This is a guest blog from Leanne White
Whether we are old or young, when we are in a couple, we want to spend time together. As we grow old together, we become increasingly integrated into each other’s lives and being able to stay and live together as a couple is essential to maintain a good quality of life.
As we get older, we not only have specific needs ourselves, but our partner also has their own needs. It is not uncommon to then find that one partner essentially becomes the ‘carer’, often neglecting what their specific needs are, trying to carry out tasks and care for the other with no help. Often couples are split up – either within the same residential establishment or by going to different ones.
Ensuring that people are happy and comfortable in old age is vitally important and staying together as a couple can be central to this. However, there are also other reasons why endeavours should be made to keep elderly couples together.
It might be that one partner has trouble getting dressed or washed or just a little help is needed to stay on top of the housework. Daily visits can be organised, meaning that a care worker would come to the couple’s home, either for something specific or to generally help out with anything that it is needed.
Daily carers can carry out tasks such as administering medication (ensuring that medication doesn’t run out, doses are given accurately and that it’s not forgotten), cooking, going out or even just there for some company and moral support.
Daily visits are great for couples who are struggling a little, often with certain physical activities. It allows someone to come in a check that they are both ok and comfortable, but without someone being there all the time. Visits can be daily, a couple of times a week or they can even have a visit more than once a day, depending on needs.
Live in Care
If it gets to the stage where one or more of the couple needs more help than just a visit or two a day, live in care is a great option. With live-in care, a carer will stay with the couple in their home and be able to help with any needs that come up. This means that couples can stay together, without being moved to a strange environment – something that can be scary and confusing for many older people, especially if they are suffering from dementia.
This not only relieves the worry of family and friends that the elderly couple is ok, together, and well cared for, but also – and most importantly, can help to give them a quality of life without the pressures or responsibilities of caring for the other, and allows them to remain in the same home that they know and love.
Live in carers are carefully chosen to ensure that they get on well with the couple, as well as have the necessary technical knowledge and abilities to ensure that it really works for everyone. The familiarity of having someone who is always there can also be a bonus for live-in care.
Another option is 24-hour care. This means that instead of having a single person living with the couple, a team of workers work on a ‘relay’ basis, ensuring that someone is always there, but that its not always the same person.
24-hour care ensures that there is always someone there to attend any issues which might arise, giving peace of mind to families and ensuring the best quality of life for the couple.
This can be especially useful if one person or the couple have needs on a 24-hour basis.
Regardless of the situation, keeping couples together as they get older should be one of the main priorities to consider when one or both of them begin to need extra help. Fortunately, today there are more options that are available to people to help life-long partners really be life-long partners.