How to Cope When Your Spouse Has Dementia

It’s hard when someone you love is struggling. A dementia diagnosis affects everyone; from the person that’s diagnosed, to their family and friends. But, it can particularly impact a spouse. While some spouses can cope with the way dementia affects relationship and marriage, many cannot. It is natural that you might be experiencing a range of different emotions. By accepting the diagnosis and the changes your life is going to take, understanding the disease, and learning a few tips, you can cope with the challenges that dementia can bring. 

Learn What You Can

You should make sure to learn everything you can about dementia when you learn the diagnosis. There are plenty of resources online and in print, but the best resource may be to talk to their doctor. When the diagnosis is administered, don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions. They’re professionals, and they’re there to help.

Take Time to Process

take time to process

A dementia diagnosis can be hard on both the person diagnosed and their spouse. It’s a time at which you need to be there for your spouse. After all, they’re probably struggling to accept that they have something so severe.

That being said, you need to take some time to process yourself. It’s hard, and it’s okay to be momentarily stricken by the news. Don’t feel bad if you need to take some time to gather yourself.

Throughout this process, you’ll find that you need a shoulder to lean on from time to time. It’s a good idea to surround yourself with a support group of family and friends. There are even support groups available if you would like to make connections with others who intimately understand the situation of caring for a spouse with dementia.

A Changing Relationship

This is also a time to take note that the relationship between you and your spouse is going to change. But, this doesn’t mean that it’s going to end. You’re still a team with your spouse and this is the time to show how adaptable you are.

Over the course of this change, it’s probable that you will take on more of the responsibility. You’re going to step into the role of caregiver at some point, so expect to take on duties such as making financial decisions and taking care of most household chores.

It’s also essential to involve your spouse as much as possible. They may struggle more than they once did, but it’s critical to recall that they are still the person they once were. They’ve just changed a bit. This doesn’t mean you should leave major decisions to them alone, but involve them in activities and hear their opinions as much as is reasonable.

Don’t Take It Personally

As dementia progresses, it isn’t uncommon for individuals to forget things or lash out at the people around them. If this happens, it’s crucial to remember that this isn’t a personal attack. It’s a symptom of what they’re going through. It can be hard at times, but it’s no real malice from your spouse directed towards you.

There will be moments in which you do take things more personally and your feelings will get hurt. This is only natural. Don’t feel guilty for your emotions – things won’t be perfect all the time.

On Caregiving

Another service you should be aware of is caregiver services. If needed, there are caregivers that can be hired even part-time if you need the help.

If you are going to be your husband’s caregiver, though, you’ll want to make sure you have the right resources. Some that are worth your consideration include the Alzheimer’s website, the Family Caregiver Alliance, the Alzheimer’s Association, and the National Institue on Aging. Being a caregiver for a husband suffering from dementia can be an intimidating task. How to prepare for the road ahead?

  • Ask for help. Caregiving can be hard, so it’s important to reach out to other family members or friends and join support groups. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness.
  • Learn Caregiving Skills. Use the trainings and workshops to gain caregiving skills, so you can learn more about symptoms and treatments.
  • Use available resources and technology. It’s also good to know what tools or services can help you with caregiving. For one, a medical alert system can be a useful choice.
  • Develop a caregiving plan. Creating a plan is helpful to make sure that you do not miss anything.

Take Advantage of Bright Moments

spouse dementia

Despite all the struggles that dementia brings, it isn’t always going to be bad. There will be periods in which you and your spouse connect or make great memories. You are going to want to hold onto these moments – they can mean the world to you on harder days.

Taking care of a spouse with dementia is all about adaptability. There will be a lot of challenges ahead, but it isn’t anything that you, your spouse, and some support can handle. The best advice is to take it day-by-day.


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