EP71: Alzheimer's Disease and Marriage

MelissaBPhD's podcast

Jul 20 2021 • 3 mins

That moment comes in the life of married couples when the other half may begin to experience memory issues. Typically, this will change the dynamics of the marriage itself because the person who's experiencing Alzheimer's or dementia will not function in the way they used to.

In this episode of This is Getting Old podcast, listen if you are struggling to handle a spouse or a senior loved one repeating themselves a lot, or maybe they're stuck on a specific story that they're telling.

Key points covered in this episode:

✔️ When the couple still retain their cognitive ability, and the other person can still get around, splinting allows assisting a person living with a memory problem by having the partner help and do things for them.

✔️ Working through repetitive verbalization. If a spouse or someone is saying to you, "I want to go home", many times, rather than getting frustrated with them telling you the same thing repeatedly, respond with: "it seems to me that you're nervous or are you scared of something?" Asking them this question focuses on what they're truly feeling rather than what's being said.

✔️ Address the underlying emotion. After you identify the cause beyond the intent, the best way to handle that is to help them work through the feeling so that you can hug them or comfort them and meet the underlying emotional need.

If you have questions, comments or need help, please feel free to drop a one-minute audio or video clip and email it to me at melissabphd@gmail.com, and I will get back to you by recording an answer to your question.

About Melissa Batchelor, PhD, RN, FNP-BC, FGSA, FAAN:

I earned my Bachelor of Science in Nursing ('96) and Master of Science in Nursing ('00) as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) from the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) School of Nursing (SON). I genuinely enjoy working with the complex medical needs of older adults. I worked full-time for five years as FNP in geriatric primary care across many long-term care settings (skilled nursing homes, assisted living, home, and office visits), then transitioned into academic nursing in 2005, joining the faculty at UNCW SON as a lecturer. I obtained my Ph.D. in Nursing and a post-master's Certificate in Nursing Education from the Medical University of South Carolina College of Nursing ('11). I then joined the faculty at Duke University School of Nursing as an Assistant Professor. My family moved to northern Virginia in 2015 and led to me joining the George Washington University (GW) School of Nursing faculty in 2018 as a (tenured) Associate Professor. I am also the Director of the GW Center for Aging, Health, and Humanities. Please find out more about her work at https://melissabphd.com/.