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Dealing with a Difficult Change

Henry and Rose have been married for over 60 years. They still lived together in their own home up until six weeks ago when Henry had a stroke. Henry’s recovery has been slow, and it was too difficult for Rose to take care of him at home. Rose moved Henry to a long-term care facility where she visits him every day.

It often makes Rose very sad when she visits Henry. He doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Sometimes Rose feels angry that Henry isn’t the way that he used to be. She feels like he has abandoned her. 

Hodan is a nurse assistant who works at the care facility. One day she is in Henry’s room when Rose comes to visit. Henry is asleep and Rose gets very emotional when she looks at him. “Look at him,” she says to Hodan. “He looks so weak. He used to be the one taking care of me, and now he can’t even get out of bed. I hate coming here and seeing him like this. Sometimes I wish he would just die.”

Hodan is surprised by Rose’s strong showing of emotion. She feels a little bit uncomfortable, and she wants to leave the room. But she understands that Rose is just dealing with her grief, and Hodan wants to support her. Hodan takes Rose’s hand, looks her in the eyes, and says, “I know this is very difficult for you. I understand your anger and frustration. The emotions that you’re feeling are very normal.” Hodan tells Rose there is a grief counselor on staff that she could talk to about her feelings. Rose agrees that it would be a good idea for her to talk to someone, and Hodan promises to help her make an appointment.

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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