One in ten Americans age 65 or older will suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s—and with an aging population, that number seems to be growing every day.
While you do hear of instances of both spouses having memory loss at the same time, it’s very likely one person in the relationship could develop this disease and not the other. What does a married couple do in this scenario? Clearly, a person suffering from dementia needs special care and attention, which only increases as the years go by—yet how does a couple navigate this change in the relationship?
Without a doubt, memory loss changes things. And along your journey in caring for one another—even through Alzheimer’s and dementia—it’s important to keep the following front and center:
You can’t do this alone. Whether you are relying on a network of friends and family or the assistance of medical professionals, you need to keep in mind this is not one a one-person job. Try seeking out support groups for spouses of people suffering from memory loss. Strive to take breaks once in a while and delegate responsibilities to others. More than likely, there are trustworthy at-home medical care professionals in your area you can speak to about coming in to relieve you.
Maintain a healthy relationship. Yes, this may be hard considering the changes that can occur in your spouse because of this disease, but try to maintain a sense of normalcy and intimacy, even if it’s in small ways throughout the day. This can include going on walks, holding hands, even sharing a meal together over candlelight. Acknowledging anniversaries and other important dates together is a great way to keep the relationship alive.
At the end of the day, remember—this isn’t personal, it’s a disease. Keep your sense of humor throughout all of it and try to share laughs whenever possible. Verbalizing a familiar phrase or memorable anecdote can often relieve tension, especially if frustrations are running high. Accept the flow of change as it occurs and do your best to hold onto standout, meaningful memories of your life together in the process.
Located in Greenwich, CT, Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care / Help at Home, LLC is proud to be a top rated home health care provider in Fairfield County, CT, Westchester County, NY, Manhattan, NY and beyond. Our clients are our family and we treat everyone with compassion and care. Contact us today to see how we can help you and your loved ones.