Voted Best Answer
Feb 05, 2017 - 03:39 PM
Not the type of caregiving that happens between two people who equally share the demands of life and marriage, but the lopsided burden that happens when one partner struggles daily to support two people single handedly.
I cared for my Alzheimer's wife for nearly a decade. (ages 55-63) During that time our 'marriage' ended. As her deficits increased (she couldnt bathe, feed or dress) she quickly ceased to be my partner. And it was impossible for her to be a lover. I was nothing but a caregiver who recieved neither money or (more importantly) recognition from anyone. Only someone who has been through this destruction of their marriage, can truly understand it.
Be assured that your parents still love each other BUT the demands of physically maintaining another (and your father losing the abilty to care for himself) destroyed their feelings for each other and likely they are bound together only by the comittment that they made to each other so many years ago to stay together and care for each other "till death . . ."
They do not want to live apart, they want to live on the familiar equal basis that they had before illness came into their marriage as a destructive force. They do NOT need counseling!
Cure? "Your mother must stop caring for your father". SHE NEEDS HELP!!!
The care burden is killing her! In fact many caregivers end up 'dying on the job' leaving a surviving spouse who is completely disabled. What she needs is somebody to help perform all the many chores that she is doing for your father. The suggestions include;
1. Bringing help to their home - visiting nurses, live in maid/caregiver, driver to dialysis, etc. Anytime someone else can perform a necessary physical task, both their lives will be that much easier.
2. Moving dad to a place where he can be cared for away from your mother. Yeah those horriable words 'placement in a care facility'. In the Alzheimers world many, many spouses (eventually) realize that once the tedious care burden is lifted through placement, their relationship with their spouse improves dramatically. Visits are much more comfortable because all they need to do is visit. The healthy spouse doesn't have to constantly be doing something to support the other person.
3. Move them both into a place where they dont have to be burdened with the activites of daily care. Leaving a home where one has lived for many years is DIFFICULT! But anytime a burden can be lifted it will make things easier overall.
Now, will your mother/parents do any of this?
Not without encouragement from their children that getting outside help is the right thing to do and if necessary their children will support the decision (certainlaly emotionally and possibly financially) But the stresses on their marriage are not because they dont care for each other, their problems are because their marriage has become very unequal.