Searching for a retirement home for a single senior is often a challenge for families, with many different criteria to consider and a difficult transition for the new resident. When a couple enters a retirement home, the family must take into account specific points related to the personal needs of each member of the couple and their desire to continue living together. So, without further ado, let’s dive into this blog and learn more about being in a relationship whilst living in a retirement home.
The couple in a retirement home- the challenge of a new place to live together
We have already written many articles to help you choose a retirement home for an elderly loved one or yourself. But what about when you’re considering entering a facility as a couple or helping your elderly parents find a place together in a nursing home where they can move as a couple to a secure living environment?
As the aging of the population becomes a reality, more and more people are concerned about the possibility of entering a retirement home as a couple. Nearly four out of four people aged 75 and over life as a couple, although more men (76% of men aged 75 and over) than women, who are often younger than their spouse and therefore more affected by widowhood, do so.
When one of the members of the couple is affected by the loss of independence, the prospect of entering a retirement home becomes a reality. For the spouse, the role of caregiver can become increasingly difficult if the person remains at home. If both members of the couple do not necessarily need daily care, few couples wish to separate. And yet, couples in retirement homes rarely represent more than 5% of residents.
1. Anticipate the search for a retirement home
Loss of autonomy and changes in health status are the main reasons for entering a retirement home, at least in the case of an institution for dependent elderly people. In this case, the choice of this type of home is often dictated by the impossibility of continuing to live at home, especially after a hospitalization. The search for a retirement home is then done in a hurry.
For a couple who wishes to choose their future living environment and avoid separation, it is important to anticipate this type of situation. By considering the options available, based on your desires and means, and the availability of your loved ones, you will have more time to search for and choose a suitable facility. If you are not ready when a crisis occurs, the choice may be more limited.
2. Put a plan in place to finance nursing home care
Putting an elderly person in a nursing home is often expensive, let alone two people. Even if the cost of a double room is lower than that of two separate rooms, it is a good idea to plan ahead. Good planning of your resources and possibly applying for financial aid for the elderly will help you cope with the high cost of a couple in a nursing home.
3. Prepare for life in a new place
While more and more couples are aging together, there are still very few couples in nursing homes, and the majority of facilities are designed for single people to fit into a community. Double rooms are not always easy to find. Beyond the technical considerations, living in a community can be a challenge for a couple who have been used to living together for decades.
For the couple and their loved ones, it is important to be aware of the difference between living at home together and living in an environment where privacy is more difficult to preserve. Even if each couple can have their own room, the presence of the nursing staff, the rules of the retirement home and the collective nature of this type of environment redefine the limits of privacy. Knowing this beforehand will help you better prepare for the transition between home and retirement home.
4. Consider the needs of both the couple and the individual
Different couples have different needs, just as each member of the couple may have different expectations and needs for medical care and social life. If one resident is healthier and more independent than the other or more social, check to see if there is an entertainment team that offers exciting and mutually appropriate activities.
If your partner wants to participate in a memory workshop, will you have the choice of a different activity closer to his interests? Make sure in advance that the retirement home is able to meet the social needs of both members of the couple.
5. Consider future changes in their health
Sometimes a couple may prefer to move into an assisted living facility in order to enjoy private living and continue to have maximum control over their private lives in an age-friendly environment. These facilities are an excellent alternative to home care for people whose homes are not suitable for them but may no longer be suitable in the long term if one of the spouses requires medical care.
When looking for a nursing home, find out what the policy is for residents whose medical situation changes during their stay to avoid unpleasant surprises. Whenever possible, it is best to move to a facility where continuity of care is possible from the start.
Sound off in the comments section below and tell us what you want to read next and if you want to read more about living in a retirement home with your partner.