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My husband has developed dementia in the last year as a result of strokes. He is still appropriate and engaging for the most part but struggles to keep up with conversations, eats excruciatingly slow, gets many of his facts wrong, and struggles to remember things. However, he still loves people and to socialize.


I live in an active adult community far away from family. Now that things are opening up, I no longer know how or even whether I can socialize within this community, or enjoy its amenities.


Do I try to include him? My concern is people either know that he has dementia or quickly detect he is "off" and won't want to spend time with us as a package. His deficits will become even more obvious if I have to cue him and he is embarrassed by it or resistant to it.


If I don't include him, then I feel really tied down. I work fulltime so I pay a fulltime caregiver already. I can neither afford, nor do I think it is fair to my husband who is still very observant, to run off and have fun without him while he is stuck at home with a stranger. He is still interested in life and wants to be included and spend time with me.


I also can't afford to retire; paying for his care is pushing retirement further down the road. Finally, I have a great job/career and am not in a position to leave it to move closer to family who love him and would be invested in being more inclusive of him.


How do I navigate this time in our lives where we are both "stuck"?

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The last thing people with dementia want is to be coddled. They want to maintain as much of a normal life as possible. It's important to understand not what he has lost or is losing, but what he has left. We all want to be as independent as we can be for as long as we can. Allow your husband to live life as he still can, do the things that you've both done and enjoyed. You may be embarrassed at the times he doesn't seem to fit in, has trouble finding the right word, repeats himself, or cannot follow the gist of the conversation. You may want to tell others in the community that he's been having memory issues and to be understanding. Do as much as you're comfortable doing and when it gets uncomfortable, ask for help thru home care agencies, maybe others in the community or your church. The most important person in your relationship with your husband is You!
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Reply to sjplegacy
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Social life is important for you both. I hope you’ll do both activities with and without your husband. You won’t control whether or not people will be understanding, maybe you’ll find others in similar places
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Reply to Daughterof1930
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You include him in all the normal activities that you both have enjoyed in the past. If your neighbors don't take time to understand what is going on with him, that's on them and not you. A simple explanation before hand about your husband, will let people know what to expect, and allow them to react accordingly. You will probably be surprised how many people are dealing with a loved one with some sort of mental decline.
You should not have to give up the social activities you enjoy, nor should he, as there may come a time when you will have no choice but to leave him home. But for now, get out and enjoy your life!!!
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Reply to funkygrandma59
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