What to Do When a Spouse or Partner Needs Care

By Michelle Seitzer / Posted on 01 July 2011

As senior couples age together, difficult decisions must often be made when one individual needs the next level of care. It’s not an easy transition, especially for couples who have been together for decades and are not accustomed to being apart.

Also, depending on who has been responsible for managing the home (paying bills, grocery shopping, balancing the checkbook, doing laundry, preparing meals, etc.), the transition may be just as difficult for the spouse who does not move to a care facility, if that is ultimately the decision settled upon. Family members and friends should be sensitive to this possibility and be sure to check in with the spouse who is “left behind” just as often as with the one adjusting to a new living arrangement.

Some couples choose a continuing care community and make the move together, so that if and when a partner’s needs change, they will still be in the same building/on the same campus.

But a continuing care retirement community (or CCRC) is not the right solution for every couple. For those who want to keep their home for as long as possible, the first step may be to bring in home care for the individual who needs assistance.

Some choose assisted living; some need specialized Alzheimer’s care. In those situations, the spouse who stays at home will often select a care facility nearby so that frequent visits are possible.


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