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He suffers from vascular dementia. I have produced our children who swear that I am their mother and his wife to no avail. I have produced our wedding certificate innumerable times; told him things that only he and his wife could know. He either forgets or claims that anyone could re-produce a fake licence. I try saying that I am busy and we will go into that later and he says that I always say that, but that I never bring it up again.

He is heartbroken sometimes that his wife is lost to him. He seems to be able to remember some things that contribute to his theory - and conveniently forget things that I say or show that may be proof of our marriage. He simply cannot be 'tricked' into the delay of facing his belief..

He won't call me a liar, but he does not believe me. I have not been able to pretend that his wife is out there somewhere where he cannot locate her!

Lately he is questioning our legality to our property and wants to go through our legal papers to be sure that no one can 'take it away'. Nevermind that he cannot really understand what he reads, etc.. 'Not sure if he mistrusts me or that 'other someone' who could be claiming to be his wife.

'So confusing to explain and so frustrating to go through this day after day. He only sleeps in the living room in his rocker, also, even though I tuck him in bed every night, he is up in an hour or so looking for his LaZy boy.

I am lucky if I get 5 hours of sleep each night wondering if he is OK or out on the front deck waiting for his real wife to pick him up!

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Sadly, you likely won't be able to convince him because he remembers marrying a young woman who doesn't look like you. This sounds more like Alzheimer's behavior but I would imagine this could happen with nearly any type of dementia.

While this situation is quite common and emotionally heartbreaking for the significant number of people who must cope with it, it's more rare to see where there could be legal problems. I'd see an elder law attorney, bringing your documents and maybe your children along.

Ask if you can do something short of the long process of guardianship to protect yourself. I'm sure his doctor would say he can't make decisions but you may need more legal protection. As Pam says, you may need to go as far as going to court for guardianship, but an attorney can advise you.

Please let us know how you are doing as you progress. We're not new to these issues and will be thinking of you.
Carol
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MilFace says her husband cannot recognize her in the wedding photo but he can recognize himself. Does he look the same? My husband cannot recognize himself in old photos. Sometimes he knows my name and sometimes he does not. He wanted to know if he needed to pay me for working. I don't push him to remember me and who I am. The other day he said my name was "beautiful" and when I asked who I was he said-- my beautiful person. So I said -- I will take that and all the women I told the story to said they would accept that too:-)
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Have a long in-depth conversation with an elder affairs attorney before jumping into guardianship. Life can become hell for you.IMCO

There are two Dave's here, Dave Me and Dave her husband. Remember you're going to have to "absorb" a lot worse behavior.

As long as you expect your loved one to react to situations the way you do, you'll be frustrated, angry, and miserable. If, however, you can learn to get inside their minds, to comprehend their world, then it is not against human nature to respond with smiles and hugs and tons and tons of love ... and private tears that we can't do more for them.
It is difficult to accept their mind is damaged by Alzheimer's Disease
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I strongly agree with Pam about the guardianship as you need legal protection. I am afraid you will not be able to convince him you're his wife and it may be that continuing to try will just upset him. I stopped telling my mother over and over that my father had died as it just made her horribly sad and scared each time. He does seem to accept your presence and help so you might just try to sweetly change the subject and tell him you'll be happy to do something for him. Then you spend more time receiving the support and love and encouragement of people who do know who you are and get them to do some regular babysitting so you can get some rest. You do not need to burnout or you won't be helpful to him or yourself.
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Sometimes my husband forgets who I am . I don't forget who he is. It matters not to me if he remembers me or not, for I always remember who he is. I just go moment to moment.....
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You know, I have not been worried about the financial part. Perhaps I should be. We do have a Living trust which includes a living will and your advice has caused me to examine the details more closely.

