One thing that is not talked about very much, but tends to be a problem for many couples, when one has the disease and the other takes on the roll of caregiver, is the stress that new relationship can create between the parties.
Almost with all married couples a division of responsibilities exists. In todays world there seems to be no set program of responsibilities, but even so each party does take on different duties. When one of the parties acquires dementia it is quickly apparent that dementia does not stay in one place but moves around and eventually decline becomes evident. This decline has the propensity to disrupt each party’s responsibilities and that in turn can create tension.
An example might be in order. This specific example has come up a number of times in Alzheimer’s support groups. Lets say the husband acquires dementia and one of his duties has been to write checks and pay the bills.
He has always been competent and good at math. As his dementia progresses his memory about bill paying begins to shrink a bit and he may forget one or more bills, which need paying by a certain date. He may see it as a onetime event where the spouse has seen it happing more then once and becomes worried. A disagreement occurs as to who should pay bills in the future. He sees it as taking away something he liked to do and frankly to maintain self -esteem needs to continue doing. The spouse looks at it from a different perspective and just wants the bills paid on time.
Take this one example and extrapolate 25/50 times and you can see the tension that progressive dementia can cause.
If the parties can’t reach amiable solutions, sometimes a councilor can really help to find solutions.