Keeping Couples Together in Long-Term Care

Couples deserve to be able to stay together when they are in long-term care.

That is why government is introducing the Life Partners in Long Term Care Act to protect a couple’s right to be placed together.

“We want to do everything we can to help life partners stay together as they age, it’s the right thing to do,” said Randy Delorey, Minister of Health and Wellness. “Couples should be able to stay together even if one person may need a different level of care.”

Right now, if spouses, common law and domestic partners need different levels of long-term care, placing them together often cannot be accommodated. The new act will allow couples to be placed together at the highest care level required. For example, if one spouse requires nursing home care and one requires residential care, the couple would be placed in a nursing home. Government will also work with Veterans Affairs Canada to ensure this right applies to spouses of veterans.

This will apply to couples as defined in the act for admission to one of the 132 long-term care homes licensed and funded by the province.


Fostering close spousal connections can have a profound positive impact on a senior. The mere presence of a familiar voice or touch for a senior suffering from cognitive decline can bring about an overwhelming sense of calm. In a recent case at our home, keeping spouses together has decreased responsive behaviours and provided an engaging, purposeful, quality of life for the couple. Krista Beeler, administrator, Dykeland Lodge, Windsor

Quick Facts:

  • 2,588 Nova Scotians entered long-term care in 2018-19; 2,302 to nursing homes and 286 to residential care facilities
  • the waitlist for long-term care placement has decreased by 49 per cent since 2015
  • the wait time for initial placement in a nursing home has decreased by 49 per cent since 2016
  • the wait time for initial placement in residential care has decreased by 78 per cent since 2016
  • to date, 162 new nursing home beds across Nova Scotia have been announced – 122 in Cape Breton, 10 in Meteghan and 30 in Halifax

Additional Resources:

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