Mom’s Alzheimer’s is getting worse, and it’s really taking a toll on Dad, who would still be meeting up with the boys for breakfast, spending days on the green, and traveling to see the grandkids if he wasn’t always taking care of Mom.
You know your dad would never leave your mom. They were high school sweethearts and have been married for over 50 years. He says she gets more beautiful each day — and you know he really means it.
You also know your dad needs more help. He’s doing the best he can to take care of mom, but he’s an 85-year-old, too. It’s getting harder — and more dangerous — to help her get dressed and bathed. Sometimes he even forgets to take his own meds. It’s started to seem like he spends all day getting her ready just so he can spend all night getting her ready for bed.
You and your siblings have started looking around at senior living options but have been disappointed to find that not all communities are designed to care for couples with varying needs: A lot of senior living communities don’t allow a couple where one spouse is right for independent living and the other requires assistance with activities of daily living to live together.
At Highgate at Flagstaff, which has both assisted living and memory care available as well as a unique Couples Care program, couples can either live together in the same suite or be just a short walk away from each other regardless of care needs.
“When a loved one receives a diagnosis of dementia, it’s life-changing, particularly for a couple who has shared their life together, ” says Rhiannon Samples, the Healthcare Director at Highgate at Flagstaff. “Caring for a spouse with dementia can be one of the most difficult tasks a husband or wife could take on. The physical wear and emotional roller coaster that lies ahead can be devastating. That’s why we pay extra attention to the types of programs and support we offer couples.”
Couples Care at Highgate at Flagstaff
Highgate’s Couples Care program is designed to provide options for senior couples to continue their life together, no matter their different needs. Because Highgate at Flagstaff offers both assisted living and memory care on one campus or in one building and because it offers higher levels of care, it can often accommodate couples.
If your mom has Alzheimer’s but your dad doesn’t, they can both move to an apartment in the assisted living community. At Highgate, team members handle the meals, medications, housekeeping, laundry, dressing, hygiene, and even nighttime necessities for your mom in need so your dad has some time and space to address his personal needs and interests.
This allows both spouses to put an end to the stress and focus on simply enjoying their precious time together. Your mom gets the caregiving support she needs — such as help with bathing and grooming — while both of your parents, and especially your dad, can take advantage of the community’s social life.
Couples Care in Memory Care
In assisted living communities such as Highgate, once your mom’s needs exceed what the assisted living staff can accommodate — if she wanders frequently, for instance — she and your dad can both move to an apartment in the memory care neighborhood on the same property.
Or if they choose, your dad could remain in the assisted living area while your mom moves to the memory care community, an environment that offers support tailored specifically for those with memory loss. This distance between the apartments usually amounts to a quick walk down a hallway or an elevator ride to a different floor.
Couples still spend a majority of their day together. They can dine together and still spend time enjoying the diverse activities calendar Highgate offers. Keeping memory care residents active and involved is key.
“With Couples Care, couples know that whatever happens, they can be together,” Samples says.
Community Life for Couples at Highgate
Activities at Highgate at Flagstaff include couples outings, date nights to favorite restaurants, and even couples game nights, where you might see residents playing games like the Newlywed Game.
For someone with dementia, a date night at a familiar place might be less overwhelming than venturing to a local restaurant, so the community occasionally hosts elegant dinners in the dining room for couples. Bouquets of flowers are placed on each table, and the menu might feature a T-bone steak, a baked potato, wine, and a fancy dessert.
Celebrating anniversaries is another important part of life at Highgate at Flagstaff. Team members work with couples to design their anniversary celebrations, whether that’s a date night, a group celebration, or a family get-together.
The Cost for Couples
One of the common misconceptions couples have about moving into a senior living community together is that they’ll pay double the price, which isn’t the case. Typically, the cost of senior living is affected more by the level of care needed than by how many people are residing in the community.
Although fees vary from community to community, many offer a fee-for-service contract. This means that your monthly payment covers housing, residential services, and amenities, and only the resident who needs higher levels of care pays for those services.
Regardless of where your parents live, they pay only for the services they need.
Couples Care at Highgate at Flagstaff
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.
If you’re curious about the Couples Care program at Highgate at Flagstaff, stop by the community for a tour.