Is a Nursing Home Necessary?

Is a Nursing Home Necessary?
Dear Debbie,
My husband is in the middle stage of alzheimer's. He is 76, I am 75. I still am very active, play tennis, work parttime, but I get very tired taking care of him. All of my friends and family think it is time to put him in a nursing home-they are concerned about MY health. I am caught between wanting more freedom and feeling like I am deserting him. Does he need my love for him more than he needs the care of professionals? I am at a crossroads.


Dear Torn-Apart,
This is a difficult, sensitive and personal decision. Because you have friends and family who love you and can see the situation from a distance, they can help you consider the facts and emotions. They can also see what is happening to you as you are too close to this picture to see it. If you have 24 hour care at home with qualified professionals, this probably would not be an issue. I assume that you don’t. If you become emotionally and physically depleted, you might get sick and then could not help your husband anyway. There are wonderful facilities available. Ask doctors, professionals and families who use the facilities for their recommendations. Check them out. Make surprise visits as well to ensure that you get a real perspective. Find one closer to home, so that you can visit regularly and express your deep love for your husband. You can set up his room with your photo and personal belongings that bring him comfort. When you visit him, you will be spending quality time and he will enjoy and sense your love, not your frustration.

When my father was in the later stages of Alzheimer’s, it was too difficult for my mother on both levels. We put him in a good nursing home. At that time I was worried about my mother’s health and well being. We did not regret the decision. We did the best we could and showed him all the love we had for him.

Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul, a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer at Southampton College. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WHLI 1100AM in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit:

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