Marital Relationships Category
Marital Relationships – Couples plan to retire and grow old together, however this isn’t always the path life takes. What happens when one spouse accepts the responsibility of caring for another? What happens when caring for a spouse results in stress and illness for the healthy spouse? What are realistic expectations of care? What happens if care and the related responsibilities were not discussed in advance of care needs? What is the future for the well spouse and the spouse needing care? How do couples navigate unexpected situations?
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Financial issues especially those involving health care issues become more prominent as we age. Divorces due to impending Medicaid or long term care issues due to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and multiple sclerosis with high costs of care are becoming more common from a sense of practicality.
Few people I know openly talk about waiting for the grim reaper to show up at the door. Conversely the subject is daily conversation for many of my clients who are older, have several chronic health conditions and are just plain tired of living, rather existing as they would say. Individuals over 100 years of age in the U.S. are increasing and currently number about 84,000.
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“Until death do us part.” How realistic is this vow when care situations threaten the long term well-being of the healthy spouse? How does a significant health diagnosis affect re-marriages late in life?
Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz clicking her red ruby slippers repeating, “There’s no place like home” wishing to be transported back to that little farm house in Kansas. What is it about remembering past times that gives us warm, happy feelings? How many of you experience nostalgic memories on a regular basis? The music, the feeling of a place, memories of good friends? What makes these memories better than the memory of the root canal you had last week?
“In sickness and in health, until death do us part;” words recited at marriage ceremonies with the expectation of a life-long happy marriage and a golden retirement. Years pass with children, career, moving here, and there. One day a surprising and unwelcome visitor, Alzheimer’s disease, shows up at the front door. A few more years pass and we find ourselves living with a spouse who has no recollection that we were once a young, active, married couple looking forward to a long and happy life together. Our spouse has becomes a person, much like a child, for whom we provide care.
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