All posts by Marketing Team

Pets are Welcome in Assisted Living

Yes, pets ARE welcome!

Did you know many assisted living communities gladly accept pets?  A move can be good for both of you! Life in an assisted living community means more social interaction and more activity, all of which is good for your pet. (And for you!)  Research shows many health benefits of pet ownership. Heart rates and stress levels drop when pets enter our lives. In the long term, people with pets can see lowered cholesterol and better ability to fight depression.

We all need a sense of purpose, and caring for a pet provides purpose. Their unconditional acceptance of who we are, with all of our imperfections, soothes anxieties, promotes self-confidence and helps us strive to be the person our pet thinks we are.

You’ll find many assisted living communities have a pet who “works” as a greeter, visitor and all-around happiness-maker. When you tour, ask to meet the resident pet. A welcome to the community ear scratch will make both of you feel good!

If concern for your pet is stopping your move, it’s time to do your research. Find a few assisted living communities that accept pets, then go visit!  Ask about logistics like fees, security deposits and whether pet care can be provided by the facility. For example, if you were sick, would the staff walk the dog? Find out about vaccination and spay/neuter requirements. Are exercise areas convenient?  Does a mobile vet or groomer stop by the community?

There is one caveat, though: senior living communities may have limitations on the size and number of pets they allow. Make sure you are honest with the community about your pet and your expectations.

Our lives are enriched by the love, companionship and responsibility of caring for a pet. Don’t assume you have to give that up! Explore your options and see if you can’t enrich both of your lives.

To find the assisted living community fit for you, contact INALA or search our interactive map to locate a facility in your area!

INALA Conversations: Transitioning to Assisted Living

Starting a conversation about health, finances and living situations with a loved one can be difficult- but it doesn’t have to be. The INALA Conversations series is a resource to help prepare you for those discussions. Let us help guide you through these important conversations with some helpful tips and insight. Positive communication is key!

Transitioning to Assisted Living… it may not be easy, but it’s worth it!

Remember the first day of school? First day on the job? Sometimes, major life changes like those mentioned can be confusing, overwhelming and difficult. Sometimes, change can make us feel down right awful… but, it doesn’t have to. The same goes for making the adjustment to assisted living.

Is your mom/dad/loved one getting ready or in the middle of moving to an assisted living community?

Here are some tips and tricks to help them better adjust:

1. Make sure you know what transition support the community provides and encourage your loved one to take advantage of those opportunities.

2. Remind them of their independence. Can they do something really well on their own still? Remind them of that.

3. Talk to them about all of the actives and clubs available right on the property.

4. Remind them that they aren’t alone. You are only a phone call away, AND every other resident who lives in your loved one’s community has gone through the same transition.

5. Pull together materials to familiarize them with the community. Activities calendar, menu, a list of staff.

6. Encourage them to interact and get to know the staff– they are there to help!

As for you, the caregiver… the top three ways to help transition are:

1. Make sure you

2. Be understanding.

3. Listen.

Life’s next chapter is beginning and with your love and support, it can be amazing! Visit INALA today for more information and additional resources!

INALA Conversations: Talking About Respite Care

Starting a conversation about health, finances and living situations with a loved one can be difficult- but it doesn’t have to be. The INALA Conversations series is a resource to help prepare you for those discussions. Let us help guide you through these important conversations with some helpful tips and insight. Positive communication is key!

Are you part of the generation that cares for both your adult parents and children, all while working a full time job? Are you the spouse of someone who needs constant care? Do you feel flattened financially, physically or emotionally? Is your stress level off the charts because there isn’t enough time in the day? Do you feel like you cannot do it all?

It’s time to talk about respite care. Respite care means finding a substitute caregiver for a period of time so you can avoid caregiver burnout. Many caregivers cannot recognize when they are suffering burnout and eventually get to the point where they cannot function effectively. They may even become sick themselves.

If you love a caregiver, here are some conversation starters:

-We love you and we don’t want you to feel like caring for mom is your exclusive responsibility.

-Would your loved one expect as much from you as you are expecting from yourself?

-It must be frustrating when things happen to upset the plans you’ve made.

Support is there for you, let me help you find it.

Assisted living communities can help. Take the step to call a local provider and ask whether they offer respite care services or contact INALA today! Check out a few resources below to get you started:

Recognizing burnout (WebMD)

Family Caregiver Alliance

Your local Area Agency on Aging

-Chapters of national organizations dedicated to assisting people with illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, cancer or stroke can also help.

INALA Conversations: Avoiding Caregiver Burnout

Starting a conversation about health, finances and living situations with a loved one can be difficult- but it doesn’t have to be. The INALA Conversations series is a resource to help prepare you for those discussions. Let us help guide you through these important conversations with some helpful tips and insight. Positive communication is key!

From mowing the lawn to handling finances to attending doctors appointments, caregiver burn out is a REAL thing… and is even more likely to happen if you are also juggling a career of your own.

Earlier this week, we talked about caregiver burnout in terms of your parents – when mom cares for dad or vice versa. But what about when you are the caregiver? How can you avoid burnout?

