Annie Lane: Seek help from the Alzheimer’s Association

Published 6:06 pm Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Dear Annie: This is in response to “Frustrated Peacemaker,” the woman whose husband was treating her mom with dementia in a condescending and critical manner.

We are raised thinking that we need to get things right, relay events correctly, remember things accurately — that’s part of being a capable adult. Yet all that changes when a loved one has an Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis.

My husband has Alzheimer’s. I find the best approach is to simply accept him for what he says and does, and drop any expectations that he would or could be different or “do better.” Just accepting life in the moment, as he is, removes a lot of the stress.

Even with the capacity to accept an impaired loved one for who he or she is in the present moment, there is still abundant grief at the loss of companionship, loss of mutuality, adjustment to the dependence of the loved one, loss of self and personal history because one’s partner no longer shares the same recollection of past experiences — to say nothing of the loss of independence that comes from taking on the role of caregiver.

Perhaps “Frustrated Peacemaker’s” husband is feeling the loss of his time with his wife because of the additional time she spends caring for her mother. Perhaps he simply needs a broader perspective about dementia and what he can expect and plan for in the days and weeks ahead.

In any case, the Alzheimer’s Association may be able to provide valuable insight and perspective for “Frustrated Peacemaker’s” husband and to help both “Frustrated” and her spouse create some shared expectations for the journey ahead with her mother. The Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 phone number is 800-272-3900.

— Walking the Talk Day-by-Day

Dear Walking the Talk: Thank you for sharing you own personal experience in accepting and living with your husband who has Alzheimer’s. I hope that your letter helps others know they are not alone and that there are resources available for those living in similar situations.

• • •

Dear Annie: In addition to grieving parents, we often forget about grieving siblings.

My oldest child died suddenly, and it wasn’t until I received the outpouring of love and support from my older brother that I realized the impact my son’s death had on him.

Despite the tumultuous years of childhood and the eye-rolling teenage years, they loved each other, and his grief was profound.

Dear Grieving: I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for your letter.

“How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?” is out now! Annie Lane’s second anthology — featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.