Bill and Linda have been married for more than forty years. They grew old together. Unfortunately, as chronic illnesses and cognitive declines struck Bill, Linda has to undertake an emotionally and physically taxing role: caregiver. Aging also taking its toll on Linda's health but she can still take care of herself. It has become apparent that Bill needs assisted living, but Linda doesn't. Forty-six years ago, they made a vow that only death can make them part. How about old age? How about illness? How about immobility?
Here's what to do when one member of a couple needs assisted living:
Choosing the Right Facility
There a wide range of assisted living facilities that can serve the needs of Bill and Linda, both as a couple and as individuals. The couple or their children can consult among these facilities and tell about the situation. Representatives of these facilities can conduct a thorough needs assessment to identify the needs of the couple. For example, in the case of Bill, he may need specialized medical attention and care such as assistance in bathing, eating, and moving around the community. On the other hand, Linda can still take care of herself and her needs are regular massage for joint pains and occasional medical check-ups. The couple should find an assisted living facility that can provide these needs.
Financing the Services
Assisted living services could be expensive and putting a couple when only one needs extensive care seems impractical. However, this is not the actual case. In fact, only the spouse who has greater needs pays for a higher level of care while the healthier spouse can pay only for board and lodging. The cost of board and lodging can be as low as $1,500 per month. To save costs for the healthier spouse, there are also flexible pricing models such as fee-for-services. For paying only for the services that the healthier spouse needs, seeking for assisted living is cost-effective.
Individual and Shared Needs
Addressing marriage when deciding for an assisted living facility is tricky. If one member of the couple is healthy, he or she might want to retain their normal life such as being near the grandchildren or taking care of their garden. Likewise, it should also be understood that not all marriages are as loving as that of Bill's and Linda's. Some marriages had not been loving or supportive, so putting both of the couple in one facility could do more harm than good. Thus, when deciding for a couple, it is best to consider and respect both individual and shared needs.
When possible, in home senior care could be a great option. It will give one person the additional attention they need for help with basic daily tasks, and it will also help the other person by alleviating the share of work they need to do. Both people will get to remain in their home.
Bill and Linda and the rest of the older couples who have varying assisted living needs with their spouse, need not to be apart. If they still wish to stay together, there are assisted living facilities that cater to them.