Editor’s Note: While every AgeAssured member’s Successful Aging journey is unique—there is no one recipe—sharing our stories is helpful and inspiring. One person’s aging challenges, joys, and solutions may spark your own ideas and make you feel less alone. It’s in this spirit of sharing that Ally Danielle Zenus writes here about how she helped a couple continue to age in place despite evolving health challenges.
Happily married since 1953, Beverly, age 87, and Donald, age 88, are aging in place at their home in Virginia, surrounded by a great family and friends support network. Beverly is a retired nurse and Donald is a retired US Navy Chaplain, and they enjoy being actively engaged in church, family, and social engagements. When Beverly’s health issues began to affect her lifestyle in recent years, Assured Allies‘ AgeAssured program stepped in both to help her and to support Donald, who eagerly took on the role of his wife’s primary caregiver: “I love being a caregiver,” says Donald, “It gives me joy.”
As an AgeAssured Ally, I helped the couple understand the local resources in their area, like senior centers and delivery services. These resources have helped free up Donald’s time and energy to be more available as a caregiver to his wife. While Beverly is able to bathe and get dressed independently, she is no longer able to drive or stand for long periods of time. So Donald does the shopping, cooking, and housework, and manages all of her medications. Does Beverly like her husband’s cooking? “I love this restaurant!” she replied.
I was able to be helpful to the couple a second time in the last year when Beverly’s health changed significantly and Donald requested further support. “I love your approach,” he told me on our last call, “you are so thorough and do your job beautifully.”
We’d love to hear from you!
There are thousands of older adults out there who would love to learn how you are aging successfully. We’d be delighted to hear from you and consider your story for publication to help inspire others. Write to us anytime.
At Assured Allies, we are proud and delighted that our Age Assured program has helped Beverly and Donald receive the support they need to remain at home, make more memories, and keep laughing together: “You know you are getting old when your youngest is turning 64!”
Are you caregiving for an aging spouse?
Donald’s caregiving became more sustainable when he connected with local resources that helped lighten his task load. If you’d like help getting connected in your area, please feel free to reach out to an Ally. Solutions, resources, and healthy aging research change all the time, and staying up to date about all of the above is one of the ways that AgeAssured Allies help our members. Meanwhile, here’s a short list of free resources that we recommend to get you started:
- Family Caregivers Alliance can connect you to state-by-state quality information, support, and resources related to family caregiving. Create your own free personalized dashboard that matches your caregiving needs with available resources.
- Caregiver Action Network is the nation’s leading family care organization working to improve the quality of life for the more than 90 million Americans who care for loved ones with chronic conditions, disabilities, disease, or the frailties of old age.
- The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has a lot of good information, tools, and self-help avenues for caregivers and families.
- iSupport is a free online course for dementia caregivers offered by The World Health Organization.