In 2011, Dr. Ruth Westheimer came to NewBridge on the Charles for Hebrew SeniorLife’s College of Retirement Living. During her visit, she met with Hebrew SeniorLife Dementia Research, Medical and Care Team and interviewed them for the book she was then writing “Dr. Ruth’s Guide for the Alzheimer’s Caregiver: How to Care for Your Loved One without Getting Overwhelmed…and Without Doing it All Yourself.” Dr. Ruth recognized the HSL team with a special thank you in the Acknowledgements section of the book.
Two of those professionals who contributed to Dr. Ruth’s book were Tara Fleming- Caruso, psychotherapist and Marketing Manager for the Assisted Living Community at NewBridge, and Dr. Ruth Kandel, MD, Geriatrician for Hebrew SeniorLife. What follows is an interview between Tara, Dr. Kandel and Dr. Ruth regarding Dr. Ruth’s book and what Tara and Dr. Kandel believe to be some of the most pertinent information contained therein.
The interview questions and answers will comprise a series of posts on our blog over the next two weeks.
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Dr. Ruth Kandel: How can Alzheimer’s disease and dementia impact the emotional and physical intimacy in a marriage?
Dr. Ruth: It will in a million different ways. In some cases it will rip the fabric entirely, especially in the later stages. But before that, certain parts will still exist and the challenge will be finding those parts. For example, a couple's sex life might be a way to maintain the relationship, even though having sex is going to be much different. But once a couple starts, some of the old emotional ties may be reestablished for a time. Each couple has to experiment. In some cases sex just won't be possible, but don't let your sex life die because you've made the false assumption that it has to.