Life expectancies are expanding as people receive better care and retain their physical health for longer periods. When a married couple reaches an advanced age, there will likely come a time when they cannot remain independent any longer. At this point, both parties may need an assisted living facility if they want to remain together. Learn how a couple can ensure that their retirement community fits its situation and manages the needs of both partners.

Determine the Budget

Before taking any steps toward an assisted living placement, it’s necessary to consider finances and determine a budget. Paying for double-occupancy accommodations will be more expensive than a single-occupancy rate, so it’s wise to anticipate a significant cost for these services. Insurance or Medicaid may offer some relief from expenses, so check policies to learn specific terms. If the couple has retirement savings and/or investments in place to finance this long-term care, find out the details to get a full financial picture.

Research Facilities

Explore various facilities located in the general geographic vicinity. Consider the physical location if it’s important for the placement to be near family or a health care facility. Focus the search on facilities that have accommodations for couples, because not all centers offer this service. It’s also important to explore how assisted living centers handle couples when one partner needs more care than the other partner. Initially, both patients might need minimal care, but this could change at any time for one or both partners. Find out how the facility handles separating spouses when the level of care changes.

Find Suitable Accommodations

It’s typical for living quarters to be designed for single occupancy, so the unit will need to be large enough to accommodate two people. Ensure that the accommodations provide enough care while still affording the couple with enough privacy to give them a sense of control and independence. Most centers offer planned activities, meals, and daily monitoring by staff for medications and wellbeing. Find a center that offers the types of services and activities desired, with the option of adding more help in the future, when necessary.

Plan for the Future

Implement a plan to manage unforeseen health issues that may occur in the future. For example, if one person becomes more infirm and the staff recommends a move to a different center, consider planning a move for the partner left behind into a smaller unit to reduce expenses. By making arrangements ahead of time, it’s possible to reduce anxiety and stress that typically accompanies these situations.

Although the transition from complete independence to assisting living placement is rarely easy, it can be simpler with advanced preparation and attention to detail. Planning for a couple’s move to a care facility may be less traumatic in some ways because the two partners have each other to lean on for support and companionship. Once the transition is over, family can feel positive about having a safety network in place for the aging couple.

The health and safety of residents are the most important factors to consider when comparing assisted living facilities, but it’s also important to balance these factors with a fun and comfortable environment. Ideally, a retirement community should meet both an individual’s physical and social needs. To make sure you (or your parent) are properly cared for, complete these steps before making a retirement decision.

Commit to Researching

The key to finding the right assisted living facility for yourself or a loved one is to begin researching possible facilities ahead of time. The leading reason for assisted living placement is major health decline. In many cases, families are caught off guard by a sudden health transition and forced to scramble to find a suitable place for their senior. Consider an assisted lifestyle early and make a careful decision to ensure security and success in your new home. It is also beneficial to form a financial plan and estimate a budget before your search. Senior care can be expensive, especially for residents who require specific healthcare services. Be sure to research the costs associated with certain health concerns and include them in your estimate.

Prepare for the Transition

Adjusting to life in a retirement community can be difficult at first, so take the time to prepare yourself or your elder for the transition. Assisted living is usually group oriented and can seem strange to someone who is used to independence. The best way to alleviate initial culture shock is to work on accepting the realities of your new environment before moving in. Make multiple visits and interact with current residents and staff. It’s also helpful to create an activity schedule for yourself. Most places will offer a wide array of activities for individuals of varying physical ability.

Consider Specific Needs

When choosing assisted living, it is important to consider your, or your loved one’s, specific needs. If you are looking for couple-friendly retirement, your needs and preferences will be much different from a single retiree or an individual who requires special care. Many retirement centers don’t offer two-person rooms, and they are typically more expensive where they are offered. Other places are more assistance oriented and concerned with health. These may not offer the degree of independence or types of activities you enjoy, so identify your needs and wants early to help you narrow your choices and direct you toward the best and most comfortable environment for you.

Factor in Health Decline

Lastly, don’t disregard the possibility of changes in your health when choosing your new home. Independence may be a key component in your decision-making process at the moment, but the idea is to set yourself or your loved one up in a long-term retirement arrangement. It is a good idea to consider your health problems when touring your options. You could also have a discussion with your doctor about possible future issues and ask for advice or recommendations.

If your healthcare provider recommends a facility, that’s a good place to start your search. You can also ask your peers for leads, or do an online search. Call and ask to schedule a tour and consultation at multiple places before deciding on one.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.”

Matthew 5:10

Christian persecution is swiftly escalating worldwide. Persecution is the act of treating someone unfairly or cruelly due to racial, religious, or political beliefs. A human rights agency, China Aid, reported in 2014 there was a 300% increase in Chinese religious persecution. Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens, stated, “Although the Chinese persecutors might be described as tame compared to the atrocities of the jihadists or so-called ‘holy-warriors’ in Arabia and Africa, the China Aid report suggests that Christians have become a target of choice on a global scale.” David Curry, president of Open Doors, a Christian persecution tracking agency, reported Christian persecution reached historic levels in 2014, and 2015 is shaping up to reach even higher levels.

