Can a couple with different care needs live together in independent or assisted living?

Author: Catherine Couture, LICSW, MPH
A couple sits and enjoys a meal together.

Many couples rely on each other as they age for companionship and support. Yet as you get older, the health of one person may deteriorate and make it hard to stay at home. Often, a couple is living at their home and one spouse is beginning to decline and require more assistance with activities of daily living, like dressing and bathing, while the other spouse is still independent. Sometimes, one spouse begins to experience cognitive decline and may need memory support. This puts stress and pressure on both people: the caregiver, who needs to provide 24/7 support, and the other person who may not be living in a situation where all their physical and social needs can be met.

Couples who find themselves in this situation often are seeking a solution where they can both get the care and support they need while continuing to live somewhere together. In addition to spouses and partners, adult children who struggle with caring for their aging parents aim to find options that keep them together if possible as well.

Many senior living communities - like NewBridge on the Charles in Dedham, MA and Orchard Cove in Canton, MA - can and will accommodate couples where one person needs a little more care, while still living together. By moving to a senior living community with multiple levels of care including independent living, assisted living and nursing homes, it allows both people to get the care each needs while still living together or being in the same community. At Hebrew SeniorLife, we listen to your individual needs and are able to accommodate changes in care in the future, which many other senior living communities are not equipped to do.

What are some questions to ask if your loved one needs more care?

  • What levels of living and daily support are provided and are they provided in one easy to navigate community, or spread among many buildings? 
  • If my partner lives in a different level of care, can they still access programs, dining options, etc. with me in other levels of living?
  • What are the options for having private care in an independent living apartment, and what are the pros and cons of taking that approach vs. accessing different levels of living and care?
  • How will I be supported as a caregiver? Caregiver support groups? A social worker? Other resources?
  • Who on the care team will help guide us in understanding all the care options?
  • How will I know my voice and goals will lead the conversation - rather than feeling "forced" to make a certain decision?

How do senior living communities coordinate services? 
It’s important to understand how a particular community coordinates their care and services and how they are aligned behind what matters most to each individual. Before you consider which option is best for you, check in with the all members of the care team to make sure they’re aligned and work seamlessly to deliver services.

For example, at Orchard Cove, the staff meets regularly with residents and asks meaningful questions to find out what matters most to each individual, helping to guide that person in making the best decision about their care and goals. With a couple where one person needs more support, this process helps inform the best possible care decisions as needs change and develop.

Here is an example of a couple who moved into a Hebrew SeniorLife community and were cared for at different levels:

Mitch and Joan moved into assisted living. A few years later, Joan was diagnosed with cognitive decline and had to move to memory assisted living on the same campus to receive additional support and care. Mitch decided to move to independent living and enjoys the benefits the community has to offer like socialization, daily activities, and dining options. Mitch can still visit Joan whenever he wants, while Joan receives the proper care she needs.

It’s always a good idea to begin planning your future now. In the face of uncertainty, considering a senior living community with multiple levels of care is a viable retirement option to make sure both people will receive the proper care now and in the future. If you’re interested in learning more or aren’t sure where to start, you can call 617-982-1349 to speak to a Hebrew SeniorLife advisor. 

 

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Award-Winning Senior Living

Orchard Cove, in Canton, MA, offers living options that span the full continuum of care, including independent living. The community is bustling with activities, from life-long learning to entertainment.

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Modern Senior Living

At NewBridge on the Charles in Dedham, MA, you'll find modern senior living on a 162-acre intergenerational campus. We offer a complete continuum of care to support your best life, as you define it.

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Catherine Couture

About Catherine Couture, LICSW, MPH

Director of Community Life, Orchard Cove

Catherine Couture joined the Orchard Cove team in 2014. For the preceding five years, she was a close colleague of the Orchard Cove team in her role with Hebrew SeniorLife Private Care. Cat has served in both social work and...

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