Separating from Your Best Friend: Why Assisted Living Doesn’t Mean ‘The End’ for a Longtime Marriage

Cheryl and Ted had been married for 52 years. They had a typical marriage. It wasn’t all a bed of roses, but it wasn’t only frustration, either. In Cheryl’s estimation, it had been everything she dreamed her marriage would be. 

In these later years, though, Ted began dealing with chronic health issues. He spent increasing amounts of time in the hospital and through physical therapy, just trying to recover from those stays. She did her best to support him and provide the physical and emotional assistance needed to cope with each day and each mundane task. 

Yet, in her late 70s herself, Cheryl’s physical abilities were limited. There was only so much she could do to help him, and she recognized that challenge. 


They relied on the support of family and friends.

Assisted Living Saraland, AL: Separating from Your Best Friend

For a couple of years, both Cheryl and Ted depended on close family and friends, especially those who lived nearby. At first, they were reluctant, but as Cheryl ached and felt completely worn out at the end of each day and Ted still needed more assistance, it became clear that they had to accept. 

They considered other options, including in-home care, but as Ted’s physical abilities declined and his health issues mounted, it became clear he needed more than just somebody stopping by for a little while a few days a week. 

In fact, it became obvious he needed somebody almost around-the-clock. Even though he didn’t need help every hour of the day, it was unpredictable when he would need assistance in the middle of the night to use the bathroom or help just getting dressed in the morning. 


That’s when the topic of assisted living came up. 

Cheryl didn’t want to separate from her husband. Not now. Not when he needed her most. But, she was simply overwhelmed. They talked about assisted living and looked into several facilities in the area. 

The more they researched, the more they understood the benefits of assisted living. Cheryl wanted to be with him, they wanted to get a room to share, but at this stage in their life, it wasn’t yet practical. 

They made a commitment. They decided that Ted would move into a quality assisted living facility for now, and while they would be separated for a few months or maybe even a year, it didn’t mean this was the end of their “together.” 

In fact, that was just the beginning of a new chapter in their life. Cheryl visited her husband daily. They went for walks along the beautiful grounds. And Cheryl began feeling better than she had in years, physically. 

The quality of their lives improved and they understood that one spouse moving into assisted living didn’t mean an end to their relationship, but rather another new beginning. 


If you or an aging loved one are considering Assisted Living near Saraland, AL, contact Ashbury Manor Specialty Care and Assisted Living at 251-317-3017. 

About Cindy Johnson

Ashbury Manor’s Administrator since 2008, Cindy Johnson is a long-time expert in the assisted living field. Prior to her arrival at Ashbury Manor, Cindy managed acquisitions and crisis management for existing and new larger senior care project developments for eleven years. As regional manager for an Oregon-based assisted living management company, Cindy was directly responsible for operations for five 50-65 bed assisted living facilities. As manager during the transition to new ownership, Cindy reorganized internal operations and conducted leadership training for Executive Directors. As a result of her management and expertise, one of the company’s facilities (in Ocala, Florida) received a deficiency-free survey, resulting in the lifting of a moratorium on operation.

A nurse for 36 years, senior care has always been Cindy’s passion. Desiring to work more closely with residents, Cindy became a Category II Administrator in 2005. As Ashbury Manor’s Administrator, Cindy understands the complexities associated with dementia and cognitive impairment and she has fallen in love with seniors with dementia or cognitive impairment and their families.

Cindy is Treasurer of the local “Senior Coalition” chapter. She enjoys mentoring new candidates who want to become administrators.

As a 16-bed facility, with Cindy's training and experience, our residents and their families can be sure Ashbury Manor’s carefully selected staff provides the expertise of a larger facility while maintaining the individualized personal care of a small special needs home.
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