Reed Abelson, The New York Times
It’s a good day when Frank Lee, a retired chef, can slip out to the hardware store, fairly confident that his wife, Robin, is in the hands of reliable help. He spends nearly every hour of every day anxiously overseeing her care at their home on the Isle of Palms, a barrier island near Charleston, South Carolina.
Robin Lee, 67, has had dementia for about a decade, but the couple was able to take overseas trips and enjoy their marriage of some 40 years until three years ago, when she grew more agitated, prone to sudden outbursts, and could no longer explain what she needed or wanted. He struggled to care for her largely on his own.
“As Mom’s condition got more difficult to navigate, he was just handling it,” said Jesse Lee, the youngest of the couple’s three adult children. “It was getting harder and harder. Something had to change, or they would both perish.”
Frank Lee’s search for trustworthy home health aides — an experience that millions of American families face — has often been exhausting and infuriating, but he has persisted.