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Senior Housing: What to Do When Your Parents Have Different Needs



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Guest Post by: Annabelle Harris


While many couples dream of growing old together, everyone ages differently — and sometimes one partner requires nursing home care when the other has the option to remain independent as he or she grows older. These types of situations aren’t easy to navigate, but the following tips from The Care Company will help you to make the best possible decisions in the event that your senior parents have different housing needs as they age.

Compare Housing Options

If one of your senior parents requires nursing home care but the other doesn’t, you may not know whether to separate your parents or keep them together. In most cases, your parents will hope to stay together — but separating them may be best if one parent is experiencing memory issues and the other parent is unable to care for him or her at home. In other situations, the healthy parent may be able to move into a nursing home with the other.


Whatever the case, several options are worth exploring when one parent requires nursing care:


Home health care. Home health care agencies such as The Care Company offer 24/7 in-home nursing care, Alzheimer’s and dementia care, housekeeping and transportation services, companionship, and medication adherence support. These services allow both senior parents to remain at home with one another, even when one parent requires long-term medical care.

Senior living with a continuity of care. These senior living communities can meet the needs of both parents, as they offer independent living, assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing care services. Oftentimes, couples can live in the same apartment or in separate homes within the same campus. If one partner requires memory care, however, the other will typically need to live in a separate apartment.

Living in separate homes. If one parent requires nursing home care but the above-mentioned options aren’t feasible at this time, your family may decide it’s best to move one parent into a nursing home while the other ages in place. In some cases, the independent parent may choose to downsize his or her house and move into a smaller home or retirement community.

Finding and Paying for Nursing Home Care

If home health care isn’t the right option for your senior parents, you may need to find a senior living community for one or both of them. If both of your parents will be moving into the retirement community, it’s important to search for one that offers continuity of care — as one parent may require nursing care while the other only needs independent or assisted living services.


When it comes to paying for senior housing in Canada, you may choose to use money from personal savings, government or workplace pensions, an annuity or long-term care insurance policy, or proceeds from the sale of your parents’ home. If your independent parent decides to downsize into a smaller home or apartment, the proceeds from the sale of his or her house could help to pay for the nursing home expenses of one or both parents.


To calculate how much equity your parents have in their home, you’ll need to determine the current market value of the property and subtract the remaining mortgage balance from that amount. Redfin shares some tips to walk you through the process of calculating home equity.

Practice Patience and Compassion

Whether one or both of your parents will be transitioning into senior living, it’ll be a big change for each of them. As such, it’s important to remain patient and compassionate as your senior parents adjust to their new surroundings and the various changes in their relationship. You’ll also need to look out for signs of relocation stress syndrome in both parents.


Final Words

Growing older isn’t easy, and it’s even harder when one partner ages more quickly than the other. However, you can help your parents to make the best housing decisions in the event that one parent requires nursing home care long before the other. In many cases, your senior parents can remain under the same roof — and home health care services make that possible.


The Care Company offers home health care services such as nursing care, companionship, housekeeping, and medication adherence. To learn more about the services they offer, contact The Care Company at 416-422-CARE or by email.

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