Living with a partner who has dementia is incredibly challenging.
If you’re feeling like you no longer love your husband, or even that you hate them, you’re not alone.
These kinds of emotions are completely normal – what’s important is that you speak to someone who understands and get the support you need.
This could be from friends and family, or more likely from one of the many excellent dementia or Alzheimer’s support groups.
You have to take care of your own mental health and well-being though, if you’re feeling resentment towards your husband or experiencing negative emotions, don’t keep it to yourself.
In this article, I’m going to go over some tips to help you cope with caring for your husband with dementia and where you can find support.
How Do I Cope With a Husband With Dementia?
Caring for your husband with dementia, or any loved one for that matter puts a huge strain on your relationship.
The way their loss of memory impacts how you interact with each other on a daily basis is something only other caregivers can understand.
Here are some tips to help you cope better with caring for your husband:
Accept That Your Relationship Is Going to Change
One of the hardest things to come to terms with is that your relationship with your husband is going to change.
This doesn’t mean it has to be negative though – you can still have a close, loving relationship, it will just be different from what it was before.
You have to be willing to adjust to the needs of your husband, especially as their illness progresses.
Educate Yourself on Their Form of Dementia
There are over 400 different types of dementia.
One of the best things you can do for yourself and your husband is to educate yourself on their form of dementia.
The more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to deal with the changes in their behavior.
You’ll also be able to spot early signs of deterioration and get them help sooner.
Don’t Feel Bad for Resenting Them at Times
It’s normal to feel resentment towards your husband at times. Caring for someone with dementia is incredibly challenging, it really is.
Allow yourself to experience these negative emotions, but try not to dwell on them.
You have to take a step back and remind yourself that none of this is either their fault or yours, and their actions are not deliberate – no matter what they do or say to you.
Understand That Their Behavior Towards You Isn’t Intentional
This is something that’s really important to remember when dealing with anyone with dementia.
Your husband’s behavior, no matter how hurtful it might be, is not intentional.
They’re not doing or saying these things to upset you on purpose – it’s just a symptom of their illness.
Try and separate the person you love from the disease, and understand that they do not mean anything personally.
Remember to Take Care of Yourself
Being a carer for a loved one with dementia might be one of the toughest things to do from an emotional perspective, and it’s pretty demanding physically, too.
If you don’t take care of your own emotional and physical well-being, you’re not going to be able to give them your best.
You’ll also be more likely to feel things getting on top of you and have them spiral out of control.
Set time aside each day – no matter how difficult that is – to do something you enjoy, rest plenty, and make sure you’re eating and drinking enough.
Ask For Help Sooner Rather Than Later
The number one most important thing is going to be support – so start getting it sooner rather than later.
I’ve listed some dementia support groups below, no matter how difficult it is to reach out and contact one, please do it today!
Dementia Carer Support Groups
I strongly recommend contacting a dementia carer support group, no matter how much you feel like you need to right now.
Studies have shown that carers who join dementia support groups experience a positive increase in their own mental health while also improving the quality of life for the person with dementia they’re caring for.
Being a carer for someone with dementia can make you feel very alone, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Here are three dementia support groups offering a wide range of on and offline support to carers:
“The Alzheimer’s Association leads the way to end Alzheimer’s and all other dementia — by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support.”
The Alzheimer’s Association is one of the largest organizations offering support to dementia patients and carers.
Alzheimer’s is a specific progressive disease of the brain, while dementia is the term for a group of symptoms that impact memory – but the Alzheimer’s Association caters for all.
They host a range of meetings both in-person and online and have a deep pool of resources.
Lewy Body Dementia Association (LBDA)
“Through outreach, education and research, we support those affected by Lewy body dementias, their families and caregivers. We are dedicated to raising awareness and promoting scientific advances.”
If your loved one has been diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia, you’ll find all the latest information and a strong support network at the LBDA.
Alzheimer’s Society – UK Visitors
“Alzheimer’s Society is the UK’s leading dementia charity. We campaign for change, fund research to find a cure, and support people living with dementia today.”
Recognized as the biggest killer in the UK, the Alzheimer’s Society is there to help anyone going through dementia or caring for a loved one with the illness.
I recommend checking out their blog. I found some of the stories about caregivers and the struggles – and rewarding experiences – they face very inspiring!
Image credits – Photo by Katarzyna Grabowska on Unsplash
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.