Many older adults eventually reach a point in life where they decide it’s the right time to move to a senior community, such as independent living or assisted living. Often, they are lucky enough to be still married to the love of their life and wouldn’t dream of living apart. Every individual’s journey through life is different, and not everyone experiences the same care needs at the same time. However, a couple can still move to a senior community and make the most of their golden years together.
Studies show that married couples live longer and enjoy greater physical capabilities in advanced age. With the aging of Baby Boomers and a greater rate of remarriage in later life, senior communities have embraced the idea of keeping couples together.
Moving to Independent Living Together
Moving to independent living is much like moving to any rental community, in that your apartment is your own to live in how you like. A senior couple in independent living gets the benefits of many amenities, like cleaning and laundry services, along with a built-in active social life. Each member of a couple can engage in their own hobbies and activities, or they can choose to do things together. They might prepare meals together in their apartment or join friends in an on-campus restaurant for “date night.” They can shape life into their own adventure, with the peace of mind that there are other levels of care available if needs change.
When Each Spouse Needs a Different Level of Care
After living in a house together for many years, sometimes one spouse becomes the caretaker for the other. One may be experiencing cognitive decline while the other is not. One may have different physical challenges or need additional help with routine daily tasks. As much as two people want to be there for each other, someone who is experiencing the challenges of aging themselves needs support to care for their partner. Other family members, like the couple’s adult children, are often the ones to notice when care needs are becoming overwhelming.
If both members of the couple require more healthcare and daily support than independent living can provide, they may choose to move together into an assisted living apartment. However, care needs rarely line up neatly. Instead, one person might live in independent living while the other lives in assisted living. In situations where needs differ, finding multiple levels of care on a single campus can provide flexible options.
It is important to understand the differences between independent and assisted living to find the right level of care for each spouse or partner. Assisted living includes more on-site health services, more help with daily tasks like dressing and grooming, and additional safety and security precautions. One partner may still act as an advocate for the one with more intense care needs or take part in their care, if they wish.
When one partner is diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, they will need a more specialized form of assisted living for of memory care designed to provide appropriate activities and safeguards against behavior like wandering or accidental self-harm. A spouse living on the same campus in an independent or assisted living apartment can easily visit and join them for meals or activities.
Why a Continuum of Care is Important for Senior Couples
A senior community that meets a full range of needs is important for any senior. It minimizes disruption when a person needs to move from one level to another. It is even more important for a couple, especially when each person’s care needs progress at different rates, but the goal is to stay close together, if not actually living together. Families should discuss plans for senior living arrangements long in advance, and each senior should make their desires known. Together, each family can decide what is right for the ones they love.
Aviva Senior Living provides the full continuum of care, including independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing, to individuals and couples. Contact us today to arrange a tour of our Sarasota community.