How to keep your senior parents together.
Life expectancy around the world continues to increase steadily. According to the National Institute on Aging, the nation’s 90-and-older population is projected to more than quadruple over the next four decades. And the U.S. Census Bureau reports that the percentage of married seniors over the age of 60 has increased over the past several decades, while the number of widows has decreased. Therefore, more elderly couples will be living longer and may need to move into an assisted living community together.
Typically, more single individuals live in assisted living communities than couples. But an assisted living community can be the perfect solution to make each person in the marriage happy, healthy, and safe—especially when one spouse may no longer be able to continue to care properly for the other. Apartment options range from private studios to one- or two-bedroom units so they can choose a housing option that best fits their needs. Some assisted living communities have campuses to accommodate both assisted living and memory care. One spouse can live in assisted living while the other resides in the memory care wing. This arrangement allows them to be with each other while still getting their specific needs met.
Perhaps the care needs are vastly different within the couple, each individual will pay for the services they require or no care services if that is the case. The spouse with little or no care needs would pay for only room and board or pay for the room plus the cost of an additional person. Most communities will be able to accommodate a couple based on their mix of unique needs and apartment types.
It can be a difficult process to move one parent into assisted living, but moving a couple can increase your stress and complicate your decision. Make a list of what is most critical for their health and happiness. Preparation will help you focus and narrow your choices. Get recommendations for communities from friends and family. And try to plan ahead, this is not a decision to force during a crisis or health emergency.
When touring a community for your parents, keep in mind their needs as a couple but also their individual physical, medical, and emotional needs. Take the time to tour a variety of communities; it’s important they are both comfortable. Is one more social than the other? Is dad cognitively impaired? Is mom more active and mobile? The amenities, activities, and medical care should be considered for both. It will be a balancing act to get the appropriate care and accommodate their personalities. Compromises will be made but both can still be very happy.
The thought of living apart after 50 years or more of marriage would be heartbreaking or devastating for any couple. But if they can no longer live on their own, an assisting living community can be an excellent fit for both. And with each other, the move into a new community can be made easier together.
Tour an Aegis Living community near you to speak with a community professional or one of our happy couples.