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When I started this website six years ago, I began to write about my emotions and struggles related to my husband’s Alzheimer’s Disease. Along the way, I hoped that sharing my innermost thoughts and feelings with other Alzheimer Spouses would help us all through this heartbreaking journey. The advice I have given on all topics since then has been based upon my own experiences. Except for the “placement” advice. That was dispensed based upon what I had seen others go through and what my research told me. How could I possibly have known what it is like to place a spouse in a facility until I had experienced it myself? I could not, and I am writing today to try to describe an experience that has torn my heart, mind, and emotional health to shreds.

On August 9, 2013, my world as I knew it disintegrated, never to be the same again. I placed my husband, lover, friend, life partner of 43 years, into an Alzheimer Unit of a nursing home. I am not questioning the wisdom of the decision. Although his Alzheimer’s Disease was advancing, it was his physical disability that forced the move. His Diabetes left him 95% wheelchair bound, with excruciating pain from neuropathy, bone on bone arthritic knees, broken ribs, broken vertebrae, and spinal stenosis.  His Alzheimer’s Disease made it impossible for him to understand why I was no longer able to care for him. I had been his primary caregiver for 10 years, and was completely depleted of physical and mental energy. I could not do it one more minute. So no, I do not question the need for placement.

What I question is how I am going to get through his heartache. It has now been two weeks since placement, and this is the first time I have been able to gather my thoughts together enough to try to write a blog. The years of coping with Alzheimer rages, incessant questions, confusion, declining mental ability, flawed judgment, lack of reasoning, as well as the physical work of wheelchair lifting, pushing, pulling, incontinent clean ups, waiting on him, being a 24/7 caregiver – all of it fell away when I gazed upon the face of a defeated, crestfallen, heartbroken man, as I turned to go home alone for the first time in 43 years. The face I saw was the face of the man I had lived with and loved my entire adult life, not the Alzheimer man who had made my life Hell for the last 10 years.

I walked in a daze to my car, and sat and sobbed. At that moment, I realized that any advice I had dispensed through my blogs concerning facility placement, although well meaning, was based upon nothing. What I always told others about taking care of themselves; making new friends and activities; visiting when they felt up to it, as opposed to every day; learning to live a new single life – I could not imagine how I was going to follow any of that advice while I was feeling such anguish.

Looking back on these two weeks, I realize that I was in actual physical shock the first week. I was unable to think, eat, or sleep well at all. Every day I visited, and every day he cried that he could not live without me, that I had to take him home. Every plea cut through me like a knife, but it was obvious to me that he was where he needed to be. It took an entire staff on 3 shifts to do what I had been doing with ONE HOUR of help a night. My physical strength, stamina, and ability were gone. As difficult as it was for me to see him so miserable, I admit to a sense of relief when I could come home and lie down to rest, knowing that I did not have to get up to tend to his needs.

One of our website members compared placing a spouse in a facility to a death. I agree. It is the death of a life together, and it needs to be mourned and grieved as any death. There is no time limit on it. I will get through it my own way on my own time table. For now, I am resting as much as I can. The Nurse Practitioner who sees me in between doctor appointments for my severely disabled back, told me yesterday that I was not running on empty; I was running on a deficit, and it was going to take a long time for me to regain my health, and equally as long for me to come to terms with Sid’s placement.

What has helped me get through these days are the phone calls from friends here in Florida and friends up North. Every night there are calls from at least two or more friends checking up on me to see how I am. Just talking is helpful. I also try to make sure that I have something specific to do or somewhere to go every day (besides visiting Sid), so I will not lie in bed all day with the covers over my head.

From this day forward, any advice I dispense related to facility placement will be based upon actual experience. Everyone is different, and many of you will not react as I have, but I do hope that I can be of some help to those who have been or will be as affected by the experience as I have been.

Feedback to joan@thealzheimerspouse.com
©Copyright 2013Joan Gershman
The Alzheimer Spouse LLC
2011 All Rights Reserved
Under penalty of copyright laws, this information cannot be copied or posted on any website, media, or print outlet, without referencing the author and website from which it was taken.





The material included on this website contains general information intended as information only. This site is not intended to provide personal, professional, medical, or psychological advice, and should not be relied upon to govern behavior in any certain or particular circumstances. The opinions in the blogs are solely those of the owner of the website. The opinions on the message boards are not necessarily endorsed by the owner of this website, and are the opinions of those persons writing the messages. All material on this web site is for demonstration and informational purposes only.



The Alzheimer Spouse LLC 2012 All Rights Reserved














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