We often get asked if couples can stay together even though their health needs are very different. The short answer is “yes”. Glenvale Villas was designed for exactly that.
However not all aged care communities allow for this choice. In a recent article in the Aged Care Guide, researchers claim that for some couples, separation causes much distress (understandably!).
The issue is that servicing the care needs of an individual can be quite challenging for staff. Many care facilities have steered their management of care to a more institutionalised approach. It’s the reason numerous nursing homes are traditionally set up more like hospitals than villages. It is a tried and tested infrastructure that works for care requirements. However, we haven’t come across many people who relish the idea of LIVING in a hospital-like environment. Of course! It’s especially unappealing if you are healthy!
The idea of being separated from a loved one is extremely upsetting for anybody of any age. In our society we feel it’s only right that people have, at least, a choice when care becomes a permanent requirement in your life.
What happens to those left behind?
We often worry about the effects of separating life long couples, and placing mum or dad in an aged care community. The disorientation and stress can be life changing. But the person left behind also faces enormous stresses and challenges.
In our grandparents day, home roles were often clearly divided. If the wife did all the domestic chores, and now she is in an aged care home, how well would the elderly husband cope? Many couldn’t cook or even turn on the washing machine.
Those left behind are now at a great risk too, even though they may not require nursing care. It’s not uncommon for their quality of life and life expectancy to drop after separation.
Or an additional burden then falls to the adult children, with increased care of the ‘healthy’ parent left alone.
Our double homes
Did you know that Glenvale Villas offers a limited selection of “double homes”? These are homes specifically designed for couples or family members. For example, two sisters want to move in together, or a husband and wife. When they have vastly different care needs, most traditional nursing homes have no option but to separate the two people.
Our double homes have an internal connecting door. This allows the residents to feel like they are living together in the same home but also enjoy another level of independence. Many prefer separate bedrooms at that age (depending on the snoring volume!) or some privacy if they need care or rest without impacting on their partner.
In our ‘only pay for what you need’ philosophy, this is an ideal scenario for couples. The care requirements are tailored to the individual, but the living arrangement is joined. This brings much peace of mind and contentment, with minimal impact to the relationship. It’s a beautiful way for a couple to enjoy their senior years maximising their quality of life, even when health starts to decline.
Of course, keeping couples together is not just for double homes. Our normal homes can also cater for two with our unique system of continuous individualised care.
Every day we see the benefits of keeping life-long partners together. Because that is how it should be – in sickness and in health.