I think back fondly on all the things my mom taught me—how to sew, bake, recognize the qualities in a good, stable life partner, how to respectfully treat the elderly and so much more.
Some lessons were evident, and some were more subtle, like the way I fold my shirts. It’s just the same way she did it. She never expressly told me, “this is how it’s done.” But, for some reason, I know in my heart that it’s the right way (no matter what Marie Kondo says).
We all have such incredible memories with our loved ones in assisted living residential care. The lives they’ve lived are full of beautiful memories and so many more in the making. It’s no secret that everyone wants their loved ones to live a long, happy life. Right?
So, even though as a caregiver you now have help through assisted living, it’s always comforting to know you’re not alone in your caregiver journey. The benefits of family caregivers are far truly reaching.
On the one hand, you might feel an incredible feeling of relief. You are no longer solely responsible for the “day in and day out” of the care of your loved one. But you still want to be heavily involved in their lives. But what does that look like, though? And if they don’t remember you tomorrow, some part of your deepest, darkest thoughts may wonder, “why put in the effort?” But not to worry, there is no judgement here and no need to feel ashamed for feeling this way. It’s very, very common for family caretakers.
But did you know there are several key benefits to staying attentive and actively involved in your loved one’s life? Roles and impacts of family caregiving are sometimes tenfold the benefit, and it is different for everyone.
So, what does your new role look like? Let’s take a quick look at a few ways you can stay actively involved in your loved one’s assisted living care and the benefits of each.
Prioritize Their Health
Did you know that each and every one of your visits contributes to your loved one living a longer, happier life? Those who have involved family members tend to live longer, and it doesn’t matter the stage of Alzheimer’s or dementia. Studies show that those with family support systems indeed live longer and are happier than their counterparts. So, it’s not incredibly surprising that those with involved families also have healthier immune systems. It is said that more social interaction with the people they love contributes to increased brain function (and it can even slow the progression of the disease). Wow!
Depression is genuine for those suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia in assisted living facilities, but the effects can be combatted. Those who feel loved and cared for by family are less likely to suffer from depression, as your visits (even if they don’t remember them) brighten their day, in the moment.
Remember that Even Small Things Matter
Some of the most common problems and burdens are far more practical than you might imagine for those in assisted living residential care homes. Talk to their professional caregiver to find out what parts of your loved one’s regular routine family members can help with. The benefits of family caregivers remaining involved in their loved one’s life is so important to their wellbeing.
Even though bathing and dressing are something you are no longer responsible for, it’s still important for you to know that you are welcomed to help in other areas of need, no matter how small or simple the request. Sometimes the smallest things mean the most!
Emotional Support Leads to More Fulfilling Lives
The untold benefits of family caregivers also extend to emotional support. Imagine being given the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia. That is a hard (and scary) pill to swallow. Your loved one may feel like they are losing control, which can be terrifying. Family being there to help talk about it is incredibly helpful. Encouraging words and loving gestures go a long way, no matter what situation they’re facing.
Family caretakers’ involvement truly is in an essential part of a loved one’s quality of life even when they are in an assisted living care home. Through practical and emotional participation, you can actively and lovingly contribute to your loved one’s happiness and overall well-being. Because nothing matters more than family!
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- Facing the Truth: What to Do When Your Parent Can No Longer Live at Home - October 7, 2020