4 Top Tips for Assisted Living Placement for Couples
Assisted living for couples can be an exciting new chapter in life––rediscovering new interests and passions, making new friends, and thriving together in a safe environment with the support and care on hand you need to live your best life. It can also come with its challenges, however, so keep these important tips in mind when considering a joint move to assisted living:
1. Do Your Research Early
Like any big decision, research will play a crucial role in helping you make the most informed choice regarding which assisted living facilities for couples make your list. Look online, talk to your local Council on Aging, ask around to doctors, friends, and family, and even look for literature around your local senior center.
Many assisted living communities offer couples a range of combined living options, even if their care levels vary. Being able to remain together and support one another through this big transition can be key to improved wellness and longevity on both sides. As much as possible, conduct research and tours early to make the entire process easier and less stressful. Waiting until a health crisis requires a move to assisted living can limit your options and possibly prevent you from being able to move together.
2. Find Out the Cost of Assisted Living for a Couple
The price tag on a quality assisted living residence for two people can be quite hefty. Remember, many assisted living facilities do not work with Medicare or Medicaid, so most of the costs are covered out-of-pocket by older adults and their families, via long-term care insurance, or by some other means (i.e., Veteran’s benefits, non-profit resources, etc.). A financial plan will go a long way to preparing your pocketbook for the expenses associated with moving as a couple to assisted living. Work with the experts who can help you research, strategize, plan, and even possibly save money––professionals like senior living advisors, Eldercare attorneys, person-centered social workers, and senior care and long-term care specialists can help.
3. Get Functional Assessments for Both Parties
Oftentimes, married couples in assisted living have differing needs when it comes to care. One may even have served as a longtime caregiver for the other until they were no longer able to meet the care needs on their own at home. Getting functional care assessments for both members of a couple is essential––these assessments will evaluate physical health, mobility, functional ability, mental health, cognition, and socio-environmental circumstances.
In addition, ask yourselves, on top of medical and personal care needs, what types of preferences exist for each person in regards to social interaction, fitness, and day-to-day wellbeing? Couples will want to look for assisted living facilities with knowledgeable and trusted staff they can rely on for care, as well as social activities and engaging programming that can fill the social and spiritual needs of both people too.
4. Think Ahead to What’s Next
While you and your significant other may live happily for years in an assisted living facility, there is also a chance that one or more of you may require more skilled care at some point. This often takes the form of a transition to a nursing home or memory care facility.
Ensure that you have all the information you need to plan ahead when doing your initial assisted living facility research. Ask about the process and ease of moving from assisted living to more skilled care within the same property, and find out what the facility policy is on holding rooms for extended hospital or physical rehabilitation stays.
For older couples, being able to remain living together, even when moving from independent to assisted living, can play a significant role in improving overall health outcomes. Taking the leap hand in hand will go much smoother when you do your research and plan ahead for health and care needs, finances, and long-term living goals.