What do you do about a husband who's family refuses to believe the doctor's diagnosis of dementia?


My husband's family continues to take him wherever he wants,..... to withdraw money from an investment firm, even though they will no longer allow it since I now have POA..... They took him to look for an apartment; he believes there is nothing wrong with him and he can live on his own. He informed me that he's moving out of assisted living to an apartment on Oct 1st (today is Sept. 17th). He showed me a brochure re: apt., although I believe it's a motel, but he can rent it for $475 mo., which he believes is great because it's cheaper than AL. I told him he can't drive, he said he'll take the bus (he uses a walker, is unsteady on his feet) He has no access to money and he said if I would not voluntarily give him whatever amount of money he needs that he will sue me for the money. He constantly uses his cell phone, going over the alloted minutes. We have shared plan of 700 minutes per month and have never gone over in many years). He has used over 300 min.in 15 days, I have used 20 min in the past 15 days. I have usage control on his phone, he has 530 minutes, I have what's left... I have told him when the 530 min. have been used, his phone will be shut down and he will no longer be able to make calls until next month. Now he accuses me of cutting him off from the world, even though he did agree with the usage plan when I explained it to him. He continues to argue whenever I see him (4 times per week) at AL. It's always the same argument, "he's ok, nothing wrong with him, why can't anyone understand that, (although his sister and nephew insists he's ok, they see him maybe once a week or less, but talks to sister via phone daily). he needs money, he's moving out to live on his own and prove to everyone that nothing is wrong with him"!!! I'm at the point that I feel like I am the one who is absolutely losing my mind, and maybe he is the normal one!!! Everyone tells me to take his cell phone away, since that is how he makes so many of these contacts and "plans". His family thought I was the devil himself when I did not give him the cell phone. I feel obligated to visit him, he's my responsibility, but he is persistent, never gives up, sounds "normal" when he talks to people, but is very transparent when the doctor, nurse, professionals talk to him!!!! When I took him to the doctor and out to lunch last week, the doctor, again, told him he is where he needs to be and life would not go well for him if he tried to live on his own. I feel I'm at the edge of a cliff, hanging on with my fingernails, and quite frankly, I'd like to let go and drop off the edge of the cliff so i could be out of my misery.

What is the solution????????????? I was convince by all medical professionals that if he came home which was my intention, that I would be sick and it would destroy me. This a.m. I woke up with dizziness and shaky hands. Please, someone help.

Thank you to anyone who can help, either tell me I am out of my mind or that he is where he belongs, but how do I continue to deal with this????????? Every day there is another issue.

