Journaling for Caregivers: Rediscover Yourself and Reclaim Your Life
Tips on How to Talk to the Doctor About Your Older Parent or Spouse

When One Parent Dies the Other Often Needs a Long-Term Care Plan

OlderCouple_pexels-vlada-karpovich-5790837Photo credit Vlada Karpovich

Long-term marriages generally evolve into a support system so efficient that even adult children hardly notice changes in their parents. If Dad's hearing is poor, Mom becomes his ears. If Mom's arthritis is bad, Dad becomes her muscle. If one of them has memory loss, the other fills in the gaps so smoothly that it's barely noticeable to onlookers. Then, either Mom or Dad dies. The person remaining suddenly is more frail and needy than anyone would have expected. The surviving spouse is suffering the loss of their life partner, a shock from which they may never completely recover. Also, the person who filled in the gaps is gone, and those gaps can suddenly look like chasms. 

Adult children to the rescue: Naturally, adult children of a couple such as the one described above would expect the surviving parent to go through the grief process and need a lot of comfort and care for a while. However, more often than many would expect, comfort and care morph into long-term care needs. The frailty of the surviving parent becomes a stark reality. The double whammy for grieving adult children may be that the funeral of one parent becomes a time for planning for the care of the surviving parent. Go slow and don't make snap decisions that can't be undone...

Continue reading on Agingcare for more discussion about the challenges we all face after one parent dies leaving the other without a partner:

Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories.“I hold onto your book as a life preserver and am reading it slowly on purpose...I don't want it to end.” ...Craig William Dayton, Film Composer

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