Watching your parents growing older is never an easy task. But have you ever stopped to think about how your parents themselves feel – especially if left to care for the other?
Seeing the health, capabilities and senses of the man or woman you love deteriorating right before your eyes can cause a huge amount of strain: emotionally, physically and financially. Illnesses like dementia can change a person completely, while a decline in physical health can cause frustration and a complete change of lifestyle.
If your parents are getting on a bit, with one healthy and one suffering from declining health, the healthy parent may well have told you that they are coping just fine. However, stop and think about the changes that need to be made. Watching the person they’ve committed their life to suffer and struggle will be stressful. The additional care and support will take its toll on sleep, health and social lives. The strain of having to put someone else first at all times may not only cause emotional stress, but could also lead to health problems for your other parent.
Can the healthy parent take care of every need?
It may also be that the healthy parent can’t take care of every single need. How easy can it be for an older person to bathe and clothe the other? What about ensuring that have the right medication, and are taking it at the right times? How will they cope with slips, falls or sudden changes in health?
To reduce some of the strain and ensure that the cared-for parent is being looked after to the best possible degree, a nursing home may well be the answer. While it will no doubt be difficult for your parents to choose to live separately, each of their health should be the top priority. A nursing home will provide a safe environment in which to live: an environment where round the clock support and care is available. Where full time care is not yet wanted or needed, it may well be an option to look at respite care for short periods to allow the carer in the relationship time to recharge both physically and mentally, knowing that their partner is well cared for in a safe environment. It may well allow them to spend quality time with other family members without the pressure of caring responsibilities. External care does not necessarily have to be full time, but respite care may well enable the cared for parent to effectively live at home for longer. Caring takes an incredible physical as well as mental toll on the carer.
There are many different types of care out there, with support for those who have age-related illnesses, a disability or are simply too frail to cope at home without 24 hour support. Rather than adapting their home to cope with the physical demands of ageing, your parents will be able to choose a nursing home that is fully equipped for these needs. While living apart will be tough, the knowledge that their partner is in the best possible hands will remove much of the strain, stress and worry caused to your other parent.