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When Is It Time to Look for a Care Facility?

By Janet Ferree, MA

(Page 3 of 4)

Each of these reasons and worries are absolutely real and legitimate, so what good could result from either decision?

First, how does my husband benefit by keeping him home?

  1. He is where he ideally belongs, in a reasonable yet waning emotionally secure environment with familiar people, noises, sounds, smells, and routines. In the house his income paid for. Exactly where I would want to be if it were me.

  2. There will be no language/accent barriers.

  3. I can control everything that happens to him.

  4. I won’t have to travel to see him.

  5. I can give him his favorite foods (yellow cake with chocolate frosting, steak, baked potatoes, spinach, and vanilla ice cream).

  6. I can touch him and tell him I love him as often as I like.

Second, how would I benefit from placing him in a care facility?

  1. I would have much more freedom to work late, go to church, go out with friends, wake-up in the morning and not have to take care of my husband’s full bodily needs, do some volunteer work, change jobs, and visit my family.

  2. My body could start healing, both physically and mentally.

  3. I could lose the “caregiver” identity and become an individual again.  I could be his wife and respond to him with love, instead of as a burned out laborer increasingly resenting him for it and wishing nature would finish its job far more quickly.

  4. I could walk into his room with a genuine smile on my face. I cannot remember the last time I did that. Perhaps this is the saddest part—not finding joy in the man I love.

In proof-reading this article, it screams at me to place him somewhere safe so that I can become a whole, alert, rational and fully functioning adult, wife and parent.; It says if I place him somewhere clean and safe, I can regain the energy I had and greet him with wide smiles and long kisses instead of gritted teeth and averted eyes. It tells me I haven’t lost the potential to be alive again. So what keeps me from acting? Guilt. The total helplessness of my husband and his absolute faith and dependence on my love and decision-making abilities places a horrendous unwanted burden on me—a burden tenderly seared into my heart when he looks at me with trust and adoration. It would be like taking the beloved and loyal family pet to the animal shelter because he is too old and too much work to keep around; you hope the employees or a new family will love him as much as your family does, but fear he will be neglected and left to die sad and all alone in a cage. You know this and take him anyway.


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