Love After an Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

Creative Commons /
Creative Commons /

What does it mean to truly love someone? Is it possible to still love someone — even if they don’t remember who you are? These are the tough questions that Keeping Love Alive As Memories Fade addresses.

Most couples will experience great challenges, changes, joys and regrets throughout their lives together. Till death do us part, right? But what’s often not anticipated is the unthinkable: Alzheimer’s. Perhaps there’s nothing out there that can shake a marriage (or familial relationship) more than this disease because it strikes from multiple angles: loss of ability to care for one’s basic needs; the inability to remember, plan, and make decisions; and the degradation of personality, companionship, and intimacy.

Written by Deborah Barr, Edward Shaw, and Cary Chapman, Keeping Love Alive As Memories Fade combines tear-jerking personal testimony and practical approaches to continuing to cultivate fulfilling relationships with loved ones who are suffering from this disease via the five love languages.

Most of us have heard about this model, which maintains that each of us has a specific and preferred way (language) in which we like to receive love. The five languages are: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. Writing from the vantage of personal experience, coauthor Edward G. Shaw shares how he used the five love languages in caring for and loving his wife on the Alzheimer’s journey.

Despite the prevalence of Alzheimer’s, many people may not fully grasp the impact that this devastating condition can have on individuals, spouses, families, and society. Reportedly, Alzheimer’s strikes 1 in 10 people after age 65 and nearly half after age 85.

Living longer indeed comes with a physical cost. It’s predicted that the average life expectancy will increase to 100-years-old soon. Alzheimer’s may become very real to even the most unsuspecting. This is a book that provides hope for living and loving with the unthinkable Alzheimer’s disease.

Special to Patheos from Megan Schmidt

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