LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Shameful statistic on spousal abandonment

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A study in recent years on partner abandonment found that men are six times more likely than women to leave a seriously sick spouse. I have never felt so humiliated by my sex as I did after reading that study. It was the closest I have ever come to considering a sex-change operation.

The main excuse given when a man leaves a wife with dementia or Alzheimer’s is, “Her body is there, but she’s gone.” I used to believe that. But when you forget where you left your keys, does that mean you were not there?

When people develop dementia, through brain injury or aging, they become less able to retrieve memories. In time, they are robbed of the ability to recognize even their own loved ones. She’s in there, all right, but she can’t find her keys. She will never find them. The woman who gave you everything she had now desperately needs you more than she has ever needed anyone in her life. Sure, go ahead and walk away. Start a new life. I guess she won’t know anyway, will she?


Tarzana, Calif.

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