Letter: Deinstitutionalization worked for us

I read with more-than-casual interest the article “Changing culture of care” published in The Advocate.

When one is diagnosed with cancer you have a chance, but when my wife, Ann, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, it felt like a death sentence. After a few years at home with me as her primary caregiver, she was put into an assisted living group home in Baton Rouge, which was an absolute disaster. After falling and breaking her hip twice over a three-month period, she was put into Sunrise, which is a very nice facility — but expensive.

After about eight months at Sunrise, the person in charge of her affairs decided the best place for Ann was at home with me, her husband and those who love her. With the help of an excellent caregiver, we were able to make Ann’s life more meaningful, and for the most part a happy one, until her recent passing in March.

I agree it is good to deinstitutionalize “the culture and environment of today’s nursing homes” but there is still “no place like home.” While at home, Ann was a frequent participant at Charlie’s Place at Alzheimer’s Services of Baton Rouge. This proved to be an excellent place for her to get out and socialize with friends. Charlie’s Place not only provided caregiver relief, but more importantly treated Ann as a person with feelings.

David J. Gilin

retired chemical engineer

Baton Rouge