Senior couple walking together.

Independent Living for Couples: What You Need to Know

Did you know that the percentage of married senior couples has increased over the past 50 years? That means that more of us are looking for senior living arrangements that support both our needs and those of our partner/spouse.

You may be surprised to know that some studies indicate that more than 25% of senior couples sleep in separate beds, often in separate rooms. Some reasons for this can be snoring, CPAP or other machinery or just plain insomnia and incompatible sleeping habits. At most independent living communities, you’ll find apartments, villas or townhomes that offer varying amounts of personal space for senior couples, including options for one- or two-bedroom homes. Many also offer varying degrees of customization (type of flooring, countertops, paint scheme) to fit your personal style and needs.

The benefits of independent living for couples

·  Active social life

Independent living for couples offers the ability to participate in entertainment and educational programs as well as hobbies (new and old) while meeting neighbors who share your passions.

·  Typically less expensive per person

The cost of independent living for couples can be nearly half of what it would cost for two single people because most communities charge just a small fee for the second person.

·  Flexibility for different needs

Many independent living communities offer optional assistance with activities as well as potential home health, senior care or additional medical care that can help couples stay together in their residence longer and, should one of you need additional levels of care, you can receive it within the same community, so no need to uproot yourselves again.

What happens if your partner or spouse needs extra help?

As mentioned above, you’ll find that a majority of independent living communities understand this concern and have the capability to provide the right level of senior care for both you and your partner.

For instance, many independent living communities also contain senior rehabilitation centers, assisted living neighborhoods, skilled nursing services and/or memory care centers that offer varying levels of care while not requiring a couple to move again should the health of one or more partners decline.

Guaranteeing you and your partner get the right level of care

Before your contracts are finalized, you and your partner/spouse will be asked to undergo a geriatric functional assessment. This is standard and nothing to worry about. It is simply a way for the independent living community to understand your individual needs. During this assessment, which will be completed by a physician, nurse, social worker or other aging life care professional, you will provide information on your behaviors, chronic illnesses, medications, dietary restrictions, communication abilities, and your ability to perform basic activities of daily living (dressing, bathing, toileting, eating, etc.).

This assessment helps determine if a particular independent living community is the right fit for you as a couple. Generally, the partner or spouse who needs the highest level of care will provides the measure of whether or not a particular independent living community can accommodate you as a couple and the best living arrangements that will work best for you both.

Tips for navigating independent living for couples

·  Research communities ahead of time and narrow down your list of favorites

·  Understand your personal finances so you know exactly what you can afford

·  Ask about extra fees to avoid surprises later and to be able to better compare communities

·  Check reviews and speak with current residents to better understand what it’s really like to live there before you make a commitment

·  Take a tour of the community and Be prepared with a list of your priorities and questions

Your best life as a couple awaits

When your retirement is free from worry, comforted by high-end hospitality and surrounded by thoughtful amenities, you’re free to focus on your life together as a couple. That’s what you’ll find at The Buckingham, Houston’s refined senior living option.