ARTICLES / General /
When Is It Time to Look for a... /
By Janet Ferree, MA
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
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.
There will be no language/accent barriers.
I can control everything that happens to
I won’t have to travel to see him.
I can give him his favorite foods (yellow
cake with chocolate frosting, steak, baked
potatoes, spinach, and vanilla ice cream).
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
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.
My body could start
healing, both physically and mentally.
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.
- 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
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.