Alzheimer's Disease and the Spouse

From a reader:  “The one thing I find different from what you wrote about is that this is a different relationship than between parent/child. This is a spouse and the emotions and feelings are much different. The Biblical principles are the same no matter if it is parent/child or spousal.  But it gets really hard at times watching my husband slowly fade away.  I don't always handle it well.  I have been used to him being the one to lean on, sharing thoughts and memories of good times.  Now, that is gone.”

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From a husband who cared for his wife with AD:  "No matter how well you prepare yourself, when that moment comes that your spouse does not recognize you, or thinks you are someone else, (who may be another family member or someone who is still in their memory bank), it is always difficult to handle emotionally.

I remember one gentleman in our support group who was very discouraged as he related the story how his wife no longer knew who he was and no longer wanted him in the house. She thought he was a stranger who had no business being there. He thought she was a totally different person and someone that he did not know.

We must remember that with an Alzheimer’s patient, it is not their fault or their choosing to have forgotten their spouse or loved one.  They are the same person whom we love, and they are the same person who loves us – but now they are not able to express that love because their AD has robbed them of that memory.  We need to show them the love and and care and respect as we always have in the past. An AD patient can understand what is being said around them so remember and be careful of your conversations."

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Thank you to both of these contributors regarding the experiences, hardships and rewards on the caregiving journey in the life of Dementia.  I will continue this topic next month as well.  I welcome your comments and discussions as well.

Ephesians 4:29, "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers."