Dec 02, 2016 - 09:30 AM
It is completely understandable that you are having difficulty coping. Anyone giving care to another person 24/7, regardless of their personal health, would be expected to have difficulty coping.
Given your evident love for and devotion to your wife, you owe it to her (and to yourself) to establish a routine of respite for yourself. Even if you can have a companion or professional care provider come in several hours a day, that would allow you the time to seek out a support group to provide you with strategies for caring and for coping. And it would allow you some time to yourself to restore your reserves so that when you are with your wife, you are able to be with her even more intentionally and joyfully. You and your wife could interview possible candidates together, so that she is involved in the process and so that anyone who might help you care for your wife would see your model of respectful inclusion towards her.
The Florida department of elder affairs -- www.elderaffairs.state.fl.us -- would be a good place to start in exploring the resources available to you and your wife.
In addition, if your wife is able to leave the house and if you have enjoyed going to museums together in the past, you might consider contacting your local museums or art centers to see if they have any programs designed specifically for people with dementia and their families. My own organization runs such programs in the Philadelphia area, and I would encourage you to visit our Web site (artzphilly.org) just to see the kinds of programs that might be of interest or help to you. I am not familiar with programs in your area, but we have found that these kinds of experiences are extremely helpful in enhancing day-to-day quality of life for couples in your situation, as they provide a focus beyond the illness and its stressful experiences, as well as a sense of community with others enduring the same kinds of experiences. And if museums are not your cup of tea, seek out other short, enjoyable outings -- to the local park, etc. -- that may help to alleviate the intensity of your lives.
Just one more thing. Please know that you are not alone. And that your love for your wife is evident to her. But you need to take care of yourself in order to keep caring for her.