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Love in the World of Alzheimer's
Date:12/10/2007

n her experience, the adult children of Alzheimer's patients typically have a tougher time accepting this new love than spouses do.

"It's harder for the children -- it's an abandonment, and they feel committed to both parents. How could my mother or father do this?" she said.

That's where educating yourself about the progression of the disease really becomes valuable, she said.

"In our experience, so many people know so little about dementia and yet they are caring for someone with dementia," Schempp said. "It just goes back to the incredible need that we have for people to get informed. It takes a lot of information to really be able to navigate how you care for someone with dementia."

In the end, allowing a loved one to find his or her own peace amid the ravages of Alzheimer's may be the best course to take, Kennedy said.

"As Sandra Day O'Connor and others say, they are just thankful that there is a moment of happiness that comes into their loved one's life," he said.

More information

Find out more about caring for those with Alzheimer's or other illnesses at the Family Caregiver Alliance.



SOURCES: Donna Schempp, LCSW, program director, Family Caregiver Alliance, San Francisco; Peter Reed, M.D., senior director, programs, national office, Alzheimer's Association, Chicago; Gary Kennedy, M.D., director, geriatric psychiatry, Montefiore Medical Center, New York City


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