What type of behavior can I expect from my husband who is suffering from mild cognitive impairment?

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About a year and a half ago my husband was diagnosed with "mild, cognitive impairment" by a neurologist. He has always had trouble remembering names and that is getting worse. He says and does hateful things when it's usually just the two of us in a room. Of course later he denies saying them. Sometimes it's even a whole story, usually about something happening to him or his family in the past. He's normally a real likeable guy, but these situations are starting to take a toll on me. Is this a form of dementia? His doctor has prescribed medicine normally given to Alzheimers patients but she told us to not be alarmed when we saw an advertisement on tv for this med. Also he takes Zoloft for depression. What can I expect - a slow downhill slide?

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Hi Mary,
Jeanne had good things to say. I would add that there are other forms of illness that can cause behavior like this, so be sure the doctor has explored all avenues.

The doctor is trying Alzheimer's medications, so he or she is likely thinking that you husband is on the brink of Alzheimer's. The nasty behavior signifies more than just MCI to me, though I'm not a medical person. Stages of Alzheimer's can "go back and forth," which is why your husband may be close to his "old self" most of the time, but then turn into a different personality at other times. Keep seeing the doctor and ask for updates on his state of health.
Also, please contact the Alzheimer's Association for guidance, at www.alz.org. They can help you take each step and they have a helpline, plus support groups. Your local Alzheimer's organization will also be very helpful. Remember to try to take care of yourself. This is a long journey.
mary1917, been there, done that. My husband passed almost a year and a half ago. He had been diagnosed with early onset alzheimers. We had all the tests, the neuro, the phisological, mri, cat scans, we had him checked for possible side effects of paint from painting automobiles, checked for the diabetic possibilities but in the end, we were told that for sure they would only know if an altopsy were done. He went from being a very strong willed individual who knew our town like he knew his name and started getting lost, he became depressed and was placed on medication, he repeated things until I wanted to scream, that is when I took deep breaths and said, oh, that's nice or I didn't know that. He started eating less and less and his hygeine became worse. I started to drive everywhere we went because he would say he didn't feel like it when I knew he was afraid he would get lost, he never let me drive when we were together. He started sleeping a lot and his smoking habit got worse. No one believed me when I told them the doctors diagnosis because he didn't seem different to them. After we lost our son, he became worse, crying all the time and started talking about what I could sell and what I could do to make money when he was gone. And he started forgetting what happened yesterday and started talking about the past. We moved to Florida so he could spend time near his dad and he seemed fairly happy but still lost in that dark abyss, forgetting how to do things he once did without a thought. I had a neighbor who checked on him while I worked and then came the night I came home from work and he died in my arms. I lost my best friend of 35 years but let me say, I felt almost a relief, he knew what was happening and that he had alzheimers. In his casket, he looked at peace finally, even his color was good and there seemed to be a smile on his face. Living through this, I really have no advice only to say if you can find someone who understands and can be there for YOU, talk to them, YOU need as much support as he does. If you can find books or possibly a support group, grab onto them, this is a long journey.
Dementia or Alzheimer's are both trying diseases for caregivers. Get in-home help if you need it. If you don't need respite now, you will at some point. Dementia is relentless in its progression.
I think regardless of the diagnosis, the personality changes, eating habits, memory loss is still there to be contended with. The diagnosis does not change what we as caretakers must endure. I wanted to scream and cry and throw things but I didn't because I couldn't, I could not make it worse for him, things were bad enough. i wish things could have been different, I would have liked to have celebrated 40 and 50 years together. We were such apart of each other that we finished each others sentences, we raised kids and vacationed and rarely ever had cross words. But it didn't happen and I am and have been so grateful for this site and all the wonderful people who are here, unfortunately, we all share one undeniable thing, pain and loss. God bless you all and I hope that those going through this can find a way to cope.
Hmm .. a slow downhill slide? That is about what most of us experience, isn't it? But for someone with MCI the slope might be a little steeper and a little faster. I think MCI is a catch-all term that is used for people whose impairment is not severe enough to be labeled dementia but who are clearly impaired in some ways.

What can you expect? The Mayo Clinic says this: "Mild cognitive impairment increases your risk of later developing dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, especially when your main difficulty is with memory. But some people with mild cognitive impairment never get worse, and a few eventually get better."

Have you seen the neurologist again since the diagnosis of MCI? If you think things are getting worse, it might be worth another visit. There are differing opinions on this, but personally I think the earlier dementia is diagnosed, the better, and the earlier the kind of dementia can be pinpointed the more likely an appropriate treatment plan can be put into place.

If this is not dementia (and possibly even if it is) some joint counselling might be useful to help you deal with the hurtful things he says and then forgets.

Best wishes to you. Come back and let us know how this progresses for you.
Yes it is a long journey! Have been dealing with it since 07. Doctors say months now but I dont think it will be that quick, even thoght he has all but stopped eating and drinking. he does not sleep. he just walks the floor all the time. He is not in pain just really confused. I dont know what else to do for him. God Bless You
Wow! This has made me realize that I may be taking care of my husband too in our later years. I've taken care of my kids, I quit my career in 09 to take care of my parents and later my husband! It just never ends does it? No wonder us women are depressed!
If the husband is always in a bad mood, I would discuss it with the staff at the facility. If he is having depression or anxiety, it may need to be addressed by a doctor. Mental pain is quite real and maybe he needs treatment for it. I wouldn't just ignore it. Hopefully, they could figure it out and get him some relief with medication.

I know that we can't always expect our loved ones to be in a good mood when they have dementia, but I would work to get him treated to ease the mental pain. Maybe, if that happens, he will enjoy the visits more.
Carol, just FYI, Aricept is commonly prescribed also for Lewy Body Dementia. In fact, it is generally more effective for LBD than for AD.

My mother's geriatrician prescribed Aricept for my mother's MCI without any particular thought that she was on the brink of AD. She simply said, try this, watch the results carefully, if it doesn't seem to help, drop it. In my admittedly very limited experience, a prescription for Aricept does not necessarily mean a presumption of Alzheimer's.
Did the neurologist specify whether the mild cognitive impairment is related to alzheimers, vascular, etc. dementias? There is also a pseudo-dementia, which is more related to depression. In addition, there is delirium, which may look like a dementia, but is actually related to a physical illness, such as urinary tract infection, pneumonia, etc. No matter what it's related to, the best thing you can do for yourself is to get into a support group, such as those run from Alzheimer's Association. Having support and a knowledge of what to expect is ever so helpful. Hope that helps!!

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