April 22, 2022
Benefits of Assisted Living for Loved Ones and Their Caregivers
It’s natural (and commendable) to want to be there for a loved one when they need help. Which explains why there are an estimated 42 million unpaid caregivers in the United States, according to the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. While caregiving may initially seem the most convenient, and logical way to help, not to mention the way in which your loved one might be most receptive to help, it can take its toll, emotionally, physically, and financially. Here are some of the realities of caregiving that you may not realize and how assisted living can benefit not only your loved one, but you as well.
The Realities of Caregiving
There’s no doubt that your heart is in the right place when choosing to be a caregiver for your loved one, and in many ways, it’s beneficial to both of you to be involved in their care. But often, the role becomes more all-encompassing than anticipated. In fact, the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) and AARP recently released a report, Caregiving in the U.S. 2020, which describes these impacts:
- Caregivers provide about 24 hours of care each week
- 40 percent live with the person for whom they provide care
- Caregivers provide care for 4.5 years on average
- 23 percent say caregiving has made their health worse
- 45 percent have had a least one financial impact
- 61 percent have experienced at least one work-related impact
- 10 percent have had to give up work entirely
- Only 45 percent have their own future care plans in place
There is also the emotional impact of caregiving. Many caregivers are raising children at the same time, and in addition to the stress of trying to balance it all, relationships can suffer with children and your spouse as you have less time for them. What’s more, caregiving can be isolating, not just in the fact that you’re less likely to have time to spend with friends, other family members, and to pursue your own interests, you may feel like you alone are carrying the weight of all the worry and responsibility on your shoulders. This can lead to anxiety and depression and may also impact your relationship the loved one in which you’re providing care as they may begin to feel guilty, and you resentful.
Benefits of Assisted Living
Many caregivers also take on the role, in part, because they, their loved one, or both of you, want to avoid a move to assisted living. We get it! This is a major transition and one you may feel guilty about for reasons that include:
- A previous promise you wouldn’t make them move
- Feeling like you’ve failed them as a caregiver
- Taking them out of their comfort zone when they’re struggling the most
- Feeling it’s unfair to live a normal life when they can’t
While certainly understandable, it’s important that you don’t let guilt cloud your judgement about what’s truly in your loved one’s best interest, as well as your own. Keep in mind that if you’re struggling with any of the above impacts, you may not be as much help to your loved one as you would like. However, whether they are at home or in assisted living, you’re still caring for them, just in a different way. What’s more, families are often surprised at how quickly their loved one begins to thrive in assisted living, especially with benefits such as:
- Maintenance-free living – In assisted living, we take care of home maintenance, housekeeping, laundry, and cooking for your loved one.
- Convenience – Everything your loved one needs is right outside their door with a fitness center and beauty salon onsite and even concierge services. Plus, transportation is also available for those times your loved one needs or wants to head offsite.
- A focus on healthy aging – Our signature Whole Life Living program is a personalized, holistic approach to wellness and fitness, which takes our belief that a healthier life is a happier life, and puts it into action through four facets:
- Eat better -Healthy, fresh, and made-from scratch meals including gluten-free, vegetarian,and diabetic options.
- Feel better -Complimentary on-site certified personal trainer and fitness center.
- Think better -Stay Sharp lifelong learning programs.
- Live better -Regular opportunities to pursue purpose.
- Social connection – In assisted living, friends, neighbors, and team members are always nearby. Part of what makes our Whole Life Living program so impactful is that it’s grounded in asocially connected environment down to the design at each community. It’s a way of life that includes regular social events, classes, clubs, seminars, and intergenerational activities along with opportunities for creative expression, group outings, volunteering, and more!
- Peace of mind – All of our communities have 24-hour staffing. However, for residents in assisted living support is always at hand for help with personal care and medication management from a caring team of experienced nurses and caregivers. Plus, our communities are designed with features such as emergency alert pendants and secure entries with keycard access. It’s wonderful peace of mind for your loved one, but also allows you to be in the moment and enjoy life with them again as their son, daughter, husband, wife, sister, and/or brother instead of their caregiver.
For more information, contact a GenCare Lifestyle community near you, or schedule a tour today!