As couples move into their later years, a spouse can find him or herself in the position of being the caregiver for the other. This could be as simple as helping with basic tasks, or it could be very physically and emotionally exhausting.
For some, age related physical and mental decline is gradual and they can stay mostly autonomous. Not everyone is so lucky. Illness and injury can strike out of the blue, and it can take a long time for aging bodies to recover. Chronic conditions can start to rob people of their energy, their mobility, and most tragically their minds and their memories.
At some point, sobering questions must be asked, “Does my husband need more care than I can provide for him?”
The first thing spouses should do is take an honest look at their loved one’s situation:
- Are they losing strength? Is their coordination or balance starting to suffer? Have they had any falls or any unusual bruises or cuts? And are these things getting worse?
- Are they beginning to fall further and further behind on housekeeping, laundry, personal grooming and meal preparation?
- Are they beginning to lose track of important things? Losing keys, forgetting to take medication (or taking incorrect doses), leaving the stove or lit cigarettes unattended, or missing appointments?
- Are they becoming disoriented in neighborhoods they know, and are they becoming dangerous behind the wheel?
It’s tempting to brush it off and say, “I can manage, I don’t need in-home care for my husband.” The reality is that caring for another human being is hard work. It can be isolating, and the desire to ‘fix’ things for a loved one can lead to a feeling that they’re “coming up short” or that they’re “letting them down.” It’s easy to underestimate the toll that it can take on the caregiving spouse, particularly if they are slowing down with age as well.
In-home caregiver services can be a dramatic help. Services can be completely customized to meet the changing needs of the individual, allowing both spouses the ability to manage a comfortable, safe and happy home life.
Trained and experienced caregivers can help with things like:
- Planning and cooking meals
- Basic housekeeping, pet care and home maintenance
- Help with bathing, dressing, and toilet use
- Trips to Doctors’ offices or pharmacies, and help organizing medications
- Helping with personal hobbies, social engagements or activities
Most people want to stay in their home. In-home caregiver services give people options to do that. There’s no reason for couples to feel like they have to do everything on their own.
If you find yourself thinking, “Is in-home care for my husband the right move?” Call or contact your local home health care agency to schedule a free consultation on in-home services. Qualified homecare specialists will meet with you, assess your unique situation, and match your needs to the right services.