The expression of intimacy may change over time, but the human need for physical connection remains, even as people age. That is especially true between people who have been partners for a long time.
A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia may affect emotions and a person’s ability to express them, as well as physical interactions.
Dementia and Changes in Physical Interactions
Watching the changes a partner goes through with dementia can be heartbreaking. There are many financial, health, and day-to-day concerns that arise during this time, and you may decide that living in a continuing care retirement community in Florida is a more practical choice than staying at home.
But no matter where you live, one concern that people are hesitant to talk about is physical intimacy.
How Physical Interactions Can Change with a Diagnosis of Dementia
Concerns about the future may overshadow normal interactions, including everyday expressions of love like hugs or hand holding. Another reason for loss of intimacy is that dementia may cause changes in personality or hygiene habits. In addition, a partner who becomes a care provider may feel overwhelmed with their new responsibilities.
All these changes are normal under the circumstances, but that doesn’t mean they are not difficult to navigate. A loss of affection from one partner can be very frustrating to the other, even when it has an understandable medical or emotional cause.
If both partners want to maintain a loving and intimate relationship, they may find that the habits they have enjoyed in the past may have to be re-evaluated. Finding new ways to connect and maintain both physical and emotional intimacy is important.
Consider the following ideas for maintaining a sense of closeness with your partner:
- Share moments of emotional intimacy, such as reminiscing or sharing a favorite meal together
- Take advantage of opportunities to provide simple, but meaningful physical touch, such as cuddling or holding hands
- Talk to your partner about your feelings, even if it is difficult
Keep in mind that there is no single right way to maintain an intimate connection with your partner. Each couple needs to find new ways of expression that meet their current needs. Speaking to a counselor or support group may help as well.
The Importance of Self Care: Is It Time to Consider a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Florida?
Caring for a loved one with dementia can start to feel like it’s taking over your life if you don’t have help. If this is the case for you, it may be time to consider your options for Florida assisted living facilities.
The amenities and support offered in an independent living or assisted living facility can ease the pressure of constant care for your partner, leaving you the time and energy to enjoy your relationship, even in light of complex medical needs.
With the right support networks in place, you can enjoy meaningful time spent with your partner while still taking care of your own needs.