For adult children, stepping into a caregiving role can be physically and emotionally taxing. While a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) can provide your parent with the support they need, choosing senior living is difficult for everyone involved. Adult children struggle with feelings of guilt while their senior parents struggle with the idea of moving to a brand new home.
But one way to work through these difficult emotions is to look more closely at an alternative solution to aging in place. CCRCs provide older adults with a spectrum of care as well as a robust lineup of services and amenities. They also help adult children by easing the stress of caregiving.
In this article, we explore all the ways that senior parents and adult children can benefit from a CCRC.
CCRCs Keep Your Parent Active, Healthy & Happy
Accepting that your parents are getting older can be a very emotional process. The people who once took care of you now require care themselves. That’s a harsh reality.
When faced with these changes, adult children often feel guilty about moving their parents to a senior living community.
However, CCRCs help seniors remain active, healthy and happy. Without the burden of housework or cooking, residents are free to fill their days with activities they enjoy.
They can go horseback riding, write poetry or grab dinner with friends.
For many adult children, this is the biggest advantage of CCRCs. Knowing that their parents are making the most of their retirement, rather than watching television at home alone, provides immense peace of mind.
CCRCs Prevent Mental Illness
The stress of caregiving may take a toll on your mental health.
Studies suggest that 20% of family caregivers suffer from depression – twice that of the general population.
Caregiving can also result in lower self-esteem, persistent worry and feelings of uncertainty. These feelings can contribute to more serious issues like substance abuse and suicide.
Watching your parent’s health decline is not easy, even if they are receiving support at a senior living community. However, knowing that trained professionals are providing your mom or dad with high-quality care can make these changes easier to process. Many CCRCs also offer resources and support for the families of residents.
CCRCs Improve the Parent-Child Bond
Unfortunately, caregiving often ignites negative feelings like resentment. After staying up all night with a sick parent or spending hours driving them to appointments, you may feel angry that you no longer get to enjoy your hobbies or relax. This anger may subsequently color how you interact with your parent, whether you’re aware of it or not.
When a parent transitions to a CCRC, trained professionals handle their care. Meaning, you can step out of the caregiver role and back into your role as a son or daughter. Without the stress of providing at-home medical procedures or toileting support, you can once again enjoy your parent’s company as their child.
In fact, CCRCs provide endless opportunities for families to make memories together. You can share a chef-prepared meal with your mom or join your dad for a music recital. At Havenwood Heritage Heights, you can even rent on-campus spaces and hire Tuxedo Penguin Caterers, our in-house team of professional chefs, to host family gatherings.
CCRCs Help Caregivers Nurture Relationships
Serving as a parent’s caregiver can be socially taxing. You may not have the time to visit with friends or even an extra hour to help your daughter with her homework. As a result, your relationships will change. Or, worse yet, they will fade.
The relationship you have with your spouse may shift too. When tensions are heightened and sleep is lost, a simple misunderstanding can devolve into a heated conflict. This stress strains marriages. In fact, 25% of divorced baby boomers say caregiving played a major role in their divorce.
Since CCRCs provide a wide range of services – from transportation to housekeeping – adult children can nurture their social lives.
You can attend your son’s piano recital, go for a hike with work friends or eat a romantic dinner with your spouse without worrying that your mom isn’t receiving the support she needs.
CCRCs Save Money
Many adult children assume caregiving roles because they think a senior living community is too expensive. However, aging in place is more costly than most expect. Besides footing your parent’s medical costs, you will also be expected to cover their groceries, household supplies, clothing and personal care items. You may need to pay for respite care too.
When a parent moves to a CCRC, they can tap their retirement or use the proceeds from the sale of their home to pay for their monthly fee. This fee is surprisingly affordable compared to aging in place and is all-inclusive, meaning it covers expenses like rent, utilities, and dining.
For many families, the convenience of having a single recurring charge is invaluable.
No longer do you have to worry that your mom forgot to pay her electric bill or, worse yet, that her mortgage payment is late. An all-inclusive fee structure means fewer conversations about money and more time spent enjoying one another’s company.
CCRCs Allow Adult Children to Refocus on Their Careers
If your parent needs help eating or using the restroom, you may be forced to leave your career behind.
In fact, about one-third of caregivers quit their full-time jobs to provide 24/7 assistance.
This change will affect your monthly income, of course, but it could also mean reduced social security and pension benefits.
CCRCs provide seniors with a full spectrum of support. If and when a resident’s needs change, they will transition to a more appropriate level of care. That means you won’t need to abandon your career to provide around-the-clock support. Instead, you can focus on your life’s calling, whether that’s teaching third-grade math or leading a nonprofit.
CCRCs Protect Adult Children From Chronic Diseases
Caregivers spend an average of 23.7 hours a week providing care, often while working a full-time job and raising children. This leaves little time for sleeping, exercising, cooking nutritious meals, meditating or just relaxing.
Caregivers abandon other forms of self-care too. Preoccupied with their parent’s appointments, they often fail to schedule routine medical screenings like mammograms and colonoscopies. As a result, caregivers report twice as many chronic conditions (e.g. heart attack, cancer, diabetes) than people who aren’t caregivers.
When a parent moves to a CCRC, their adult children have the time and energy to refocus on self-care routines.
Knowing that your mom is eating well and staying active helps you do the same. In fact, you can even schedule a time to join your parent for a nature walk or a quick yoga class each week.
How to Cope With the Guilt of Moving a Parent to a CCRC
Like many adult children, you may feel guilty about moving your parent to a CCRC. You may wonder, “Isn’t it selfish to focus on myself when my mom needs me?”
But you must remember that you are not abandoning her.
Instead, you are enlisting the help of professionals who have the knowledge and experience required to provide high-quality senior care.
As your mom’s Alzheimer’s progresses, she may develop behavior that threatens her own safety. Wouldn’t you rather she be surrounded by memory care professionals who truly understand how to keep her out of harm’s way?
CCRCs also allow older adults to stay active and socially connected. Your mom can eat lunch with like-minded individuals, attend a group exercise class, visit museums off-campus and pick up new hobbies.
Aging in place is significantly less engaging. Your mom may be home alone for several hours at a time, likely in front of a television. Is this how she wanted to spend her golden years?
Give Your Parents the Best at Havenwood Heritage Heights
At Havenwood Heritage Heights, we understand the challenges of caring for an aging parent. The stress of caregiving can strain your marriage, take a toll on your physical and emotional health and even affect your finances.
But there’s another option. As one of just three accredited CCRCs in New Hampshire, Havenwood Heritage Heights helps seniors make the most of their retirement. We provide residents with high-quality care as well as opportunities to stay active and engaged while fostering meaningful relationships.
If this sounds like a reassuring concept, contact us today. You can also talk to a member of our friendly staff by calling us at 800-457-6833.