The health of couples in a committed relationship is closely intertwined. Each partner’s lifestyle, diet, exercise, stress levels, and compliance with healthcare advice can influence the other’s well-being. Moreover, spouses’ attitudes towards aging can also affect their health in the long run. When one spouse faces Health Challenges, the support and care of their partner can significantly improve their recovery and well-being.
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, married or partnered patients tend to have better surgical outcomes and experience fewer complications. Spouses offer both practical and emotional support while their loved one is recuperating from an injury or health crisis, managing chronic conditions like dementia, heart disease, osteoporosis, stroke, or arthritis. Studies have shown that having an understanding spouse can lower the patient’s level of physical pain and lead to higher marital satisfaction over time.
However, caregiving can take a toll on the spouse providing care. It can affect their physical and mental health, finances, career, and overall quality of life. As time goes on, both partners may face health challenges that make it harder to care for each other, leading to isolation and depression.
Asking for Assistance
When a couple requires care, it is likely that they will eventually need outside assistance. Initially, the couple may resist seeking help, as they may not want to change their established relationship dynamic or fear losing their privacy. When adult children or others offer to assist, the couple may feel that their loved ones are intruding or attempting to control them.
Additionally, adult children who have grown accustomed to their parents taking care of each other can quickly become overwhelmed by the additional responsibilities. With smaller families becoming more common, they may also be caring for their own elderly parents, leading to caregiver burnout and potential strain on their own relationships and careers.
Seek professional help
It is recommended to seek help from professionals in different fields when dealing with the care of elderly couples. Financial advisers can assist with managing assets to pay for care, while elder law attorneys can help with estate planning and guardianships. Marriage counselors can help couples navigate the challenges of this new stage of their relationship. Aging life care professionals, also known as geriatric care managers, can help locate and arrange support services to assist with the care of elderly couples.
Choosing the Right Living Environment
For some couples, moving to a supportive living facility may be the best option. However, it can create complications when one spouse requires a higher level of care than the other. Living in the same senior living community may not be possible.
Most couples prefer to age in place, receiving care in their own home. Home modifications can be made to improve accessibility, and in-home care services can help preserve the couple’s sense of independence and dignity. These services include personal care, transportation, housekeeping, meal preparation, respite care, and memory care.
In-home care services normalize the couple’s time together and keep them active and engaged. They also ensure that the home is hazard-free and that each spouse’s nutritional requirements and special diets are met.