Can Your Spouse Live With You In An Assisted Living Facility?

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional

An elderly couple may have different personal care needs, depending on the unique condition of each person. So when it comes to assisted living for couples, the individual's care needs should still be prioritized. Keep on reading to learn more on whether your spouse can live with you in an assisted living facility before making a final decision.

Can Your Spouse Live With You In An Assisted Living Facility
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Are you wondering if your spouse can move into your assisted living room with you?

Assisted living is ideal for senior couples. But it isn’t easy to know if it’s right for you and your loved one as a couple because both of you may have different personal care needs.

There are many questions that you need to answer before making the decision to move to assisted living as a couple.

Evaluating Assisted Living Options For Couples

Choosing assisted living for couples is a hard decision. If one partner needs more care than the other, they may not be able to live in the same facility.

The good news is there are different assisted living options to choose from depending on the specific care needs of each individual. When deciding what level of care best suits both partners, finding a way to meet each person’s individual care needs is essential.

Here are different types of assisted living facilities out there for you to choose from:

Memory Care

If you or your partner has Alzheimer’s or other dementia conditions, a memory care facility is the best for you. Such a facility will provide 24-hour care in a residential setting for couples. But this type of facility may not be the best for anyone without memory impairment issues. 

Assisted Living

Assisted living provides independent housing and support services to senior individuals who need help but doesn’t need constant monitoring by qualified staff. Assisted living facilities are equipped to handle differing levels of care between individuals.

In fact, you should ask the particular facility if they provide care for couples with different levels of needs before signing the agreement.

Nursing Homes

Nursing homes are ideal for couples who require 24-hour medical supervision by qualified staff. In fact, couples who need care with their activities of daily living, including eating, bathing, and dressing, can benefit from this type of facility.

But a nursing home is a temporary arrangement to oversee the health condition of a particular individual.

can your spouse live with you in an assisted living facility each individual
Elderly couples may have different levels of care needed.

What If Each Individual Has Different Care Needs?

Senior care facilities offer a wide range of care options under the same roof. These types of facilities are ideal for couples with different levels of care.

For example, if one spouse is independent and the other requires memory care, they can live in the same facility by opting for an assisted living facility that offers various care options.

Here are some of the most important questions to ask the staff before you choose a good assisted living facility for couples with different care needs:

  • What levels of living and daily support are offered in your facility?
  • Are they provided in one facility or spread among many buildings?
  • If my spouse lives in a different level of care, can we still meet for other programs or dining?
  • How will you support me and my spouse as a caregiver?
  • Are there options to have private care in an independent living apartment?
  • What are the differences between choosing private care in an independent living apartment and accessing different levels of living and care?
  • What are the costs of choosing each option?

Many assisted living facilities across the country accommodate seniors who plan to live together even if they have different care needs.

Couples can choose from numerous apartment layouts in assisted living communities, such as one-bedroom, studios, two-bedroom, and suites.

Most of these facilities have the amenities of an upscale condo, including private bathrooms, lake and garden views, kitchenettes, full wheelchair accessibility, and hand-held showers. Couples can easily choose the size of the apartment or condo, amenities, and levels of care that are right for them. 

To ensure that both partners receive the level of care they need, their individual needs should be first evaluated.

The facility will evaluate the individual’s behavior, chronic illnesses, dietary requirements, communication abilities, ability to manage medications, ability to perform activities of daily living, and the need for assistive devices before accepting the couple into the facility.

This type of assessment is usually conducted by a physician, geriatric care manager (Aging Life Care Professional), social worker, or a nurse at the senior living facility.

Having a general idea of your specific needs will help you to make a better decision when choosing the right assisted living facility for you and your partner. 

Once the couple chooses an assisted living facility for both of them to move in, a staff member of the facility will thoroughly evaluate each spouse before moving in.

Such an evaluation will determine the actual level of care each individual requires. It helps determine the corresponding services they’ll need and the costs of such care.

