The phrase, “it takes a village,” is often used in reference to raising children. It implies that rearing a child is so complex a task that accepting support from the people and resources around you is not only necessary, but natural. The same idea can also be applied seamlessly to the task of caring for an aging loved one.
Nancy Clanton, Community Relations Director at Tuscan Gardens of Venetia Bay, a senior living community in Venice, Florida, knows just how important a community is when it comes to caring for seniors. “Providing full-time care for an aging parent or loved one is not easy to do without help,” Nancy says. “Especially if that loved one has a chronic health condition or suffers from a degenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s, the responsibility of ensuring a loved one’s health and well-being can be too much to bear alone. For family caregivers, it helps both caregiver and loved one to take a team approach to their physical and emotional needs.
“Overwhelmed caregivers are at risk of high levels of stress, physical health problems and depression. With these conditions, it becomes even harder to give your loved one the care they need and deserve. But by coordinating a team of friends and family who are committed to sharing the caregiving load, you can enjoy better health and successfully provide your loved one with the best possible care you can give.”
Building Your Caregiving Team
A great caregiving team includes people who have different talents and strengths, yet they all share the same goal: making sure your loved one experiences the best care and quality of life. You may be surprised by who steps up to offer help, or perhaps you will need ask people directly to join your team.
Your caregiving team could include:
- Family – Consider siblings, their spouses and other relatives who live close by.
- Friends – Close friends of either you or your loved one, as well as close neighbors, are often happy to do what they can to help out.
- Your loved one’s doctor – Your loved one’s physician is an invaluable source of guidance concerning how to provide great care.
- Local organizations – Churches, community centers or senior living communities may offer adult day care or programs for families who need help with caring for an aging loved one.
- Support groups – Your team can include those who care for you, too! Plus, fellow caregivers can offer great advice from going through similar situations.
It’s up to you to build your team of care partners. When thinking of who to ask, consider each person’s personalities and time commitments. For example, your sister who already babysits her two young grandchildren may not have the time or energy to give. However, your neighbor who is a retired nurse could be an excellent and reliable caregiver if you need someone to stay with your loved one while you run some errands.
Coordinate & Collaborate
Once you know of people who are willing to help you care for your loved one, you’ll need to uncover the best ways to go about coordinating the tasks involved with your loved one’s care. You’ll have to work together to determine the best ways to coordinate all of your various strengths and resources in order to meet your loved one’s needs. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
- Meet together frequently – According to the AARP article, “Creating Your Caregiving Team,” holding frequent meetings with your family and friends is a good way to ensure communication and coordination. Use these meetings to share updates about your loved one’s health, gain support from your team and schedule tasks. Include your loved one in these meetings so they can contribute to their own care as much as possible and maintain a sense of involvement.
- Keep lists – The number of tasks you have to do each day to care for your loved one can be overwhelming. Writing down everything that needs done can make each chore more tangible, and therefore less daunting – not to mention easier to remember! Then, when someone asks you how they can help, you’ll have suggestions readily available for them to choose from.
- Communicate all the time – Keep everyone in the loop. It’s especially important to communicate changes in your loved one’s health or behavior to prepare them for different needs. Share information about doctor’s visits (as you see fit), changes in medications or altered plans to make sure your team is always on the same page.
- Utilize technology – The Internet is the fastest and easiest way to keep a group of people connected. You can send updates through group emails, create a Facebook page for your team to share information or take advantage of online tools made specifically for caregiving. The Alzheimer’s Association Care Team Calendar, for example, lets you create a personalized calendar for your loved one’s care. Your team can access the calendar to keep in touch or ask questions. You can post tasks that you need help with, and members of your team can sign up to complete them for you.
- Remember your resources – If you need help in a pinch and your team members can’t be there, don’t forget about your community resources. Keep a list of organizations and phone numbers handy in case you need some outside help.
With the help of a dedicated team caring for your loved one, both of you can begin to experience better health, well-being and support. You’ll find the weight of caregiving a little easier to bear when you have a team of loving individuals to help carry the load.
Support & Guidance When You Need a Hand
At Tuscan Gardens® of Venetia Bay, we understand what it means to provide the best care for someone you love. In fact, that’s how our community came to be. Our founders experienced the desire to give their parents the very best care. Finding it lacking, they decided to create Tuscan Gardens. We know exactly how high your standards are, and we’re proud to deliver.
If you could use some help coordinating your care team at home, or would like to know about the services we provide at our community, stop by or give us a call. We’re always at the ready to help family caregivers meet the unique needs of their loved ones.
The Art of Living
At Tuscan Gardens® of Venetia Bay, we’ve mastered the art of living. We’ve perfected the balance of personalized support and an uplifting lifestyle, helping our residents experience independence, joy and meaning every day.
Offering supportive independent living, assisted living and memory care services for families in Venice, Florida, Tuscan Gardens of Venetia Bay was founded with one simple, yet profound goal – to create a community worthy of our parents. In all we do, we are guided by the principles of family, culture and engagement, working to represent the remarkable way of life our families deserve.
Luxury, intimacy, opportunity, passion and beauty combine to create what the Italians call sprezzatura – a culture of effortless elegance. The essence of our community is made up not only of mere aesthetics, but an artfully designed lifestyle to bring out the best of what each day has to offer. From dedicated care that respects residents’ individuality and dignity to a lifestyle that nurtures their love of life, Tuscan Gardens was built to be more than just a residence, but a place to call home.