Memory Loss and the Midlife Couple
Magic at Midlife: Your Relationship Roadmap for Romance After 40
As with any other illness or disability, memory loss is one of the things we must accept as a possibility when we commit to a long-term relationship. We have found some helpful resources:
- The Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org) has an amazing range of resources and support, including care partner support groups. We found that a forum for those with early-stage Alzheimer’s was particularly helpful. We were able to learn about issues such as driving safety and to see people who were still capable and productive several years after their diagnosis.
- Good medical care is a must. Some memory loss is directly related to illness and may be reversible, so a thorough diagnostic process is critical. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s, but there are treatments available.
- Participating in a clinical trial, as Charles does, can provide hope and a sense of purpose. As a social worker told us, “Being in a clinical trial makes you feel like you are on the field playing, instead of in the stands just watching.”
- A speech therapist may be able to offer assistance with communication strategies, thereby lessening frustration for both partners.
- Be honest with others about what is happening. Charles realizes there is no shame in having Alzheimer’s, and he has been willing to be candid about his condition with friends and family. This has helped both of us to feel more supported by those who care about us.
Remember what you told your kids: Life is not fair. Nonetheless, it can be rewarding and enjoyable, even under pressure, if you focus on the positive.
Northwest authors Jennifer Y. Levy-Peck, PhD, a psychologist, and her husband Charles Peck are write a weekly column on midlife relationships. They are working on a new book, "Magic at Midlife: Your Relationship Roadmap for Romance After 40."
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