You’ve probably heard the old saying, “For better or for worse, but not for lunch.”
In other words, retirement can be hard on a marriage.
Retirement is the time when spouses spend most — if not all — of their newfound free time at home.
With each other.
With not much else to do but get in each other’s way.
Spending too much time together in retirement can actually be harmful to some marriages. That’s because for many older married couples, constantly being together prevents them from developing or growing their own hobbies and friendships. When couples spend time exploring and nurturing their own interests separately in retirement, they bring more excitement and passion into the relationship. Each spouse also has more opportunities to thrive as an individual.
What steps should be taken to help retired couples continue to thrive and live happily together through their next stage of life?
Believe it or not, the answer could well be living together at a senior living community, such as a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC).
This may best be explained when we use the new term now often used in place of “CCRC”: Life Plan Community.
While technically the same exact thing as a Continuing Care Retirement Community, a Life Plan Community is a senior living environment where older adults can fully and purposefully enjoy their retirement years together, knowing they have a smart plan in place for the rest of their lives.
CCRCs, or Life Plan Communities, are certainly beneficial for all older adults, but are especially ideal for married couples.
Here are six reasons to help explain why older adult couples are often happier living in a senior living community in retirement.
- Active retired couples can easily meet other people who have common interests. He may like playing poker, tinkering with small engines and going on early-morning walks; his wife may prefer to play bridge, read and discuss the latest fiction best-seller with friends and go on afternoon bike rides. Both enjoy being outdoors, but he likes gardening, while she enjoys hiking.
At a CCRC, this couple should have no trouble meeting many other people — couples, singles, widows and widowers — who share their hobbies. Most senior living communities offer an ever-changing and very robust monthly activities calendar, as well as a lengthy list of resident programs, clubs and excursions. All of this makes it so easy to meet and mingle with other residents who share similar interests, even if his and her interests are wildly different from each other.
- Older couples can more fully enjoy their favorite activities together. CCRCs offer retired older adults a completely maintenance-free lifestyle, both inside and outside their residence.
No more worries about maintenance or daily chores means more quality time together with much less stress. Instead of cooking meals and cleaning up the kitchen afterward, a couple can enjoy dinner out on a date night together. Imagine leisurely conversation over a fine chef-made meal served in one of the senior living community’s dining venues. And retired couples love trading in the hassles of lawn care and landscaping upkeep for more time exploring their surroundings or getting to know their fellow residents.
- Each spouse can continue to maintain their well-being and independence as they age. Everyone knows that inactivity and social isolation are terrible for your health. Maintaining an active lifestyle — not just physically, but intellectually, emotionally and even spiritually — leads to longer lifespans, reduces the likelihood of developing certain diseases, reduces the incidence of depression and anxiety, and may improve thinking abilities and help older adults who have memory problems or dementia. Senior living communities like Viamonte offer residents ample and diverse opportunities to stay engaged in mind, body and spirit. Even better, there are often so many different opportunities for engagement at a senior living community that spouses may often spend some of their time exploring their own interests. That can add a bit of surprise and spark between spouses.
- The married couple finally has just the right amount of room. Young married couples often have families to raise. So they live in large multi-bedroom, multi-bathroom homes with two-car garages. Once the kids grow up and move away, the now-older married couple continues to live in the same large house. Except now, they no longer need all the space and all the stuff that’s in it.
The benefit of a couple living in a CCRC is they can move to a right-sized home that fits their space needs. Retired older couples who no longer need the big house and rooms of furnishings can now choose the floor plan that works best for them at this stage of their lives together.
- The lock-and-leave lifestyle gives older couples complete freedom. Senior living residents often say one of their favorite amenities is the 24/7 on-site security. That’s because residents know the full-time security staff at their CCRC are always keeping an eye on their independent living residences and their vehicles. Residents don’t even have to worry about their mail stacking up in the box or newspapers piling up at their doorsteps. The community takes care of collecting all that for them.
Couples have complete freedom to leave the community for days or weeks at a time to visit with their families, friends and grandkids, take off for a cruise or go on a long-awaited trip overseas.
Many couples who live at a CCRC say they don’t even worry about locking their doors behind them; they know when they come home everything will be just as they left it. Often, it’ll be even cleaner than when they left it, because housekeeping continues to come in for cleaning.
- A CCRC offers healthcare services that change as the couple’s health needs change. No two people age at the same pace. One half of a married couple may be in excellent health and able to live just fine in independent living while the other half of the couple needs assisted living or memory care.
This married couple needs different levels of care; a CCRC is able to meet their individual needs all on the same campus. The couple is able to live at the same senior living community in two different levels of living or sometimes even remain in the same apartment with the assistance of in-home services. The care that one spouse needs is provided by trained healthcare experts. For married couples who don’t live at a CCRC, the burden of providing care can be emotionally and financially draining, or even cause couples to be separated later in life as one has to move from the home.
Find your happiness at Viamonte at Walnut Creek
Whether you’re married or single, you’ll be delighted by how quickly you’ll find your happy place here. Viamonte at Walnut Creek offers its residents oodles of opportunities to stay healthy, discover their purpose and age gracefully.You may not even realize how much happier you could be — until you come for a visit and see for yourself. Learn more about the Viamonte experience at our senior living community by calling us at 925.621.6600 or contacting us!