The Reef for Male Caregivers – How to Cope with Changes in Intimacy
Hello and welcome. Intimacy is the special bond we share with a person we love and respect. It involves the way we talk and act towards one another. This bond can exist between spouses or partners, family members and friends. Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s disease changes the intimacy between people.
Your loved one with Alzheimer’s may be stressed by the changes in their memory. Fear, worry, depression and anger are common. Due to these feelings, your loved one may become dependent and cling to you. They may not remember your life together and feelings toward one another. Sometimes, the person may even fall in love with another person.
You, the caregiver, may pull away from the person in both an emotional and physical sense. You may feel upset by the demands of caregiving. You may also feel frustrated by the person’s constant forgetfulness, repeated questions and other behaviors.
Most caregivers learn how to cope with these challenges, but it takes time. Some learn to live with the illness and find new meaning in their relationships.
How to cope with changes in intimacy:
Remember that most people with Alzheimer’s need to feel that someone loves and cares about them. They also needs to spend time with other people besides you, the primary caregiver. Your efforts to take care of these needs can help your loved one feel happy and safe.
It’s important to reassure your loved one that:
• You love him/her
• You will keep him/her safe
• Others also care about him/her
When changes in intimacy happen, the following tips may help you cope with your own needs:
• Talk with a doctor, social worker or clergy member about these changes. It may feel awkward to talk about personal issues, but it can help
• Talk about your concerns in a support group
• Focus on the positive parts of your relationship
Or call the Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center at (877) 760-9199. We can set up a complimentary Coaching for Caregivers session for you at our office! Thanks for joining us today and we’ll see you again next month.