Recent research from the Census Bureau reveals that six percent of married couples in the United States today have celebrated 50 years of wedded bliss. With the average 65-year-old expected to live another 19 years or so, many of these couples find that their individual health care needs will begin to change as they continue down the path of aging. Sometimes, one spouse remains healthy and independent, while the other may suffer from chronic conditions and require assistance with some daily activities.
Because married couples have made a pledge to stay together in sickness and in health, it’s not uncommon for the healthier spouse to become the primary caregiver. However, caregivers are often faced with physical, mental and emotional demands in this new role, and are uncertain how to handle all the challenges ahead. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 80% of home caregiving is provided by an unpaid caregiver, who will spend an average of 20 hours every week on caregiving duties.
As the baby boomer generation reaches its retirement years, older married couples are starting to recognize the benefits of downsizing their homes and moving into senior living communities. After raising families and supporting each other throughout their respective careers, these seniors are seeking a worry-free lifestyle to enjoy their lives to the fullest extent.
Senior living communities often offer a variety of senior housing options, plus a continuum of care for added peace of mind. Independent couples may choose from home ownership in free-standing or manufactured homes, or rental options like duplexes or apartments. These communities offer a wide range of services and amenities, from daily meals in a restaurant-style dining room and scheduled transportation to off-campus events to planned social activities or fitness programs. Plus, 24-hour emergency services are usually available should assistance be needed.
Another benefit senior living communities provide to married couples is the fact that should one spouse’s health begin to decline, because of the varying levels of care offered, they can still remain living together on the same campus. One spouse may continue to live independently, receiving only a minimum amount of assistance, while the other may receive assisted living care or be placed in the skilled nursing community. The spouses who may have become the primary caregivers are relieved of any caregiving duties, allowing them to simply enjoy time with their loved one on a daily basis.
Studies have shown that seniors who move to a senior living community while they’re still healthy and independent stay that way long into their retirement years. This is why it’s important for couples to have a discussion about their future living needs sooner rather than later. Knowing what senior housing options are available and planning for future health care needs will not only allow them to enjoy their golden years to the fullest, but will also ease some of the worry loved ones may have regarding their future.
At Advent Christian Village, independent seniors have a variety of comfortable living options with amenities that make life easy. Own your own home, or choose from over 300 independent living rental options. Contact us to request more information.