We set this up in 1996 with two of our four children as Trustees along with each or us as trustee for each other. My note above lists my husband as (70). That is in error. We have been married 70 years, each of being 90 years old. I do not know how that error happened. When you get to be 90 - all kinds of mistakes happen all around you - so I will take the blame. LOL

Our trust states that disability begins upon receiving letters from two physicians who "deem him disabled because of illness, age, or any other cause which relates in my inability to manage my property or financial matters." I am not sure if I need to do more than that - perhaps present that to the 'court'. I will endeavor to determine that soon... The wording of the 'law' is quite confusing most of the time.

Thanks for your responses - I will try your suggestions of not being contentious.

The problem is that I am never sure when these in-consistencies will strike. He can seem perfectly normal, friendly and out-going to neighbors, etc. and they seem incredulous that there is anything wrong at all.. sigh... No, it's not just me! Our kids agree... and want me to get outside help - tho they are as helpful as they can be. I do not call on them very often - they have their lives to live, also.

I have recently found out about a Senior Day Care center that is supposed to be great and we are going to go there with our Parish nurse to have a looksee..
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I know what you are going through - I have been there. My husband of 46 years didn't have a clue to who I was after his stroke. And when dementia began he did not know his daughter or his grandchildren. Depending who asked who I was he would tell the Drs. I was his nurse or when friends of family asked I was his friend, sometimes his best friend. You cannot argue about the reality with your husband. The dementia robbed his faculty to understand. Keep loving him, try to be patient. I too spent many nights awake watching over him. It hurts and it is exhausting. Keep remembering it is the illness and not your husband that is making your life difficult. As I did all the fincial matters he never asked about that.
I too agree - geht guardianship asap. My best wishes and hang in there.
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Maybe pictures from way back and a progression of them to how you look now would work. But this does sound like a mixed dementia; my understaning is that with Alzheimer type dementia, they have lost the most recent memories first so think things should be as they were many years ago. It may have to do that he recognizes that whoever you are, you love and care for him, and his wife could not do it any more and sent you, because you can help with sorting out the finances too. Sorry you are going through this, it is a heartbreak!
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My husband of 60 yrs asked me yesterday am I his daughter? mother? sister? wife? He will look at our wedding pic & say who is that standing by me. Simple one word answer me w nothing more. It doesn't bother me as I know the wire in his brain has become severed to understand what the word wife, daughter, granddaughter mean. He sometimes knows my name. He knows I am his security & taking good care of him. Just. keep that love & tell him often. I don't feel bad but know it will get different moment by moment. I know I could have it a lot worse & thank God for His help. We have an irrevocable trust & at the same time drew up DPOA. I would go to same attorney you had to see if he drew that up at same time. We have 4 children all trustees w a 3 to one vote to pass anything. They know all we have which will God willing become theirs.
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Lois, My Husband Ron had Parkinsons and ALZ . When he started to forget me, it really hurt. Then one day he looked over at me and said "Mom, where is Dad " ? My first impulse was to correct him and tell him, I am not your Mom honey. I am your wife. Well he would not have it. So I called his daughter, so she could explain and make him understand. She told him to look at the wedding photo on our dresser. I handed the pic to him , and she very lovingly explained, Carol is the lady in pic with you Dad. That was the day you two were married. Finally, he said ok and hung the phone up. I felt great -- ok now he won't think I am his Mom -- he will remember ! I said honey, did your daughter explain everything to you ? He turned around (still holding wedding photo ) with a big grin on his face , and said "yes she did, But she thinks I married My mother " ! I laughed til I cried ! It was just so sweet, and he looked so happy. That was the day, I stopped trying to bring him back to his old life and allowed him, to peacefully live in his new life. I noticed something, when he called me Mom and I just answered , as his Mom, he was happy . He would often say Mom , where is Dad , did he leave ? I would smile and say ," Yes son, he has already gone home ". And he was content, because those were the memories, he still had. I learned to love him, this sweet vulnerable man in another way. I prayed this prayer -- Lord , you know I love Ron dearly, as my husband, but Lord please, help me to love him, as you love him -- Amen Hope this helps you, God Bless
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