Taking John Home to Die in Dementialand

A very real and poignant piece that acknowledges and honours the many emotions, decision-making processes, and challenges of a caregiver who is supporting her husband. With dementia care and end-of-life care, I have so much respect for the intimate knowledge of their family member or friend that caregivers bring to the whole process. -Karyn

Welcome to Dementialand

Last week, a friend of mine, Heidi, took her husband home to die.

I first met Heidi a few years ago when she took a fitness class. I happened to be the instructor. As Heidi tells it, she hated the class but loved me. She says she loves me more now that I’m not telling her to do squats.

Her husband, John, is in his late 60’s. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about five years ago and then with cancer in the spring. Heidi was taking care of him in their home until a few months back when John fell down the stairs.

She was forced to call 9-1-1 when she found him. They hauled him to one hospital and then (for some reason neither Heidi or I understand) to another one. They loaded him up with IV antibiotics to treat a urinary tract infection. The social worker at the…

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