DEAR ABBY: My partner has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. As time goes on, I know I will lose him more and more. How do I do this and allow him to keep his dignity? Life comes full circle, and I understand that. I keep trying to dwell in the present and not think too far ahead. I don't know where to turn. How do you start the long goodbye? -- LOST IN PHOENIX
DEAR LOST: The first thing you need to do is contact the Alzheimer's Association. The Alzheimer's Association can guide you on the journey ahead of you and provide a source of emotional support if you join one of its caregiver's groups. The toll-free phone number is (800) 272-3900 and the website is alz.org.
You and your partner should also make certain now that his wishes for end-of-life care are clearly stated in writing, so that when the time comes, they will be respected. Then take each day as it comes, thank God for the good ones, have patience when they are less so, and take good care of yourself because that will be key to ensuring your partner gets the best care possible.