|Ramona Labrensz with a photo of her husband Harold|
(Photo by Kristina Barker, The New York Times)
Healy adds, "On paper, South Dakota and other rural states still have enough long-term care beds for people who need round-the-clock care. The problem is where they are. When a nursing home closes in a small town, the available beds are often so far away that elderly spouses cannot make the drive, and the transferred residents become cut off from the friends, church groups and relatives they have known all their lives."