Most caregivers are so devoted to caring for their loved one that they don't have much time to care for themselves.
It's a natural impulse that's as noble as it is self-defeating. A study by the Federal Department of Health and Human Services found that more than 30 percent of those caring for seniors aged 65 and older described their own health as "fair to poor." Other researchers have found that caregivers use prescription drugs for depression, anxiety and insomnia two to three times as often as the rest of the population.
Being a successful caregiver is not that much different from being an athlete: you should allow yourself time to recover from your efforts. You need to periodically give yourself a good night's sleep, a relaxed meal and a change of scenery. In turn, you'll feel better, you'll have more energy and you'll make better decisions.
These breaks could be as simple as having a friend or relative take over your responsibilities for a few hours while you see a movie or go out to dinner. But longer breaks are also needed to provide the kind of thorough renewal caregivers need to restore their physical and mental equilibrium. For breaks of several days to several weeks, you may be able to arrange for your loved one to stay at a nearby assisted living community.
The Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) defines an assisted living residence as a special combination of housing, personalized supportive services and healthcare designed to meet the needs—both scheduled and unscheduled—of those seniors who need help with activities of daily living (ADL), such as bathing, dressing, eating and monitoring medications.
Assisted living is generally for those seniors who can no longer manage on their own but who do not need the intensive, 24-hour complex medical services of traditional long-term care. The average assisted living resident is 83-years-old and requires assistance with two ADLs.
In general, assisted living provides a balance of residential living, health and recreational services and assistance in day-to-day living activities. In reality, it offers residents many of the same benefits as independent living, while providing basic help in areas that may have become personally challenging.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I talk to my parents about assisted living?
Decisions and discussions about senior care and living options can often be difficult. At Grand Oaks, we’ve helped many families make the transition smoothly—with multiple visits, tours of our spacious apartments, comfortable and elegant furnishings and introductions to current residents.
How is Grand Oaks different from other assisted living facilities in the Washington, DC area?
Grand Oaks is unique for many reasons: Situated on the campus of Sibley Memorial Hospital, Grand Oaks residents and their families have the Sibley assurance of quality care. We offer customized personal assistance and nursing staff on duty 24-hours. Residents at Grand Oaks enjoy an active, varied lifestyle, including trips to the Kennedy Center, stimulating lectures with lively discussion and art and exercise classes.
My Dad insists he won’t leave home, but he’s forgetting things and doesn’t always eat right. I think he’s lonely since my mother died. What would his life be like if he lived at Grand Oaks?
Daily life at Grand Oaks is active and varied. Residents enjoy cultural, intellectual and social activities throughout the day. There are art and daily exercise classes, a chapel, beauty salon and warm water pool. Freedom from everyday tasks enables people like your Dad to enjoy life fully. Grand Oaks’ has its own Executive Chef and meals are both delicious and balanced. Your Dad can come and go as he pleases to visit friends, dine, shop and attend cultural events. Customized personal assistance is available on a regular or "as needed" basis and nurses are on duty 24-hours-a-day, so you are assured he will have all the care he requires.
My parents’ situation is unusual: my mom is active and engaged, my father has early stage Alzheimer’s. They want to stay together, but need assistance. Can you help?
Grand Oaks may be the answer for your parents. In addition to assisted living, Grand Oaks offers private suites as part of its Reminiscence Neighborhood program. The Reminiscence Neighborhood is a renowned pioneering approach that creates pleasant days and positive experiences for people with memory disorders. It includes structured daily routines of support and encouragement designed to meet the unique needs of individuals with early, middle and late stage memory loss. Specialized care includes compassionate assistance, a life skills program, all meals, medication services and 24-hour nursing supervision. Grand Oaks can offer your Mom the active and stimulating lifestyle she needs and you might want to consider The Reminiscence Neighborhood at Grand Oaks for your Dad—either now or in the future.
Call (202) 349-3400 or email GrandOaks.DCR@sunriseseniorliving.com today to schedule a tour of Grand Oaks. We are located at the corner of MacArthur Boulevard and Loughboro Road in Northwest Washington, DC.