When One Partner Has Dementia and the Other Doesn’t: Senior Living Options

when one partner has dementia

When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, it’s a heartbreaking moment in life. Care may initially be provided at home but as a progressive disease, it is not uncommon that the individual’s needs will eventually exceed what a family member can offer. When this occurs, many turn to professional memory care. 

However, when that person is part of a couple, separating the two can make the situation even more difficult. 

It doesn’t have to be that way. 

The family may want to explore dementia senior living options that ensure care is available while allowing the two to remain connected for as long as possible. 

When Is Memory Care Needed? 

As the disease progresses and the individual’s needs increase, the following behaviors may ultimately require around-the-clock care, including: 

  1. Difficulty with memory and recognition 
  2. Wandering behavior that increases personal safety risks 
  3. Difficulty eating and drinking 
  4. Sleeping irregularities resulting in exhaustion for the caregiver 
  5. Increased agitation or anxiety 
  6. Decline in caregiver’s health due to the stress of responsibilities 

The Benefits of Memory Care 

One of the disadvantages of remaining at home and bringing in additional care services is that the other spouse or partner generally remains as the primary caregiver during the day and nighttime hours when the care attendants are not in the home. 

Providing this continually high level of attention can take a toll on the caregivers and leave them tired, in declining health and in need of respite. 

When families begin searching for communities that provide specialized care, they appreciate discovering the following services: 

  • A safe and secure residence and community 
  • Assistance with daily tasks 
  • Memory care programs and therapies 
  • Activities tailored to the individual’s abilities and interests 
  • Opportunities to remain connected with other residents and staff 
  • Compassionate approaches if the individual is feeling anxious or agitated 

Download Just The Facts: Your Guide to Memory Care  

Dementia Senior Living Options When One Partner Has Dementia 

Senior living communities offer many advantages but they can also help provide a safe and engaging home environment while supporting your parents to remain together as a couple for as long as possible. 

The following options might provide the best solution for your family: 

Together in Assisted Living 

It’s important that the best living environment is considered for both parents so they’re each encouraged to live their highest quality of life. 

Assisted living communities may be an effective answer in the earlier stages of cognitive impairment. They provide help with daily tasks, such as bathing, grooming and getting dressed so both parents will have the assistance they need. 

The community provides healthy meals and your parents can take advantage of the many activities and social events to remain engaged and interact with others. 

It also can be a relief to the caregiving parents to have assistance and know that they are not alone if additional help is needed. 

Together, in separate neighborhoods 

Another option for families is an assisted living community that also offers specialized memory care. If both assisted living and memory care services are available in the community, your parents might be able to share an apartment while receiving the type of care each need.  

If that isn’t possible and the parent with dementia must move into a separate memory care area, it may still be a positive situation for the other spouse. Not only can they rest easier knowing their partner is being well taken care of, but they would still have easy access to their loved one daily and possibly might even be able to participate in their care, if desired.  

Another advantage to living in the same community would be the opportunities to share meals or to join in activities or social events together. 

At Home and Memory Care 

If one partner needs to move into a memory care community and there isn’t an assisted living option for the other spouse, families can still work together to help both of their parents remain as connected as possible. 

Parents remaining at home should be encouraged that their loved ones are well attended to and safe. Offer to accompany them as often as possible to visit the community and take part in shared activities or to share a meal. 

Inquire about the possibility to arrange for group meals periodically if you can gather other members of the family. Ask the staff for any additional ideas to help your loved ones maintain a strong connection. 

Discover life at a Northbridge community 

If you’re considering senior living for yourself or a family member, we hope you’ll visit one of our communities. You’ll find a maintenance-free, activity-filled and engaging lifestyle to help support your wellness goals. 

You’ll also discover many benefits in a Northbridge Senior Living community, including our Signature Program S.T.A.R. Club (Sharp Thinking, Active Residents) – which offers our residents several activities to participate in with others, including: 

  •       Daily exercise group
  •       Walking club
  •       Tai Chi & Yoga
  •       Nutritional classes
  •       Library and book club
  •       Museum outings
  •       Artists in residence program
  •       Multi-generational music
  •       Genealogy Generations 

We’re here to answer any of your questions and invite you to download our complimentary guide Just the Facts: Your Guide to Memory Care. Please contact us if we can provide further information or if you would like to schedule a personalized tour. Download Just The Facts: Your Guide to Memory Care  

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