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Keywords:

  • community-dwelling spouses;
  • couplehood;
  • institutionalization;
  • typology;
  • We–I

A qualitative analysis of 68 community-dwelling spouses of institutionalized patients with Alzheimer's disease was conducted. The goal was to ascertain to what degree they perceived themselves as married. Five groups representing different degrees of couplehood emerged. Ranging from strong couplehood to no couplehood, groups were given the following terms: “’Til Death Do Us Parts,”“We, but …,”“Husbandless Wives/Wifeless Husbands,”“Becoming an I,” and “Unmarried Marrieds.” Ways to interpret this typology and implications for both further research and practitioners are described.