What to Do When a Couple Needs Different Types of Senior Housing

healthy senior couple relaxing seats on the bench in the park

While nearly everyone experiences many age-related changes, such as a loss of flexibility and slower reflexes, people age differently. That sometimes means when an older couple is ready to make the move to senior housing, they need different levels of support. For example, one spouse may be active and independent while another is battling dementia. Or one partner might be diagnosed with a chronic health condition that requires them to transition to a skilled nursing center, but assisted living is the best fit for their spouse.

While it does require thoughtful planning, finding a senior living community that meets both of their needs is definitely possible. These tips can help you make an informed decision for your senior loved ones.

Conduct an Honest Needs Assessment

The first step is to create a list of what each person needs assistance with, as well as what symptoms and changes they’ll likely experience in the future. Be as detailed as possible. It will help you match what a community offers with the issues aging parents are struggling with.

Think through the tasks we all have to do every day—known as the activities of daily living—and how easily each of your parents can complete them on their own. You’ll likely find that one of your parents is assisting the other with these tasks—when a couple has been married for many years, it’s very common for one spouse to compensate for another. So, make sure the more independent partner is honest about how much support they are providing.

Families often find it helpful to schedule an appointment with the seniors’ primary care physician as they are planning. The physician can assess their health and offer input on what you should expect to see in the coming days and months.

Honesty and Open-Mindedness Are Important

Be objective and keep an open mind as you evaluate your options. Many senior living communities offer several different types of care on the same campus. By focusing your search efforts on those, you will likely begin to see where on a campus each parent would enjoy their best quality of life.

A parent with dementia might find their depression lessens when they live in a memory care community where caregivers are trained to meet their unique needs. Their spouse might be a good fit for independent or assisted living within the same community. Even if they aren’t able to live in the same apartment or suite, knowing they are close enough to spend their days together can make this process easier for everyone.

Be aware, too, that the stereotypes you might have about different levels of care might not align with the reality. And that can be a good thing. For example, senior couples and their adult children may be surprised to learn that an assisted living community can often accommodate different types of care needs. That flexibility can allow residents to enjoy privacy in their own apartment while also knowing caregivers are nearby 24/7.

Schedule a Personal Visit to an ASC Location Near You

ASC offers a wide range of care options, from independent living to assisted living, memory care, long-term care and rehabilitation. One of our experienced team members will work with your family to help find a solution that meets each of your parents’ needs. Call the community nearest you to set up a time for an in-person visit!

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