If someone you love is diagnosed with dementia, it is highly likely that your relationship with them will eventually be impacted. Dealing with these changes can be difficult and uncomfortable. As you are asked to support this person more and more, different aspects of your relationship will be affected, as well as your own feelings towards them. It is always important to remember that you are doing the best you can for them and yourself.
Relationships With Dementia
As the person’s dementia progresses and you provide them with more support, your roles in the relationship are likely to change. This change will occur depending on your relationship to the the diagnosed individual (parent, spouse, friend, sibling, etc.) You will find the many adjustments that are necessary difficult. Some aspects of this may provide you with comfort and support and you may be able to talk about many of the same things you used to. If you need to start doing tasks that the person with dementia used to do – such as paying the bills, driving or cooking – you might find this difficult to accept or get used to.
Romantic Partners & Dementia
If you’re caring for a partner with dementia, your romantic relationship is likely to change as their condition progresses. Some people find it difficult or impossible to continue to enjoy a romantic relationship with the person they are caring for when so many other aspects of their relationship have changed. However, many couples do enjoy a physical relationship and sometimes develop new ways of sharing closeness and intimacy. Sometimes you might even feel guilty for wanting to continue your romantic relationship with a partner – though it’s natural to continue to want intimacy. Although you may not be able to have these needs met in the same way, looking after your own wellbeing and getting support for yourself is important.
Dementia Care & Common Feelings
Many people have mixed feelings about being in a caring role. The relationship between you and the person you’re caring for might be complex. Here are some of the emotions you may feel as a caregiver/partner:
Positive emotions are also a possibility when you are caring for a partner with dementia. If your relationship with this person has always been strong, you may feel a desire to continue to love and support them just as you always have. You may also feel a sense of accomplishment for being able to take on such a large responsibility.
It is important to remember that all of your feelings are valid. You should not try to suppress anything that you are feeling. If you can’t talk to your partner about it, you should find someone who you can speak with. Whatever you are feeling, we want to help! If you think Orchard at Brookhaven could be the right place for your loved one, please contact us today!