Very rarely do we see a couple over the age of 65 age at the same rate. Whether cognitively or physically, one usually has higher needs and the other falls into more of a Caregiver role.
This can be extremely hard on the relationship. For both parties, it can cause anger, resentment, fear, and exhaustion. That said, there are some ways to assist the process to make sure both spouses are getting the support they need to thrive. Here are a few:
1 – Support Group/Services
Both people in the relationship must be seeking support, whether by way of a support group with others navigating a similar journey or by seeing a therapist for one-on-one guidance. Both people in the relationship are dealing with their own unique emotions and changes and having a safe place to vent and work through the challenges makes a huge positive impact on the relationship. Trust us – this is imperative!
2 – In-home Private Duty Caregiver services
Having a private duty caregiver come into the home can provide support for both the spouse needing care, as well as the Caregiver. Private Duty services can help with hands-on care with activities of daily life (ADLs) like dressing, grooming, bathing, eating/food prep, toileting, transferring, etc. They can also help run errands and do light housework like changing bed linens or laundry.
This is a great solution to give the caregiving spouse a break to go out with a friend, or even just run errands without the worry or guilt of leaving their spouse alone. Also, it gives the other person some space to breathe and a new person to socialize with! Typically you private pay by the hour for these services.
3 – Short Term Respite
It’s critical, especially for the caregiving spouse, to have some short-term respite to recharge. Caregiver burnout is a VERY real thing and something we see every day with our clients. Getting a break for even 24 hours makes a huge difference.
Options for respite include having a family member come and stay with your loved one, or lining up a private duty caregiver service to come as little or much as needed. Another idea is a short-term stay at an Assisted Living or Memory Care community. In this case, you would pay an all-inclusive daily rate that would include the private room, 3 meals a day, laundry/housekeeping, activities, and all care needed.
4 – “Independent Style” Assisted Living Community
In situations where one spouse needs significantly more care than the other, a move to an “independent style” of assisted living is a great option. The couple would move into an apartment together (1 or 2 bedrooms). At the entrance, the community will assess for care, so where one persona may be getting significant assistance, the other can stay independent with little to no care added. This allows them to come and go and keep certain routines, knowing their loved one is being cared for and supported.
Our job at Sunways is to work with our clients to understand their unique circumstances and provide solutions that work for them. If you or a loved one is on this journey, reach out to us so we can support you and provide the information needed to make the best decision. Schedule a call with us by going to www.sunwaysseniorliving.com.