One of the most difficult decisions today for children is the decision to place a parent in residential care. I have counseled many people struggling with this decision, specifically, concerning Alzheimer's disease. Though the decision to place a parent into residential care is tough under any condition Alzheimer's seems to weigh the heaviest on the hearts and minds of those forced with this decision. The feelings that the parent will soon be unable to remember or relate to immediate family members is overwhelming . You may feel that you are betraying them or abandoning them.

Watching a loved one deteriorate under the influence of Alzheimer's disease is a heart-wrenching experience. It has been estimated that Alzheimer's affects over two million people today. There may well come a time when the care of an Alzheimer's patient in the home is no longer possible and it becomes necessary to place that person in a nursing home where adequate and consistent medical care is provided. This may be the most loving and responsible thing to do. However, it is important that you come to your decision prayerfully and in consultation with the doctor and with others of your family who are involved. Perhaps your pastor can be of help.

Your difficult decision is one that must be made by many who are facing the struggle of caring for a patient with Alzheimer's disease. If you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord, you can be confident that He will guide you in your decision and care for your needs and those of your loved one. He has promised, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

You may wish to receive the booklet “Coping and Caring: Living with Alzheimer's Disease” by writing to AARP Fulfillment, Department GP, 1909 “K” Street Northwest, Washington, D.C. 20049. A book that may be helpful to you is “My Journey Into Alzheimer's Disease” by Robert Davis (Tyndale House Publishers).

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