“I have been with Marcia for over 30 years, being as close as any two people could be,” said Garry Wright, husband of Marcia, a resident at Villa at Terracina in Naples, Florida. “It’s very difficult to suddenly say I am not going to be with you anymore. I think that anybody who puts their loved one into memory care feels guilt regardless of how nice the community is.”
When you have a loved one with dementia, guilt is a natural part of the process. It’s common to wonder if you could have kept them at home longer or question yourself on what you could have done differently. “Even though I had experience seeing Marcia’s mother with dementia, and her father coping with it, it’s a very different experience when you are dealing with it yourself,” said Garry.
“Most people have guilt because they can’t help think ‘why did this happen to her instead of me,” said Garry. Even now, when he see’s Marcia’s improved quality of life, he can’t help but feel guilty when he is having a laugh on the golf course with his friends. “Marcia is over there, I shouldn’t be having a good time.”
Have a different perspective
While it is hard to cope with the guilt, Garry recommends putting it in the perspective if the roles had been reversed. “What would I want for her if I was the one in here with Alzheimer's?” said Garry. “I would want her to be living. I wouldn’t want her to find a boyfriend the first week, but I would want her to find someone she cared about.” He frequently reminds himself that Marcia would also feel that way if she could talk.
“The biggest thing you can do is to lighten up on yourself,” said Garry. “There is no school for this, nobody knows how to do this and you are going to screw up. You just do what you feel is right for yourself and your loved one.”