In reference to the couple who abandoned their son [front page, Dec. 30]: While I don't condone what they did, as a caregiver, I do understand. The outside world has no idea of the responsibilities, stress, frustrations and sacrifice that go with 24-hour, seven-day-a-week care. Even if I could afford health care services, it isn't easy to get the system to put that help in my home.

I have been a caregiver for four years to my 44-year-old daughter, after she suffered a brain injury. It is a full-time job that I wouldn't wish on anyone. One person will tell me that I should put my daughter in a rehab facility, another that I should keep her home, where she is shown love. The insurance companies cancel their policies as soon as they can, and Medicaid makes a budget that nowhere near fills our needs.

What is a caregiver to do? I pray that the people in charge will realize the hardship put on this couple who abandoned their son. I hope they learn from the experience and help lighten the load of other caregivers so this doesn't happen again.

ILA NOFZIGER

Cornelius, N.C.