Alzheimer’s and Dealing With Aging Parents
Dealing with a parent suffering from  Alzheimer's can be extremely stressful.

Alzheimer’s can be a very stressful on the relationship between a child and their parents. Dealing with a parent suffering from Alzheimer’s can be extremely stressful.

September is World Alzheimer’s Month. With more than 46 million people in the world living with a form of dementia, it’s time to speak out against this debilitating condition that is often ignored or hidden away. Although the elderly are revered and honored in many cultures, there’s still a stigma about having dementia. It’s not only the individual who is diagnosed with dementia who suffers, but family members who must care for this person are often under more strain and stress from dealing with a parent who is sick. If you’re taking care of a parent who has Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or another chronic condition, here are some tips to help you deal with the complex issues that arise.


Dealing With Parents Who Have Alzheimer’s

  1. Give your parents as much autonomy as you can. Offer options, not orders, when possible. This shows respect for their condition and affirms their value to you.
  2. Expect anger and grief. Your parent is not only dealing with a loss of his or her own body and mind, but of authority. The relationship he or she has always had with you is changing. Anticipate anger and respond in ways that show you understand what he or she has lost.
  3. Separate the emotional dysfunction from the disease. Dealing with a parent who has dementia is hard enough when he or she forgets your name. When your mom or dad calls you by your sibling’s name, don’t assume anything from this. It’s not about who is loved more.
  4. Appreciate your helpers. Find other caregivers who can help you take care of your mom and dad. If you can’t bring in healthcare providers, find members of the community who can offer respite from cleaning or shopping to give you a break.
  5. Ask siblings for help, but remember that everyone has their own baggage they’re dealing with. Ideally, it would be great if the family came together when mom and dad were sick. Realistically, you have no idea what each person is dealing with emotionally when it comes to parental relationships. Just because you’ve worked through your issues, maybe siblings haven’t.
  6. Expect crazy from the family. Impending grief makes people do crazy things. If there’s any kind of inheritance, it compounds the situation. Anticipate the frenzy that can happen when a parent is dying. Know where you draw the line about money. Protect yourself as much as you can.
  7. Take care of yourself. Caring for an elderly parent is a time-consuming job, and it’s probably not your only responsibility. Take time for yourself and your family. Have some fun when you can. Enjoy the good days.
  8. Don’t dwell on the little things. When dad forgets the little things, don’t sweat it. Just go with it. Listen to his stories from the old days. A patient with Alzheimer’s might remember things from 50 years ago while forgetting that he took his medicine just a few minutes ago.
  9. Ask for your parents’ advice when you can. Get them to talk about their past when they are able. Take advantage of the moments and appreciate the good times.
  10. Take things slow. You’re running a marathon, not a race. Get help from the aging council in your community to help you find the right process that works.

You’re not alone in taking care of aging parents. There may not be a cure for the condition your parent faces, but there is a lot of support. Reach out to others and find assistance to help you manage your new role as a caretaker. Talk about the problems of dementia and aging in your community to let others know that they aren’t alone in their struggles. When people come together, it makes a difference.

Reduce the Risk of Divorce
New marriages risk ending in divorce.

New marriages risk ending in divorce.

If you’re thinking about marriage, you’re probably already in love and spent a long time wondering if you can really spend the rest of your life with the person you care about. No one goes into a marriage thinking about a divorce, but the statistics show that about 48 percent of Canadian marriages won’t last. In comparison, the divorce rate in the United States is about 53 percent, while Belgium holds the highest rate of 71 percent. At 15 percent, Mexico has the lowest divorce rate, internationally. Instead of moving to Mexico to protect your marriage against divorce, learn more about the research behind what makes a marriage last.

It’s About Education

The Pew Research Center, a fact tank in the United States, recently found that having a bachelor’s degree significantly increased a woman’s chance of staying married for more than 20 years. Women with some college or only a high school degree had a probability of 49 percent or lower of maintaining their marriage, while those who completed their degree had a 78 percent chance of staying married for more than two decades. The couples who were part of the study had either separated or divorced. Death was not calculated in this research.

Similar findings were found with men. Two-thirds of the men who held a bachelor’s degree were found to be married after 20 years, while only about 50 percent of the men with a high school diploma held that distinction. Hispanic men had higher marriage longevity rates over white men and black men. It was Asian women who had the best chance of staying together with their partner.

This particular study does not examine why a college education makes divorce less likely. However, having a bachelor’s degree certainly makes a person more employable, which leads to financial security. When a couple isn’t financially stressed, their marriage has a better chance of making it through the long haul. Another benefit of having a degree is that the couple is probably older. Both have had a chance to create experiences outside of their family unit. This can give someone confidence when choosing their partner. Interestingly, this study does not address faith or religion in marriage.

More Siblings Could Be Another Indicator

Another study from 2013 links the number of siblings one has to a lower chance of getting divorced. It’s a small percentage, just two percent for each sister or brother one has. Although this is just one factor involved, some researchers aren’t convinced about this theory. Whether it’s scientifically proven or not, consider that someone who comes from a large family may be more family-oriented. In addition, they have developed social skills that are needed to live very close to someone as you might in a marriage.

Find an Educated Partner

Another interesting finding in the Pew Study was that cohabitation did not increase the chance of a marriage lasting. Men and women who did not live together before they got married were more likely to divorce or separate. However, being engaged while cohabiting did increase the odds of staying together, especially with men. Couples who do not live together before marriage may be predisposed against divorce, which could be reason for this. Unfortunately, the study did not address other factors in why couples stayed together.

It might seem cold and calculated to consider your partner’s education or background when considering marriage. Consider the expense of a divorce five or 10 years down the road. If you want your marriage to work, you need to give it the best odds. Go ahead and finish your college education before the wedding. It will put you and your future spouse on the right path to success in your partnership.