Married People Who Find Themselves Single Again – Spouses With Dementia / Married People Who Are Lonely
I included this in my previous post but felt it was worthy to stand on its own. This fits in with another old post,
(Link): People Who Find Themselves Single Again – Death of a Spouse
As I said in that post, people who are married are oblivious to how horribly singles are treated in general, but by churches and American Christianity specifically.
One of the things I mentioned is that if you are currently married, it would be in your best interest to advocate for the un-married NOW, so by the time your spouse drops dead of old age, getting hit by a car eight months from now, or from a heart attack five years from now, you won’t find yourself ignored or insulted by your church – which is the current state of affairs in most churches today for singles.
A lot of married Christians float through their married lives never realizing that people without partners are treated like chopped liver by churches.
I’ve seen several testimonies online and in books by married people who say once their spouse died, or they divorced, their former married friends instantly began excluding them from social functions and so on – and this includes “church” people and Christians.
Here is a British report detailing how wives with husbands who have dementia are functionally single:
This is a long excerpt. If you want to read the whole page, please use the link above:
- Angela Townshend sleeps alone every night, wistfully recalling the not-so-distant time when she shared a bed with her husband, Ned. Where once she and Ned would have been engaged in spirited debates about theology, or mulling over the everyday events of family life, now she spends much of her day in silence.
The 64-year-old from Bath describes the loneliness she feels as ‘so intense it makes me impossibly sad to remember how idyllically happy we were’.
Angela is not, however, a widow. Her 70-year-old husband is still very much a physical presence and huge responsibility in her life. But serious illness means that the man she married 14 years ago — a second marriage for both of them — is long gone.
In 2006, Ned was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and, four years later, with Lewy body dementia, which is closely associated with both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Since then, the Townshends’ lives have changed beyond recognition and fallen into a familiar routine.
‘Every morning a carer calls at our home to wash and dress my dear husband, but by 9 am he’s asleep again in the chair, leaving me with just my thoughts for company,’ explains Angela.
… But family and friends have not been able to keep at bay the profound loneliness which has become the hallmark of her life. A friend who visited them for supper recently observed, after Ned [her husband] fell asleep in their company, that Angela has little by way of companionship.
Angela’s isolation in her marriage has become an insurmountable problem to which there is no end in sight.
‘I’m an extrovert,’ she says. ‘I get my energy from people. ‘I used to get it from Ned, but in the last three years his health has deteriorated rapidly, the world we once shared has shrunk, and loneliness has consumed me as I’ve lost Ned bit by bit.
‘Medically, opinions are divided on his prognosis, but he could live with the dementia for between five and 20 years.’
Sometimes the most unlikely people are suffering the agony of loneliness, demonstrating that you don’t even have to be living alone to feel cut off from everything that you once held dear.
Angela’s experience is increasingly common. New figures published by the Office for National Statistics confirm that we are in the grip of a loneliness epidemic in this country, with poor health and the loss of a loved one both playing a major part in this troubling social phenomenon.
Said to be as perilous to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, this epidemic is also contributing significantly to the incidence of depression and dementia.
….New research on loneliness and isolation from the English Longitudinal Study on Ageing reveals that 25 per cent of people aged over 52 report feeling lonely sometimes, with a higher percentage of women than men feeling lonely sometimes or often.
At age 80 and over, 46 per cent of people reported feeling alone sometimes or often, and people who had been widowed, separated or divorced, or were in poor health, were more likely to report feeling isolated.
While there are lots of proposals to try to improve matters — not least the Fulfilling Lives: Ageing Better initiative, in which the Daily Mail and the Big Lottery Fund will award £70 million to organisations tackling loneliness in older people — help can’t come fast enough.
Worryingly, the statistics suggest more of us than ever are going to become lonely. For the first time in history, Britain’s over-65s now outnumber those under the age of 16. By 2032, 25 per cent of the population will be aged over 65.
…Redundancy and retirement can create isolation when a busy working life suddenly comes to a close.
…Even though she is married and has two grown-up children, losing the job she loved was the event which opened the door to loneliness in her life.
‘Loneliness isn’t something I’d experienced until I lost my job as a facilities manager in a private hospital last year,’ Celina explains.
‘Nine months on, I’m still out of work and my world has shrunk. I have a wonderful husband and children, but I’m desperately lonely in the house all day, mourning the career I once had.’