Making the Move to Senior Living as a Couple
We’re often asked if it’s possible for a couple to move to a senior living community together and, if so, how that process works. Our response is a resounding “yes!” and that we’re here to help explain the many options on what that could look like.
Many partners share a similar view of what they want life to look like as they age, so making the decision together to move to an independent living community before any care needs necessitate assistance allows them to enjoy the easy, breezy benefits of maintenance-free living. We see countless couples enjoy fulfilling years together at our independent communities.
For other couples, they decide to move when a health concern for one or both of them makes it apparent that living where they can receive care is critical for their continued wellbeing and the health of the relationship. In other cases, an unexpected event causes a more sudden need for a move and a partner seeks options for living closeby although they don’t need the care the other does. These types of situations present a bit more complexity, but are more common than you’d think.
Being separated from a partner can be a difficult experience, especially for couples who have known each other for many years, so the closer to their partner, the better. When it comes down to it, senior communities exist to support the people who live there, helping them live their best, healthiest, most fulfilling life. There are many ways communities may structure options to support that important part of someone’s life, which is why we encourage couples to seek a community that offers flexible services and living options that can fit their needs.
Benefits of moving to senior living together as a couple
Some older adults struggle with loneliness as they seek to make connections in a new living community. These feelings are perfectly normal and typically pass in time. Living with a spouse can alleviate these feelings, giving residents a loving, familiar presence in their new home.
Peace of mind
This applies to both the couple and their families. Couples enjoy knowing that their care is accounted for, regardless of how their needs change. If one needs more care than the other, there is no burden or expectation of being a caregiver to the other, which can put strain on any relationship. Family members can also rest easy with their loved ones being together in a supportive environment.
Couples in senior living often decide to sell their previous home, which can mean substantial savings compared to those living separately. Meals and other services are often included in the cost of living, so the savings can add up. At many assisted living communities, the monthly cost is determined by the size or layout of the apartment plus level of care and assistance needed. If only one person in a couple requires care, a community will often simply charge a nominal “extra person fee” for the spouse who will live there without receiving services.
Care when needs change
We feel strongly that a community who offers a full continuum of care is the best choice. That way, whether a couple moves into independent living, assisted living, memory care, or skilled nursing, if or when needs change–whether for one or both people–the right level of support is available all in one campus. It could be in the same apartment, same building, or same campus. A change in needs or a move can be stressful no matter the circumstances, and remaining close to a partner can minimize the distress and make a world of difference.
Establishing what’s needed
Prior to moving into any community who offers care, an assessment is performed to help the care team know just what’s needed for each person. A personalized plan of care and services is established so each resident gets what they need while respecting independence wherever possible. Factors like movement capabilities, cognitive needs, and clinical diagnoses, among other variables, are considered. Identifying these needs early makes them much easier to address as care needs progresses.
When needs change
Some of the conditions that necessitate additional care are progressive, meaning they may get more advanced or debilitating with time. It’s important that residents have the most independence currently possible while planning for how this may change.
So what happens if a resident requires more involved care as time passes and their partner does not? Does the community have the means to accommodate the developing needs of both parties? Will their current condition eventually progress to become a need the community can’t support? These are important questions to ask up front.
An experienced senior care professional will be able to anticipate these possibilities and help you plan accordingly. Obviously, unexpected medical issues happen. The goal is to plan for as many as possible, leaving more room for peace of mind in the present and quick response to future surprises.
Are you looking for senior living options for a couple or spouse? Three Pillars is here to help. Contact us today to learn more about our living options.