By Harvey Tobkes

Looking around my circle of aging friends and relatives, I see that almost all, at some time or other, have been exposed to the stress of caring for a loved one, either because of serious health problems, poverty, divorce, or whatever. Sadly, some of them now need caretakers to survive their own disabilities.

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In my mind, there is no doubt that the worst burden to bear is caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease. Anita’s best friend is caring for her husband and the friend calls almost every night to vent and cry. We have known this couple for over 50 years and taken many trips together and enjoyed much joy and laughter. No way can we abandon them now. So, while her friend vents and releases her sorrow and frustration, Anita listens and uses a bit of amateur psychology to try to be helpful in some way. It’s depressing for Anita, but we both realize it’s an obligation that comes with the bond of friendship. Therefore, we are thankful for every minute of good health because the quality of life depends on it. You do the best you can with the cards you are dealt, is how I look at it.

Many years ago, my parents died slow, cruel, de-humanizing deaths from stroke and cancer. I did all I could to comfort them. Many times I put my wife and children second to their needs, and still I wish I could have done more. I don’t think the present generation has the fortitude to do as we did, but I may be generalizing.

If you care to add anything, by all means go right ahead.

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