Assistance for one or both is now needed with each of them needing unique care. Help has been requested and your assistance needs a compassionate, thoughtful and understanding approach. What to do for parents requiring different living needs.
Different but Similar
Parents want to be as independent as possible, but this is not always attainable. The healthier parent typically becomes the primary caretaker. Love, routine and loyalty may contribute to remaining together, but life dictates otherwise.
A spouse often insists on taking care of his or her loved one is their responsibility. Soon the role of spouse is lost to being a caregiver. Changes in mood, demeanor or energy level are normal but caregiving takes a toll on the healthy person.
Assessing the Situation
In a perfect scenario, parents would always remain together. When acknowledging a change is necessary, there are steps to be taken. Social, physical, medical and financial situations should be addressed.
Consider your parent’s safety and what care should be in place. There is no magic formula to determine a decision, only an educated insight of each parent’s needs. One may be fine staying at home and the other may always need care available. You want to make the best decision for them. Continue to remember these decisions are made for them, not you.
Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) are one alternative for couples requiring diverse levels of care. A CCRC consisting of Independent Living, Assisted, Memory Assisted and Skilled Care often exist under one roof. In this type of community, a resident is able to transition to each level of living and still remain in a familiar environment. In many CCRCs, spouses are able to live independently in the same apartment while the other receives assistance.
A decision to move one parent and have the other remain at home is difficult and emotional. If 24-hour care is needed by one spouse the choice to live separately may be the best financial option. Around the clock, Home Health Care is extremely expensive. The caregiving spouse then has the advantage of being able to prioritize their health concerns and resume the role of husband or wife instead of the caregiver.
Make it Possible
Address all logistics and understand the emotions surrounding their new lifestyle. Support is important for a smooth transition.
The role of long-distance caregiver is difficult, especially when the spouse at home does not drive. Enlist the help of friends and church for them or contact the local Department of Aging for information.
You will want to spend time with each of your parents but having them in two different locations may complicate visits. Enlist the help of family and friends and schedule visits on different days. Every parent looks forward to seeing their children, friends, and family and you will be content knowing they are spending time with loved ones.
Encourage parents to take advantage of their new way of life. Months or years of caretaking creates routines no longer needed, resulting in time for them to pursue other interests and have individual activities.
Guilt is a natural emotion when transitioning. Understand the reasons for the move are not anyone’s fault. There is no blame to be placed. This is a complicated situation you and your parents have dealt with in the best possible way. Everyone involved needs to take time for self-care. Life is full of transitions, this one being more difficult than others.
Making life transitions in your Senior years is challenging if you have no idea where to find resources and guidance. Bridge to Better Living helps make a decision to move smoother and is an excellent first step. We are able to guide and assist through the confusing journey of making a decision. All services are at no cost to clients and their loved ones. Bridge to Better Living cares about you and your parents. Placement with Passion is a motto we take seriously.