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Are Couples Allowed To Live Together in Senior Living? 

Published: Dec 30, 2022. Last Updated: Jan 8, 2023.

Aging can really take a toll on couples, especially when decline in health changes the dynamics at home. When a senior couple experiences this, it gets challenging on each other’s part to take care of their spouse’s needs and it gets even harder when they have to look after their own wellness too. This is where senior living communities come into the picture, but the question is, can couples live together in one facility? The answer here is yes, there is a wide range of options for senior living communities that allow senior couples to live together.

However, most of the time, senior couples have varying care needs. For example, one requires an advanced level of care, say, assistance with accomplishing activities for daily living (ADLs), while the other is still fairly able and healthy. This is just one of the instances that may affect the decision-making process that is involved in choosing the right community for senior couples. The good news is, many senior living communities offer a variety of activities and services that can accommodate the varying interests and individualized needs of seniors.

Independent Living for Couples

If both of your parents are still predominantly healthy and able to care for themselves, they can choose to live in a vibrant senior living community and enjoy a maintenance-free living with access to a full range of activities that they can choose to participate in. There are many benefits of moving in an independent living community, and it includes being exposed to ample opportunities for social engagement while being provided with optional assistance when needed. At most independent living communities, you will typically find residential suites, apartments, condos, or one- or two-bedroom homes that have different spaces to fit the couple’s personal style and needs.

Assisted Living for Couples

Senior living is a multi-level spectrum, and assisted living falls somewhere in the middle of this continuum. Senior couples who are unable to live alone and need assistance with their Activities for Daily Living (ADLs) such as bathing, eating, taking medications, grooming, and keeping doctor’s appointments can benefit well from the services and amenities of an assisted living community. The residential setting here empowers independence while providing the needed assistance at the same time.

For couples who need specialized care and at the same time a maintenance-free lifestyle, considering an assisted living community can be a good move. There are a variety of residential unit layouts that you can choose from, like studios, one-bedroom apartments, two-bedroom apartments, and even single-family detached houses.

Memory Care for Couples

It is an inevitable situation for one couple to have a different set of needs. If one of your parents is showing signs and symptoms of memory loss, while the other spouse’s health starts to fail as well, your parents can still enjoy each other’s companionship. This is because there are certain assisted living communities offering memory care with an upgraded care plan for both spouses to receive assistance according to their individualized needs. In some arrangements, the spouse with memory issues will have to be housed in the community’s memory care section to participate in special activities that nurtures memory care needs. The other spouse with a relatively intact cognitive health can go on the day to enjoy other activities in the community. In other cases, the couple can come together in one house or apartment for the rest of the evening, while in some cases they have to be separated, but at least at a close proximity to allow them to still see each other when one visits.

CCRC’s for Couples

Perhaps the most viable solution for senior couples with diverse needs is to move to a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC). A CCRC is a senior living community that can provide multiple levels of care such as independent living, assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing care. This allows couples to receive the support they need while enjoying each other’s companionship all the same. The most common scenario is when one spouse starts to exhibit a noticeable progression of dementia, while the other spouse is still in good shape. At a CCRC, one can be easily moved to a memory care facility in the same community campus while the other can still enjoy living independently. As the needs of older adults change over time, they can smoothly arrange their care plan accordingly without having to move to a different community.

How to Look for the best senior living options for you parents

Study these essential tips to know how to come up with a solid plan in seeking the best senior living community for your loved ones:

Know their specific needs

The first step is to assess both your parents’ individual needs. Find out whether one or both of them need assistance with accomplishing their ADLs, or whether one of them have dementia or Alzheimer’s. Study the different types of senior living communities and what they offer in terms of care. If your parents have a unique set of needs, ask whether your prospective senior living community coordinates services according to varying levels of care needed by your parents.

Ask them about their preferences

Take your parents’ decisions as the most important determining factor in the journey to finding the best senior living community for them. Ask them about certain details that they like or dislike. What hobbies do they enjoy? What are their preferences in terms of services and amenities? Always prioritize the things that matter most to them, and find a community that would make them feel at home and comfortable.

Talk to them about your options in mind

Don’t be silent about your considerations, discuss it openly with them. Share with them the information you have gathered about prospective options. Explain to them the reasons behind your suggestions to help them navigate through the overwhelming information that is involved in senior living.

Let them decide for it

At the end of the conversation, let your parents take the lead in deciding their living situation. Unless they’re mentally incapacitated, they get to decide for this crucial stage in their life. You can raise your concerns, but the final say is still up to them.

Will you pay double for both of your parents?

No, as long as they are under the same roof. Generally, the cost of senior living depends on the level of care needed, on their medication, or other needs that may arise. Some communities require payment for the residential unit and an additional sharing fee for the second person, which in this case, is your spouse. The price difference should be directly determined based on the services that each spouse requires. For example, one partner needs a higher level of assistance in accomplishing ADLs, while the other is still able to do everything with no help at all. The payment terms here will add up based on the first partner’s care services, and other household maintenance services that both spouses may decide to enjoy, like laundry, housekeeping, yardwork, and transportation services.

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About the Author

JM Guiang

Writer & Researcher

Elder Guide LLC

Inspired by fresh ideas and wise words, JM Guiang, Communications degree-holder, and Elder Guide writer, finds profound joy in writing quality content and insightful articles that redefine seniors' perspective on aging with grace and confidence.