Ph.D. Candidate Alison Rahn from the School of Behavioural, Cognitive and Social Sciences at the University of New England has completed a survey asking baby boomers what they want in aged care. It seems they want to share a room, and a bed, if they are a couple. Quite a natural request one would think. With a third of residents in aged care facilities being married or in a de-facto relationship there is obviously a strong need for facilities that cater for couples.
168 baby boomers participated in the online survey and 29 aged care workers were interviewed as part of Alison’s research. She also found that baby boomers wished to retain their autonomy, they wanted to make their own decisions about when they get up in the morning or go to bed at night, what they eat and who can visit. They said they wished to maintain their lifestyle and the interests they have always had.
Sharing a room and a bed is vital to a couple’s relationship, talking, regrouping, rekindling the relationship at the start and end of each day and kissing and cuddling is very important. There is evidence that separating partners can shorten their life, adversely affect their health and even cause depression.
Alison said that providers of aged care facilities need to look at their buildings and the size of the rooms to ensure there are an adequate amount of rooms for couples and the government needed to look at their funding instruments to ensure couples could remain together.
It has certainly been my experience as a Placement Specialist that couples have a strong desire to find a facility that caters to them with a shared a bedroom and double bed. It is also my experience that there are not that many rooms appropriate for couples and I have had to search hard to find suitable accommodation for my clients that are couples.