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Maintaining a Healthy Relationship with a Partner with Alzheimer's

Tips on how to keep the romance alive despite partner dealing with dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Sweetest Day will be here sooner than you think as this year has flown by. Can you believe that we are already halfway through August? This annual celebration of love means couples across the country will turn their attention to their special someone. Giving a gift of flowers, chocolates and/or a special dinner out have become part of the traditions of the day.

But what if your special someone has dementia or Alzheimer’s? According to the Alzheimer’s Association, about 15 million people in the United States care for someone living with memory loss. Your partner may not even recognize you or what your relationship is. The disease may have changed the person’s appetite for romance, causing you to feel as if they may not have any more interest in the marriage or relationship.

So what can you keep the romance alive if you have a loved one living with dementia or Alzheimer’s? Here are some ideas on how to keep a healthy relationship with someone you love.

Meet your loved one in their new world

Don’t spend your time reminiscing and remember you got in this for “better or worse”. Your loved one is still around and while being together may require some adjustments, love them where they are in this moment. You can still share touch, love, and affection.

Pay attention to detail

If your loved one appears to be open to holding hands, or a gentle neck massage, take those opportunities to connect. It is important that you know you loved one’s love language as it is an important indicator of what they will hold on to.  Remember love cures all.

Share your feelings

In any relationship, it is important to communicate. In your communication, you have to remember to be patient.  Be willing to be an avid listener when need be.  Remind them that you love them and will always even when they seem to forget who you are.

Reminisce about the past

Many people with dementia can still recall moments from their past on their own time. Ask your loved one if they remember the day you first met, your wedding day, when your kids were born, and other fun times. Bring pictures along to help jump-start their memory. Sharing good times of the past is an effective way to establish intimacy, keep, and establish a new connection.

Ask for help

If you are your loved one’s primary caregiver, ask for help from family, friends or a home health professional. Caregivers are experts in creating a safe, comfortable and compassionate environments for those living with memory loss, providing you with the time to take care of errands, tend to your own health care needs, or plan a special getaway to visit family or friends. In addition, a memory care facility is a great alternative if your partner requires additional care and attention.

Celebrate the good times

During those times when your loved one recognizes you and has a “good” day, take some time to acknowledge that and celebrate. The ability to see the beauty in life is an essential element in loving someone living with dementia.

For more information about memory care services provided by ComfortCare Homes, please call our office at (316) 444-0532.

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