Finding Assisted Living Care for Couples: 2 Highgate Husbands Share Their Stories

older couple sitting on a bench together

In a perfect world, Hu and Clara would have had a couple months to find the right senior living community, and they would have found it together. But the couple, married since 1973, never talked about advance care planning and long-term care.

“No one expects to have any health problems,” Hu says. “We didn’t.”

But about eight years ago, Clara had a stroke, which gave Hu two weeks to find assisted living care for couples.

“I looked at two or three places, and they both tried to separate us,” he recalls. “In one place, we even had to eat in different dining halls. I walked out after I heard that.”

Couples Care at Highgate Senior Living

Then his friend told him about the Couples Care program at Highgate Senior Living. With both assisted living and memory care available, couples can either live together in the same suite or be just a short walk away from each other regardless of care needs.

 “We share an assisted living apartment,” Hu says. “I wouldn’t have come [to at Highgate at Bozeman] if we weren’t going to share an apartment. This is our home now.”

At Highgate, team members handle the meals, medications, housekeeping, laundry, dressing, hygiene, and even nighttime necessities for the spouse in need so the other spouse has some time and space to address personal needs and interests.

This allows both spouses to put an end to the stress and focus on simply enjoying their precious time together.

 “I like the fact that I can call on help when we need it, and if we don’t need it, it isn't forced on us,” Hu says. “It allows me to take care of Clara to the extent that I can, which is just about everything.

“But I’m an old man now, too,” he adds with a chuckle.

As Hu starts to need support with activities of daily living or medical needs, he’ll be able to get the care he needs, too.

Getting Support When You Need It

Just ask Fred, who lives with his wife, Penny, at Highgate at Temecula. Finding assisted living care for couples was critical for Fred, who was providing Alzheimer’s care for Penny at home. Penny wasn’t walking or talking, and when Fred stopped driving, being home became confining and stressful, he says.

He was taking on a lot and knew that extra assistance would help a great deal.

He spoke to his daughter about their changing needs, stress, and his desire for socialization. The most important thing to Fred was that he could be with Penny to ensure the quality of her care while also gaining access to things he was really needing in his life.

“He almost moved into a different community, but at the last minute, they told him he couldn’t feed his wife,” says Tiffany Van Heel, marketing coordinator for Highgate Senior Living. “He got a hold of Wendi, and she assured him that they would be able to stay together and accommodate their needs. He knew he had found the right place.”

Now, Fred and Penny spend time together in their apartment.

“This quality time, coupled with her in-house care, allows for him to be social,” Van Heel says. “He cares for the garden, plays pool, takes walks around the building, and enjoys trivia.”

Finding Assisted Living Care for Couples

If Hu could tell couples who are hesitant to move to assisted living one thing, he’d say, “Don’t wait for a health crisis to begin the search for senior living.” Instead, start searching when both you and your spouse can be part of the decision-making process.

Just like you should research communities ahead of time, there is also value in moving to an assisted living community before you need to, according to Fred. You can make friends, build a support system, and take advantage of the community’s activities.

“Participate in everything,” he says. “I needed socialization, and this was one of the things that I wanted [when I was finding assisted living for me and Penny]. Get out and meet everyone and participate.”

Whether you want to enjoy activities tailored to couples or need assistance from care partners so you can go back to focusing on quality time with your spouse, Highgate Senior Living offers a variety of services and recreational activities just for couples. 

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