Dear Donna:

My wife and I have been married for over 50 years. Several years ago, I suffered a stroke. While I have recovered a lot of my abilities, I am not able to do nearly as much as I used to. Not only does my wife have to help me with personal care, but she’s now responsible for our home’s indoor and outdoor upkeep.

I’ve tried to convince my wife to slow down and ask for help. She’s not willing to do that nor is she interested in hiring a caregiver through a home care agency. I really think it’s time for us to move to a senior living community. It seems like a solution that would free her from some of her burdens and allow her to tend to her own well-being.

Any suggestions on what I can do? I’m afraid something will happen to my wife if she keeps up this pace.

Thanks in advance,

Steve in Saginaw, MI

Caring for the Reluctant Caregiver

Dear Steve:

Sounds as if you and your wife have been through some tough times together in recent years! It’s not unusual for a spouse to try to manage their partner’s care all alone. Many spouses are reluctant to ask for or accept help, often thinking no one will be as good a caregiver as they are. But you are right to be concerned about your wife’s health and well-being.

Family caregivers experience more incidences of health problems than their non-caregiving peers. Medical issues can range from back injuries and headaches to digestive disturbances and sleep problems. Since it sounds like you are trying to convince your wife that it’s time for a move, sharing the benefits of senior living communities with her may help change her mind.

I always remind family members that this is a process. It usually takes a series of conversations and community visits to help a reluctant spouse or parent accept the time for change has arrived. Remind your loved one of the advantages of a move. In a senior living community, you will be able to:

  • Enjoy your time together: With fewer chores and less household upkeep, you and your wife will have more time to enjoy each other’s
  • You can reconnect with favorite pastimes or tackle new ones together when you have more free time.
  • Protect your future: Find a kind way to remind your wife that by taking better care of herself, she protects both of your futures. Making time for routine health screenings is essential, as is staying physically fit. Opportunities to exercise, such as yoga, stretching classes, and walking groups, occur daily at senior living communities.
  • Eat wellbalanced meals: A healthy diet is an essential component to aging well. That’s true no matter what your circumstances. At senior living communities, residents enjoy nutritious meals every day. You’ll usually have a variety of menus to choose from. Instead of having to worry about preparing food, you and your wife can relax and chat at mealtimes.
  • Gain peace of mind: Some residents say a move to a senior living community is a gift they give their children. That’s true for spouses, as well. You will both gain peace of mind knowing your needs will be met and that you have quick access to help in the event of an emergency.

While these are just a few benefits you’ll gain by moving, they may be enough to change your wife’s perspective.

Please drop me a note if you have any additional questions I can answer!

Kind regards,


Heritage Senior Communities

A family-owned, fourth generation provider of senior living, Heritage Senior Communities has locations throughout Michigan and one in Indiana. With a well-earned reputation for quality care, Heritage offers independent living, assisted living, and memory care.