Assisted Living for Couples

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General information about assisted living for couples

Seniors have various options when it comes to their retirement, including assisted living facilities. These senior living communities usually welcome senior adults over the age of 62, and married senior couples are welcome. The minimum age requirement is around 55. Most importantly, ALFs allow couples to live together, for as long their health allows it.

Why should senior couples consider moving into an assisted living community?

What is assisted living? Assisted living represents an innovative concept of retirement, with each senior living community offering seniors room and board, as well as access to healthcare and services. All assisted living home residents benefit from a wide range of amenities, which target both physical and mental health. Seniors become part of a community that encourages an independent lifestyle, with minimal assistance provided by the staff. Whether they are married or single, ALF residents enjoy the plenty of opportunities for socialization and interaction.

Why should a senior couple consider moving into an assisted living facility? Well, once you reach a certain age, you might realize that it has become difficult for you and your spouse to handle everyday chores. As you are no longer young, taking care of your property can transform into a burden. By moving into an assisted living facility, you will no longer have to worry about chores and housekeeping, as such tasks are handled by the staff. In addition, you can keep living with your spouse, exactly as before.

From a different perspective, it is worth mentioning that ALFs provide access to healthcare services, which might be difficult to access in your own home. This takes the burden off the spouse, contributing to a better state of health on the long term. If a senior suffers from dementia, for instance, the staff can handle his/her complex needs. Many assisted living centers feature memory care units specifically designed for seniors with memory care needs. The same goes for those who require specialized care, such as diabetes care or tracheostomy services. Such assistance can bring peace of mind and release the pressure experienced in having to care for a loved one.

Assisted living for couples - services

As mentioned above, senior couples who move into assisted living facilities benefit from a wide range of services. These services are meant to increase the overall quality of life, allowing seniors to enjoy their retirement to the fullest. Among the most commonly-offered general services, there are: housekeeping, general maintenance, errand running and shopping, Internet and telephone access, scheduled transportation (including non-medical), 24/7 security, meal planning and preparation (including dietary adjustments), emergency response system, laundry and linen service.

Elderly couples receive assistance with the activities of daily living, such as dressing, eating, grooming, toileting, bathing, and oral hygiene. The assistance offered is minimal, as assisted living facilities generally encourage residents to be as independent as possible. Some senior living facilities restrict the assistance offered to a maximum of three or four ADLs per week. Others are more permissive, depending on the health and abilities of the resident in question.

Transportation is offered for both medical appointments and non-medical causes. Senior couples might also benefit from specialized care, including limited skilled nursing, wound care, diabetes care, and tracheostomy services. Medication management is available in most assisted living facilities. The staff can observe residents while taking their medication, providing reminders and helping them open various bottles or blisters. In addition, they might monitor them, to make sure they are following the doctor's prescription. If the resident is unable to handle this task, the staff can administer the respective medication.

It is worth mentioning that assisted living facilities only allow registered nurses to administer treatments to residents. Some treatments, such as insulin shots, might require specialized training. Also, not all ALFs allow the staff to handle more complex treatments, but they usually accept third-party care providers on the premises. The cost of such services, when coming from third parties, is covered by the resident in question. Also, as you will see below, residents who suffer from dementia benefit from additional care, should the respective facility have integrated memory care units.

Each assisted living facility is free to decide on the actual range of services offered, but in general they all follow the same path. Prospective residents are encouraged to check the services provided by each ALF before committing to a particular assisted living community.

Amenities for couples in assisted living

Upon visiting an assisted living facility for the first time, you will be presented with the amenities available. You will be happy to discover that many of these facilities are targeted at senior couples, with benefits from both mental and physical health. What can you expect in terms of amenities? Let's see!

If you are looking to stay physically fit, you might consider amenities that can help you in this direction. For instance, did you know that most assisted living facilities now have swimming pools? Many times, these are located both indoors and outdoors, and the swimming pool is heated for your own comfort. You and your spouse can also visit the fitness center or gym, attend yoga classes, or go on hiking and walking trails. In some ALFs, there is even physical therapy offered, so do not hesitate to take advantage of it.

For seniors who are more interested in mental sharpness, you should know that many ALFs have learning centers, where you can take various courses. Some senior living communities pair up with local universities, allowing seniors to attend continuous education courses. Additional amenities that you might in assisted living facilities include: library, computer room, lounge, social clubs, painting studio, beauty salon/barbershop, woodworking shop, gardening area, cafes. As with services, each ALF might provide its own amenities, meant to help residents spend their time in the most pleasant way possible.

