The Hunters researched several memory care centers before moving in and ultimately decided on Carrington Cottages, which opened in January of 2017. “It was the nicest and newest place, and the people were so friendly,” David says.
The biggest selling point, though, was the fact that both David and Linda could move into the memory care center together. The couple have been married for nearly 46 years, and David did not feel comfortable with having Linda live in a care center without him. “I wouldn’t have put Linda in a facility if I could not be there with her,” David says. “I would have hired someone to come help at the house.”
Safer, Happier and Healthier in Care Homes: It Means Everything for Couples to Stay Together
Many caregivers, particularly those caring for relatives who need constant medical care and supervision, suffer from caregiver fatigue or burnout because of the near-constant demands of caregiving. The need to balance many different roles – that of caregiver with being an employee, spouse and parent – can also be overwhelming. “You fit your life into the nooks and crannies of someone else’s life,” Ray says.
Being able to stay with Linda has been ideal because David knows she is getting the care she needs, and he is not overwhelmed by the tasks that need to be done each day. David doesn’t enjoy cooking, so feeding Linda and himself at home had become an onerous chore. David loves that Carrington Cottages prepares good, nutritious meals; that way he and Linda both eat well with minimal effort.
In addition, the nurses take care of administering Linda’s medicines, so David no longer worries about making sure she takes her medicine at the appropriate time. Although he appreciates the many benefits Carrington Cottages offers, perhaps his favorite is the laundry facility. “The laundry room is right next door, so it’s only five steps away,” David says.
Pam Orange, Certified Nursing Assistant at Carrington Cottages, says the facility has several couples residing there. “It is very helpful for them to both be there,” Orange says.
“They watch out for each other. David guides Linda and helps her get ready for bed, and it helps that he knows what she likes.”
For each of the couples living there, the wives suffer from dementia, and as Orange explains, the husbands are very helpful. “They are so generous with their patience and tolerance,” Orange says.
“Neighborhoods” at Carrington Cottages Make It Feel Like Home
Carrington Cottages strives to create an environment similar to what residents experienced at home. The facility is divided into neighborhoods named after towns in Botetourt County. “That division of neighborhoods allows for a more intimate, home-like environment,” says Susan Thomas, Executive Director of Carrington Cottages.
Because David has a car, he has the freedom to leave Carrington Cottages to go to the American Legion events he enjoys attending. “I love to be around a lot of people,” David says, “and this gives me more freedom to do that.” David also enjoys shopping for clothes for him and Linda when he goes out. “David is a snazzy dresser,” Thomas says. Knowing that Linda is being well cared for by Carrington staff enables him to enjoy these activities without worrying about her. When he is not there, Linda can interact with the other residents and the relatives and church friends who visit her.
Both spouses stay busy at Carrington, with plenty of time to engage in fun activities, including bingo, trivia, exercise, music, balloon volleyball, bowling, and Bible study. “The activities are very invigorating,” says David. “Some residents are in wheelchairs, but that doesn’t stop them.”
Linda, a retired elementary schoolteacher, loves to sing. Before she developed dementia, she played flute and piano, and was very active in church choir. At Carrington, she is happy to have the chance to sing during church services. “I love to sing, and I enjoy singing with other people,” Linda says.
The opportunity to stay together at Carrington Cottages enables Linda and David and other couples like them to enjoy participating in the activities they love—with the people they love—in a safe and caring environment. “Memory care is changing for the better,” Orange says, and the Hunters are a testament to its many benefits.