I recently worked with a family whose parents were still living in the home they’d been in for over 45 years. Like many people, Ben and Margaret* felt strongly that they wanted to stay in their family home forever. They were not open to considering other options. Then, Margaret fell and broke her leg. It was a serious break and she wasn’t going to be able to navigate stairs for several weeks, and possibly even months. In addition, Ben was not able to manage all the household responsibilities without his wife’s help. After considering their situation, they decided to move to a retirement residence while her leg was healing, with the intention of returning to their home as soon as possible.
I often talk to caregivers about the need to recognize that it may not be reasonable for them to provide all of their loved one’s care alone. And I have found that the hardest people to convince that they don’t have to go it alone are often caregiving spouses! Sometimes they feel that needing help caring for their spouse means they have failed. Actually, I think the best thing a spouse can do is ensure their husband or wife has the best care available, and sometimes that means asking for help.
Hi, I’m Dr. Amy D’Aprix. I’m a gerontological social worker with over thirty years of experience working with, and on behalf of, older adults and their families. I’m an author, professional speaker and a life coach, and I’m passionate about helping people find meaning and fulfillment as they age, as well as in their role as a family caregiver.