residents look forward to each day.

Senior Living Options at Legacy

If you aren’t quite sure what type of care your senior loved one needs, we’ll be happy to help make that determination. With options ranging from independent and assisted living or personal care to memory care and respite, our team knows and understands how to help older adults find the support they need to live their best life. Call us at (423) 478-8071 today!

How to Talk with Kids about Alzheimer’s Disease

July 15, 2019

Talk with Kids about Alzheimer's Disease

It can be tough to talk with kids about Alzheimer’s disease. If an elder in your family has been diagnosed with the disease, these five tips can help you discuss it with kids.

If a family elder has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, you are probably grappling with a variety of unique challenges. The disease can present different struggles at every stage. One challenge that families often encounter early on is how to discuss the disease with young children and teens.

Alzheimer’s is a complex disease that can be difficult to explain and understand, especially for younger family members. We created this tip sheet to share a few age-appropriate ideas and resources to make it easier to have this discussion with kids.

5 Tips to Help You Talk with Kids about Alzheimer’s Disease

Kids may have an especially difficult time understanding Alzheimer’s because of the unpredictability of the disease. For example, a grandparent may remember the grandchild’s name and who they are on one visit, but not the next.

These tips can help you explain Alzheimer’s disease to the kids in your family:

  1. Explain the medical condition: Begin by explaining that the family elder has developed an illness that makes it tough for them to remember things. Emphasize that the senior will have good days and bad days. On bad days, they may act a little different than usual and not be able to remember the children or teens’ names.
  2. No one is at fault: Be sure you take time to reassure children that they haven’t done anything wrong, especially on days when the senior is struggling most. Explain that the changes are all part of the illness.
  3. Not contagious: As the senior’s disease progresses and the children witness changes, it’s important for them to know that the disease isn’t contagious. They can’t catch it like they would a cold or the flu. Also, reassure them that you won’t catch it from caring for the senior either. That may help keep them from worrying that one of you will develop Alzheimer’s, too.
  4. Create an activities list: Before you sit down to talk with the children in your family about Alzheimer’s disease, take a few minutes to create a list of activities the kids and their family elder can still enjoy together. From crafts to art projects and music, people with Alzheimer’s can stay engaged with life.
  5. Learn from other kids: The Alzheimer’s Association developed several video series you can share with the children in your family to help them better understand the disease. Kids Look at Alzheimer’s and Teens Look at Alzheimer’s are especially meaningful because both are produced by kids for kids.

Legacy Senior Living

Alzheimer’s disease and related forms of dementia can be difficult for families to safely manage at home. Wandering, agitation, and aggression are tough behaviors to cope with for those unfamiliar with disease management.

Families often discover that memory care programs are not only the safest solution for a senior, but one that allows a loved one to live their best quality of life. We invite you to call the Legacy Senior Living community nearest you to learn more about memory care options and to schedule a private tour today!

The Unique Challenges of Caregiving for a Grandparent

July 8, 2019

Caregiving for a Grandparent

When the topic of family caregiving comes up, most of us picture a spouse or adult child as the caregiver, not a grandchild. As our population continues to age, however, an increasing number of grandchildren are taking on this role. In fact, estimates are one-in-twelve grandchildren in the US have assumed the role of caregiver.

In 2015, the National Alliance and AARP conducted research on the topic of caregiving for grandparents. They found that 5.3 million adult grandchildren were caregiving for a grandparent. This represents 10% of the family caregiver population. While most are happy to help provide care for a grandparent, they often encounter different types of challenges than other caregivers.

If you or someone you know is a caregiver for a grandparent, these tips might be useful.

4 Meaningful Tips for Providing Care to a Grandparent

  1. Don’t give up your own life: While caregiving for a grandparent who cared for you is important and rewarding work, don’t put your own life on hold. Stay in touch with friends, and make a point of sticking with college or career plans. Ask for and accept help when you need it.
  2. Develop good stress-management skills: Caregiving is stressful and physically exhausting at any age, but especially for younger adults. Adding to that is the emotional stress that comes from watching a grandparent’s health decline. Grandchildren may also struggle to manage college life or early career demands with caregiving duties. Young adults might not have the life experience to develop healthy coping skills. Exploring stress-reducing activities, like meditating, journaling, swimming, or yoga, might be beneficial. It’s also important to learn to recognize and avoid unhealthy coping methods including overeating, smoking, or consuming too much alcohol.
  3. Learn about respite care: No one can do it alone when it comes to caregiving. If no one else in the family can help with caregiving duties, consider utilizing respite care. This short-term care option gives an older adult a safe place to stay at an assisted living community for a few days or weeks.
  4. Connect with a support group: While non-caregiving friends may be able to sympathize, it’s hard for them to understand a caregiver’s life. The peer to peer support of fellow caregivers is best. Some grandchildren might prefer an in-person support group, and others may want to connect with an online support group. Your local agency on aging might help you find one to attend in your local area. If you’d prefer an online support group, The Family Caregiver Alliance and ALZ Connected are two resources to consider.

Respite Care at Legacy Senior Living

If you are a caregiver for a grandparent and you are feeling weary and overwhelmed, respite care might be the solution. Your senior loved one can stay at a Legacy Senior Living community while you restore your sense of well-being. Call the community nearest you to learn more today!