Caregiving can be both an awesome and daunting experience. When the subject of care is your spouse, and they also have dementia, the emotional trials of caregiving are often further amplified — and difficult to deal with. From trying to find a lawyer to help protect the hard-earned assets of a partner to dealing with a partner’s altered personality, there’s a lot for a caregiver to juggle.
Dementia inhibits cognitive skills, which can make communication with an affected partner difficult. This alone can take a toll on a relationship, but dementia can present further challenges. From changing the dynamic of intimacy to grappling with inappropriate behaviors from a partner with dementia — the list of hurdles can become exhaustive.
While there are medications and therapies that can help manage the condition, the toll that it takes can still be severe. The following tips may help those caring for a spouse with dementia cope with their situation, and point to resources that can further aid them in trying to grapple with the complexities they’ve been faced with.
Remember That It’s The Disease
Perhaps most important to remember while coping with this difficult situation is that the change in your partner’s demeanor is due to their condition. It’s common for those with dementia to say or do things that can be hurtful, but if you remember that it’s the disease talking — and not your spouse — you’ll be better prepared to not take their words and actions personally so that you can maintain your relationship.
Keep Working On Your Relationship
Speaking of your relationship, you should continue to prioritize it, even though your partner’s dementia may make that difficult. While it’s true things will change, you can still seize those small moments to show your partner that you care, and try to nurture your relationship with your spouse the best you’re able. If your partner is still residing with you, for instance, you might take some time to hold their hand and have an intimate chat. If they’re elsewhere, say a senior intimate home setting, you might be able to bring them their favorite meal and simply provide support.
Use Humor To Facilitate Communication
It’s no secret that interacting with your partner has dementia is difficult. There are tips for communication abound, and one thing that can make the task easier is to use a bit of humor. Laughter is called the best medicine for a reason, and if you can crack a joke that lightens the mood, you’ll find getting through to your partner that much more manageable.