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The Couple with Alzheimer's
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
I am working with couples of whom one partner has a progressive dementia like Alzheimer's. A 60 year loving relationship is hard to give up and adjust to a new kind of relationship. One spouse said recently, "For 60 years we have been a loving couple...perfect! Now it is over." He was grieving the loss of his 'perfect' partner and was despondent. Yes, the relationship is different to be sure, but it isn't over. The well partner needs to take charge of much or perhaps most of the day to day living, but with some help can learn ways to engage the other partner to do things he or she always did well and that gave purpose, to doing it well enough and encouraging togetherness. It is not easy but is it worth it to hold on to a precious partner's company? I think so, and so do the couples that were able to try.
For example, rather than doing the meal prep and clean up alone, invite the other spouse to work with you. Most people do not forget how to do things, they just lack the organizational skills needed to start. Everyone needs to feel valued and meaningful. Finding work that satisfies that need is essential to contentment for him.
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"I learned not to treat my father like a child; to continue to talk with him as an adult."

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