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No kidding, so did I, didn't notice the date!
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I just realized I answered this post that was originally dated September 2012. Star42, if you are still on this site, we would love to have an update from you. Hope all is well.
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Could talking to a therapist help you with your stress? I find the support and advice invaluable.
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Dear Star 42, I agree with just about everything that has been suggested so far - excellent advice. If I were in your shoes, as POA (medical and financial POA?) you are in charge, and it's a big responsibility, so try not to be wimpy, because it is creating more problems than solutions for you.
I would consult with an Elder Law attorney, show him the statement from the doctor and ask if there is something that can be done short of putting a restraining order on your husband's family. I would flatly refuse to assist with any kind of legal paperwork that your husband initiates - just let him holler and walk away. I would prepare a stock letter for every person/lawyer/company he contacts, explaining his condition (short & sweet) and that you hold the POA, to please disregard your husband's communications, and if any questions, to contact you directly (they will go away) and sign it as POA, and put a "cc" at the bottom with the name of your your lawyer (just for his file copy).
As POA, you can also file a change of address for him at the post office where the AL facility is, and have ALL mail that is addressed to your husband's name, forwarded to your home address. You see, you will now be "cutting him off at the pass" and can now manage the correspondence without interference. Then don't bring any mail to him - you manage the mail, period.
As for your sister-in-law and other troublesome family members, I would remind them that legally they have no say in how you manage your husband's care, and if they don't stop interfering and causing you trouble, you will ask the AL facility to bar them from visits or get a restraining order. I think you really need to get tough at this point - everyone has you running in circles and jumping through hoops - it's madness, and you are the only one who can put a stop to it.
As for the phone, I would get rid of it - you don't need the headaches. You could ask the AL facility to limit use of their phone to one call per day for 5 minutes. If he pesters other residents to use their phones, they will soon start to refuse him. He will have to get used to it.
If any of these ideas seem useful to you, you may want to also confer with your elder care lawyer if you have any doubts about putting them into practice.
Regarding the anxiety and anger issues, I would get in touch with his doctor and he may be able to prescribe something to calm him down and make him more reasonable to deal with.
Good luck, you have my best wishes, and thank you for any updates you care to share with us - even just venting!
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Hi, I agree with everyone, you're doing a great job! You are doing the best u can under the circumstances. I had the same situation with my mom and her brothers, who did not live in the same state. They see her every couple of years and think shes normal and I diagnosed her. I was threatened a law suit too, so I backed off and let them take over. They changed locks, POA, everything! Not sure how long this will last, but, for now it's what I had to do to keep my sanity! Hang in there you have POA, just make sure your husbands family doesn't change that behind your back, like mine did! The only other way to go is to file for conservator or guardian which trumps a POA!
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If you have a plan and start acting on it you will feel better I was able to call the cell phone company and cut off his phone or give him one with limits but then you would not be able to access it.Cat you cut down your visits to maybe once a week then you would not have to deal with all that as often. I would see an elder lawyer and explain everything-he or she should be able to help you if you pay a retainer he oe she could write a letter to his sister telling her the facts-that may shut down her willingness to help him-you said the money is protected so let her take him to the bank he can not get any money and after a few visits it will get old real fast for her-continue to limit his minutes . Maybe get yourself a prepaid phone. If you can hold on he may go into the next stage of Demtia and not continue to be such a problem right now he is in the stage where he has lucid days so from what other have said this is the hardent to deal with and his sister may not realize how bad his dementia is at this point because she may only see what she wants to be true-if the lawyer will write her a letter explaining things it may make her understand his actions better and realize how ill he really is and she may back off.
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Good you have been able to do damage control by tracking his calls to lawyers.
Keeping your ability to track his calls secret, is the best plan. Unless you tell him, or say something that would give it away, he will never know.
As for papers from lawyers?
You do NOT need to tell him about what you fill out--it only upsets him more, and adds to his anger and determination.
Keep your tracking and paper signing/filling out, quiet!!!
Keep your calls to lawyers, car dealers, licensing agents, quiet!!!

Adding more phone minutes? NO!
"Not in budget"
Phone numbers disappeared from phone list in phone?
Can he remember the numbers, or does he need to ask for numbers?
Can he still look up numbers?
Can he have a very OLD phone book?
Or only enter limited numbers into his phone list?

Can phone be programmed to shut down during certain hours per day?
[[explained by saying "phone company troubles, cell phones not working except during certain hours, like in some other countries--solar flairs, etc. interrupting service???]]

Is he worse after sundown?
If so, can the phone disappear after about 4 p.m.?
["lost", then suddenly appear in morning?--if staff at AL will help out with that]

IF he believes he can drive a car, I wonder if you might be able to do
[maybe with help]
a trip to the DMV/DOL for him to try taking a drivers license test?
My Uncle did that for one Gma,
--Uncle had previously got in contact with the Licensing office, a person there, and told them he was bringing her there
---and to make sure she failed that test.
She was at a "between point" in her Alzheimer's, starting to get belligerent.
So they got there, and she of course, failed the test.
She was able to accept someone else telling her "No license" better than a relative--better for stranger to be "bad guy".

