When is it ok to move on?

zeeeb

Registered User
I was speaking to my partner last night and discussing the very grey, very emotive topic, of moving on and finding another partner / companion after alzheimers.

What are your thoughts?

My mum is 58 this year, and I wonder if Dad will ever think it's ok to move on. I wonder what happens if she ends up in a nursing home, and dad is only say 65 or 70, healthy with a good 2 or 3 decades left in life. I wonder if he's destined to lonliness for the rest of his life with a wife who doesn't know him. Or if he will allow himself to find companionship and maybe a glimmer of happiness.

It's hard to think that, that's it for his happiness forever. He worked hard the last 45 years, didn't even reach retirement age before he has to become a carer and then eventually lose his wife to alzheimers, but perhaps have her live for decades.

I said to my partner that if it happens to me, i wouldn't expect him to give up his whole life and every opportuntity at happiness. Then we spoke about another family member who divorced his wife who had early onset alzheimers and was in a nursing home from a young age. And how hard it would be to do that, but how unfair it also is to be imprisoned by the illness.

Such a very grey area. But I hate to think that Dad will be grumpy, sad, lonely forever, after working so hard for his family for so long.
 

Nan2seven

Registered User
Apr 11, 2009
2,525
Dorset
Dear zeeeb,

I would hope that if your dear dad felt he wanted companionship from someone else at some later date he would feel he could, but that this would not exclude him from continuing to visit his wife if she were still living in care. And I would also hope that any future companion would fully understand his wish to continue to visit if he wanted to do so. This is just my own personal opinion and might not be what others feel. My husband died with vascular dementia last year but those with a husband or wife still suffering with the disease may not agree with me.

Love, Nan XXX
 

Helen33

Registered User
Jul 20, 2008
14,697
Dear Zeeeb,

I would suspect that your father may have some of these thoughts himself but sometimes people can be very afraid of their own thoughts and shut them out as soon as they come in. Maybe, when the time is right, you might want to tell your dad that you have dared to have your own thoughts and that whatever he decided to do or not to do in the future, you would support him. This may give him the courage he would need to contemplate this very difficult issue should it arise for him.

Love
 

Nanak

Registered User
Mar 25, 2010
1,973
60
Brisbane Australia
Dear zeeeb,

I would hope that if your dear dad felt he wanted companionship from someone else at some later date he would feel he could, but that this would not exclude him from continuing to visit his wife if she were still living in care. And I would also hope that any future companion would fully understand his wish to continue to visit if he wanted to do so. This is just my own personal opinion and might not be what others feel. My husband died with vascular dementia last year but those with a husband or wife still suffering with the disease may not agree with me.

Love, Nan XXX
I am using this quote as it is exactly how I feel too :)
Nanak
missing what has gone and scared of what is to come
 

rajahh

Registered User
Aug 29, 2008
2,794
Hertfordshire
My own father had a relationship with another woman but it was after my mother died in care. He would not have welcomed any suggestion that he might have another relationship while my mother was alive, but in the end a year after she died he did meet someone and married her and had 8 more very happy years before she too died.

I have a friend whose wife is in care with Alzheimers and he has formed a relationship with another woman and she lives with him. His sons have disowned him and I have tried to talk to them and tell them how lonely it is.

I have a husband with Alzheimers, and I am very lonely. He still lives with me but at the sheltered housing complex where Ilive when I goto coffee morning I gravitate to the men's table!! I do so miss male conversation.

I sometimes go out for lunch with men friends on the day my husband goes to the Day Centre. I do not have anything like what I would call a relationship, and would not contemplate it yet.

However if my husband goes into a home I really do not know how I would feel. I am sure though that if my husband dies before me then I would welcome a relationship with another man if the right one came along.

I add that I am at present 73 but still feel I have a life to live.

so there are 3 different situations , through it all there is the same loneliness though and the need for companionship/.relationship/conversation.

Jeannette
 

Margaret W

Registered User
Apr 28, 2007
3,725
North Derbyshire
I think that most of the current posters will not remember Brucie, an ex-moderator, and great contributor to this website, whose beloved wife Jan developed early-onset dementia in, I think, her thirties. Brucie supported her 100%, lovingly and caringly, until she died a couple of years ago, but of course he naturally formed a relationship with another lady, who fully understood and supported his need to care for Jan for as long as it took. I think that lady was a health professional that he met along the way, but I might be wrong on that. Anyway, his new relationship did not at all affect the way he cared for Jan, indeed may well have helped as he had the support of his new partner.

Your father may or may not wish to have another partner. Not every single person is bored and lonely, he might find a new circle of friends without finding a partner. I suggest you wait and see if he forms any friendship that appears to be "going somewhere" and then quietly suggest to him that you think it is fine if he wishes to develop it.

Love and best wishes

Margaret
 

zeeeb

Registered User
I have a friend whose wife is in care with Alzheimers and he has formed a relationship with another woman and she lives with him. His sons have disowned him and I have tried to talk to them and tell them how lonely it is.
That is so sad... I know that they do it because of their love for their mother, but it's very sad that someone can't find happiness after adversity.

My partner reacted very strongly when I first bought it up, and he was taken aback, and said "wow, that gives me a lot of insight to you". would you just leave me if I were to get sick? and then quoted "to death do us part". But it's not as simple as that, surely. I guess all I can do, is support him as best I can, and give him permission from my point of view, so that it's not thoughts of how I'd feel, holding him back later down the track.
 

jenniferpa

Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
39,448
Just to mention - The wonderful woman who Bruce has taken to his heart was in fact a very long term friend of his and his wife's (as in, involved in each others weddings) who had lost her own husband. He has been very open with this story and in fact gave an interview on this subject in our Living with Dementia magazine.

I have to say I have to agree that not all people who have lost a spouse for whatever reason will be looking for another partner. I even suspect if they are female, the odds are less than if they are male. I totally agree with Margaret's post:

I suggest you wait and see if he forms any friendship that appears to be "going somewhere" and then quietly suggest to him that you think it is fine if he wishes to develop it.
 

Isabella41

Registered User
Feb 20, 2012
904
Northern Ireland
I was speaking to my partner last night and discussing the very grey, very emotive topic, of moving on and finding another partner / companion after alzheimers.

What are your thoughts?
Goodness what a fraught laden topic. I don't think there is a one size fits all approach. I know of someone who lives close to me and who I meet at church events. She was happily married with 2 small children when her husband was invovled in some sort of incident that left him in a wheelchair paralysed from the neck down. I don't know the specifics but she told me he gave her permission to divorce him and get on with her life. She took him at his word and is now married to someone else and had more kids with this new man. Personally I was horrified as I could not conptemplate doing such a thing but I am not her and therefore its wrong of me to judge.

My darling John is 13 years older than me and therefore it is reasonable to assume that one day I may end up being his carer. The thought does not horrify me. It would be a labour of love and I if that day came I can well imagine I'd work myself into an early grave to make sure he was ok. There are no circumstances (save him cheating on me) that would make me walk out on my marriage. We are both born again christians and firmly believe in death do us part. I know our faith drives our decisions and that for everyone it will be different. I would not ever condemn anyone for making different choices. We all make choices and then we live with the impact of those choices.

Isabella