The idea of senior living can be stressful for couples who need extra care but don’t want to be separated from each other. After all, many senior couples have been together for a large part of their lives, and separation from their partner may cause them to feel anxious. What couples don’t often realize, however, is that many senior living communities have options for seniors who want to live together. Choosing a senior living community can be tricky as you need to work together to accommodate both partners’ needs. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you begin the process.
1. Be proactive
Whether you’re ready to move into a new community right away or you still have a few years before you need to relocate, it’s important to begin researching your senior living options while both of you are still healthy. Consider a variety of potential scenarios, and plan for each of them. For example, in five years if both of you are still able to care for yourselves without assistance, will you move into an independent living community, or will you wait until one or both of you need more care? If one of you needs care and the other is independent, what type of living situation will you consider? If both of you need extra care, who will help you move? Be sure to share your potential plans with your family, too, so they’re not caught off guard when you decide to sell the family home or ask them to help you choose a community.
2. Assess both of your needs
As a couple, both of you have individual needs and interests, so determining exactly what each of your needs are when it comes to your health and lifestyle is an important step in assessing what type of senior living environment will suit you. Maybe you want to live somewhere with plenty of social events, but your spouse is more reserved and doesn’t need as much social interaction. Or maybe you want physical activities and exercise classes, but your spouse no longer has the same level of mobility as you. Consider what is important to each of you, and look for a living situation that can accommodate you both.
3. Be aware of lifestyle changes
Getting the care you need in a senior living facility is important, but you should be aware that your new home will come with changes to your living environment. For example, if you’re in an assisted living home, care staff may enter your home regularly to care for you or your spouse. You will probably need to downsize to adjust to the size of your new space, and you’ll want to take some time getting to know your neighbors in your new community. It’s important that you and your spouse research and visit a variety of senior living communities so you can gain a better understanding of exactly what changes you should anticipate in your new home.
Compromise can be difficult no matter how long you’ve been married—and when it comes to choosing a senior living community and a specific level of care to suit both of your needs, you’ll likely need to compromise. One of you may be eager to join a senior living community, and the other may be hesitant. Or one of you may require a higher level of care than the other. Whatever the case, be aware that both of you may not get everything you want, but what’s important is that you both have what you need to stay healthy and enjoy life together.