As you will see for yourself, a large percent of the amenities available within assisted living facilities are intended to promote interaction between residents. In this way, senior couples do not feel isolated, depressed, or anxious. Surrounded by people who are interested in the same things as they are, seniors can enjoy their retirement and adapt more easily to life within such a community. Even the meals are planned and offered in an environment that encourages socialization, so that no one feels alone.

Memory care for dementia seniors

What type of care is available in assisted living centers for people who suffer from dementia or Alzheimer's? As the number of seniors who suffer from Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia is increasing, it should come as no surprise that more and more assisted living facilities now have memory care units. These ALFs accept senior adults who have been diagnosed with such conditions, regardless of the stage in which they find themselves. Usually, these residents undergo a thorough assessment to identify their complex needs and requirements.

Within memory care units, seniors benefit from general services, such as the ones described above. Depending on the severity of their condition, they might receive more or less assistance with the activities of daily living. The staff might handle medication management for them, especially when it comes to advanced stages. In addition, they will benefit from constant supervision, to keep the risk of injury down to a minimum.

For married couples, the possibility of memory care bears great importance. Imagine that one of the spouses suffers from dementia, dealing with confusion due to cognitive decline. The other spouse will have to bear the burden of care, which might affect his/her health on a long-term basis. On the other hand, upon moving into assisted living facilities, couples can remain close to one another, without the burden of having to care for each other. They can see each other every day, when if they are not living together.

Studies have shown that seniors who live in the safe and structured environment of an assisted living facility feel less stressed and/or confused. Many ALFs have meal plans that contain diets especially created for dementia residents. Residents enjoy a set routine, with extra support from the staff when it comes to everyday living. However, they are allowed to manage their own time, choosing activities that suits their needs and interests.

It is also worth mentioning that memory care units are structured in such a manner to prevent the risk of wandering. All doors have keyed entries and alarms, elevators can only be operated with codes, and outdoor spaces are enclosed for safe walking. In some facilities, seniors receive tracking brackets, so that their location can be monitored at all times. Dementia amenities are designed to improve both the cognitive function and memory, engaging residents who suffer from various stages of dementia.

If you are trying to decide on a particular memory care unit, these are some of the things you should consider:

  • How is the respective facility organized (layout, physical environment)?
  • Is the staff trained to deal with dementia residents? Are they available 24/7?
  • Are customized diets available? Do residents have access to engaging activities?
  • Is higher care available? Does the respective facility accept third-party care providers?
  • Are financial assistance programs allowed to cover the cost of memory care?

Room options for senior couples

Assisted living facilities might have different types of living units available for couples. If you are in the process of finding the right ALF for you and your spouse, you should book virtual tours of each facility and analyze the living prospects they have to offer.

Most ALFs offer private apartments for couples, with access to specialized care and assistance with ADLs. Generally speaking, these living units must have a minimum square footage, bathrooms with accessibility features, modern appliances, and a fully functional kitchen. Each community might offer its own layout, allowing residents to add small personal touches. Some assisted living facilities offer unfurnished apartments. Private apartments allow residents to live as independently as possible, with access to everything they need on the campus.

Luxury condominiums are available in some assisted living facilities, being reserved for those with a higher budget and offering the highest possible level of independence. These generally offer an added level of comfort, with higher privacy for specialized care. Some of these condominiums are decorated in a fancy style, with stylish furnishings.

Couples might also choose to move into bedroom-style units, as these cannot accommodate more than two residents. These private rooms are equipped with bathrooms that have accessible features, emergency response systems and storage spaces. Some might be accompanied by a small sitting area or kitchenette. With regard to the cost, these have more affordable fees, being suited for couples who need privacy but cannot afford the cost of an apartment-style unit.

Dementia residents might consider moving into a memory care room, with the living environment being especially structured to their needs. As a general rule, these living units are spacious, with a reduced number of fixtures and furnishings. On the other hand, they are equipped with safety features, meant to protect the resident from injuries and minimize confusion. High-tech features might be available in some living units, but these are usually reserved for luxury ALFs.

Religious services in assisted living centers

For many seniors, religion is an important part of their daily lives. When considering assisted living, they will most likely search for a facility that offers religious services. Given that they have practiced their religions for the better part of their existence, it is only normal to be on the search for an ALF that allows them to continue on the same path. With spiritual life as priority, many communities now offer such services, including a chaplain who is available at all times.

Interestingly, religious services are not available not only in faith-based facilities, but also in other types. The benefits of a fulfilling spiritual life are clear, and many residents enjoy such services, along specialized care and other necessary services. Chaplains are happy to provide spiritual guidance and they will help residents deal with difficult moments, including when it comes to illness. Some ALFs might also offer transportation to churches in the area or allow visits from various pastors.

