Assisted Living: Spousal Relationships and Social Challenges

By Pamela D. Wilson, CSA, MS, BS/BA, CG

Couples living together in assisted living communities may presently be a rarity; however the prevalence of couples living in assisted living communities is expected to increase. What challenges do couples experience when moving to and living in an assisted living community?   How might couples with different care needs and personalities live successfully with others in an assisted living community?

Social versus Self-Isolating

Some spouses are extremely social, desiring to be out in the community rather than remaining in the assisted living apartment. This social desire may be in direct conflict with a spouse who prefers isolation or the quiet of the assisted living apartment. The spouse who chooses to remain in the room may be viewed as anti-social by other residents. The social spouse may be viewed by staff and residents as uncaring toward the less social spouse. Provided that these spouses have lived with this social and isolating pattern for many years, both can live successfully in an assisted living community by continuing to follow their daily patterns and habits and ignoring others who might judge.

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