Alzheimer’s is a difficult disease, what should you expect?
Roles begin to change.
When you start your marriage, you start an equal partnership with one another. Not only are you two equal players in the game of life, but you are in it as a team. When Alzheimer’s strikes, that partnership changes. This is when you as the caregiver transition from an equal partnership, even a fond friendship, to the parent-child role. Essentially, the caregiver spouse becomes responsible for the other.
This role can be an easy transition for some or a hard one. Sometimes the person suffering from Alzheimer’s will accept the guidance peacefully. Sometimes, they become resentful and angry at the constant counseling.
Intimacy can be challenging.
When Alzheimer’s progresses, intimacy can change. Now as a caregiver you are unsure of what is appropriate or beneficial for the both of you as a team. It can go both ways, leaving the caregiver with ethical questions. Some people suffering from Alzheimer’s may experience reduced sexual interest. Others may experience hypersexuality, an increased sexual interest. Under those circumstances, your partner may act inappropriately. It is important to remind them it is not appropriate behavior and to encourage them when they do act appropriately.
Caregivers are physically affected.
Being a caregiver can be extremely draining; not just physically, but emotionally and mentally as well. As a caregiver, you are more likely to neglect your own health. To help relieve some caregiver stress, check out our previous post.
What’s Next? How Do You Help?
Keep in mind that it is not them, its the disease.
It is important to constantly remind yourself that the difficult things are the disease presenting itself–not your spouse. When she makes resentful comments, it is helpful to remember that it is her Alzheimer’s talking, not her. Take the hard times with a grain of salt, always keeping in mind that she is suffering from a disease.
Maintain your sense of humor.
Laughter feels good for a reason, it helps the heart, mind, and body. It is important to use laughter as frequently as you can, but make sure you mind the line between laughing at your spouse and laughing with your spouse. Laugh together at the things that occur. Ease the tension with some shared jokes or familiar phrases! Watch a lighthearted comedy on the television. Laughter is key for you and your spouse as a team, but it is vital to keep it in mind as a caregiver. Always remember to give yourself a good laugh because both you and your partner will benefit from you being relaxed.
Continue to aim for a healthy relationship.
Little things are essential in maintaining that special bond. Yes, things are changing, but you can still build moments into the day where you can nurture your marriage. Small things like holding your partner’s hand, winking at them across the room, buying her flowers, or even going on a walk together can help. Tell him he’s handsome in the morning. Maybe it is too difficult to go to her favorite place for dinner, so get it brought to you instead!
Don’t go through it alone.
Being strong does not equal doing it by yourself. It is okay to ask for help! Assistance can come in many ways; try professional resources like home health care agencies. Seek out local or even online support groups. Lean on your family members to give you a break. When friends offer to help you out–say yes!
How BlueStar SeniorTech Can Help
If you would like to learn more general information about how to reduce caregiver stress, check out our blog post.
BlueStar SeniorTech offers many solutions to keep you and your loved ones Safe, Healthy, & Connected. One of these ways to help with your heart health could be the HealthGuard – Senior Safety & Health System. The Healthguard is our finest and most capable family system for Safety, Health, and Connection. It’s almost like being there with Mom. A few of the vital signs it measures are Blood Pressure, Pulse/Oxygen levels, Blood Glucose, Weight Scale, and Body Temperature.
Learn more about how BlueStar SeniorTech can keep you and your loved ones Safe, Healthy, & Connected by visiting us online or call a product specialist today at (800) 300-1724, option 1.