If there’s one thing we’ve learned from being one of the largest senior living providers in the Nashville area, it’s that people age at different rates.
Yes, even couples.
If you’re a child with senior parents, you may have noticed that your parents are aging differently. Mom may just have trouble walking up and down stairs, while Dad has had serious falls, or needs help getting dressed in the morning and eating his meals.
Seniors age at different rates, and depending on their individual circumstances, Mom or Dad may end up requiring more hands on care than the other down the line. We thought we’d put this informational blog together as a guide to help you determine whether your senior parents have different care needs, and most importantly, what to do about it if they do.
Steps to Take When Your Senior Parents Have Different Care Needs
Are you questioning whether your parents have different senior living care needs? Follow these steps to learn how to tell if they have different care needs and how to determine whether or not they need to be separated.
1. Assess Their Needs
In order to determine what care levels each parent needs, it’s important you assess their needs individually. Over the next couple of visits, try pulling one of your parents aside as a time to ask them about their health. Ask them alone how they’re feeling, what health problems they’re having, and if they could use any more care.
Separating a parent from their spouse can help get more truthful answers to their needs, and perhaps uncover hidden needs the other spouse may be completing for them or covering up to avoid entering a care facility. When one spouse acts as a caregiver for the other, it can over time cause stress and increase the caregiver’s risk of health problems, as the caregiver spouse puts the other spouse’s needs above their own.
2. Decide Whether Or Not They Need Different Care Levels
If after your assessment, you may come to the conclusion that one parent requires much more hands-on care than the other–such as if one parent needs memory care, has greater medical needs, or physically demanding needs the other spouse cannot complete for them. This realization is nothing to be scared of. In fact, realizing that one parent needs more care than the other is a good thing. It’s the first step towards getting them the proper care they need to live longer and happier.
3. Try to Find a Senior Living Solution That Can Accommodate Both
Just because your parents need separate levels of care does not always mean they need to be in two separate places. In most cases, we recommend first trying to find a community that allows your parents to stay together.
For example, if your Mom is able to live independently, but your Dad just needs help going to the bathroom, a transition to an assisted living facility would be the best option for keeping parents together. However, if your Mom is able to live independently and your Dad’s Alzheimer’s is progressing, he’s going to need hands-on memory care, which is its own senior living facility.
4. If You Must Separate Your Parents, Make A Plan
As much as your parents insist they would prefer to continue living together, that’s not always the best option. Whether that option isn’t available, isn’t in the budget, or medical needs dictate that’s not possible, there are solutions to keeping everyone still healthy and happy.
Just because your parents will be apart does not mean their marriage and your family can’t stay intact. In order to keep moods high and loneliness low during this separation for your parents, it’s best to make a plan. Create a schedule for family members and caregivers to be available for transportation to doctor appointments, visit with parents, and transport one parent to another for routine visits.
Also, ensure your parents have marked times in their schedules to spend time with each other regularly throughout the week, even if it’s just for an hour at a time. This will give them the structure they need to organize their day as well as something to look forward to.
Do You Have Two Parents Who Need Different Senior Living Care Needs in the Nashville Area?
Blakeford is a premier provider of senior lifestyle options in the Nashville, TN area. Whether your parents need at-home care or are looking to move into an independent living, assisted living, or nursing home community, we have senior living care options available for all needs.