Seasons Ontario Magazine

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prepared and ready to take the following steps as they come with an informed and willing loved one. Hopefully, both parties will be on the same page regarding what the future holds, adding to the overall peace of mind and a sense of shared understanding. That said, many wonder how to bring up the topic. How do I have “the talk” about alternative living arrangements with an aging parent or loved one? Amanda suggests starting the conversation with something small such as asking them their feelings about living at home on their own: > When home alone, do they feel safe and secure or worried and anxious? > How are they managing home maintenance? Is help needed to cut grass or shovel? > Do they have enough groceries for the week? It could be that you’re beginning to notice subtle changes in their routine, like wanting to drive less or calling more frequently. These could be conversation starters, too. Signs like these could indicate that bigger ones are on their way, making this a good time and opportunity to sit down and have a genuine discussion. “Some people don’t realize the extent of these changes until someone, who they know cares about their wellbeing, brings it up in conversation. They get used to functioning as they are,” adds Sonia Stubbings, Leasing Manager at Seasons Clarington. “A lot of the time, this isn’t a decision that happens overnight, unless it’s a ‘crisis' type of scenario, which will accelerate that timeline. One of the most common objections I hear is that many say they aren’t ready—but what does ‘ready’ really look like? Each journey is different, and we want to help guide you on your way.” The truth is, several long-standing myths that exist around senior living options continue to influence people’s most common concerns and objections, yet they simply aren’t accurate. For example, the idea is that residents lose all of their independence once in a retirement home. Many people move to a retirement community without needing the full complement of supportive

In this situation, Sonia adds, “We understand that many people want to act as a caregiver for their aging parents or older loved ones, but they often work full-time jobs with busy schedules and families of their own. Burnout is very real, and we know something has to give eventually, either for the safety of the person receiving the care or for the caregiver’s wellbeing. There should be no shame or guilt in seeking out and accepting help. It’s what we’re here for.” If you believe you may be suffering from caregiver burnout, speak with a trusted medical professional for personalized advice.

services that are offered. Highly independent people decide to move for a variety of reasons. It could be that they are tired of keeping up with household chores, want access to a social calendar, or simply desire the peace of mind that comes from knowing someone is always there if they need them. Other people move to a retirement setting because they desire the care and support we can provide. Often, independence can increase after a move. When someone has help with nutritious meals, access to social programs, regular fitness classes, and a health and wellness team to oversee their wellbeing, they can lead happier and healthier lives. “After the first conversation, we suggest exploring your options. Ask your parents or loved ones if they have any friends living in a retirement residence. If so, visit them, take note of the feeling you get when you walk in, interact with those who live and work there, have them show you around or schedule a tour. This will give you a better understanding of what life is like in the home. You might be surprised to find out that they aren’t like nursing homes or long-term care facilities as many imagine,” continues Sonia. As options become informed decisions and residents move in, the transition comes with freedom from worry and a sense of relief, often a healthier and happier parent and more time to spend simply enjoying each other's company. “We understand the weight of this decision and want to make the process as comfortable and pleasant as we can for new residents and their families,” says Amanda. Know the signs: Are you experiencing caregiver burnout? Caregiver burnout is a heightened state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion that may be accompanied by a change in attitude toward required or expected care tasks. Burnout occurs when primary caregivers don’t get the help they need or try to do more than they can handle, resulting in feelings of increased fatigue, anxiety, and depression. Some may also experience guilt when they spend time on themselves rather than spending all of their time taking care of a loved one.

Symptoms: > Withdrawal from friends and family

> Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities > Feeling blue, irritable, hopeless, and helpless > Changes in appetite, weight, or both > Changes in sleep patterns > Getting sick more often > Feelings of wanting to hurt yourself or the person for whom you are caring > Emotional and physical exhaustion > Excessive use of alcohol or sleep medications > Irritability www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/caregiver- recognizing-burnout

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