Caregiving for Couples

Being able to grow old with the person you love is one of life’s greatest gifts. The challenge in the later years is ensuring that both individuals are comfortable, safe, and well-cared for in their own home, so they can continue living together. Inevitably, there will be hurdles and challenges. However, with the right resources and a flexible caregiver set-up, the necessary support can be just a phone call away.  

Bringing in Care at Home for Couples 

We often think of caregiving as care for a single person. Perhaps a father or an aunt; someone who is finding it hard to maintain their house and live in good health on their own. In reality, caregivers can bring value and support to a range of households, including those occupied by two people.   

Some common scenarios for couple’s caregiving include: 

  • Both individuals are relatively healthy but need extra help with driving, grocery shopping, and light housekeeping several times a week
  • The husband or wife needs additional help due to an illness, such as dementia, which their spouse is unable to safely provide 
  • The husband or wife is scheduled for surgery and will need intensive follow-up care for a certain period of time 
  • Both individuals require significant help and attention to stay at home and comfortably age-in-place 

For many individuals, looking after a spouse as they grow old is their responsibility – “in sickness and in health” as the vows go. However, providing around-the-clock care for another person is a lot, especially if the care partner is also in their senior years. While you may be able to ‘make do’ alone, remembering to take medications, driving to appointments, and helping a loved one get around is a lot of responsibility for an elderly spouse. Proactively hiring an in-home caregiver eases that strain and makes it more likely that both parties will be able to remain living safely at home. 

Hiring A Caregiver for Respite Care 

In some scenarios, one partner is healthy enough to provide the necessary care for their spouse. It’s important to recognize, however, that the new role of caregiver can take a toll on the body and mind. Bringing in a private caregiver for even one morning a week can be an excellent way to provide respite care for the spouse or loved one acting as a caregiver.  

Depending on your abilities, the care partner can use this morning to get certain things done. If you’re no longer comfortable driving, this could be the time to go to medical appointments or to get groceries. Your caregiver could help with lifting heavier items or food prep. For people that are more active, this ‘morning off’ can be a nice time to take a personal break. With a qualified professional on hand, you can do some gardening, go for coffee with friends, or just take some time out for yourself. Access to respite care will allow you to recharge and prevent caregiver burnout. 

According to data collected by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP Public Policy Institute in 2015, 40 percent of caregivers feel emotionally stressed, and 20 percent feel physically strained as a direct result of their unpaid care duties for a loved one. Bringing in a caregiver to provide you with respite care services is a great way to take something off your plate, give yourself more “me time”, and trust that your loved one will be cared for by a skilled and trusted professional.  

Tandem Careplanning For Couples 

Many elderly folks have a clear vision for how they would like to live their senior years. If staying at home with their loved one is a priority, then caregiving is an incredibly valuable resource to consider. With the right plan in place, a caregiver can just as easily work with couples as they can with individuals, and the couple retains the added benefit of remaining in their home together. 

On that note, it’s important to plan for this possibility in advance. Discuss potential caregiving options before it becomes urgent. At Tandem, we call this approach ‘careplanning.’ It allows you to thoughtfully interview future caregivers, while building a relationship with our team. If and when you need support, we’ll be ready-to-go. And in the meantime, your family can have peace of mind knowing provisions are in place. 

Whether you have care needs for an individual or a couple, Tandem can help. We can work with you to create a customized care plan that works best for you and your family. Call one of our Senior Care Specialists at 1-800-370-3377 to get started. 

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