RELATED: Can You Have A Car In Assisted Living?

How Does It Affect The Cost?

Assisted living costs for senior couples differ depending on the type of amenities you need and the level of care each individual requires. In fact, cost estimates can be tricky when one spouse needs more care than the other.

For example, if one spouse has Alzheimer’s disease and limited mobility, he or she may require help with bathing, dressing, medication management, and staff supervision to prevent the individual from wandering. On the other hand, the other spouse is entirely independent and could care for him/herself without much assistance.

In such an instance, the spouse who doesn’t require extra care will pay only for room and board, while the other spouse needs to pay for room, board, and additional services. 

Consider the bedroom situation, too, especially if the couple sleeps separately. This may determine the size of the bed(s) you can take with you.

If the couple decides to live together in a facility, they will be charged rent for one unit, including an additional fee for the occupant who is dependent. In some cases, spouses may prefer to have their own rooms or even adjoining units.

In fact, the possibilities vary depending on the type of assisted living facility you choose. The key is to care for the weakest of the two. While the couple lives together, the partner who requires a higher level of care pays for such services.

For example, the average cost of room and board in an assisted living community can be as low as $1,500/month. But the total bill will increase depending on the level of care each partner requires. The median cost in the United States for a one-bedroom apartment in an assisted living facility was $4,051 in 2019.

can your spouse live with you in an assisted living facility share room or separate
Senior couples can either share a room or get separate apartments within the same facility.

Should You Share A Room Or Get A Separate Apartment? 

It depends on your personal preference and level of care. Not all assisted living facilities are designed to handle the varying needs of senior couples.

Some facilities will let a senior with dementia live in a secured area known as “memory care.” Other facilities will prioritize not only keeping senior couples together but ensuring each individual in the couple gets their own care needs met.

Such facilities offer specialized programs so that senior couples can live in the same facility while each receives the care they need and pays for only the services they need.

Couples can choose to share a room or get a separate apartment or condo within the facility as per their needs and budget.

RELATED: Are You Allowed To Drink Alcohol in Assisted Living?

Can Couples Be Intimate While In Assisted Living? 

Federal law requires assisted living facilities to maintain an environment that promotes, maintain, or enhances a senior’s quality of life.

In fact, seniors have the right to make choices about significant aspects of their life in the assisted living facility, including intimacy between couples. The law promotes nursing home residents’ rights to sexual intimacy. 

Tips For Transitioning A Senior Couple Into A Smaller Space

Transitioning an elderly couple to assisted living is an emotional experience. It requires careful planning and logistics, especially where downsizing is involved.

In fact, moving from a familiar home to a small apartment within an assisted living facility can be overwhelming to both partners. 

Once you have found the right assisted living facility for your aging parents, now it’s time to think about the move itself.

You need the staff at the facility to provide details, including the facility’s floor plan, size of the apartment, door and elevator sizes, community policies, placement, and more. Keep your aging parents informed of these details before they actually move into the facility.

Here are some tips for transitioning a senior couple into a smaller space:

  • Allow room for emotional vulnerability
  • Let them know about the size of the apartment and the floorplan of the facility in advance
  • Pack efficiently and deliberately
  • Make sure all housekeeping items and logistics are taken care of
  • Visit the facility at least one more time before moving in
  • Set up the new living space for your aging parents by making it feel familiar to them

If you are wondering whether your spouse could live with you in an assisted living facility, the aforementioned article answers all of your questions about moving into an assisted living facility with your spouse.

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Scott Grant has spent more than 20 years serving seniors and the elderly in the home medical equipment industry. He has worked as a manufacturer's rep for the top medical equipment companies and a custom wheelchair specialist at a durable medical equipment (DME) provider in WV. He is father to 4 beautiful daughters and has three terrific grandkids. When not promoting better living for older adults, he enjoys outdoor activities including hiking and kayaking and early morning runs.

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