Sunday, January 9, 2011

In Sickness and in Health -

icon of elderly peopleImage via Wikipedia

There are few good housing options for elderly couples when one spouse is ill and the other is well.
“These are the hardest kind of situations we deal with,” said Emily Saltz of Elder Resources, a veteran geriatric care manager in greater Boston. “We don’t have good options for couples with differing health status.”
Yet almost every elderly couple will eventually fall into that category, she pointed out. Who ages at exactly the same rate?
It’s yet another quandary caused by lengthening life spans; more people over 60 are married, remarried or cohabiting than decades ago, when more were widowed. Ms. Saltz finds it no longer uncommon to work with couples in their 90s. Most want very much to continue living together. But it’s not easy.
Questions of how and where to live are complicated by the conviction that one spouse should shoulder the burden, sometimes the entire burden, of caring for the other. They see that as a duty, even as research repeatedly underscores the risks.
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