Not long ago I received a letter from a woman who has already traveled this journey — making the decision to move her husband to a memory care facility. In many ways, I felt as if I could have written it. Here is an excerpt:
” My husband contracted Lymes disease which I think brought on his Alzheimers’ earlier than he would have gotten it had he stayed healthy. It is genetic in Daniel’s family. His mother had Alzheimer’s for twenty-three years. She died at 93.
Daniel’s disposition is similar to your husband’s: benign, happy and a great sense of humor. He is a pro at masking his lack of memory. I took care of him for eight years, and suffered through panic attacks, rashes on my face, flu every month, and sleepless nights. I lived a nightmare….
I noticed that Daniel could no longer follow any conversations, and he would feel left out. He could no longer function in my world without stressing. The conversations were simple and repeated thousands of times in one day. I was losing my mind.
I would think, am I going to live this way the rest of my life? I will never survive Daniel. 75% of caregivers die before their spouses. Finally, I went to look at facilities and picked one which I thought would suit him the best. The one I chose separates the high functioning Alzheimer’s patient from the low functioning, and they have studios as well as rooms.
Finally, I put him into the facility that I chose. I had my first full night of sleep in years. But then, I suffered from guilt so great, it felt like a tight band around my chest. Nothing helped that feeling, only time. “
(To be continued…)