ARTICLES / General / The
By Trish Hughes Kreis
The decision to place Robert in an assisted living
facility was not an easy one. It isn’t easy
for anyone but, to be honest, it was not only
gut-wrenching but I was pretty hard headed about it.
Denial is a highly regarded trait in my family and I
wasn’t about to give it up now.
Before moving Rob to his Care Facility, Robert lived in
a town 90 minutes away from me. He lived with Judy
who is several years older than Rob and also suffers
from epilepsy. They have been together for twenty
years or so although Rob actually tells people they have
been together for 35 years. That puts him
at, um, age nine when they got together. It’s
quite amusing to watch the listener puzzle through the
math once Rob says this but I know how important it is
to Rob to think he knows how long he and Judy have been
together so I usually let the listener remain puzzled,
and eventually, slightly alarmed.
Rob and Judy talked about marriage for many years but
both would lose some government assistance if they
married. They are very religious which made the
decision for them not to marry all the more
disheartening for them. They purchased rings
anyway, lived together, cared for one another, went to
church together but, ultimately, never married.
Rob’s mental ability declined over the years due to the
seizures, brain surgeries and head injuries and Judy’s
has never been much better. Despite these
obstacles, they took care of their household, walked to
the grocery store together, somehow got to doctor
appointments and church on their own and managed their
medications by themselves.
For many years, this arrangement worked just fine.
There were instances where one or the other would end up
in the emergency room because they had a seizure on the
way to the store or at home and hurt themselves, but
there weren’t any major mishaps.
Our father lives in that same town and, for years, I had
no problem letting Dad help Rob with anything extra that
needed to be handled such as finances and occasional
transportation needs. Now, if you actually knew my
Dad you would question my sanity for leaving even the
slightest bit of responsibility to him.
“Responsible” is not a characteristic attributed to my
Dad. By anyone. Ever. I knew this
then, I knew this as a child and I still know this.
But, denial came in handy at the time and I was able to
concentrate on my own family and career until it became
painfully obvious that I needed to step in to help my
In November 2008, Dad brought Rob and Judy to my house
for our annual Thanksgiving dinner. My other
brother came with his family, my husband’s family came
with their wives or girlfriends, our girls’ boyfriends
were over – it was the usual chaotic family
Thanksgiving. Good food, great fun and lots of