Marriage in Assisted Living

Oftentimes when we discuss long-term care options for people in their Golden Years, we think of a solitary person that is considering moving into something like an assisted living community. We tend to overlook the fact that married couples sometimes move to an assisted living community together. In addition, sometimes a person living in an assisted living community will get married. That marriage could be to another resident of the community. It could also be to a person who currently lives outside the community but desires to move in after the marriage.

If you are a married couple considering assisted living, or if you are the child of a married couple who may be contemplating a move to an assisted living community, this article has been prepared for you. There are a variety of facts and factors that you need to think about if you are a married couple, or the adult child of such a couple, considering transitioning to life together in an assisted living community. The key points we discuss in this article are:

  • Looking for the right assisted living community
  • Costs associated with assisted living for a couple

We also closely examine what a married couple needs to consider as part of a due diligence process when spouses are thinking about assisted living as an option for them. As you will see, this process needs to be deliberate and not rushed.

Looking for the Right Assisted Living Community

As we stated previously, there are differences between assisted living communities. One of these differences centers on married couples taking residence in a particular assisted living community. There are some facilities that are not designed and structured to accommodate married couples. Thus, your starting point necessarily needs to be generating a list of those communities that can provide for married couples.

Once you identify those communities that do welcome married couples, a deeper due diligence dive is necessary. Part of this process needs to be touring facilities that make it on your list of prospects. When it comes to touring, you will want to visit a particular assisted living community more than one time. In this regard, you will want to visit a community on different days of the week as well as at different times of day to get a better picture of life in such a facility.

As part of your due diligence efforts, you will want to meet with an administrator to discuss your needs and the facility’s services, amenities, and so forth. You will want to prepare a list of questions you have in regard to a particular community. Some of these questions need to center on issues that specifically are important to you and your spouse as a married couple.

A couple considering a move together into an assisted living community will want to become informed about the activities, programs, and events available at a prospective community. Odds are that a couple shares some common interests. Nonetheless, it is also likely that each spouse has his or her own set of interests. Thus, you want to make sure that the overall programming at an assisted living community meets the needs of both you and your spouse.

Another key consideration is the level of care and assistance actually needed by each spouse. In some instances, a married couple is generally at the same point when it comes to the type of care assistance needed. In other cases, there might be at least some if not a considerable disparity in regard to the type of care and assistance between spouses that will be needed in an assisted living community.

Finding appropriate care and assistance for a couple with differing needs is something of a balancing act. It often comes down to a prioritization of wants and needs between the spouses considering a move into assisted living. Concessions are inevitable when dealing with two people at different places in their lives who want to continue living together. This reality carries into a juncture in life when a couple is thinking about whether assisted living is right for them.

What Are the Costs of Assisted Living for a Couple?

One of the challenging elements of contemplating a married couple’s move into an assisted living community is cost. The expenses of residing in an assisted living community vary for a variety of reasons that include:

  • The geographic location of a particular assisted living community
  • Type of living quarters desired in an assisted living community (room, apartment)
  • Amenities offered overall at a community
  • Level of care and assistance required by the resident (if a married couple desires to live in assisted living)

With these basic points noted, we turn to some more specific points about costs associated with assisted living for a married couple. Genworth, a financial services company, conducted a Cost of Care Survey in 2021. The survey revealed that the median cost for a one-bedroom apartment in an assisted living community in the United States is $4,500 per month.

If a married couple elected to move into an assisted living community apartment, that is the median average of the base expense they would face. This fee would include the basic services provided to one of the spouses. An additional fee of between $500 and $1,800 would be added to cover the care-related costs for the second spouse, according to a review of such expenses at assisted care facilities in different locations in the United States. This all calculates to a total estimated cost of $5,650.

It is important to again stress this is a median cost estimate. In other words, 50 percent of the assisted living communities in the country will charge above this dollar amount, while 50 percent will charge something below this figure.

In the final analysis, the decision of a couple to move into an assisted living community together can prove to be a positive stop on their life journey. The transition truly is best accomplished to the benefit of both spouses by undertaking comprehensive, thoughtful due diligence in advance of making any decisions.