If your husband is trying to BUY a car--he CAN
...as long as he has money to do it.
ANYone can own a car--even without a license...it won't prevent him trying to drive it.

Sellers do not always demand to see a license all the time, either, before someone drives off with one.--unfortunately...
They DO demand to see proof of insurance though.
That might be sticking point for him getting into a car and driving away--you can contact insurers he has used in past, and give them a heads-up to prevent his signing up with them...otherwise, insurers can be greedy, and sign people up without question.

Mom insisted she could drive, but when I offered to let her drive my car up a rural road, she declined.
Then, she talked my brother into helping her buy a 4-wheel off-road thing
--it got delivered, she drove it--up and down that gravel road, all the bumps, potholes made it wobbly
--she made it crawl back to his house, got out, and said "can't do that".
It got returned, minus the unrefundable fees.
Later, she demanded to stop the car so she could see an RV camper
--before I could stop her, she had plunked $700 in the guys hand
--before looking inside to see what a wreck it really was.
...it needed BIG repairs before it could even roll down the road.
It nearly blew up on my DH as he drove it to a shop for repairs.
THAT was our "out" ---The guy played along with us, about how it was not salvageable, and got rid of it for us
--Mom was out that money, but she didn't seem to care.

If your DH has not been thinking about getting insurance and license to drive, he has not been thinking rationally again. He's just thinking to drive...that can be reported to 911, if he tries it.

You really need to be careful about his temper. Some with Dementia's can become suddenly violent.
Mom did.
And a friend's spouse did--they had to put him in an Alzheimer's facility to protect the wife from him. ...and he desperately wanted to come home, too
--anywhere but there.
He could get really angry and combative.
They simply all kept a united front, kept telling him he was where he needed to be, that they could bring holiday dinner to him, instead of his coming home, etc.

PLEASE do NOT feel guilty for his being in AL!!!
You did your best, and the safest place for him is in that AL.
His being there helps both of you.
He is not in his right mind--therefore, he will try to say anything he can to push your buttons and get you angry--best thing to do, is not respond to those!--silence means he has not pushed you, and he will try other things, but you win that round.

If he were at home, he would do same. Really.
Because he is, somewhere inside, trying to find something that feels familiar, something he can find to prove he is OK, and that life is as it was....ANYthing.
That he would be endangering himself or others in the process, means nothing to him at this point.
He is best staying where he is.

You are doing a good job, making sure funds are blocked from his access, keeping him safe where he is.
It can be a lot of work, doing "damage control" as he transitions from how he is,
to when he no longer cares about that stuff,
and maybe just complains of it anymore.
Sometimes it takes months, sometimes over a year, but he will deteriorate further and get past this stage.

And PLEASE do not worry about his threats to sue you and the AL...the staff there is not worried, neither should you be--just keep informing the lawyers of his status, and ---letting them know he is an "in-patient in an Alzheimer's Home".

Keep up the good work!

jeannegibbs--wish I had had your description of other manifestations of dementias, a few years back--might have been able to save some trouble here...didn't know that it could sound lucid....might have been able to facilitate getting Mom into a place before she messed us up.
But I didn't even know of this site then!
Sometimes, one has to lead practitioners to the problem really clearly, or they "miss it"--especially if the patient is poor, and they need to avoid taking on the cost of their care if they can get away with it.
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Hmmm ... maybe this typo was Freudian ... but it was my husband who constantly wanted to go home, not me. He'd pack a bag and wait at the door for the train to depart. Sigh.
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Not all kinds of dementia are characterized primarily by memory loss. Loss of judgment and reasoning ability is a key feature of some. Do you have a more specific diagnosis than "dementia"? (I can't remember if you've posted that.) And dementia definitely progresses to get worse. But in some kinds of dementia there can be great fluctuations in cognition. Very bad one day, and then seemingly improved the next. Overall the pattern is going downhill, but there may be bumps up along the way.

