Taking care of a SPOUSE who has dementia/Alz.

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It seems most all questions/answers here are from children of parents who have dementia of some sort. Is there a discussion board for spouses of the person with dementia? We are both in our 70's, been married 49 years and now I am taking care of my husband, every day there is a challenge in some way. I am very stressed from trying to keep him happy and healthy. It seems now I have to do everything around our home and it is wearing me out.

I would love to find a message board where others are in the same situation as I am so would more easily understand the problems I go through.

Thank you.

17 Comments

Do you have children? Grandchildren? If so, where are they? Tell them you need help. If no children, consider Home Instead Caregiving or maybe look into a facility in your area. Bless you.
Geri...I am taking care of a spouse and as I see it there is nothing worse. No one could know the h**l I am going through except another person dealing with it
Geri, originally this site was developed for persons taking care of their parents. That is why you see so many in that situation on here. It has expanded to include all kinds of caregivers. There are many of us who have or are caring for a spouse.

No one can really understand what it is to have a spouse with dementia, except another in the same situation. Other caregivers of persons with dementia come close, but it isn't exactly the same. What really helped me keep my sanity was attending a caregivers support group. Being face to face with others in a similar situation was extremely affirming. Now that my husband has died, I still go to the meetings, to lend support to those new to this situation.

Go ahead and post your questions, or your rants, or your insights. Others will respond. Some will be caring for spouses and some for other loved ones. All of us at least "get it" about the caregiving role, and some specifically know about the special heartache of having a life partner no longer able to be an equal partner.

It is really distressing to suddenly have to do everything in the running of the household and have the added responsibility of caring for someone who can't care for himself (and maybe won't admit he can't!) I am now a widow and I of course have to total running of the household on my shoulders. In some ways that is easier than when I had it all and also had to handle it in a way that would not offend or upset my husband or make him feel useless!

Please get help! It is OK to hire a neighbor kid to mow the lawn. It is OK to hire a handyman for fix-it jobs. It is OK to make a list and ask your daughter or her husband or you son to help with these things once a month. Some communities have organizations that help seniors with home maintenance. Look into these things. You CAN'T do it all alone. You take care of your dear life mate, and let others take over some of the other tasks.

Some libraries deliver books to shut-ins. Some drugs stores deliver. Many locations have grocery stores that deliver. Take advantage of every some time saver you can find. You deserve it!
I give up!!
Geri41,

Like JeanneGibbs said, there are people here who are caring for their spouses. Myself, I cared for my elderly father so I don't know of any websites that are specific to caring for spouses but I would imagine that they're out there.

Feel free to share your challenges and frustrations here. There are always people around to offer support.
I admire all you who care for a spouse. My. Mom's friend took care of her husband for over 13 years. It has to be hard to see the person and relationship change. You are the strong ones, the warriors! My mom was VERY difficult about this, but I suggest you get a caregiver 1-2 days a week so you can get things done both for your house and for yourself (meet a friend for lunch or get your hair done), depending on finances. My mom always said "I won't talk to them (the caregivers) and I'd tell her that was fine, just let them read a magazine and 10 minutes later, she was chatting away)! BTW: Caregivers are a tax write-off.
I also care for my husband, in the moment...That is all I can see-doesn't mean not to make appointments & get him to & from. Sometimes I see him as the flower & I am the bee. I have also cared for my only 2 daughter's. Both were disabled. One physically & my youngest, mentally. My daughter's are no longer in body. It has just been 5 years for my oldest & not even 3 years for my youngest, since they died, both at age 39.
This is a good site to go to for advice. Take what you need & leave the rest.
Know your not walking alone, even though at times it may seem that way. I am now 68 & the picture was taken over the holidays. My Guitar is my Lover. He loves it when I pick on him & he sings so sweet to me & has yet to be upset when I put him down. I have many things I do to keep the peace & my sanity & I am also an active R.N./counselor. Blessings are you....
Geri41, I had the same problem when I first found this site. So I asked if anyone else was involved in caring for a spouse, since most of what I'd seen involved parental care. I think if you put ShirleyB in the "search site" box at the top of this page it will bring up that whole chain of responses. Some were very helpful, some not so much. But it's a place to start. Blessings on you...this is a h--- of a way to spend our later years. Some days I feel so cheated, I can hardly function. But most days are ok.
My husband has just recently been diagnosed. He is angry most of the time, very short tempered with me particularly if I have to remind him of something. I feel it is time we have a "discussion" about our future. I am afraid whatever I say will set him off. I am on several medications for anxiety and am fearful most of the time. I just want to run away.
Hugs to you, SandyKay. It is so very hard to cope with a spouse who has dementia.

Personally, I think I would be immensely angry to discover I was losing my mind, it was going to get worse, and there was no cure. OMG. It is hard to even imagine being in that place.

Dementia is hard to cope with as long as it lasts, but from my experience, some things do get better. My husband's anger didn't last beyond the first year, for example.It is hard to remember exactly, but I think it was closer to 5 or 6 months.

Do you have a specific kind of dementia in the diagnosis?

I'm not sure it helps a lot, but while your husband is short tempered with you, it isn't really you he is mad at. It is fate, destiny, karma -- whatever has dealt him this hideous hand to play.

SandyKay, you say you are fearful. Are you afraid your husband will be violent with you? Was he ever before he developed dementia? How old are the two of you? Do you have a career?

Please share more with us. We care!

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