Hans Noordhoorn did all he could to take care of his wife Anita at their home in Rancho Bernardo, Calif. Anita had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2006. He cooked their meals, helped her get ready for the day, and took her to fitness classes and other activities at Redwood Elderlink, a be.group service offering home care and rehabilitation therapy. But when Anita continued to lose self-sufficiency and began to wake up in the middle of the night, Hans knew he needed more support.
In June 2012, the Noordhoorns decided to move to Redwood Terrace, a be.group continuing care retirement community in Escondido, Calif. They lived together in independent living until it became apparent Anita needed more assistance. While Hans, 83, still lives independently, 82-year-old Anita now resides at Gannon House, Redwood Terrace’s memory care center. It was a tough choice: The move meant the two would have to live apart for the first time in their 53-year marriage.
“That was a difficult decision to make because I know she will never come back to independent living to be with me,” Noordhoorn says. “But I knew I couldn’t handle her care by myself.”
The Noordhoorns are one of many be.group couples dealing with the challenges of living in separate levels of care within a CCRC. Many moved into the community because of its continuing care benefits and have found other ways to stick together.
Hans takes comfort in the fact that he only needs to walk a few steps to join Anita in the afternoons for a stroll through the gardens. The Redwood Terrace staff helped him throw a big birthday celebration for Anita this summer, with her favorite chocolate cheesecake. In independent living, he can play golf in the morning, work out in the community’s fitness center and participate on resident committees.
“I try to keep myself busy as much as possible,” he says. “I know this is better for her.”
Watch this video to learn more about the benefits of staying together in a CCRC.