This blog was published on January 21, 2016 and updated on January 20, 2020.
Caring for an ailing senior can be exhausting work that leaves caregivers burned out. As a senior’s needs change, you may find yourself continually adding support services such as in-home aides, daily check-ins, and home modifications. Although these services can improve your loved one’s quality of life, they’re not always enough. When a senior has a progressive medical condition or serious health needs, assisted living or a nursing home may be the best option.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 5.8 million Americans currently live with Alzheimer’s disease. That number is expected to nearly triple to 14 million by 2050, which means that the majority of us will find ourselves in some type of caregiving role for an aging family member or loved one at least once by then.
If you know or love someone living with dementia, you are not alone. The World Health Organization estimates that more than 50 million people live with this cognitive disease worldwide, with more than 10 million new cases diagnosed each year. Dementia is a world health crisis, but it can feel even more catastrophic when the disease directly impacts your family.
The Alzheimer’s Association reports that nearly 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease and that the number will rise to 14 million by the year 2050. It is no wonder we are in the middle of what is known as an Alzheimer’s crisis. If your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, you’re certainly not alone. However, you might still feel isolated and perhaps undereducated when attempting to make serious decisions that will affect your aging loved one’s care and quality of life.
You’ve heard the saying: “There’s no place like home.” And although Dorothy was talking about Kansas, we can all relate to the comfort we feel when we step through our own front door. For many older adults, staying at home for as long as possible is the ultimate goal. However, when does staying at home shift from comforting to dangerous, and how can family members advocate for their loved one’s wishes while still providing a safe environment?
Caring for a senior loved one can be emotionally taxing and even physically draining. Family Caregiver Alliance reports that family caregivers can suffer from increased risks of depression, anxiety, and stress, as well as an increased risk of heart disease and other serious illnesses. Even family members who live far away but still participate in coordinating care for loved ones who live at home alone report mental and physical symptoms of stress.
Aging can be difficult and full of unpleasant surprises. However, your senior years can also be the best of your life—with the right supportive environment. If living the life you want is becoming more difficult, it may be time to move into a senior living community. The right senior living community offers meaningful community, plenty of activities, exciting community events, and transportation to area attractions. Here are some signs that it may be time to make the move.
A popular myth suggests that depression is a normal part of aging. This is untrue. Depression is a serious illness, much like diabetes or heart disease. It’s not a normal part of aging, and with the right support, seniors can lead engaging, joyful, meaningful lives. Yet depression is common in seniors. An estimated 1-5 percent of the general senior population is affected by depression. In seniors with health conditions, the figure is much higher. As many as 13.5 percent of seniors requiring home health assistance and 11.5 percent of hospitalized seniors are depressed.
Nearly 40 percent of seniors have at least one disability. Mobility issues are the most common disability for elders. This frustrating reality can make it difficult to spend enjoyable time together. Boisterous grandkids may want to run, while many seniors prefer a slower pace. Even for healthy seniors, aging can present significant limitations; they’re more vulnerable to heat-related injuries, and may be anxious about falling. Yet activities for elderly parents can be fun, meaningful, and even adventurous. Check out some of these family-friendly options: