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Dear Rachel,

I am a 17-year-old girl. I live at home with my parents and younger siblings, and my zadie also lives with us. He is my father’s father.


After Bubby died seven years ago, he lived alone for a while, but three years ago when his health wasn’t so good he came to live with us. I got very close to him, and I love him a lot. He’s the first person I go to when I get home from school, and he has all the time in the world to listen to everything that happened that day.

On Shabbos I sit next to him on one side, and one of my brothers is on the other side, and he is so happy. Both my parents treat him with derech eretz.

Recently my zadie has started to need more care and is forgetting some things. And my mother is asking my father to look into placing Zadie in a senior residence. My father has a sister who lives in another state in the Midwest and he called her and asked her if she could take their father. She can’t.

As the days go on I hear my mother getting more insistent about the old-age home. This is breaking my heart. I’m afraid he will die soon if he leaves us. I heard lots of stories during Covid about how the sick people infected each other and died. I spoke to my mom about this and she said that this is not a matter for me to be discussing. I’m not involved in his care, and it would be a lot safer for Zadie to be in a closed facility.

He has been wandering outside when no one is home and a few times he got lost and couldn’t remember his address or his last name. My father put a little card in his jacket pocket with the information so kind people brought him home. My mother doesn’t work outside the home, and even though we are five kids, the youngest is already in school and I can’t see why my mother can’t take care of Zadie. He will be so sad and so will I.

Heartbroken for Zadie


Dear Heartbroken,

At seventeen you certainly have your heart in the right place and are indeed fortunate to have the company of your beloved zadie – as he is to have you for a granddaughter

I must side with you for I am in total agreement that being part of the family in a warm, loving and familiar environment is a far preferable choice for your zadie over being relegated to a nursing home atmosphere.

Covid is not as much of a problem as it once was, but nonetheless your zadie is more likely to deteriorate at a much quicker pace in the confines of a nursing facility.

You mention a brother. Are there other siblings who are on the same page as you? Is this brother older than you? Since this is your father’s father, I suggest appealing to your father, together with your siblings. Speak from the heart. Tell your father how much his father’s presence in your midst means to you. Don’t chas v’shalom refer to your mother in any negative way. In fact, you can sympathize with her plight (it’s not easy nor pleasant for her to be a full time caretaker).

Ideally, your parents should look into getting at least a part time aide for your ailing grandfather. This would lighten your mother’s burden, while allowing your zadie to have quality time with his closest and loved ones that he would be surely be deprived of in a nursing facility. You can also offer to help out as best you can during the time you are home.

I applaud you and wish you much hatzlacha in your worthy aspiration. Your parents are lucky to have a gem of a daughter like you.

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