I have a stranger in my bed.

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Hi all. Where to begin. My partner, now 69, had a stroke 14 years ago, it took his speech and swallowing but he made a good recovery. I noticed some short term memory issues and a tendency to cry more easily when things went wrong but the memory probs did improve. More recently in the last 2 years his memory seems to be going backwards and he has acquired an uncharacteristic hot temper. He has become very emotionally distant, self centred and gets very angry if his selfish behaviours are challenged. Compromise and fairness are no longer in his vocabulary. He constantly goes out, often not informing me of his plans until last minute or unless I ask. Whereas he used to make an effort to be available to drive me to essential places in the car, I now find myself having to walk everywhere ( hard work as I am disabled, suspected MS and use a stick ). If he does stay in of an evening ,he has to have control of the TV - I have learned to watch programmes on my laptop with the headphones on to avoid conflict. He often blanks any attempts I make at conversation. Never good with money, he used to give a little towards the bills but has stopped doing this and keeps wanting to borrow money as he has spent all his. Last week he took money from my rent jar to go out with without asking while I was at work - a first. When questioned he did not see a problem with this, as he was going to give it back. More money went the day after and again the day after that - he admitted to taking one lot but then said I must have taken the rest out myself, rather an odd accusation. He genuinely didn't appear to remember taking more. He is taking wrong turns whilst driving more often, has lost interest in trying any repairs around the place and either watches TV or listens to sport on the radio when home. I am often blamed for the shortfalls in his memory : 'I told you that' when he hasn't, or 'You put me off' if things go wrong. He still works part time, delivering parcels in his own car ( not sure how well this is going ) and spends his time off fishing or out for drinks. He was always a kind,caring, even tempered person but there is no comparison these days. I am left wondering if this is just a grumpy old man thing or if an illness ( dementia ? ) could possibly be at work here ? I am constantly on duty policing his shortfalls - switching off lights, radio, closing doors, shutting gates, fetching newspapers in he has read outside etc. after him - very tiring.Thanks for listening. Any advice would be appreciated. x


Can you get him to get a physical? Write a letter containing all of your concerns and get it to the doctor prior to the appointment.
Sounds like dementia to me. Whatever it is, it is not normal aging. I hope you can convince him to see a doctor.
It doesn't sound like normal aging, and it does sound like dementia. It's important that he be evaluated to rule out other diseases that can be treated
Stranger, definitely something was altered in his brain when he had his stroke or as others have said, he is exhibiting signs of dementia. I would definitely get him to a doctor if you can. If he refuses to go with you, see the doctor on your own and explain what you've told us, the sooner the better. Maybe, an intervention of some sort is required. Keep us posted.
Thanks for all your replies. I do know that sustaining a former brain injury has been connected with a greater chance of developing dementia in later life, which worries me. Whilst he admits to having what he calls 'a few senior moments', he appears unaware of his behavioural changes. My attempt to discuss these with him, trying to point out how upsetting they are for me culminated in him standing over me, pointing his finger in my face, shouting that I was the one with the problem - oops. I have decided not to push it for now, to keep the peace, so definitely no doctor's appointment imminent, unfortunately. On a practical level I can pay my rent by debit card, instead of cash and do my best to keep other money hidden.
Having had a friend who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, my Father now showing classic worsening memory loss/confusion and as I'm currently working for a neighbour who clearly has dementia and gives myself and her home carers hell at times ( but angrily refuses to go for a memory assessment ! ) I am all too familiar with the symptoms.
Yesterday mornings 'senior moment' was found on the bathroom sink side - a burnt out cigarette that he'd forgotten and left ( he always lights a cigarette then puts it on the side whilst shaving in the mornings ). Luckily it hadn't rolled off and caused damage. Sigh. I worry about how I will cope if he has dementia, alongside my own worsening physical and cognitive progression. x
As good as the advise above is (to have him see a doctor), the significant other you describe sure as heck ain't going to any doctor. He's in denial and that's why he blames you for all that he's forgotten or done wrong. You are the scape goat (very common in dementia). It's NEVER their fault.

He doesn't sound approachable, as evidenced by you watching TV on your computer so he doesn't have to give up his programs. He's being a bully (whether he means to or not) and you have to watch out for yourself instead of him. It's a very effective way of controlling someone by getting mad, so the other person won't challenge you and you'll back off. It sounds like it's working. He's taking advantage of you (taking your money, not cleaning up, etc.) but it may or may not be his fault. You are more vigilant in the home and he is counting on your increasing contributions (whether he's demented or not).

Some dementia patients become more aggressive and violent as the disease progresses. You need an escape plan from your home. Can you stay with a neighbor or relative IF his temper happens to explode? Do you have other permanent living arrangements if things don't get better?

You state you are handicapped so you really can't fight back. Even though you love this man, and have been together a long time, it is not in your best interest to continue to take abuse, as it only gets worse.
Thanks for your reply, Sue C. I agree, he does not like to admit his memory issues or mistakes and simply appears unaware of his uncaring/rude behaviour and sudden anger until I bring it up. I have some memory issues too but am happy to take responsibility for mine, double check my actions, write reminders and appologise where needed. We have had a calm talk since and he has listened attentively, appologised for his behaviour, agreed to be available to help ( especially important now as I've learned that Dad is to be referred for a prostate cancer biopsy today ) and been absolutely lovely, just like he used to be ( ! ? ! ). It almost makes me wonder if I am imagining things at times ! I could count on going to my sister's, if need be, thanks for your concern. Top priority has to be Dad right now so I will keep the peace where possible but stand firm on the money issue.
One thing that has been bothering me - during my second relapse about 21/2 years ago, he went out for a drink one evening and came home saying that he thought he'd had a blackout outside. He remembers sitting on a rock, next to a grassed area to have a smoke. Next memory was waking up laid out on the grass. like he had fallen off backwards. He is only a very light drinker, so was not intoxicated.We put it down to stress from my relapse at the time. I remember that a few days prior to his stroke, he had a similar blackout at home. Makes me wonder if maybe this was a mini stroke type event that could have damaged the personality/memory area of the brain again ? I can't precisely recall when I first began to notice the changes and if it might correlate with that event. I guess only time will tell, if it continues to worsen ! x

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