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Last Wednesday, I took my husband in to live at a nursing home. I didn't have the guts to tell him ahead of time that this was going to be happening (he has dementia and is also very weak/frail). The director of his adult day care program helped me take him there after "school" that day. This facility is huge and has assisted living, rehab, nursing home, and adult day program.

He asked a few questions and was not too upset about it. After he settled in that day, he looked at me and said "I didn't think I'd end up here again." He had been in the rehab unit a few times previous to this. Both of these areas of this facility look very much the same.

He hasn't been there very long, but he's already asking: When can I go home? How long do I have to be here? My answer has been that he needs to get stronger first. This is true, but I hate lying to him. We never had any secrets from each other over the past 31 years. I know our situation has changed, but I feel very guilty.

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Your answer was a very good one, for now. Much depends on his dementia. Later into dementia, you may have to just gently ask him to tell you about home and then distract him after he talks awhile. He could, at that time, be asking about his childhood home or about anything else.

For now, if he really seems to remember "home" as where you lived together, you can say, "when you're strong enough." That's not lying - it's being kind.

While it sounds as if you had a wonderful marriage based on truth, you'll now have to start coping with truth as he sees it. That's a challenge for a long-time spouse. Please don't feel guilty for being kind. We'd love to have you stop back to visit us here. Also, you may get some needed support at the Well Spouse Association at www.wsa.org.
Take care,
Carol
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