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by Abigail Van Buren

Wife Battles Guilt Over Husband's Care Following a Stroke

DEAR ABBY: My husband has not been in good health for years. He had an accident in 2007 in which his left arm was broken. The doctor did many surgeries over seven years, but he had to have it amputated in 2014.

Ten months ago, he suffered a debilitating stroke in the left lobe of his brain. He now has aphasia, the inability to use his right hand and arm, a loss of balance and he cannot walk unassisted. He must have help in all areas of daily living. I placed him in a rehab center, then into a nursing home.

The problem is, I feel so guilty about leaving him there. He isn't happy and he blames me for keeping him there. I visit as often as possible, but it isn't often enough for him I am sure. I am so disappointed. This is not the life that I had planned. Would you please tell me how to stop blaming myself, and how to accept this situation? -- SORRY IN THE SOUTH

DEAR SORRY: My heart goes out to you and your husband. Not everyone is so fortunate as to live the life they have planned. If you haven't already done so, it may be time to reach out to your Area Agency on Aging and talk to someone there about what emotional support services may be available near you. The Eldercare Locator, which is sponsored by the U.S. Administration on Aging, is another resource.

Counseling can help you learn to accept this "new normal" and lessen your feelings of guilt for making a decision that, while not pleasant, is what your husband now requires so his needs are met. It will, however, be your responsibility to stay close and ensure that happens.

Read more in: Marriage & Divorce | Health & Safety