Date of Conferral
Aging may bring mental and/or physical decline. There may come a point when a loved
one needs long-term care in a nursing home. The purpose of this phenomenological study
was to examine the community dwelling spouses' emotional state. A study was
conducted with 10 individuals (5 men and 5 women) who had a spouse in long-term
nursing care. Inclusion criteria was to be at least 65-years old, have been married at least
30 years, and reside alone in his or her own home. The social emotional selectivity theory
and the construct of boundary ambiguity were applied to view the epoch. Data were
collected with audio recorded interviews and coded as to major idea in each response.
Five themes evolved from the responses: reduction of friends, ease or difficulty with
change, companionship, vows are forever, and why. The community-dwelling spouse
tended to be sad, anxious, and angry. Loss of companionship, increased isolation due to
reduction of friends prior to placement, concern about the well-being of his or her spouse,
and feelings of 'why did this happen to me?' were common themes by the community dwelling
spouse. Wives who did all household chores prior to their husband's
institutionalization were more able to accept the placement of their spouse than were
husbands who had depended on their wives. There is a need for treatment for the
community-dwelling spouse by nursing home staff, friends, and family. Nursing homes
can encourage support through community-dwelling support groups and mealtime with
their institutionalized spouses. Children of community-dwelling spouse can provide
support through contacting their parents frequently, clergy, and friends of the church
through visiting the community-dwelling spouse after placement of their spouse.
Hunt, Barbara, "The Emotional Impact on Elderly Spouses Who Placed Their Loved Ones in Long-Term" (2015). Walden Dissertations and Doctoral Studies. 1444.