Spousal relationships in which one partner has early cognitive problems

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Abstract

The purpose of this literature review was to get an overview about the research on lived experiences of elderly spousal dyads, in which one partner has early cognitive problems.

Couples might first experience forgetfulness as something normal for old age. If symptoms become too great, the dyad will go and search for meaning. Through medical assessment the affected spouse will be diagnosed as either non-demented or demented. Both situations are experienced as hard and worrisome. However, if diagnosed with non-dementia, the dyad remains confused about what is going on and how to anticipate the future. In spite of the enormous impact of early cognitive problems on the relationship, both partners are still able to contribute to the quality of it and seem to have few reciprocity issues. How couples are different and what this means for the experience of early cognitive problems remains largely unexplored.

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