Posted: March 9, 2021
What Families Should Know About Keeping Couples Together When Moving to Assisted Living
Change is never easy, and the older we get, the more difficult it can be. Big life changes, such as making the move to a senior living community, can be particularly challenging. When couples who need the same level of care can transition together, the decision is more about logistics and finding the best location with the desired amenities.
But what about couples who don’t need the same level of care? Take, for example, Lois and John. Lois is a vibrant 74-year-old in good physical and mental shape; she has no significant health conditions. Her husband of 50 years, John, has moderate Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes. As his condition worsened, he started wandering away from the couple’s home. This happened on more than one occasion, and the police needed to be called to bring him home safely. John has also left on the stove to cook something only to be found napping because he forgot about it.
Eventually, it became clear that taking care of John was more than Lois could handle independently. But moving to an assisted living community was out of the question given the level of care John needed. Separating the couple would be difficult emotionally, and John’s condition could worsen without his wife by his side. It was a struggle for the couple and their adult children to figure out how John could get the care he needed without tearing apart this long-term marriage.
John and Lois’s situation is not unique. Many families face this problem, and many are unaware that most senior living communities have ways to accommodate couples who want to live together. There are sometimes options but it can be costly to pay for both spouses. Both parties can live together, while the person who needs the care can pay for what they need.
Fortunately for John and Lois, together with their children, they were able to find a combined assisted living and memory care community, and they settled into their own apartment together.
Senior Living Options for Couples at Heritage Crossing
Heritage Crossing can accommodate senior couples who wish to live together—even if one spouse needs more care than the other. It can be detrimental to the health of both when a couple is thrust into separate living situations. It can also make or break their decision on whether to move to an assisted living or memory care community.
Heritage Crossing’s memory care and assisted living communities offer a variety of floorplans, including studios, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments large enough to comfortably accommodate a couple. The amenities resemble that of an upscale condominium, including kitchenettes, private bathrooms, and wheelchair accessibility. Couples can choose the floor plan and apartment features that are right for them. Both spouses will have access to community amenities, such as appropriate activities, programs, and therapies.
Prior to the couple’s move-in process, staff will conduct a thorough assessment of the level of assistance required by each. The couple will be re-assessed on a regular basis to ensure both are getting the care they need.
The Cost of Senior Living Options for Couples
It can be complicated to figure out costs when the level of care differs from one spouse to another. In our example above, Lois will likely pay only the base monthly rent since she is completely independent and able to care for herself. John, however, will have more significant needs because of his care needs. He will need not only supervision to prevent him from wandering, but may also need help managing medications, bathing, and dressing.
Couples who live together in the same apartment will pay for their apartment, but there will be an additional fee for the level of care cost for one. If the other spouse begins to need additional care as well, then this can easily be added for the spouse.
Most families cover assisted living costs using private funds—often a combination of savings, Social Security benefits, pension payments, long-term care insurance, and retirement accounts. However, there are some government programs such as Aid and Attendance through the Veteran’s Administration.
It can be challenging to find the right assisted living community for even one person, let alone a couple. The goal for families should be to find the best option for today that also offers possibilities for the future. This minimizes the need to move from one care setting to another, which is expensive and hard on seniors. Contact Heritage Crossing today and let us help answer any of your questions.