Christmas, Hanukkah, Easter, Thanksgiving, even Birthdays…these are all times that are meant to be happy and light. Yet, as a Caregiver they can often be the most stressful. Changes in routines and constant reminders of the “new realities” add to the already overwhelming amount of stress that Caregivers bear daily.
Here are some simple ways to help decrease Caregiver Stress during a holiday or celebration:
1. Focus on New Traditions instead of mourning the loss of old ones. Many rituals or routines that you have done in the past may no longer be possible for one reason of another. Attempting to “carry on as usual” will create burnout and exhaustion. Create a new tradition that fits into your loved one’s limitations, but also allows you to celebrate the occasion.
For example, if you always have hosted Christmas festivities at your home, have another family member do that this year. Maybe you always go to a certain restaurant for birthday dinners…this year call ahead to request them to make your favorite meal to-go and enjoy in the comfort of home.
2. Simplify. Sounds cliché, but its so important. Scale back on the decorations. Instead of cooking all of the Thanksgiving or Hanukkah meal, do a potluck with each person bringing their favorite dish to share. Elect a name exchange for gift giving like a White Elephant or Secret Santa to minimize all the buying, wrapping and coordinating.
3. Share Your REAL Wishlist. When someone asks what you want, tell them the truth. Maybe it’s them coming to the house for an afternoon so you can have respite and time for some self-care. Or a batch of pre-made freezer meals to pop in the oven or crockpot for days you’re too tired to cook. What about home repairs, a massage or even money to put towards a Caregiver to come to the house weekly…ask for what you really NEED this year.
4. Communicate. Be honest about your energy level and bandwidth. Your friends and family want to support you but can’t if you aren’t asking for help. Let go of the guilt or sadness that comes along with changes during this time, and try to focus on the love and joy that comes from knowing you have people around you that are there to support you.
Remember, SUNWAYS is part of your village and sending you love and light. Let us know how we can help support you or your loved one to help ease stress during a holiday and everyday.
The process of finding the right Senior Community, and all the other resources that are needed during that transition can be very overwhelming. We know, because we’ve navigated it ourselves. When Mark’s Grandmother had a stroke, his Mom was the main Caregiver and as a family we had no idea what options and resources were available. We saw firsthand the impact of Caregiver Stress and we knew there had to be a better way. That’s why we created SUNWAYS…it’s the service we wish our family had.
When we started, we were looking for an opportunity to not only make a difference the Senior community, but to also provide a service that would make a positive impact on Caregivers of all ages during an extremely stressful time. We’ve been able to apply our experience in recruiting as “information brokers” to help someone go through a major transition in their life and become a shoulder to lean on for support and guidance.
Generally speaking, SUNWAYS is a "Placement Service", as senior housing communities pay us a referral fee when we refer a client to them and they move in. That said, it’s been important to us from Day 1 that we were much more than that. When we were going through this process as a family, we needed more than just a community and we know we aren’t the only ones.
We pride ourselves on meeting our Seniors and Caregivers “where they’re at” in the journey…and honestly, a community may not be what’s needed at this time or it may just be a small piece of the puzzle. We still can, and want to help. That’s why we also refer clients to in-home care providers and resources like move managers, elder care lawyers, support groups, adult day cares and the countless other things needed during this time. Our highly vetted network of partners are able to serve our clients and the SUNWAYS concierge service helps “project manage” it the whole time.
Because of our business model, we are able to stay 100% FREE for families. It has become our mission to be the link that connects Seniors and their Caregivers to the care and resources they need. Since starting on this journey to create SUNWAYS, we have seen firsthand how important this work is and how impactful it can be. It’s made us extremely passionate about getting our message out and making sure everyone possible knows that our service is here to help because we know the difference it can make.
So if you or a loved one is on this journey and interested in finding out more information about care options and resources, please reach out to us. And if you’re not, we can guarantee you know someone who could use our services! Please share any way you can…forward one of our emails, text the link to this blog post, share one of our social media posts. Let them know that they are supported. It takes a village and we are more than happy to be part of yours!
One of the first things people say to us when they find out Mark and I work together is “I could never do that! How do you make that work?” And honestly, it’s a tough question! I’ll admit, it isn’t all unicorns and rainbows! Patience, respect and a sense of humor all play a BIG role. But the other day I found myself in a conversation with a friend who also works with her husband and we noticed there were some commonalities that help us see success.
Stay In Your Lane.
