When considering residential assisted living, it’s easy to focus on the additional support an aging loved one will benefit from. But in reality, senior living offers a much more holistic package, often becoming a valuable source of support for seniors and caregivers alike. Ultimately, a residential assisted living facility is a community, and one that can be instrumental in improving the mental and physical health of family caregivers.
Why Might Family Caregivers Need Support?
Though many adult children of aging seniors are happy to take care of their loved one as they age, adopting a caregiving role can be a huge commitment with potentially serious health repercussions. Physically, emotionally, socially and financially, caregiving is typically highly demanding, and it’s common for caregivers to feel they have nowhere to turn.
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), depression, anxiety and stress are common amongst family caregivers, as are feelings of isolation or abandonment. Caregivers may also experience physical health issues like fatigue, sleep disturbances, a weakened immune system and an increased risk of injury. These issues can have secondary effects on personal relationships, work and, ultimately, overall quality of life.
What Support can Residential Assisted Living Provide for Family Caregivers?
Support With Increased Demands of Caregiving
When the demands of caregiving become unmanageable, a residential assisted living community can offer the perfect balance of independence and care for seniors, and much-needed support and respite for family caregivers. As their relative enjoys a comfortable retirement, family caregivers are able to take their own life off pause, rediscovering the hobbies, career and social life they may have left behind.
Vitally, residential assisted living can support caregivers by providing them with peace of mind that their loved one is in a safe environment, with all the care they need at their fingertips. Many caregivers struggle with feelings of guilt and anxiety, and simply being allowed to step back from being their loved one’s primary caregiver can be an important form of support in itself.
If their loved one requires greater assistance with activities of daily living like dressing, bathing or using the bathroom, residential assisted living can also reduce the physical strain faced by family caregivers. For caregivers who are aging or have reduced mobility themselves, caring for a loved one who needs a great deal of physical assistance can be particularly challenging.
And regardless of a caregiver’s physical health, supporting a relative in a home with inaccessible spaces like low bathtubs or narrow staircases puts family caregivers at a heightened risk of physical injury. With on-site, expert staff trained in helping seniors move around safely, residential assisted living can reduce physical strain on family caregivers, while improving safety for seniors. What’s more, with accessibly designed spaces like New Hope’s Senior Living’s elevator, seniors may even gain more independence than they had in their own home.
Social Support and a Sense of Community
Loneliness is common amongst family caregivers, who often find themselves becoming increasingly isolated as their loved one’s needs gradually progress. With only 24 hours in the day, socializing tends to be the first thing sacrificed in an effort to make more time for their aging relative. However, social support is vital for the mental and physical well being of caregivers, with feelings of loneliness being linked to physical health issues like high blood pressure, sleep disturbances and elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
The ways in which residential assisted living can offer social support are twofold. Firstly, senior living facilities themselves are typically vibrant, social communities. When their loved one moves to residential assisted living in Hendersonville, family caregivers will have the opportunity to meet and socialize with other families who understand the demands of caregiving, potentially forming strong new friendships. Secondly, with fewer caregiving responsibilities to attend to, caregivers may feel able to reconnect with old friends and family, too.
Compassion and Emotional Support
Watching a loved one’s health decline with age is incredibly tough for many family caregivers. It’s a time that can be filled with uncertainty, worry and fear, particularly if their loved one has an illness or progressive condition. Professional caregivers and other trained staff in residential assisted living communities in TN understand the emotional impact of the aging process on families. Whether a family caregiver needs advice on their loved one’s care plan or simply a kind, listening ear to vent their worries to, residential assisted living teams are committed to offering vital emotional support.
Managing the Finances of Senior Care
Taking care of the financial aspects of residential assisted living may also be overwhelming for families, particularly if it’s not something they have ever had to deal with before. Thankfully, most residential assisted living communities have experts on-hand to offer valuable support and guidance.
If you have found yourself feeling overwhelmed by your family caregiver role, it might be a good time to discuss residential assisted living with your loved one. Though the decision to move to a senior living community is often a difficult one, it can be an excellent step in preserving the physical and mental health of seniors and family caregivers alike.
To find out more about the support we offer caregivers at our residential assisted living community, give us a call or arrange a visit today.