By Mary Cordova, Co-Founder, EVP at Concierge Care Advisors
We often call the person who is a care giver for their loved one the “well spouse”. The well spouse often does not immediately recognize the increased level of care that they are administering, or that it may be time for their loved one to transition to senior living.
Even after a transition to senior living, we continue to call the care giving senior who is left at home alone the well spouse, but is that really the case?
We would ask everyone to take a moment to remember the well spouse. They have likely performed years and years of care giving, their bodies are aging, they are worn out, and no longer cooking for themselves. Additionally, the loneliness following the departure of a loved one can leave the well spouse depressed, and ignoring other daily activities important to their well-being. Their social circles have often dwindled because they have been focused on taking care of their spouse for years. They’re lonely without those connections and all of the responsibilities that used to take up their whole day. They often feel lost in the next journey, especially if they choose not to move with their spouse.
Sometimes the care giver role is all they know, and they haven’t experienced the joy of just being a spouse for quite some time.
Having transitioned hundreds of seniors during my career, I understand the importance of looking at all of the options, based on what is best for both seniors when making a transition. Here are some of the benefits:
• Often the well spouse can move in for a very reasonable second person rate.
• The well spouse will usually have three meals a day, transportation, fun activities and entertainment, as well as housekeeping (oh, joy!).
• Trips for shopping, movies, and a whole host of other well-deserved comforts and services after years of being the caregiver.
• There are places where both seniors can go and age in place differently, often in the same apartment, and sometimes in close proximity of the assisted living if memory care is required.
• The joy of being able to remain together; especially when the seniors have been together for fifty to sixty years!
At Concierge Care Advisors, these are the kinds of things we think about when we are working with a family for the best possible outcome when a transition is in order. We always talk about all of the options for the senior needing care and their care giver, the well spouse. We hope to give them the gift of feeling like the spouse again, and all the benefits that go along with it.