If he were at home, there is no guarentee that he wouldn't want to get out of there. My husband kept trying to call the sherrif to report that he was being held captive against his will. I constantly wanted to "go home." (He was at home.)

I've kept my husband at home for 9+ years. We had a brief period of belligerence and paranoia. If that had continued I know I couldn't have kept him home. Each case is unique. Each of us has to make that hard decision about what is best for our loved one and for us. You are doing the right thing! You have enough to occupy your worry cells without second-guessing your decision.
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Thank you all for your support and suggestions!!! His sister is 79, he is 81. The AL he's in is nothing like an institutional setting. It's very homey and casual. An LPN (manager) is in charge, they control and dispense all medications. They do not have case mgrs. or social workers as they do in skilled nursing facilities. I have talked with her re: phone calls; however, I have tried the "no phone" and then he continues to use the office phone or borrows cell phone of a resident. When he does that, I then have no idea who it is he is calling. I gave him his phone when he was borrowing everyone else's. I am so scared of his anger if I remove the phone (guess I'm a wimp). I have put usage controls on his phone, I told him that the usage controls are in place. We have a shared plan; he is close to running out of minutes, whenever I mention it to him, I'm accused of cutting him off from the world. He told me to change to a plan with more minutes, which I could do, but do not plan on it. I check his call log daily; by checking that, I have contacted a couple of attorneys and did damage control, informed them of the situtation, etc. However, I don't want him to know that I have access to the calls, that would produce more anger!!! Until he receives a letter from an attorney and he knows I'm aware of it, I don't feel I can say or do anything. I received a ltr. from the atty. he contacted re: potential lawsuit who declined to represent him and I shared that with him. He now wants a copy of the form I completed, in which I was very brief, did not answer all of the questions and he also wants a copy of the attys. letter. I asked him if he has called any other attys., he lied and said not yet. I know that he has contacted at least 4 other attys. One of them is a friend, I have contacted him.

What bothers me and makes me feel so guilty is that he seems so normal most of the time, except for the fact that he's calling car lots, trying to buy a car, even though he knows he cannot drive and that I have sold his car. Any of the calls he is making that are causing me so much anxiety are all related to: suing the nsg. home/hosp., buying a car, renting an apartment. The manager of A.L. said she really has no legitimate reason for talking with the sister, since she has not done anything wrong that she can prove, with the exception of the trip to the bank when he withdrew money. Now I have protected all the $$ so that's not an issue. She has no prove of anything now, so has no issue with her at this time.
What baffles me is that his memory is fairly good at this point. It's just that his reasoning and judgement are so off. He writes down phone #s and keeps them is his shirt pocket. Any letters he gets are in his jacket pocket and with him at all times. He is very clever and very sneaky and such a liar. I found out after he was hospitalized in April just what a liar he is, and how he was hiding so many things in his car, and had been lying to me for several years. I was told at the bank that he would go to them frequently and have them balance his checkbook because he was no longer able to.
When I hear of people who have spouses with dementia at home, I really admire them and feel guilty that my husband is in A.L. and I'm here at home. Although whenever I go to see him, 4 times weekly, I can hardly wait to leave. Today I suggested he not lay in bed all day and watch tv which is giving him a neck ache (he's complaining about it) and try a chair. He then said "Well, good, I'm glad we've got something to argue about, you always like to argue". Actually, I was only trying to help and do anything I can to avoid an agrument!!! I did what I always try not to do and blew up and told him off and felt guilty the minute I did it.
All the things he does are related to: getting out of there, getting money to get out of there, getting money to buy a car (which he cannot drive). I'm wondering if he were at home, the need to "get out of there" would be gone, but then I'd be scared to death re: money, car, etc. Since he has seemed fairly normal lately, I'm wondering if the dementia is not as bad as it was, but everyone has assured me dementia gets worse, always and never better.
Again, thank you everyone with your kind thoughts and suggestions. Wish I could find some peace of mind.
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