Dating a terminally ill person
Barry and Mary call themselves a "family of three," and while Jan doesn't understand the new family configuration (nor did she consent to it) she is happy with their continued visits to her in the care facility. Current statistics indicate that 80 percent of persons suffering from Alzheimer's disease are cared for at home.
Deciding whether or not to move on into a new relationship is an intensely personal decision and I believe that, the longer we live (it is predicted that Gen Xers will live an average of 100 years), the more we will have to come to terms with these types of dilemmas. There are about 11 million non-professional Alzheimer's caregivers in the United States.
The family asked him to step out and stop making horrible decisions. And if you think that "personhood" is something mere mortals can define, then anyone can define anything about missing limbs, the blind, the deaf, the freckled because they are prone to skin cancer, the obese because they are prone to health problems, the unborn, the elderly --but then you have to define what is "elderly". I sincerely doubt the author is implying they are not human - simply that they are not the same one.
He had no right to end her life just because he was READY TO MOVE ON (which by the way she died of "dehydration" -- that is a slow, cruel death. My grandparents are in a similar situation; he has found himself a woman to take care of him.
The healthy spouses of those with Alzheimer's Disease are in a particular quandary.
They are technically married, however the person they married is no longer "there" and in some cases, their spouse does not even know who they are.
Taking care of a demented spouse can be much like taking care of a toddler because the person cannot be left alone or unattended and he or she cannot necessarily be reasoned with. More and more, these healthy spouses are only too relieved to place their ill spouse in a care facility in order to get their spouse a better level of care as well as to get a respite from caretaking.
But, the current statistics indicate the predominant choice is care at home. He is very slowly dying; physically he is finished; however his mental capacity for life is great. I think people who are interpreting "not being 'there'" as objectifying or otherwise insinuating a lack of 'humanness' are severely misrepresenting what is being said.
More often than not, this is the "wish" of the person that has Alzheimer's. After years of loneliness his wife asked for permission to divorce and remarry…Both his wife and new husband cared for him to this day. Many people I know who condemned Terry Schiavo’s husband for “moving on”, calling it “adultery” but were very sympathic in the case I just described… The problem with the Terry Schiavo case is that he WAS still married to her! No, we're snuffing ourselves out at the beginning and the end of life, so eventually, humanity will cease to exist. Someone with later-stage Alzheimer's or severe dementia is not the same person as the one their spouse married.