After spending decades or even close to a lifetime together, it can be heartbreaking to watch your partner’s condition deteriorate in your senior years. This is the reality facing lots of seniors following their loved one’s diagnosis of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or other neurodegenerative conditions. If you or someone you know is in this position, then read on for some helpful resources and coping strategies.
Learn about the disease and symptoms
Once you learn about your spouse’s dementia diagnosis, it’s a good idea to learn what you can about it to inform and prepare yourself. Understanding the diagnosis can help you better support your spouse while also preparing you for what is to come in terms of the progression of the disease.
Talk to and include your spouse
Talking to your spouse about their diagnosis is likely to be upsetting and difficult for both of you, but it’s important that you keep communicating openly. Talk to them about how you both feel and make sure to include them in any decisions about their future care needs. It is better to have this conversation early when they are still in sound mind.
Forge your own support system
Whatever you’re feeling during the diagnosis and the progression of the disease, it’s completely valid. You shouldn’t feel guilty about how you feel or simply push it down, but you may not always want to talk to your partner about these feelings, so it’s important that you have your own support system outside of your home. Turn to other family members, friends, and neighbors, and you can look online for support groups of spouses and other people who are in a similar situation to you.
Be patient and forgiving
As your partner’s condition worsens, their personality and behavior may change. They could become more irritable and even angrier as they learn to cope with their own condition and changing abilities. As a spouse, this can be hard to cope with and will require a lot of patience. Remind yourself that any outbursts aimed at you aren’t personal or intentional. It is the disease causing these changes, not the person.
Accept help from others
You may end up in the role of caregiver for your spouse, whether that’s full-time or part-time. Particularly as their condition progresses, this can become an especially demanding job, so you should never be afraid to accept help from others who offer it. And even don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. As well as friends and family, consider professional care for your spouse if needed.
If your loved one reaches a point in their condition where they need professional, around-the-clock care, then contact Brookstone of Clemmons to find out more about our assisted living community and how we can help you and your partner in Clemmons, NC.