Consider this scenario: if you haven’t seen Mom for a couple of months and a holiday visit has you concerned about how quickly her Alzheimer’s has advanced, don’t forget to check in with Dad. Ask him how he is handling the changes in her care; ask him what a typical day is like, listening both for insights about her well-being and his.
Watch for the warning signs of caregiver burnout, in your father’s demeanor (fatigue, mood swings, unusual weight loss/gain, withdrawal, etc.) but also throughout the house (is it cluttered, dirty, and unsafe? Is the refrigerator well-stocked, or are many of the items expired?).
In planning for care, you and your siblings should consider the needs of both parents. Maybe Mom doesn’t need to move to an Alzheimer’s care home yet, but your Dad needs help. Perhaps hiring someone from home care to come for a few hours a week to do housework and assist with bathing and grooming would be wise. Evaluate the arrangement after several weeks or months, asking your father if it has helped him feel more at ease and take better care of himself, then go from there.
Read more about elder care planning in our Resource Guide.