When Couples Disagree About Assisted Living

By Michelle Seitzer / Posted on 03 November 2011

When it comes to making a decision about assisted living for a couple, things can get very complicated if they disagree. Siblings almost always squabble about what’s best for Mom and Dad, but if Mom and Dad aren’t on the same page either, moving forward is that much harder.

Let’s suppose Mom wants to move to assisted living because she is tired of cooking and housework, wants to be around others her age, and desires the added security of getting assistance with other daily tasks should the need arise. On the other hand, Dad wants to stay put in the house he’s poured time and money into for the past few decades, bringing help there as needed.

Affirm both of their feelings on the matter; recognize and applaud the value of both options. Work towards a compromise: suggest a short-term stay at an assisted living in the area. Hire temporary, part-time home care for a few weeks (someone to help with housework, for instance). If socialization is the big draw for assisted living, check out senior centers or groups in the area (i.e. church-sponsored or senior-focused volunteer opportunities). After these trial periods, come together and reassess the situation.

In a large family, it’s crucial that members do not take sides if the couple disagrees on where to go and when. Instead, focus on getting them to reach a decision they can be happy about.

There are 2 Comments about this post

  1. Marilyn says,

    This is exactly what is happening in my family. My mother went to an assisted care place after surgery, but complained about it, but it was good for her in many ways. Now that she is back home she says it was great and wants to go back with father. Father does not want to leave his home. They have in-home help and it works well, but they are still at odds. Should she leave him to live at an assisted care place? I ask if that’s what she wants and she says no, she only wants to go with him. He simply says no, he won’t go. Seems like he wins and she loses. Hard to see.


    on 16 June 2012 / 5:09 PM

  2. Marilyn, what a complicated and heart-breaking situation! It’s extremely difficult to know how to proceed in this case, when both want (and even need) different things. I hope for the best for your family. Any guidance we can offer?


    on 18 June 2012 / 12:18 PM


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