Your mom and dad have always been inseparable. As they age, you’re finding that your parents have dramatically different care needs. As a supportive family caregiver, what can you do to help make sure both of your senior parents are getting the individual attention they truly need?
For many families, it’s quite common for one aging set of parents to need two vastly different care strategies, for a whole host of reasons. What do we mean by this? Well, take a few common scenarios:
- Your mother is still fairly healthy and independent – but she’s spending all of her time and energy taking care of your father, who needs more assistance with everyday activities of daily living (ADLs)
- One parent is having significant issues with memory loss, while the other parent isn’t showing any symptoms of cognitive decline or dementia
- One parent wants to keep up an active and busy social life, but the other has become more withdrawn and isolated
- Your mom requires consistent frequent physical therapy and rehabilitation visits – while your dad typically needs the family car to get to his cardiology appointments on the other side of town
The reality is that this situation is more common than you might think. Your parents may be growing older together, but that doesn’t always mean that they’re growing in the exact same way.
For one thing, men and women tend to have different medical needs as they age. Rates of longevity are different for men and women, and both groups tend to have different care concerns over time. Reports have shown that men tend to report higher levels of depression and anxiety than older women, for instance. Meanwhile, women go through hormonal changes that men will not. Both groups are also susceptible to different chronic health conditions, at different ages.
Your parents might also go through changes that are more specific to their unique situation. One partner may be more reluctant to discuss their care needs than the other. In other cases, one parent might cover for the other, keeping potential issues that you should know about under wraps. Similarly, one parent may be adamant about remaining at home, while the other insists on looking for more senior-friendly accommodations. One may be more willing to give up driving, while the other refuses to hand over their keys.
Whatever the specific situation may be, when partners have different care needs, it can be difficult to ensure that both parties are getting the attention and support they truly need.
For family caregivers, it’s easy to feel like you’re being pulled in many different directions at once – particularly if there comes a day when your parents end up living separately, due to their different care needs. In some cases, you may feel like you’re neglecting one parent, and putting all of your attention on the other. You may start to feel frustrated, too, if you start to notice that the healthier spouse is spending all of their time and energy acting as a caregiver, and ignoring their own health needs as a result.
As you start to notice your aging parents’ health needs and lifestyles evolving, it’s important to be proactive. One of the most important ways to help your parents may be to look into home care options in your community.
After all, think of the many elements that go into senior care, on a daily basis: Providing transportation, helping with medication reminders, creating a care schedule, handling documents and paperwork, assisting with housekeeping… the list goes on. All of these chores are difficult enough on their own – they can be twice as complex when you’re performing completely different care routines for two different seniors.
An in-home companion, like one of the professionals at Companions for Seniors, can help step in. Our trained and bonded home care experts can help evaluate your parents’ situation, and customize a care plan that helps ensure that all of your elderly loved ones are getting the support and attention they need – while also helping you make the most of your time as a family caregiver.
In most cases, our companions can help you create a care plan and be up and running in a matter of days. We understand that every situation is unique, so we take care to provide a personalized care plan that’s modified to meet each client’s specific needs. As your family’s situation changes, so does our plan of care.
With the flexible, efficient, and dependable support of an in-home companion and personalized care plans for your aging parents, you can help minimize many of the challenges that come with having two elderly parents with different care needs. A companion can help your loved ones keep up with their household “to-do” lists, provide transportation services to doctor’s appointments or social events, assist with ADLs as needed, and give family caregivers some much-needed time for rest and relaxation.
Want to talk about your family’s care needs in more depth? Have any questions about the benefits of home care? Ready to get started? Companions for Seniors can help!
At Companions for Seniors, our mission is to help seniors maintain a higher quality of life by empowering them to lead an active and enriched lifestyle in the comfort and safety of home. Our aim is to help seniors live independently, connect them with their community, and nurture meaningful relationships.
To do this, we take care to make things easier for seniors and family caregivers, at every step of the way. We’d love to keep the conversation going and help point you in the right direction. Get in touch or give us a call today to get started.