Intimacy,Marriage and Alzheimer's Disease

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Elite Member

Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 4/29/2009 10:13 AM (GMT -6)   
PLZ know Our Loved Ones Need The Commonalities Of Life IF they SO Desire IT..................... 

Intimacy, Marriage and Alzheimer's Disease


Talking about intimacy and sexuality is never easy, from the time we are youngsters until we are very old and wise. For some, sex is enjoyable, for others it is embarrassing and for others still it is frightening. Nevertheless, sex is part of our lives, and when combined with Alzheimer’s Disease, it can problematic. It is important to distinguish the differences between intimacy and sexuality to better address the challenges created by dementia. Intimacy is a "warm friendship," while sexuality is the use of words, gestures, movements or activities that attempt to display physical affection. Sexual activity in healthy relationships helps people to stay in good physical condition and helps to reduce physical and psychological stress.

Dementia’s Impact on Sexual Relationships

Even the most confused individual affected by dementia is still a sexual being. Dementia does not mean just memory loss as the common perception. It is a form of brain damage that can affect many different aspects of consciousness, motor skills and executive function, in addition to memory. With respect to sexual behavior, your loving partner may no longer remember how to arouse and satisfy you; may develop impotence from blood pressure medications; may become hypersexual or unable to understand the consequences of his/her actions in public; may lose social skills and charisma; may lose self-esteem; or may engage in impulsive, thoughtless or indifferent behavior.

Your loved one may engage in sexual behavior such as public **********, undressing or inappropriate sexual advances. You should not feel responsible for these behaviors, they are the result of your loved one’s brain disease and are not a reflection on you. Accusations of infidelity or hypersexuality may make you feel misunderstood and angry. Take time to reassess the situation. Is your loved one seeking reassurance or a boost in self-esteem? Is it simply a breakdown in judgement? Understanding the behaviors in these terms depersonalizes the impact. 

Caregivers to loved ones with dementia, especially spouses, express many concerns. 

Guilt: for refusing a spouse’s sexual advances, for wanting a satisfying intimate relationship, for simply wanting a personal life, for wanting the burden to end. 

Frustration: with problems that arise during sex, with demented spouse’s inability to satisfy or appear interested in your sexual needs, with the inability to relate to your loved one due to his/her diminished mental capacity. 

Resentment: for having to suppress one’s own needs, over your loved ones accusations of infidelity, of your marriage vow to care "in sickness and in health." 

Embarrassment or Confusion: over changes in spouse’s behavior, by sexual advances by your spouse who no longer recall’s your name, by repeated advances even after sexual episodes early in the day, over emotional intimacy that has been lost. 

Fear: of acting selfishly, of attending to one’s own needs, of wounding pride if you refuse sexual advances, of raping your spouse because they really can’t give informed consent. 

Effectively coping with these changes in your relationship are essential. Start by doing things that reduce stress and enhance your self-esteem. Keeping a journal can help you to release your pent up feelings. Most importantly, develop a support system of peers who you can comfortably share your feeling and experiences. This may seem awkward at first – however once you recognize that this is an issue, you can begin to grow from it. Many Alzheimer’s support groups have a mix of children caring for aging parents and spouses caring for their partner. Seek out individuals who are "most like you" to share a cup of coffee, ask the facilitator to raise the issue cautiously, suggest a guest speaker, or consult with a religious advisor or therapist.

Remember, that as a caregiver, you are not required to devote every ounce of energy to your loved one. It is essential to maintain your balance and minimize your stress level. It is OK to get angry sometimes (but not to get violent). Your emotions are natural, but the challenge is to address the in a healthy manner and grow from the experience.

Rediscovering Loving Relationships

A couple’s role and intimacy will undergo change (all relationships do over time). Even with the onset of dementia, there are still facets of your relationship that you can nurture. However strained and limited, you can still focus on these positive aspects of a relationship: 

singing and music 
reviewing photo albums 
talking about the past 
taking walks or rides 
visiting with animals or children 
engaging in simple projects such as gardening or painting 
assisting with personal care such as shaving, manicures or hair-setting 
exercising and dancing 
However you cope with the changes in your loving relationship, you may be able to find additional emotional support and relationships in friends and family, children, pets, and coworkers/volunteers.

**Remember they are not GONE they too need the Human Factors In Their Lives As Well**

 DX: Crohns,Pyoderma Gangrenosum,Anxiety/Panic,
Fibro & Other DD

Donate at
              CO Moderator @ Anxiety and Panic........
                            Keep The Fight Going..Or YOu Will Lose
               Look For The GOOD, Even At Your Lowest
  We Have Anxiety and Panic...................Anxiety and Panic DO NOT Have us         

Post Edited (Howlyncat) : 4/29/2009 9:16:38 AM (GMT-6)

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 498
   Posted 5/5/2009 2:07 AM (GMT -6)   
Thought you might like a chuckle

Pfizer Announcement

Pfizer Corp. Announced today that Viagra will soon be available in
liquid form, and will be marketed by Pepsi Cola as a power beverage
suitable for use as a mixer. It will now be possible for a man to
literally pour himself a stiff one. Obviously we can no longer call this
a soft drink, and it gives new meaning to the names of 'cocktails',
'highballs' and just a good old-fashioned 'stiff drink'.

Pepsi will market the new concoction by the name of: MOUNT & DO.

Thought for the day: There is more money being spent on breast implants
and Viagra today than on Alzheimer's research. This means that by 2040,
there should be a large elderly population with perky boobs and huge
erections and absolutely no recollection of what to do with them.

If you don't send this to five old friends right away there will be five
fewer people laughing in the world.

Love the heart that hurts you, but never hurt the heart that loves you..
45 years Male Attorney
Diagnosed UC October 1989
Had two stage J Pouch Surgery Nov 2005; Take Down March 2006
Complications after surgery - Incisional Hernia and Ano Fistulas
"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle: Albert Einstein
"What you are aware of you are in control of; what you are not aware of is in control of you."

Elite Member

Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 5/5/2009 1:00 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for the chuckle smilewinkgrin
Surely need one today...............Welcome to the AD forum.............LYN

 DX: Crohns,Pyoderma Gangrenosum,Anxiety/Panic,
Fibro & Other DD

Donate at
              CO Moderator @ Anxiety and Moderator Crohns
                            Keep The Fight Going..Or You Will Lose
               Look For The GOOD, Even At Your Lowest
  We Have Anxiety and Panic...................Anxiety and Panic DO NOT Have us         

Post Edited (Howlyncat) : 5/6/2009 2:16:59 AM (GMT-6)

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