A woman in her 70’s arrived at the senior care facility to visit her husband in the memory care unit where I work. He was progressing through the stages of dementia. When his wife exited the elevator on the third floor, he just happened to be holding the hands of a female resident who was in her early 90’s. He abruptly let go of her hand and walked forward to embrace his wife.

Several questions came to my mind: 1) Does he have some form of guilt attached that made him let go of the resident’s hand when he saw his wife?, 2) Did the wife not see her husband holding hands with the other resident?, 3) Is the wife well-aware of the relationship her husband has with the resident but tolerates it due to his deteriorating mind? 4) Is the wife aware and hides her frustration?, 5) Is the wife in full acceptance of this relationship because during times when she is unable to visit, at least he has someone to “occupy” his time with?

We can’t predict what future situations we may have to deal with. How would you deal with this one?