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Spousal Caregiving Advice: Dottie & George

As we age, memory impairments such as Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia begin to deeply affect the cognitive abilities of more people that we know and love. It isn’t uncommon for the spouses of those suffering from memory loss to provide their loved one with care. Caring for a loved one suffering from memory loss can be a tricky task and requires a patient approach.

The Story Of Dottie and George

“There is a proper time to resist, but more often than not, you have to accept and adapt.” – George

George and Dottie have been married for 68 years. They were family friends and have known each other since they were young. Their relationship began while they were attending Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Dottie suffered from a stroke four years ago and lives with both mental and physical after effects. She experiences weakened legs resulting in limited mobility and slight memory issues. Dottie is unable to care for herself so who is left to take care of her when she needs it most? Her loving and supporting husband, George. When asked what he would say to a spouse providing caregiver support to a loved one, George offered the following tips:

  • Discuss the issues in a positive way and with patience
  • Give your partner a chance to explain their understanding of things
  • Be very tolerant and relaxed when engaging with your partner
  • Reach out to a family member or friend who is in the medical field for assistance
  • Don’t forget that although their memories might be out of linear order, they’re still there
  • Enable their independence whenever possible
  • Keep the mindset of a patient problem solver

It isn’t an easy job, but it can be an opportunity to grow closer together. It’s important not to lose sight of the person you fell in love with because they are still there and need you more than they ever have. It can be helpful to reach out to a third person to support you in your mission of aiding your partner during this difficult time.

Finding Help with Independence Village

While patience and strength are two required ingredients for any caregiver’s success, we can’t lose sight that caring for a loved one can only be made possible with a strong support system all around. George and Dottie are also residents of Independence Village of Midland. Here, George can take care of Dottie without having to worry about taking care of a home. And if a time comes when Dottie requires more than what George can provide, they can both rest assured that the community surrounding them has their back.

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