My wife of 34 years with Alzheimer's disease now has told me that we are not married and she isn't sure who I really am. Is this the beginning of the end?

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My wife of 34 years with AD now has told me that we are not married and she isn't sure who I really am. We have lived in the same home for 33 years and all of her belonging and favorite things are here but seem to make no difference. Any conversations about it with me or our family only seems to make it worse. From this site I read that it happens but still it is heart breaking knowing there is very little I can do. Rich

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I know how sad this is from my own personal experience. Usually my Mom, with dementia,knew who I was but there were many days she had difficulty comprehending exactly who I was. Sometimes I was just one of 'the caregivers in the house' or would blatantly ask me if I was related to her family. Yikes, that hurts. Mom passed away 8 months ago and I would give anything to just spent some time with her again even if she wasn't sure who i was. Enjoy every minute with her even during these hard times. We can't make up the time later.
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Several months ago, virtually overnight, my father forgot my mother. She’s the only one in our immediately family that he’s forgotten consistently and we could cope if it was more benign but it’s the most aggressive he’s been (he was always a very gentle, logical person). We realize, of course, that it isn’t “him” but it’s become quite difficult. He calls her cellphone 10+ times a day begging his real wife to come home, and then calls us asking if we’ve seen her. He gets very agitated with her: he won’t let her open the mail and hides it, won’t let her use her laptop (or Christmas ornaments, or desk, jewelry, and so on) because it belongs to his real wife, not her. Ironically, she’s still his touchstone because when we have him for a while he becomes obsessed about when she’ll be picking him up. While he hasn’t been physical with her yet, it’s a constant worry to us because he gets quite agitated, even when medicated. We’ve tried approaching it a number of ways but they all fail. Has anyone else had this happen, and how did you deal with it?
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My wife of 53 years does not think I am her husband anymore. She thinks her 'real' husband will show up anytime. Luckily she tells me she had a great marriage with her 'real' husband. I have mostly given up trying to convince her who I am and try to meet her at her reality. Not fun but she is firm in her reality.
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i am going through the same thing with my wife she does not think we are married and i am my own cousin with the same name same birthday and birth place.
if i try to correct her and tell her i am her husband it only seems to upset her more and tells me to keep my sick lies to myself and you are not my husband. we have been married for 26 years and i think its the pain of my wife not knowing who i am that hurts more than anything else. Many times i have thought of getting out of this problem, but the vows of marriage say for better or worse in sickness and in health and i value those vows to much to leave
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My Mom seldom remembers that Dad has been hers for 54 years but she often tells me she has a new fella and she REALLY likes him...the love still goes on even when the memory fades!
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Sorry. And It is difficult. But it will change back and forth. No one can understand what triggers it and because they believe it to them it is true. Patience
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I believe my wife has the same problem.
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Rich, I cannot and will not try to give you advice. But, I do understand some of what you are feeling. My wife of 37 years is 59 years old and began having memory problems 10 years ago. She has been living at an Alzheimer's care home since Oct. 2010. She knows me only as Billy, not as her husband. It is as if I am both married and not married at the same time. She is OK with me being her boyfriend, but emphatically says "No!!" if I ask her if she wants to be married to me. I visit her every day and she loves to see me, but seems to forget me soon. I feel anger (not at her,at her condition & sometimes at God for letting this happens and not stopping it), sadness, some depression, some joy when I visit her, a great sense of loss for her as well as myself (life is not supposed to be this way, right?). I have no answers for you. I'm still searching for answers. There may be none, or there may be some. I hope you find answers and some peace of mind. I understand it is very difficult. I would never minimize the difficulties being experienced by people who have parents with Alzheimer's, but I do know that when it is our wife it is a much much different and more difficult situation than anyone can imagine. I wish you the best, strength and courage. I do understand more than you might think. Bill
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Rich, Take comfort that you are not alone on this journey. There are many spouses who are walking alongside you. My parents have lived here with us for 12 years now. Mother has ALZ and does not know that they are married. For my Father, who has loved her dearly, it breaks his heart. Next week they will celebrate their 54th anniversary! I wish I could show young people what REAL love looks like...caring for someone who doesn't remember you!!! What a precious love you share with your darling wife. God bless you. Helpful hints: 1. Get a copy of "Creating Moments of Joy" 2. Call her by her first name. 3. Do not make physical approaches unless you are sure she knows who you are.
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I know firsthand what this feels like. My husband is in the middle stages of Alzheimer's. He doesn't know that we are married or that I am his wife. It is heartbreaking because we have been together for 17 years and had so many memories of our ilfe together that now have vanished for him. I will sit with him and put my hand next to his and ask him what he's wearing on his left hand and he will answer "a wedding ring" and then I'll show him my wedding ring and I will gently remind him that we are married. Or we'll sit and go through wedding photos together. I agree with many other posts. This disease is devastating. If your wife knew what she had said or that she had hurt you it would be devastating to her. I know it would be the same wtih my husband who actually planned our wedding. It was such a special day for us.
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