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Senior Living Options for Couples

Sep 2 2013 - Posted by: Elizabeth Bemis to Assisted Living

Couples in Senior Living CommunitiesOne of the most frequently asked questions about senior living is whether communities cater to couples who have opposing senior care needs; the answer is yes, most do!

So, if mom, at 82 years, old is an avid yoga student and dad, at 85, suffers from congestive heart disease and both want to be near each other, there are   senior care communities that address this and other similar life issues every day.  To help you with your selection, this guide describes the range of senior living options available to couples, which include: independent living, assisted living, continuing care retirement communities (CCRC), skilled nursing care and home health care.

Independent Senior Living

Couples who require little or no assistance with activities of daily living, such as driving, managing medications or personal care often choose independent living settings. Residents are offered a maintenance-free lifestyle, along with hospitality services and amenities, such as housekeeping, laundry, dining services, and transportation. Scheduled community activities and events are also offered as part of the monthly rental to provide opportunities for traveling, socializing, fitness, volunteering, and more! Couples pay a rental rate or monthly fee and may have the option to pay for health care services provided by in-house staff or an outside agency.

Assisted Senior Living

Assisted living is a great option when planning for the future and is designed for couples who are looking for a maintenance-free lifestyle, but who may need a little bit of help with activities of daily living (ADL), either now or in the future.   Many assisted living communities also offer an independent living option if one spouse has no care needs.  They can live in the same apartment and one spouse can seamlessly receive health care services.

For couples who may need a wider range of care over time, assisted living is a perfect fit. It combines hospitality services and amenities, along with several options for basic care services such as medication management and assistance with activities like getting dressed or taking a shower. In addition to community support services and amenities, all under one roof, community activities and events are also regularly scheduled and available. Some communities include what is called “memory care,” which provides couples with specialized care and services designed to meet the needs of individuals living with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or other related memory disorders.

If a spouse requires such care, community fees may be adjusted so that couples can continue to rent their apartment but pay additionally for the person who needs the higher level of care.

Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC)

A Continuing Care Retirement Community may be a good choice for younger and healthier couples who are looking for an active lifestyle now and greater care in the future.  Most CCRCs require large sums of money up front which may offset the cost of additional skilled care in the future.   This may be a long-term solution for couples with differing care needs. CCRCs offer every stage of senior living in one location, in different wings or communities for couples or residents with wide ranging needs. Therefore, your mom can remain in independent living or assisted living while dad moves to skilled nursing care within the same facility or campus.

Skilled Nursing Care  

Skilled Nursing Care can be freestanding or part of a CCRCs services. Services provided at a skilled nursing facility include a room, specialized medical care, comprehensive therapy and rehabilitation, assistance with advanced ADL needs and therapeutic dining options. Couples can also take advantage of the benefits of medical care and other amenities.

Home Health Care

A final option worth mentioning is home health care. For couples who desire to remain in their home while receiving part-time care for basic care needs, or around-the-clock nursing assistance for memory disorders like Alzheimer’s, home health care is another valid option. While in-home care may require a moderate investment in home improvement to create the appropriate space required to accommodate medical equipment, it can still help to meet the different care needs of a couple living together.

When two individuals at different stages in their health want to stay together, compromise is inevitable. Often concessions are made in favor of the spouse who needs more care. It is a good idea to speak with an elder care advisor from any one of these facilities for more guidance and for helpful resources.

Key Takeaways:

  • A common question asked about senior housing is whether these communities cater to couples who have opposing senior care needs—and yes, most do!
  • The range of senior living options available to couples include: independent living, assisted living, continuing care retirement communities (CCRC), skilled nursing care, and home health care.
  • Independent and Assisted living can be offered separately or together and offer a maintenance free lifestyle. The monthly rental of an apartment typically includes hospitality services and amenities, the option to receive care and assistance with activities of daily living (ADL), and/or memory care.
  • Continuing care retirement communities (CCRC)—may be a long-term solution for couples with opposing care needs. This senior living facility offers every stage of retirement living in one location in different wings for couples or residents with wide ranging needs.
  • Skilled nursing facilities provide medical care and comprehensive therapy and rehabilitation for couples or a spouse who may need assistance with advanced ADL needs.
  • Home health care is always an option for couples who desire to remain in their homes while being offered part-time or round-the-clock nursing care for basic care needs or Alzheimer’s needs.

Learn More:

If you are interested in learning more about assisted living or independent living communities in CT or TN please visit our website at www.umh.org to learn more about United Methodist Homes.

About Elizabeth Bemis

In 1998, I drove past an assisted living community construction site, learned that it was part of United Methodist Homes and realized the next stop on my professional journey was to work for a mission driven organization. Soon after, I joined the team as Executive Director of our Middlewoods of Farmington community and later served as Regional Manager for the Middlewoods properties before accepting my current role as Vice President of Marketing, Promotions, and Assisted Living Operations. I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking, reading, walking, and love working alongside our staff, residents, and families to build strong communities that reflect the mission, vision, and values of United Methodist Homes.

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