It is often a primary desire of couples who have been married for a long time to stay together. We see one spouse caring for the other whose medical condition has declined on a regular basis. Many times, the health (both physical and mental) of the caregiver spouse is beginning to falter because of the caregiving burden, and at some point the family ends up discovering that both parents need care. A compounding challenge is that their care needs may differ, and this scenario can be very taxing on a family.

Is Assisted Living an Option?

Having worked in assisted living, one of the common concerns potential residents had when they would tour our community was if the care needs of the clients are different, would they be able to stay together? The short term answer was yes, we could place them in a double room together and they would each be assigned their individual appropriate level of care. However, if their needs change at different paces (especially in regards to a dementia diagnosis), sometimes long term staying together was not a viable option. Knowing this made a number of potential residents I spoke with fearful of the unknown future, and they would decide they couldn’t move forward knowing that possibility existed. Additional concerns they and their families might have, included a loss of independence and fear of greater decline in the healthier parent at the expense of the sicker parent getting the care level that they need. Lastly, the cost of securing two “beds” (even if they really only need one) in a care home can also be too taxing on the budget.

In light of these challenges, many couples will choose instead to stay at home, so that they can live together in the environment they are used to, and have home care customized to meet their individual needs long term without the need to separate.

Home care can be a better solution for couples

When receiving in home elder care, the clients can stay in the privacy and comfort of their own home, and in a situation where the healthier spouse is the caregiver, it gives them a much needed break while they can stick with their normal routine in their usual environment. If both couples need care, home care agencies are often more flexible to tailor a solution that works best for the individual clients versus the clients having to adjust to a more rigid care model set up in a senior living community. Many agencies will offer adjusted “couple” rates if one client needs basic companion care such as medication reminders and meal preparation, while the other had more intense personal care needs. This solution can stretch funds much longer for the clients and enable them to both receive the care they need without separating.

Live-in care options

Live in care can be an ideal option for those clients who need a significant amount of care in the home, while remaining budget conscious. With agency provided live in care, the hired caregiver’s rate is adjusted to ensure a living wage for them that meets federal wage and hour requirements while adjusting to make sure the client is paying for the care they receive, and not for the hours that the caregiver is not on duty.

Quality licensed agencies go to great lengths to match their clients with a live in care giver that will blend seamlessly into their household. Live in care givers are skilled in respecting clients’ personal space while making themselves available to meet their client’s care needs. They can assist with Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (things like laundry, meal preparation, shopping) in addition to personal care, to take some of the household burden off of the clients. The added comfort of having someone there 24 hours a day with their aging loved ones is a tremendous relief to client’s families.

Our blog Live in Care- Ensuring a Positive Transition can be helpful for those looking into live in care. Contact Allegiance Aging Care Services in Northern Virginia for additional information or to schedule a free in home consultation today!

About the Author: Pam Reynolds, CMC is the President and co-owner of Allegiance Aging Care Services. Pam has spent almost fifteen years working in senior care including long term care facilities and home health care. Her higher education is in Social Work, and she has been credentialed as both a certified Geriatric Care Manager and Licensed Assisted Living Administrator. Read more about Pam and her team of Aging Care Professionals here



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