We all have strengths and weaknesses. One of the hardest, and most rewarding parts of starting your own business is having to take an honest look at what you’re good at, and the things you’re not. Mark and I are lucky to balance each other and pick up the slack in the areas one of us is weak. On the other hand, while I excel in networking, social media, face to face meetings and short term strategy, he excels in operations, finances and taking dreams and giving them achievable steps. We’ve found “our lanes”. More importantly, we stay in them. I don’t try to take over the operations or finances and he doesn’t try to micromanage my social media campaigns. We respect each other’s roles and let each other do what we do best.
Would You Talk to a Co-Worker That Way?
Sometimes its hard to tell where “spouse” ends and “colleague” begins. It’s easy for the argument...errrr I mean discussion…about the Marketing flyer format to turn into who unloaded the dishwasher last. Don’t let it. If you wouldn’t speak to a co-worker at an office that way, you shouldn’t be speaking that way to your spouse. Keeping communication respectful is critical.
Give Yourself Some Space.
Living and working together means a lot of time together…A LOT. Luckily, I really like my husband so most of the time that’s not a problem! That said, we need time to ourselves. We each usually carve out 3-4 times a month that we are going out with friends on our own. Its also common that one of us will work from a coffee shop or remote office space. Its amazing the difference getting some space makes.
Put Aside Time To Dream Together
Its so easy to get caught in the day to day routine of keeping a marriage, family and business afloat. But really, we don’t just want to stay “afloat”; we want to thrive. And that takes a vision, goals and dreams. One thing Mark and I have always been good at is coming together and re-charging by talking about where we are, how far we’ve come and where we’re going. Truth be told, usually this is over a glass of wine, or 2. But taking time to do this creates an “us against the world” momentum that’s unstoppable and so important for long term success.
Have you ever worked with your spouse? Could you?
Understanding “Assisted Living” Options (Independent Living vs. Assisted Living vs. Memory Care vs. Skilled Nursing)
The term “Assisted Living” tends to mean different things to different people. Many times it’s used as an umbrella term to describe any senior housing community no matter what the level of care is. Heck, we even used it that way when we created the name of our Company: Sunways Assisted Living Concierge!
Depending on someone’s experience, they may envision what used to be referred to as a “nursing home” in a hospital type setting when they think of “Assisted Living”. But today’s “Assisted Living” options are so much more than that! Let’s dive a bit deeper into the 4 main types available so you and your loved one can know what’s best.
These are 55+ communities that offer great amenities to foster socialization. They can come in many shapes and sizes, but creating a sense of community, fun and engagement is usually at the forefront Independent Living is perfect for those who are focused more on activities, flexibility and convenience. They’ll usually have dining options on site and the ability to easily add on cleaning and laundry services. However, they usually won’t include any levels of care, so if a resident needs medication management or any assistance with daily tasks, they’ll need to pay for an outside In-Home Care service to do that. Cost and payment structure can vary greatly. Some are set-up as an Equity/Ownership community and others as a rental where you just pay monthly for your rent/amenities.
Assisted Living communities are designed specifically for residents that need various levels of daily personal care. They can range from a larger “resort” environment, to a condo/apartment building feel, or even to smaller residential homes with a handful of residents. There are different kinds of assisted living licenses that dictate what kind of care they can offer and if they require a nurse to be on site. All that said, Assisted Living communities are a good fit for someone who is still active enough that they can engage and gain from social activities, but need daily care. You will usually only pay for the level of care needed and that can range from basic medication management, all the way up to assisting with all activities of daily life like bathing, dressing and toileting. Assisted Living communities are usually a monthly rental with base cost including an apartment, 3 daily meals and weekly housekeeping and laundry services. They will also have transportation services, a variety of activities daily and exercise/PT/OT options on site.
Memory Care communities are very similar to Assisted Living, with the only real difference being that they are in a secured building/unit. They are created specifically for residents with varying levels of dementia who are a risk to wander. Usually cost is all-inclusive (not broken into levels like Assisted Living) set up as a monthly rental and will include an apartment, any/all levels of care, 3 meals a day, housekeeping, laundry services, social activities and transportation.
Skilled Nursing facilities are usually what one would refer to as a “nursing home”. They are created specifically to care for those that need daily medical services. The environment is typically similar to a hospital setting and offers 24/7 care that is typically appropriate for someone with more complex health needs that require assistance from a skilled nurse. Residents will usually pay a daily rate, versus the monthly cost in the previous options above.
Hopefully this breakdown not only helps you better understand the services available, but also the appropriate term to describe it! At Sunways, we specialize in working with you and/or your loved one to identify the perfect community with the appropriate level of care to serve both short and long term goals. Our services are always free to families, so reach out to us with questions!
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Elli is the President of Sunways and loves spending time outside with her family, and is passionate about cooking and holistic health.