What Do You Do When Your Parents Need Different Levels of Care

Your parents have spent decades together – building and enjoying a life with each other. They figured out how to overcome challenges, both big and small, making it through a lifetime together. As they age, their need for care may be different, and it can be hard to understand how to help. Despite what may be different signs aging you don’t have to separate your parents, and in most cases you shouldn’t.

Keeping Your Parents Together Matters

Family and relationships are a big part of life and what make them worth living. For parents who have a good marriage and have relied on each other for decades, separating them could be devastating. The trauma of being away from their life partner may drastically impact their quality of life.

There are also significant health benefits to keeping parents together:

  • Less caregiver stress on you and the family. If you parents can still support each other in some ways, they can rely on you less. You also won’t have to split your time traveling to different places to see them or feel guilty for splitting them up.
  • Routine is especially important for seniors with cognitive decline. If a couple is transitioning to a senior living community, perhaps to accommodate different care needs, keeping spouses together offers familiarity and reassurance.
  • They’ll enjoy themselves together. Senior living communities get a bad rap as a place where people go when they are sick, but in reality, they offer many opportunities to enjoy life and to be safe! They can offer new hobbies, activities, field trips, and new friends.
  • Isolation can be deadly, especially when coupled with poor health. Keeping your parents together reduces the risk or loneliness and depression as they age.

Autonomy Matters

Even if one of you parents has cognitive issues, they still have a right to live on their own terms. With differing levels of care, as long as one parent is able to make good decisions, they can facilitate changes and adjustments in lifestyle.

When talking to your parents about moving into a senior living community, a few strategies can help:

  • Highlight to the healthier parent the ways that a move might improve their life.
  • Emphasize that the choice is your parents’. Your job is to help them find a way to maximize their quality of life while still staying safe.
  • Don’t talk over your parents or demean their feelings.
  • Don’t demand that your parents decide right away. This should be an ongoing conversation.
  • Talk about long-term care as an opportunity to live their life to the fullest, not something you intend to force your parents into.

Finding the Right Community and Care

Keeping your parents together is better for everyone. The challenge is finding the right way to do it so that it makes the most sense for both parents. Keeping them at home and utilizing in-home care may work for a while but can become costly. You’ll probably also try to help out as much as possible which could become burdensome.

Another solution is utilizing a senior living community that offers several different levels or care – a continuum of care – all under one roof. Places like Noble Horizons offer Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Memory Care/Skilled Nursing all in one community. Not only does this allow them to stay together, but it also ensures that, even when both parents’ needs change, they can stay together and enjoy a continuity of care in the familiar community they call home.

The right senior living community can help your parents stay together and enjoy their shared life, even when their needs are different. Good communities understand that relationships give life meaning. They prioritize these relationships by giving both partners the care they need, even as those needs change.

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