Through spouse’s, love and affection, is he abusing his wife?

In the Annapolis “Capitol” Newspaper,   Lifestyle Section, Caregiver’s Corner: Hiring more help will be best for husband and wife, a reader states that his wife, of 60 years, suffers with spinal stenosis, has severe recent-term memory loss as well as weight loss. Although, he states, that her cognitive functions are fairly good.

He is the caregiver, but has his own set of problems. He has help one day a week and a house cleaner another day. He’s considering bringing in more help. Do you know where I can find people who do this kind of work?

Due to my wife's pain and her attachment to me a day program isn't an option. But, a future option could be to place her in a caring assisted living situation.

Do you have any suggestions for this?

Basically, the response is contact the local Department of Aging, to find help, through various lists. However, for the time being I recommend you hire more help and take some time for you. Start by leaving for an hour and gradually increase the time as your wife becomes comfortable with the caregivers.

I’m most concerned for this “reader” and his spouse. I, understand, that in the reader’s opinion that he is “caring” for his spouse, and trying to keep at her home with him. However, elder abuse and neglect is not always easy to identify or realize, weight loss might be a result of starvation or neglect, not just illness or lack of appetite, and dementia is not always a part of aging, malnutrition or the misuse of medications can also be causes. I’m not stating that this reader is intentionally trying to harm his wife. But, through his love and affection, he is not seeing the complete picture. This couple needs help and fast.

Does he a medical power of attorney for his wife? If not, a guardianship may have to be started. Adult Protective services may become involved. Additionally, Hospice, maybe help, due to the amount weight loss. Where is the family, can they help? If none, the reader needs home care, more than one day a week. Is the issue finances? Can he afford the care for his wife? If not, how can he get help? If a veteran, he could qualify for veteran’s benefits – paying for the home care help or maybe the wife needs better care in an assisted living facility (“ALF”). The VA can help offset the cost of the assisted living facility.

If they own, their home, it may be feasible to sell the home, and utilize this money, with their pension/social security to pay for the ALF, or if they stay in the home, they may qualify for a reverse mortgage.

The reader’s spouse requires an independent advocate. Is she being cared for? Is the reader burned out? There are a number of questions, facts and circumstances, to be investigated, not just get a list, and, slowly, hire someone.

Senior Life Care Planning has an elder care attorney and care managers who assist caregivers, friends or family members find government-paid, Medicaid, Veteran’s Benefits, etc. and private resources to help with long term care decisions.

We also help with the following:

  • Advocate for client.
  • Monitor care for out-of-town families.
  • Assist families in long term care planning
  • Medicaid qualification and application.
  • Oversee care at home.
  • Coordinate with financial advisors and other professionals.
  • Provide placement in assisted living facilities or nursing homes.
  • Monitor the care received in a nursing home or in assisted living.
  • Find appropriate solutions to avoid a crisis.
  • Other services

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