Forget the stiff upper lip approach. Here, advice for caring for a spouse with Alzheimer's.

Q. My dilemma is that my husband is losing his memory and it’s putting a big strain on our relationship. I knew this day might come since I am almost 20 years younger than he is, although our age difference was never an issue before. These days, I have to repeat everything again and again. I have to constantly remind him of the names of people we’ve known for years or where we have to be tomorrow or what I just said an hour ago. Since he lost his licence a year ago, he’s been steadily shrinking from doing anything on his own, instead relying solely on me to be his ‘everything’. I know he can’t help his memory problems or losing his licence but it’s putting such a strain on our relationship.  I feel like I’m going to explode some days, which just makes me feel guilty. I love my husband dearly but I need advice on how to cope.

Suzanne, Edmonton

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A. You need help. Forget the stiff upper lip approach. Apart from finding support for your husband you need to get help too. Everything you’re feeling, from anger to guilt to exploding, is completely normal – but also potentially dangerous.

According to Mary Schulz, Director of Education with the Alzheimer Society of Canada, “there’s a growing body of evidence that shows that people who care for someone with dementia are at a much, much higher risk with their own mental and physical health – and I’m talking serious health problems – than people caring for someone with other types of health issues. This is a fundamentally different kind of caregiver role.”

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