Moreover, there are numerous assisted living communities in which religious holidays and traditions are celebrated. This can be of great comfort for residents who are living away from their family and friends, usually feeling alone around those moments. Depending on the residents' interests in religion practices, ALFs might provide additional services, including weekly worship service, bible study, prayer service, etc.

The increased availability of religious services can be beneficial for those who suffer from dementia, contributing to a slower progression of the disease. Moreover, it has been proven that spirituality can help one deal with major life challenges. The immediate availability of a chaplain or pastor can be of great use for widowed spouses, offering them the opportunity to deal with grief in a healthy manner.

Religion can also provide seniors with health coping mechanisms in case of chronic conditions. Through prayer and spirituality, seniors can maintain a positive state of mind, and keep their illnesses in check. Seniors who suffer from terminal illnesses can benefit as well from religious services. These are some of the reasons for which more and more ALFs are committing to providing such services; they want to take care of physical and social needs, as well as the spiritual ones. Even when such services are optional, many seniors take pleasure in their availability, feeling less lonely as a result.

Pet-friendly policies in assisted living centers

In the past few years, more and more assisted living communities have started to accept pets, recognizing the benefits in terms of physical activity and socialization. Seniors who walk their dogs everyday enjoy a better state of health, and there are plenty of research studies that have confirmed pets are beneficial for those who suffer from Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.

Couples who desire to move into assisted living facilities together with their pet should do a thorough research first. They should check the policy of each ALF before committing to a particular one, and make inquiries about the acceptance terms. For instance, there are certain communities that do not accept dogs of larger breeds, or specific pets, such as lizards or large birds.

What are the main benefits of having a pet around? Well, as mentioned above, seniors who have a pet around enjoy higher levels of physical activity. Moreover, it has been shown that pets give owners an increased sense of purpose, a reason to enjoy life. Even for couples, who enjoy each other's companionship, pets counteract the effect of loneliness. They can help one recover from grief, and provide a coping mechanism for dealing with the loss of a spouse, close friends or relatives.

In pet-friendly assisted living facilities, there are fewer major health events recorded. In addition, residents who suffer from dementia are more prone to socialization thanks to their pets. The rates of depression, anxiety, and loneliness are more reduced, and seniors enjoy a state of calm, with a lower risk of chronic stress. The actual physical touching of a pet can do wonders for one's health.

If you are preparing to move into an ALF together with your pet, there are a few things to consider. For instance, you will have to factor in the expenses associated with caring for your pet, including feeding, grooming and veterinary care. Moreover, there will come a point when you might not be able to look after your pet anymore. It is for the best to consider a potential solution for when that time comes. Remember that certain pets have a risk of liability, should they hurt other residents or damage their property.

Average cost of assisted living for couples

One of the major things to consider when it comes to assisted living is the cost. There are numerous factors that influence the fees to be paid, including: location of ALF (city and state), types of services and amenities offered, degree of care and assistance, etc. According to the most recent statistics, the average monthly cost of assisted living is of $4,300 per person. Usually, assisted living is cheaper than nursing home care and memory care, but it costs less than independent living.

As opposed to continuous care, assisted living does not have additional costs. There are no entrance fees to be covered. However, it is worth mentioning that some facilities allow residents to benefit from specialized care offered by third-party providers. In this situation, the cost for the respective service will have to be covered by the resident in question.

Often times, the cost of assisted living is influenced by the care provided. For instance, dementia residents often have to pay higher fees, as they benefit from added assistance, supervision, and specialized care. Couples do not have to pay double fees, as they usually share the same living unit, but they will have to cover additional costs, such as the ones for medical care, meal plans, and other expenses. In planning your retirement, such expenses will have to be considered.

Couples are advised to look at various assisted living facilities before deciding. They should search for ALFs not only in their state, but in others as well, as the average cost of assisted living can vary considerably throughout the country. There are other solutions to cover the respective fees, including using your retirement fund and personal savings. Long-term care insurance and life insurance policies might be used, as well as reverse mortgages and veterans benefits.

Assisted living is one of the best options to consider when it comes to your retirement. As you have seen, it has a lot of advantages to offer, starting with the fact that you can keep living together with your spouse. You can benefit from a wide range of services, including housekeeping, medication management, and scheduled transportation. In addition, you have access to various amenities, such as meal plans, gyms, and beauty salons.

Remember that some of these assisted living facilities accept seniors as young as 55, so applying early is always a good idea. Many ALFs have integrated memory care units, which means they will also accept seniors who suffer from Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. Couples can live in apartment-style units and enjoy a private lifestyle. These senior living communities offer weekly religious services and most of them accept pets.

With an average cost around $4,300, they are more expensive than independent living, but these senior living homes do offer a great deal of benefits.

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