Even after a couple have both successfully retired, they still only consider living at home for the remainder of their lives. However, due to financial circumstances or major health concerns, at least one spouse may need more adequate care than the one spouse can provide. In-home care may prove to be expensive. Conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease can make caretaking even more difficult. That’s why it’s important to consider options such as moving into an assisted living community.
Many retirement communities are ensuring they can accommodate couples for assisted living and skilled nursing units. The communities realize that after decades of a couple living together, the emotional disconnect of separating them will cause more harm than the level of care to be provided. With the variety of care options, it’s no longer necessary to do. A couple can live together in assisted living and pay for the care they need.
Assisted living housing is not what many think. Housing options range from studios, one-bedroom, two-bedrooms, and even town homes. There are so many up-scaled amenities, seniors often forget they are in assisted housing. Retirement communities these days make the transition easier when the seniors leave their beloved homes.
1. Ensure They are Financially Prepared
Before your parents get to the stage of moving into a retirement community, it’s best to ensure they are financially prepared. No matter if they end up in an assisted living, nursing, or independent living community, the expenses can feel overwhelming. It’s important to note that Medicaid is not accepted at all assisted living facilities, so seniors should not depend solely on that for their retirement years. For the long term, seniors should prepare for assisted living and skilled nursing care.
2. Decide Together on the Community
Your senior parents may have made most major decisions together. There is no reason to break this cycle now. They should sit down together and make the decision of which assisted living community is right for them. This is the time to compromise, taking into consideration each interest and level of care needed for the other.
3. Ensure Both Undergo a Thorough Assessment
It’s extremely important to ensure the community can provide the appropriate level of care for each senior. Even if a senior feels fine, they should undergo a thorough assessment by their physician. Another should be done 30 days after they’ve moved into the community, to ensure they are adjusting well. A move into an assisted living community is more than a physical move; it’s also a major emotional change that should be closely monitored.
4. Ensure the Community Charges Appropriately
When one spouse is healthy, and the other needs managed care, you don’t want to pay double the cost for no reason. The community should charge appropriately for the level of care administered. The spouse who does not need care should be responsible for room and board, only. Then, the fee for the administered care should be charged on top of that.
5. Ensure They Can Stay Together During the Next Phase
An assisted living community is not the final stage of care. To keep couples living together, or as close as possible, they should select a community that offers a nearby wing or at least other units of care on the campus. For instance, if one spouse now needs skilled nursing, the other should be allowed to stay in their assisted living unit. Other options include them moving to the same wing their spouse is relocating to, or at least still live on the same campus. They should be allowed to visit as often as they’d like, for their sake and their spouses.
It’s not an easy task keeping couples together in assisted living. They both must distinguish their wants and needs and take into account what will suit each of their wellness interests. However, with the help of family and the community’s staff, they can come together with a comfortable living situation.