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For a dozen years, Larry Bocchiere, 68, didn’t find it especially difficult to care for his wife, Deborah, who struggled with breathing problems. But as her illness took a downward turn, he became overwhelmed by stress.

“I was constantly on guard for any change in her breathing. If she moved during the night, I’d jump up and see if something was wrong,” he said recently in a phone conversation.  “It’s the kind of alertness to threat that a combat soldier feels. I don’t think I got a good night’s sleep for five years. I gained 150 pounds.”

As her chronic obstructive pulmonary disease worsened and heart failure set in,

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