What You Need to Know When Your Spouse Is Moving to Assisted Living

When people think of assisted living, they typically focus on an older individual who currently lives alone and will be better served living in this type of long-term care community. The reality is that there are a good number of situations in which a married couple makes the decision that one of them needs the added care and assistance obtained by living in an assisted living community while the other spouse is still able to live at home.

If you find yourself in a situation where your spouse will be moving into assisted living, you both undoubtedly have a good many questions and concerns. This article is designed to provide you some basic information and guidance if you are in a marriage and your spouse will be transitioning into an assisted living community. Some key matters to bear in mind in this regard are:

  • Choose an assisted living community that supports unification of couples
  • Work as a team when making decisions about assisted living
  • Continue to work as a team in regard to other matters
  • Make your spouse’s assisted living apartment a true home
  • Visit your spouse often – but give your spouse room to settle in 
  • Continue to spend time together in your marital residence
  • Select an assisted living community that can accommodate you in the future

Choose an Assisted Living Community That Supports Unification of Couples

While in theory they really should be, not all assisted living communities are created or existing equally when it comes to being consistently supportive of the unification of couples. What being supportive of the unification of couples means is establishing an environment in which a married couple is able to spend meaningful time together when one spouse lives in an assisted living community and another does not. 

When considering different assisted living options, the manner in which a facility caters to the unique needs of a married couple with one spouse transitioning into this type of long-term care and one spouse remaining in the marital home is something that needs to be discussed thoroughly with each prospective facility. You need to be certain that you fully and completely understand community policies and procedures in this regard.

Work as a Team When Making Decisions About Assisted Living

When the decision has been made that a spouse will be better served moving into assisted living while the other spouse remains at home, it is important that the couple continues to work as team. Of course, teamwork as a married couple is not a perfect venture. There can be conflicts and lack of cooperation between spouses from time to time. However, merely because a married couple will be residing at different locations doesn’t mean that spouses can suddenly abandon all efforts to work together when making decisions about assisted living.

Continue to Work as a Team in Regard to Other Matters

Decision making teamwork when one couple is in assisted living and one is not extends beyond matters related to long-term care. Again, as was just noted a moment ago, the need to maintain efforts at teamwork and cooperation does not end merely because spouses have different addresses. 

Make Your Spouse’s Assisted Living Apartment a True Home

When it comes time for your spouse to make the actual move into assisted living, you both should work to ensure that your spouse’s apartment or room is turned into a true home. This oftentimes mean moving into the assisted living space some of the moving spouse’s favorite home furnishings and other items. 

The spouse remaining in the marital residence may be reluctant on some level to part with some items. That is understandable but it’s not as if these pieces of furniture and other items are vanishing from the scene. They will remain in the family. Moreover, they will continue to be used by both spouses because they both will be spending time in the assisted living apartment or room. 

Visit Your Spouse Often – But Give Your Spouse Room to Settle In

As was mentioned a moment ago, the spouse who “remains at home” will be at the assisted living facility once the other spouse takes up residency there. It is important for the spouse remaining in the marital home to visit the other spouse often. Of course, the desire to spend time together in and out of the assisted living facility naturally should exist.

There is one caveat to spending time with the spouse in assisted living. When the spouse initially moves into assisted living, there is a bit of a juggling act to consider. The desire to visit together at the facility needs to be tempered a bit and for a while to allow the spouse now in assisted living a chance to settle into life in the community. 

Continue to Spend Time Together in Your Marital Residence

A couple with one spouse is assisted living should also continue to spend time together in the marital residence. Typically, a person in assisted living has a considerable amount of independence and is more than able to spend time away from the community, particularly when married to a person who is not in the facility. Provided that a resident of assisted living has the physical and mental acuity to be away from the facility, overnight stays and similar more extended stays in the marital residence typically are possible. 

Select an Assisted Living Community That Can Accommodate You in the Future

On a final note, when it comes to what you need to know when your spouse is moving into assisted living, an important consideration is associated with the question of: What about the future? By this it is meant that the day may come when the spouse not residing in assisted living may also need to transition into this type of long-term care facility. When considering a community for a spouse in need of this type of facility, research needs to be undertaken in regard to options to ascertain which of these communities will be able to accommodate the spouse living in the marital home at this time. 

A married couple can maintain a meaningful, loving, and manageable relationship when one spouse moves into assisted living. By paying heed to the recommendations outlined in this article, the odds for success in this regard greatly are enhanced.