Illness or onset of a dementia in one spouse can dramatically change marital roles. The “well” partner is forced to take over much of the decision. This can feel like a burden. It can lead to exhaustion and burn-out. Especially difficult is seeing this once-independent and confident person now unsure of himself and requiring constant reassurance. How can you deal with this?
- Joining a support group can help you see that you’re not alone and can be a powerful forum for obtaining crucial emotional support, as well as for learning from others about how they cope.
- Notice and appreciate the positive aspects of your relationship and try to find some activities that the two of you can still enjoy together.
- Be sure to take care of yourself and your own health. Are you taking time to go to your doctor and following through on health regimens? Make sure to eat right, get enough sleep, and get some exercise.
- Find some activities that you enjoy doing on your own (for example, try something creative, get together with friends, take a class).
- Set aside a little bit of time every day to chip away at the tasks that need to be done, so they don’t build up and overwhelm you.
- Seek help from someone you trust with regard to finances (such as a financial advisor), so that you can receive support in making important financial decisions.
- Accepting changes in your partner, or yourself, and the resulting changes in your marital roles isn’t easy. Psychological counseling can be helpful in making these adjustments.
Finally, understand that things are ALWAYS changing in life. Our roles with all of our loved ones (partners, parents, children, friends) shift and change throughout our life-time — our roles change as we, ourselves, change. If you accept this as a fact and look at the positives of your new roles, you can feel more comfortable in these roles. You can choose to fight or to go with the flow, but know that solutions come much easier when you’re going with the flow.
Listen to licensed psychologist “Dr. Mara Karpel & Your Golden Years,” Sundays from 7-8pm on Austin’s Talk Radio 96.3 & 1370. Also live-streamed and podcasts on the internet at www.TalkRadio1370am.com. For more information go to www.DrMaraKarpel.com or call