It’s not just over there, either. Persecution is also increasing in the United States. Earlier this month a sheriff in Alabama was forced to remove Scripture decals from all patrol cars in reaction to a lawsuit threat from the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. The decals displayed a prominent Bible verse, “Blessed are the peacemakers,” citing Matthew 5:9. Last month, cities in both Arizona and Florida voted to change pre-council meeting prayers to either include all religious prayers or stop them completely. Additionally, a high school football coach in Washington State is under investigation for voluntary, post-game prayers. An elementary teacher in Texas was accused of proselytizing because she displayed a cross in her elementary school classroom.

These cases are mild compared to the recent mass shooting which just took place on the campus of Oregon’s Umpqua Community College. According to a woman whose grandmother was onsite as the massacre ensued, the gunman targeted Christians.

“The shooter was lining people up and asking if they were Christian,” she described. “If they said yes, then they were shot in the head. If they said no, or didn’t answer, they were shot in the legs.”

Things are heating up. In America Christians have lived in relative peace for centuries, but it hasn’t always been this way. Historical Christians have faced persecution from the inception of the Church Age. Early Christians were assaulted on many fronts and by many different political and religious groups. All but one of Jesus’ original twelve disciples was martyred for their faith. Peter was crucified upside-down. Paul was beheaded. The remaining disciple, John, was exiled to hard labor in his old age to the island of Patmos, where he wrote the Book of Revelation. The Great Persecution of Christians at the end of the third and beginning of the fourth century was the height of Christian persecution. Four edicts banned all Christian practices in the Roman Empire, and eventually all Christians were forced to sacrifice to Roman gods or face execution. Christians were used as bait for lions in the great Roman coliseums. They were dipped in wax and burned alive, sawn in two, and generally faced harrowing ends.

During that time, however, Christian conversions exploded. People came in droves searching for the Truth of God’s Word and the story of the resurrected Jesus. Satan’s plan to eradicate Christianity from the planet using hardship had the reverse effect. Christianity grew exponentially. More persecution resulted in a stronger church. Because Satan couldn’t press them to surrender, he changed tactics. His new strategy was to infiltrate, divide, and conquer. In 313 AD Constantine I, the new Roman Emperor, legalized Christianity. A century later Christianity became the Roman state religion. Suddenly it was fashionable, even lucrative, to be a Christian. False conversions rose. However, true repentance and sincere church growth slowed.

Because Jesus said Christian persecution would increase as the end of the age drew near, it may benefit us to know what to expect.

  • If you live your faith, you will be persecuted. Jesus said this Himself. Once you became a Christian, you essentially became an enemy of the State. I’m not trying to be melodramatic. However, Ephesians 6:12 says our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. This means there is a network of wickedness in our current, fallen world that adamantly opposes all Christians. They are working together to bring you down. Their only purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy you. When you bowed your head and received the ultimate forgiveness from your Savior, you became Target #2. Your ticket to Glory is also your mark for harassment.

  • You are not alone. You are Satan’s Target #2; Jesus Himself is Target #1. Jesus was continually persecuted during His earthly tenure. Although Jesus was flawless, Satan stirred the hearts of many to harass, agitate, and berate the Son of God. At one point Jesus and His followers sailed the sea to minister to the city of Gadarenes. Satan’s minions stirred a demonically-inspired storm so fierce they almost sank. However, after commanding the wind and waves to cease, Jesus reached the other side and cast demons from two possessed citizens of the city. The demons, searching for a new home, made one in the city’s herd of pigs. Confused and in distress, the pigs overran an embankment and were killed. The populace begged Jesus to leave because He was an impediment to their financial health. Before His death, Jesus was falsely accused, mocked, spat upon, punched, slapped, kept awake for an illegal, all-night trial, stripped, plucked of His beard, flogged, nailed, and crucified. He warned His followers they would be treated similarly. Your Brothers and Sisters are continually harassed and tormented for their identical faith. You have good company in your sorrows. Be encouraged as we comfort one another.

  • Your Heavenly reward will far outweigh your current heartache. You face trouble on all sides now. We are hard-pressed, but not destroyed. Struck down, but not struck out. Life is tough and it’s even tougher when your Light shines. You face criticism and mocking for your faith; often you don’t understand why the world is so blinded. You’re frustrated and sometimes wonder why you are despised. You are commanded to pray for your persecutors, but who feels like expending valuable prayers on someone bent on ruining you? Remember, life is temporary. A special reward awaits those who endure. The Bible says the Spirit of God rests upon those who undergo trials. Also, although all believers in Christ will enter Heaven, it will belong only to those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. (Matthew 5:10) This indicates a unique power or authority in Heaven which will belong only to mistreated believers. A special crown, the Crown of Life, will be given only to martyrs. (Revelation 2:10) Those who are martyred during the Seven-Year Tribulation will rule with Christ during the Millennial Reign. (Revelation 20:4)

Jesus said persecution would increase as we draw closer to the end of the Church Age. This means we could potentially see powerful anti-Christian sentiments sooner than we think. Jobs could be lost. Relationships could be severed. People may mock and criticize you. You may be injured or, worse yet, even lose your life for your beliefs. Take heart. It really does get better than this. One day we will be amongst our brethren and will never regret a single time we took a stand for our beloved Savior. Stand strong and lift your head high, fellow Saint. Your redemption is near.