Dementia also changes intimacy in a marriage. When your sexual partner has dementia, the entire dynamic of the relationship changes. The caregiving spouse is unsure of what is appropriate in terms of a sexual relationship. The caregiving husband or wife ends up suffering the negative impacts of caring for their spouse with dementia. They suffer with stress, depression, grieving/loss, and wealth of their own health issues, Most caregiving spouses are seniors themselves, and have their own physical issues to be concerned with. Another stressor is the financial impact. Many caregiving spouses have to reduce their work hours, or retire altogether in order to care for their affected spouse.
It took some time, but fortunately, my client’s husband realized that he just couldn’t handle this alone. He realized the toll his caregiving responsibilities were taking on his physical and mental health, his time, and his finances. With some prodding and encouraging from his daughter, he agreed to let our home care agency find a caring, compassionate caregiver to come to his home and help him care for his wife, even if it was just for part of the day. It was slow-going at first, but after a few weeks, his wife warmed up to the caregiver I placed in her home. With some coaxing, she even agreed to bathing twice a week. My client’s husband was very thankful and relieved, and no longer felt guilty for hiring outside help.
Here are some great resources for caregiving spouses:
Photo by Abdulsalam Haykal