Couples Care and Shared Caregiving
Couples Care, also called shared Caregiving is a situation where an elderly couple that are living together in their home, both require 24/7 care coverage for different care needs. The conditions for Couples Care do not have to be the same between both individuals, and a single caregiver or team of consistent caregivers can provide personalized care to each person.
Couples Care is usually a preferred option when both individuals have differing medical conditions but want to live together and not in separate facilities for different conditions. Many professional caregivers have experience treating different types of health conditions ranging from post-operative care for orthopedic procedures or post Stroke care , to handling daily tasks and administering medication to an individual with advanced stage Parkinson’s or Dementia or Alzhemer’s. Certain factors tend to be more essential when caring for 2 individuals. A caregivers experience, qualifications, and expertise are key to matching the right caregiver to the couple requiring care.
For example, let’s look at a scenario where a couple in their mid 80’s is navigating life with 2 distinct health concerns. The husband is living with late stage Alzheimer’s dementia and has symptoms like confusion, disorientation, and requires assistance with daily tasks. The wife has had a stroke recently and requires a different set of care needs to help navigate daily tasks and undertake rehabilitative care including physical therapy and speech therapy since the right side of her body is paralyzed and she has difficulty swallowing (also called aphasia) post Stroke.
Engaging in activities to maintain cognitive abilities or help with memory loss
Physical therapies to help with changing bodily control or rigidity which sometimes occurs in later stage dementia
Bathing and washing
Chores and Errands
Light house cleaning
Physiotherapy to help with paralysis or spasticity
Cognitive treatments to help regain memory loss and speech disruptions
Bathing, washing, and dressing
Mobility assistance and safety management given fall risk
Chores and Errands
Light house cleaning
There is overlap in both sets of care, but there are also different condition specific skills for Alzheimer’s and post-Stroke care that require a more specific experience and knowledge of care. Managing this variety of care is not easy for every caregiver.
In this instance, a successful caregiver(s) will have the experience of working with a variety of home care conditions ranging from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, dementia, post-orthopedic procedure care,and stroke rehabilitative care including range of motion exercises and speech therapy to name a few. Qualifications and expertise will ensure that they have the skilled nursing and home caregiving credentials, along with a breadth of experience that lends itself to optimizing their expertise in this scenario.
The benefits of Couples Care and Shared Caregiving are many.
The primary benefit is the ability of the couple to live in the comfort and familiar environment of their home while aging together with dignity and agency. Caregiving at home also involves a consistent and familiar care team who are carefully matched to meet the myriad needs of two individuals requiring 24/7 care. This process ensures a continuity of care with a consistent and familiar team of caregivers, a factory that is very reassuring for vulnerable elders as they navigate changing health conditions.
In most cases, the cost of Couples Care is lesser than what it would be to pay for different facilities and different condition specific care needs (e.g memory care in an ALF and post Stoke Rehab and Skilled Nursing Care) in the above case study.
In an assisted living facility, couples requiring a range of care might not be able to continue to live together due staffing limitations, and different rooms or protocols for conditions that require varying levels of care. Although couples can request or try to stay together, there is no guarantee that any changes in their health, or staffing won’t force them to live separately. However, in-home care allows for that peace of mind.
The limitations of this type of care are mostly experience driven.
Finding the right caregiver with the credentials and experience to be able to oversee this level of intensive care is an expensive endeavor. These are not possessed by rookie or average caregivers and need people that have extensive, cross functional and cross health condition experience, so you need to be more focused on researching and interviewing for companies that possess this type of experience.
Also, if a caregiver has to leave due to extenuating circumstances, the timeline to replace them can be longer due to the specificity of the clients needs.
Requiring in-home care for a couple is challenging on many levels. With the right care, timely care plan implementation, and an experienced caregiver, couples living with progressive health conditions can age in the comfort of their own home. An experienced caregiver has the patience, multi-faceted expertise, and knowledge to support their patients maintain their sense of self, mental acuity and physical autonomy to help them live with dignity and agency.
When you work with Care Mountain to manage your Couples Care needs, our commitment is to ensure high quality care with a personalized care plan for your loved ones’ care needs.Our quality caregivers undergo national background checks, extensive reference checks, and in-person interviews to ensure that they can provide the expert and personalized care necessary for a successful live-in care plan.
We have extensive experience over almost 2 decades of providing Couples Care and 24/7 Live in Care in the Dallas and Fort Worth area, including high quality post stroke care specialized caregivers to families across Dallas and Ft. Worth and ranging from Arlington, Southlake, Preston Hollow, Highland Park, Plano, McKinney, Allen and Friso – Care Mountain is well-versed in understanding the nuances and specifics of every family needing caregivers to support their loved ones.