5 Tips for Reducing Stress While Caring for Aging Parents

If you find yourself caring for aging parents, it’s important to take care of yourself and implement ways to reduce your stress. It’s hard to avoid stress – even if your parent is in an assisted living facility like Country Home Assisted Living in Parker, CO. The emotions you feel as your parent ages and struggles with declining health can easily take a toll on you. In a continuation of my series on caring for aging parents, let’s look at some key actions you can take to reduce your burden and handle your stress. 1. Practice self-care. As they say when going through safety procedures on airplanes, take care of yourself first and then look after your children or others with you. The same is true here. When you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t last long in your efforts to properly take care of others. Self-care can come in many forms, but it almost always includes getting exercise, proper nutrition and sleep. It’s also important to mention that it’s okay to take some time for yourself on a regular basis. Do at least one thing for yourself on a daily basis, whether it’s going to a fitness class, watching your favorite TV show or reading a novel. When you put yourself first, even for just an hour, you’ll feel much better when you are back at your caregiver duties. 2. Delegate. People are always offering to help, but caregivers often fail to accept these offers. Instead of turning help down, start saying “YES!” Yes, you can pick my sister up at the airport. Yes, you can stop in weekly...

Sharing the Responsibility of Caring for Aging Parents

No matter how close and tight-knit a family is in its earlier years, tension and controversies can arise when taking care of aging parents. If brothers and/or sisters are available and actively involved, the care-giving burden can be shared among all the siblings, which is great. But it also complicates matters because emotions and differences of opinion can come into play as everyone tries to reach an agreement on emotional, medical and financial decisions. In this second part of my series on caring for elderly parents, let’s look at some techniques that siblings can use to help them share the care-giving responsibilities. To make it easier for all family members, be sure to focus first on good communication and then on planning. I recommend holding a family meeting – or at the very least a family phone conference -to clarify the situation, including the medical, emotional and financial factors that may be involved. In this session, family members should be able to talk openly about their concerns and desires. For example, parents should be allowed to tell their children what type of advanced health care they would prefer and whether they want to live at home or somewhere else. Children should be able to explain how they can help, whether it’s their time, financial assistance or even offering their home as a living option. Accept Each Other’s Differences Since dealing with aging parents can create different reactions among the children, a family meeting can be a good opportunity to share feelings and ideas. Be sure to listen to each family member so that you understand where they are coming...

How do You Know if it’s Time to Consider Assisted Living?

Whether we are talking about you, a spouse or a parent, it’s not always crystal clear if it is time to consider a move to an assisted living facility. One of the key considerations is whether you, your spouse or parent needs more personal care than is available at home or in an independent living community. Safety is a huge consideration. For example, have there been any recent falls or balance issues? What about leaving the stovetop on or any other signs of forgetfulness? If you or your loved one has fallen or left the stovetop on more than once, it might be time for assisted living accommodations. Some additional safety considerations include whether you or your loved one is: Still able to drive. Prone to wander. Struggling with eyesight. The answers to these questions should be part of your decision-making process. Other issues/questions to consider include: Dietary issues. Is the elderly person losing weight, or unable to get to the grocery store or cook for themselves? Housekeeping. Does the home look less tidy and more cluttered than usual? Is unopened mail accumulating? Are the dishes getting washed? Hygiene. Are you or your loved one wearing the same clothes day after day or struggling with personal bathing or toileting? Social. This is a consideration that is often overlooked. Are you or your loved one alone more often than not, not calling or seeing friends frequently, or no longer attending church or other regular social activities? Assisted living facilities, such as Country Home Assisted Living in Parker, Colorado, help with all of these issues. At Country Home, you or your...

15 Questions to Ask When Selecting an Assisted Living Facility

Choosing an assisted living facility for you or a loved one can be a difficult process. First, it marks a major change in one’s lifestyle. Second, you want to find a place that is a good fit – one that will provide adequate accommodations for years into the future. When reviewing your options, it is very important to consider personal needs, and to trust your feelings and reactions when visiting possible locations. In my 18 years as the owner of Country Home Assisted Living in Parker, Colorado, I’ve learned firsthand the difference it makes when facilities are properly vetted. So here are 15 questions to get you started. Is the facility licensed? What is the admission criteria? What is the starting price and what does it cover? If applicable to your situation, be sure to also ask if Medicaid is accepted. What are the room sizes and are they private or semi-private? What about bathrooms? How many residents live at the assisted living facility? What is the ratio of residents to staff? What type of care is provide? What type of meals are provided? If applicable, you’ll also want to ask if special diets can be accommodated. How is housekeeping/laundry handled? Are cable TV and Internet service provided? What types of activities, such as outings or art classes, are available? Is transportation available to and from doctors’ offices? Can a personal family physician be involved in providing medical care? Are family members welcome to visit and/or take their loved ones out for a family activity, lunch or doctor appointment? What are the reasons for which a resident can be...

Long-time Parker Area Resident is Comfortable at Country Home

She’s been known as one of the Glitzy, Glitz Girls, an active member of the Parker community, and a major contributor to the area and its farming history. Now, at 97, she spends her days enjoying the atmosphere and country setting offered at Country Home Assisted Living in Elbert County. She is Gunhild Dransfeldt. You might recognize the name. Dransfeldt Road was named after the Dransfeldt family, one of the area’s strong civic-minded families that made a true difference to the Parker community. Although a massive stroke in 2007 took away her ability to speak and she now moves about in a wheelchair, that doesn’t stop this long-time Parker area resident from communicating through eye movements, sounds and mannerisms as she looks ahead to celebrating her 100th birthday, according to her daughter, JoAnn “Josie” Fetters. “I’m so grateful because Mom loves it at Country Home. She can look out and see all the animals,” Josie said. “The other ladies there absolutely adore her.” And yes, “she’s lived a full and wonderful life.” While Josie and Country Home now look after Gunhild, Josie speaks fondly of the woman who gave so much to her, the workers on the family’s farm land and the community. Here’s just a sampling of what Gunhild Dransfeldt accomplished during her many years in the Denver metro area. It all started in 1924, when she first came to America and the Cherry Creek Valley in Colorado from Denmark with her parents, Louis and Jensine Kragelund. She spent her youngest years living in homesteads up and down the Cherry Creek Valley, where she met her husband, Fred...

Home vs. Assisted Living

If you or a loved one is faced with increasing physical ailments or medical care needs, you are probably considering a move from a long-time home to an assisted living facility. While this is a difficult – and sometimes traumatic – decision to make, there are a number of advantages to moving into a qualified facility that is specifically set up to take care of the needs of an aging population. First, the home that has been lived in for many years may be too much to take care of, especially as mobility becomes more difficult. Yard work, housecleaning, cooking and even driving may start to become more of a stress and burden. In an assisted living facility, those tasks and chores become a thing of the past. Perhaps one of the greatest advantages is eating better. When older people prepare food at home, they often do not eat right – often because it is so unappealing to cook for one or two. At elder care communities, like Country Home Assisted Living in Parker, seniors don’t have to worry about grocery shopping or fixing meals that are balanced and good for them. It is done for them. Secondly, let’s look at the social environment created at assisted living facilities. With other people to interact with and a variety of activities to engage in, seniors won’t be faced with the boredom they often face by living home alone. They’ll make new friends and probably learn some new hobbies. Finally, there’s the issue of safety. Country Home Assisted Living and other care facilities focus on helping their residents avoid falls and...