The purpose of this study was to investigate the phenomenon of spousal caregiving following the institutionalization of elderly husbands. Theoretically, the study was informed by the interpretive perspective in sociology and the concept of career. Methodologically, the study employed a longitudinal and prospective design and combined quantitative and qualitative approaches. The data were drawn from a larger study designed to explore the transition to quasi-widowhood. This article reports on one aspect of spousal caregiving following the admission of husbands to a long term care setting, i.e. the performance of tasks. In this study, wives carried out a substantial number and wide variety of tasks related to personal, instrumental, relational and recreational care. They viewed visiting as their most important task but also highly valued providing companionship, love and support, doing little things for their husbands and monitoring their health and well-being. Typically, wives carried out tasks they viewed as falling within their domain of responsibility. Task performance occurred within a context of meaning that served to explain, in part, their continued involvement in caregiving following the admission of husbands to a long term care setting. Implications of this study point to the need for collaboration in caregiving between wives and staff, to support and enhance the quality of care provided by elderly wives who are coping with the institutionalization of their husbands.