Accommodating Spouses in Assisted Living and Residential Care

Action Plan Commitment: Establish policies to provide flexibility in accommodating spouses with different care needs within assisted living and residential care residences by September 2012.

What does it mean for me?

When your spouse has a need for health care that can best be handled by residential care services and your health care needs are different, you may be contemplating a move and this could result in being physically separated and living apart. At the same time that you seek the health care that is right for either or both of you, it is important for your health and well-being that you are able to continue to see each other and continue to support each other.

Recognizing this, in September 2012, the Ministry of Health developed a new policy that specifically directs health authorities to explore with couples those options that may help to maintain their relationship when one spouse needs residential care, yet the couple wishes to stay together.

The new policy provides direction to health authorities to work with spouses to identify reasonable arrangements that would enable them to maintain and support their relationship.

Assisted living services already allow for couples with different care needs to live in the same unit. If more care is required for you or your spouse than can safely be provided with assisted living services, health authorities will help you explore other options to maintain your relationship. For example, it may be possible to share meals and private time if one spouse moves into residential care. Available transportation and alternatives for housing that are close to each other may offer the support you need to continue to see each other and maintain a meaningful relationship. In exceptional circumstances, health authorities also have increased flexibility to offer shared accommodation in residential care.


The British Columbia Home and Community Care Policy Manual is available online, where you can find the policy on accommodating spouses (Chapter 6.D.1) and assisted living services (Chapter 5.B.1).