Peace of Mind for the Holidays and Beyond – Providing Care to a Senior Parent
Providing care to a senior parent or loved one is exhausting to say the least and the work never seems to end. Taking care of a family member can also be very draining to your personal health and well-being. Unfortunately, most family members charged with caregiving chores have other duties including careers, school, social commitments, growing children and the list goes on and on. There does not seem to be enough hours in the day. The part time duties of providing the necessary care translate to full time hours. As we head into the holidays, activities increase and time becomes more and more precious.
Even if your time management skills are flawless, the holidays can throw a “monkey wrench” into your situation when other responsibilities need to take priority. Holiday parties, church services, school programs and end of year deadline requirements often arise during these busy winter months. As a caregiver, we often find ourselves choosing between our aging parents’ needs and personal obligations. We are all limited to 24 hours a day so those choices can become very difficult. As hard as it can be all year long, the holidays pose extra pressure. A time of joy and peace can become filled with guilt and stress. The need to provide care, please various family members, work and travel can become very overwhelming.
I knew an elderly woman I’ll call Helen. She and her husband ran a successful business which she finally decided to close after 60 years. For most of those years, the husband-wife working duo were together practically 24 hours a day. Nine years prior to the closing, during Christmas, her husband unexpectedly passed away. The holidays would never be the same. Now, the business that had been her refuge from the loneliness of losing a spouse would cease to exist. Alone and inactive, within two years her health began to quickly decline. She remained fiercely independent and resentful of assisted living, based on experiences of her memories of the “Nursing Home” from many years prior. In addition to the isolation and health concerns, she tried to maintain her giant house completely filled with 60 years of clothes, dishes and mementos. Her busy adult children tried their best to assist. Daily phone check ins, nursing care, errand services, house cleaning, lawn care, alarms and health monitoring devices had to be secured. In addition, transportation had to be arranged for doctor visits, salon, groceries and church. Unfortunately, the inevitable happened, a year later she passed away. A mere 12 years from the loss of her spouse to her passing.
The reason I tell you this story is because it was all so unnecessary. Today’s retirement and assisted living communities are 360 degrees from what Helen remembered. The hardships the adult children faced trying to arrange for her well-being could have all been replaced with skilled care givers located close by. Her loneliness and isolation would have been replaced with people of similar situations, especially during the holidays when being alone was greatly magnified. The guilt the family felt would have been replaced with knowing their Mom was in a safe and secure place with medical assistance just a few feet away. In addition to the much needed socialization, she would have been guaranteed the proper nutritious meals and exercise necessary for living a longer and healthier life.
Today’s Modern Assisted Living Communities
So what about those old stereotypes of the Nursing Home? I was amazed with my recent visit to Wellmore of Tega Cay and wish Helen could have seen this place. Wellmore offers an affordable assisted care lifestyle with amenities that provide a jam packed social life while promoting healthy aging and active living. Heather Rusnak, Vice President said, “We are very proud to be able to welcome new Members to the finest assisted living retirement community in the area. We have several spacious floorplans to choose from, there’s no better time to join us as we head into the holidays.”
She wasn’t just giving a sales pitch. With a full service, on-site Wellness Center and nationally recognized, award-winning wellness programs, Wellmore at Tega Cay is a great alternative choice for people like Helen’s children who not only want their loved ones to live long, live well and live independently, but are having difficulty juggling their personal lives and the care of a loved one at home. Unlike Helen’s kid’s dilemma, the peace of mind that can be found living in a safe, suburban community with 24-hour staff providing a secure environment would have been taken care of.
Can loneliness be just as devastating as obesity, smoking and drugs? The Washington Post recently published a study where people who reported being lonely were 26 percent more likely to have died than those who did not. Mortality risk was 20 percent higher for those who were socially isolated than for those who were not and 32 percent higher for people who lived alone vs. those who did not.
Poets, songwriters and therapist have told us for years the holidays can be the loneliest time of year. Sheryl Brown, Director of Marketing at Wellmore of Tega Cay tells me that, “pre-holiday is the perfect time to consider a move for your family member especially for people living alone that suddenly need less space and the maintenance of their current home. We have Studio models that are perfect. You can move in without lifting a finger and immediately begin enjoying the luxury amenities and exciting social life associated with the season.”
Luxury Resort Style Amenities
In addition to the spacious apartment suites and beautifully decorated clubhouse, I was incredibly surprised with their Dining Experience. An Executive Chef had prepared every delicacy you could imagine. I bet this place will be rocking in December. Sheryl also informed me, “Wellmore offers dining rooms for community members to privately dine with their guest and still select from a specialty menu of great freshly prepared items, not just for the holidays but anytime during the year.” I moved from the dining room to the bar and café where the community members were gathered laughing and spirits were flowing. Needless to say, no one needed the property’s Chauffeur today. Later I toured the Wellness Center, Spa, Salon and the heated indoor salt water pool. This definitely wasn’t Grandma’s Nursing Home!
Addressing the Cost
Another thing I found, unlike other communities, at Wellmore, residents pay one flat fee each month in assisted living and memory care. They don’t use points, levels of care or confusing formulas to calculate their fees. Just like in other assisted living communities, future residents should plan for small annual increases to the monthly fee, but so long as the member remains in Assisted Living or Memory Care, a resident’s monthly rate will never increase due to changes in their healthcare needs. I asked Tara Clark, the Wellmore Director of Community Relations, why this is so important, “put simply, the all-inclusive approach ensures our caregivers are invested in keeping you or your loved one happy and healthy for the rest of their life. We are focused on providing care, not in calculating how many dollars of care a resident is receiving each day. Making a decision to move to an assisted living community has a significant financial impact on a person’s life and we believe people value the ability to plan long-term for their or their loved one’s needs. They simply can’t do that when their monthly fee changes regularly as their care needs increase.”
Anxiety Free / Stress Free
It was also interesting to learn that Wellmore of Tega Cay offers a complete transition service to make that move for a loved one smooth and seamless. No time, no truck- no problem. Their Welcome Home program can handle everything from packing family heirlooms to staging and selling the house. No one has to lift a finger. Wellmore of Tega Cay not only makes the transition stress free, everything is 100% guaranteed maintenance free – no cleaning now or in the future. No need to worry about Mom balancing on a ladder to change a light bulb. Looking at the luxurious accommodations and beautifully designed interiors, I was surprised to learn of another comfort feature, Wellmore is pet friendly! They don’t just allow it; they encourage you to bring your four legged family members. Wellmore of Tega Cay has thought of everything to ease your loved one into an inviting, active, safe and secure new home.
Help For the Busy Holiday Season! Whether the Senior in your life needs assistance for Assisted Living, Memory Care, Skilled Nursing or Rehab, the friendly team at Wellmore of Tega Cay can provide quality care. It’s a hard decision, but the experienced and knowledgeable staff at Wellmore of Tega Cay can advise you on all of your options to make the best decision possible for you, your family and your loved one. Call them today at (803) 835-7000 to set up a tour. Make this holiday comfortable for everyone.