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A Difficult Decision

73-year-old Maria woke up early on a cool, spring morning. She walked to the kitchen, turned on the teakettle, and then decided to take a walk. Maria’s husband, Marcos, was getting ready for work. When Marcos got out of the shower, he heard the teakettle whistling. He rushed to the kitchen and saw the open front door. Maria was outside.

He jumped into his car and decided to call his boss later. Right now, he needed to find Maria. Worried, he drove around the neighborhood for 20 minutes. Luckily, he finally found Maria walking a few blocks away from their house, wearing her pajamas and slippers.

Five years ago, Maria’s doctor diagnosed her with Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is the most and common type of dementia, and there is no cure for the disease. Alzheimer’s causes people to lose memory, thinking and language skills, and may cause changes in behavior. Maria’s memory loss and confusion had gotten worse in the past year. To help Marcos care for Maria, a home-health worker visited their house every day, but caring for Maria was becoming more difficult. Last week, while Marcos was taking out the garbage, Maria wandered into the middle of the street. Maria told Marcos she wouldn’t go out alone anymore, but this morning, she forgot.

Marcos called his daughter and told her they had to make a difficult decision. He still needed to work to pay bills, and his own health was not good. The stress of worrying about and caring for Maria was increasing. His daughter had a full-time job and children of her own. How could they keep Maria safe by themselves?

After thinking through all of their choices, Marcos and his daughter decided Maria would be safest at Golden Nursing Home because the nursing home could provide Maria with the 24-hour nursing care she would need as her symptoms continued to get worse.  

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© 2015 by Southwest Adult Basic Education

Project made financially possible through grants from:

Southwest Initiative Foundation, Marshall Community Foundation, Southwest Regional Transition Partners, Southwest Adult Basic Education, Marshall Healthcare Partners