  1. Self-care comes first. How can you care for someone else if you aren’t mentally and physically healthy?
  2. Life outside of caregiving is necessary. This goes hand-in-hand with self-care. Be sure to maintain your life outside of caring for your aging family members.
  3. If you are feeling distraught, talk to someone. Did you know there are caregiver support groups? Not interested in attending an actual meeting? Search online! There are message forums and blogs dealing with caregivers, too.
  4. Think about ways to make caregiving easier on you. From equipment to home modifications, sometimes spending a little money is a necessary evil. Is it hard to hold mom up in the shower while she bathes? Invest in a shower chair – it will help you AND as a bonus, give mom a little more independence. Is it hard for dad’s wheel chair to fit through the doorways? Think about installing a pocket door, sliding rustic door or enlarging the door frame.
  5. When you feel like you are starting to get stressed, take a step back. Hire help a couple days a week.
  6. TALK to your parents (or the person you are caring for). Explain to them that you need help and that maybe, other options should be examined. Honesty is key.

If you are feeling burned out, you are not alone! View these resources below:

Caregiver Stress Check

Caregiver Resources

 

INALA Conversations: Talking to Aging Parents About Caregiver Burnout

Starting a conversation about health, finances and living situations with a loved one can be difficult- but it doesn’t have to be. The INALA Conversations series is a resource to help prepare you for those discussions. Let us help guide you through these important conversations with some helpful tips and insight. Positive communication is key!

We see it regularly—mom takes care of dad, dad takes care of mom, and neither are in top health. As people age, the chances of caregiver burnout increases because bodies and minds naturally weaken with age. No one wants to be told he can’t or shouldn’t care for his spouse. But, caregiver burnout is real.

1.  Be clear that asking for help isn’t a weakness, but a strength. “Asking for help doesn’t mean you are failing. Everyone needs help sometimes—after all, aren’t you helping someone? Let me help you!”

2. Talk to them about transportation options and discuss their driving situation. Did you know there are companies out there that offer transportation for seniors? Additionally, many hospitals and doctors’ offices have programs in place.

3. Remind them that everyone needs a day off sometimes. Our parents experienced the Great Depression, so many are hesitant to spend extra money on a senior helper when they feel like they can adequately do the job themselves. “Even the Pope and the President are allowed to vacation! One day a week will give you a chance to run some errands for yourself.”

4. Praise them! They do so much to help their spouse. Remind them that they are doing a fantastic job.

5. Do they understand their burnout can be detrimental to more than just their health? If mom is trying to lift dad from the transport chair to the car and she hurts herself, then someone has to come take care of both of them.

6. Talk to them about mental health. “If you aren’t happy, then dad isn’t happy.”

7. Finally, talk to them about the next step. When is the right time to move to independent or assisted living? Learn more about that here.

INALA can be your guide! Contact us today or visit our resource center for more information!

Who Cares For the Caregiver?

As a caregiver, you are faced with the daily challenge of providing your loved one with additional help.

The Struggle

Sons are not supposed to find their father trying to shave with a hairbrush. But they do.

Daughters are not supposed to find their mother hiding used adult diapers in her purse. But they do.

A wife caring full-time for her husband is not supposed to think maybe he would be better off dead. But she does. All too often – so does he.

The Daily Care

Oxygen masks, oxygen tanks, oxygen tubes, suction aspirators, nebulizers, blood pressure kits, catheters, ostomy bags, glucose meters, insulin pumps, lancing devices, blister packs. Day after day.

Changing, cleaning, wiping, dressing, undressing, transferring, lotions, meds, cooking, shopping, doctors. Week after week.

A woman caring full-time for her husband told me, “When the love begins to turn to resentment I will know it is time to put him in a nursing home.”

Feeling Burned Out

Resentment. Burnout. Hitting the wall. Are you there?

You may be feeling… physical exhaustion? Emotional exhaustion? Withdrawal? Stress? Resentment? Depression? Irritability? Can’t sleep? Can’t get out of bed in the morning? Can’t eat? Don’t care what you eat? Can’t concentrate? Your own immune system letting you down? Reclusive? Put your own needs last on your list? Lose interest in things that used to interest you? Ready to give up? Suicidal?

These are all warning signs.

You may be the “designated” caregiver but that has never meant that if you don’t do it, it won’t get done right. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to let go of even just one hour a day. That’s an hour a day all for you to take care of you. Use it. Do something good. Take time for yourself.  Be a caregiver. To you.

Putting Yourself First

Get out of the house before it becomes a prison. Be intentional about getting active! Walk. Exercise. Do yoga. Mediate. Call your friends and talk about anything except caregiving. Prepare a healthy meal just for you. Better yet, go to your favorite restaurant and let them prepare a meal just for you.

Look in the mirror and promise the person looking back, “I love you and I’m going to take care of you.”

If you can keep that promise, you will be able to look into the eyes of the person you’re caring for and say, without resentment, “I love you and I’m going to take care of you.”

You’re Not Alone

Caregiver burnout is common but you are not alone! If you’re facing any of the warning signs above, visit the list of resources below for advice on taking care of yourself while you take care of others.

Caregiver Stress: Tips for Taking Care of Yourself

Coping as a Caregiver

Caregiver Support & Help

Caregivers: Life Changes & Coping Strategies

Provided by guest author William McDonald