Moving to a retirement community is a major life change. Many people assume that if two spouses have different care needs, they cannot live together. Being separated from a life partner can result in temporary feelings of stress and anxiety and, in the long term, develop into loneliness, which has been shown to affect health negatively.
As we grow older, so, too, do our relationships. Scientific studies repeatedly prove that people involved in happy long-term relationships enjoy numerous health benefits, both physical and mental. Many couples have spent their lives together—living together, raising a family together and retiring together. They cannot imagine living without one another. Couples traverse life’s ups and downs together so why should living within retirement communities be any different?
Today many retirement communities can accommodate couples who want to live together, even if each partner has different needs. Supporting both partners’ individual needs allows many seniors to live together as safely and independently as possible, receiving a range of services to meet each person’s physical, mental and spiritual needs.
At Country Meadows, couples can continue to live as vibrantly as they choose. And in most cases, they’re welcome to do so together while the team within our retirement communities supports their individual health needs. Retirement communities should value the peace of mind of keeping couples together— it’s their home, after all.
Many retirement communities offer special shared living options, allowing spouses with different care needs to stay together whether it’s living independently with a spouse in assisted living or personal care, supporting a spouse’s early-stage memory loss in assisted living or personal care or staying together in a secure memory care neighborhood.
In 2021, Country Meadows residents Patrick and Joyce Bedner will celebrate 57 years of marriage. While living in their own home, Mr. Bedner realized he could no longer provide the type of care his wife needed for Alzheimer’s disease. He had his own health issues and, after suffering bruises and injuries from falls, he knew it was time to seek help.
“We looked at a lot of [retirement communities] but many don’t have memory care as they do here. Some were too small and we would be separated and unable to see each other,” recalls Mr. Bedner. “We heard good things about Country Meadows and it’s turned out very well for both of us.”
Mr. Bedner receives therapy services while his wife lives in the next building, receiving memory support. Despite living in separate buildings, the couple sees each other every day and is often spotted taking walks, holding hands, enjoying meals with friends and spending time together. “I love my wife and seeing her is the light of my life,” says Mr. Bedner.
Another couple lives together in an apartment in a secured neighborhood at a different Country Meadows retirement community location. The wife requires intensive care for Alzheimer’s disease and her husband, who lives independently, refused to live anywhere but with his beloved wife. Since moving in, the husband can relax knowing his wife gets the care she needs. He has more freedom than the duo had at home because he knows his wife is safe even when he enjoys activities with other independent living residents. He says, “I go to exercise class and meet some of the fellows to chat with them about current events and sports. I’ve adjusted to living here to be with her, and I need to be here.”
According to Country Meadows’ Executive Director of Memory Support, Joel Kroft, “We look at every couple individually to determine what is in the best interest of both spouses and their varied needs. We recognize and honor the decades of commitment they’ve had in life together. If a couple is able to stay together, one spouse can spend as much time as they want with their partner but can leave the apartment to do activities on his/her own, without having to worry about caregiving—they don’t have to worry about their loved one because we’ve got them.”