What Do You Do When Only One Parent Needs Care?
Dad’s health is poor and it’s time for him to move to a nursing home. The only problem is, Mom’s still independent and they don’t want to live apart.
It’s not an uncommon situation. When one parent needs care and the other doesn’t, it seems like there’s no good option. Either your parents stay together as caregiving at home grows more difficult, potentially creating frustration and resentment (not to mention safety concerns), or your aging parents have to live apart.
It’s difficult to make senior care decisions for your parents. However, you may have more options than you realize.
CREATE A SAFER HOME WITH ACCESSIBILITY REMODELING
Accessibility remodeling eliminates many of the physical barriers at home. Bathroom remodeling in particular minimizes issues surrounding incontinence and hygiene. For elderly adults with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, kitchen remodeling prevents fire hazards while promoting independence.
It’s also a good idea to take care of any necessary repairs so that senior loved ones can live comfortably and safely. For example, if there are issues in your loved one’s bathroom that need addressing, or you want to install a curbless shower to make it more accessible, work with the professionals at Kevin Szabo Jr Plumbing to ensure the job is handled correctly.
If you’re not able to modify the home properly or if modifications are too expensive, consider downsizing your parents. Research accessible homes in your area to get an idea about what’s available and affordable.
HIRE IN-HOME CAREGIVING HELP
Home modifications may not be enough to relieve the physical and emotional pressure of being an elderly spouse’s sole caregiver. In-home caregivers provide much-needed help with personal care and daily activities. Caregivers may be hired through an agency or a placement website. If hiring an independent caregiver, write an employment contract and be sure to pay them legally.
BECOME A PAID FAMILY CAREGIVER
Alternatively, you may decide to become a family caregiver for your parents. Family caregiving is both a gift and a sacrifice. Caregivers often have to reduce their work hours or quit their jobs altogether. Luckily, financial assistance is available in some states to reduce the financial burden of family caregiving.
CONSIDER A CONTINUING CARE RETIREMENT COMMUNITY
If staying at home simply isn’t an option, look into senior living facilities that keep couples close by. Continuing care retirement communities provide multiple levels of care on a single campus. Senior couples with different care needs might not be able to share the same unit in a CCRC, but a visit is only a short walk away.
The biggest challenge surrounding CCRCs is the price. CCRCs have the highest costs among senior living communities and many charge high entrance fees.
SEARCH FOR A NURSING FACILITY CLOSE TO HOME
Sometimes, living apart is the only way to get an elderly parent the care they need. When one parent moves to a nursing home, the most important thing is that they don’t feel abandoned. Choose a facility in nearby Chicago and check ratings to ensure the facility is trustworthy. Also, schedule visits, phone calls, and video calls on a regular basis to help your loved one adjust.
Don’t forget to monitor for signs of senior isolation in the parent who remains home. Loneliness is a serious threat to older adults’ wellbeing and it’s more important to support your parents now than ever. Encourage your parents to socialize, call and visit often, and drop in for social meals as frequently as possible.
REMEMBER THAT YOU’RE DOING YOUR BEST
Separating elderly parents isn’t an easy decision, but don’t blame yourself. We can’t always control our circumstances and it’s an unfortunate reality that sometimes, the best solution is separate living arrangements. Practice self-care and remind yourself that you’re doing your best in a difficult situation.