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I have been taking care of my husband for quite some time for mobility issues and now I strongly suspect dementia. Sometimes he is in agreement that something is wrong but lately he is very defensive and mean that there's nothing wrong with him that its all me. Lately he has been saying some really cruel things and I don't know how much more I can take. I have contemplated just moving out but feel so guilty about leaving him when he is sick. What are my rights to have him diagnosed and how do I go about doing it. At least if I knew for sure it may at least make me feel a little better knowing its his illness and not me. (sometimes I swear I am losing my mind.)

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See if he might be willing to give you durable power of attorney for healthcare. It's a very inexpensive way to allow you to communicate with doctors on his behalf, otherwise he will have to be present and give Dr permission which he may or may not do depending on his mood of the day. Durable power of attorney for healthcare decisions would also be necessary if you feel like he needs more care than you can provide to keep him safe, or to keep yourself safe, and you will need this if you want to have him admitted even for just diagnostic purposes to a skilled nursing facility that specializes in memory care. If you wait until he does not have capacity to make such a decision as signing a document that gives you durable power of attorney for healthcare then you may have to go through a very expensive process, depending on what they call it in your state, of being granted conservatorship or guardianship over him. It sounds like you were trying to have logical discussions with someone who may no longer have the capacity to engage in a logical discussion, so you need to find another way to get him -and you- the help that is necessary. If he indeed is in the beginning stages of dementia, the erratic mood changes and nasty nature are very consistent with what many people exhibit as a symptom of dementia. So you may find it more effective to eliminate your frustration and thoughts that he is doing this purposely to be mean to you or to hurt you. If you invest a lot of your emotion in those thoughts and that anger, you will have less emotional reservoir with which to deal effectively with the situation.
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jmck - Good luck with the results of the blood work. Hope the pulmonologist will be able to come up with some helpful advice. "Our" consultant was angry about all his smoking but later much more forgiving when she realized he had given up
many years ago. Thinking of you.
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Thanks for the advice rosmarin- he did just have a full blood panel workup taken (waiting to hear) and he has an appointment with a pulmonologist in a few weeks. Hopefully we will get some answers from that.
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gladimhere suggested a full check up for your husband would be a good idea and the possibility of a urinary infection causing mental problems. That scenario was mentioned when my husband was hospitalized last winter. It is sensible to get that checked out and at the same time rule out other potential problems as well as check for dementia jmck. Today my husband had a pulmonary check up and we learned that low oxygen can cause brain problems as well. The doctors sometimes keep you in the dark! Have to keep asking questions. The pulmonary nurse much more helpful with tips than the doctors. .
jmck brandywine and linda - I feel your pain and empathize. And all of you in this situation.
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Having them diagnosed does nothing to help the situation
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Probe, I don't believe God gets burdened. He is up to all we need. A God Who promises that 'His eye is on the sparrow', Who 'counts every tear' we've ever shed - that's a God Who loves to hold you and comfort you when you are hurting. That's a God Who can handle the world's problems and all the grief our decisions cause Him, and still have time for our tiniest prayer of gratitude, request, or anger and frustration. He loves us so much more extravagantly than we can understand. He is honored when, in our pain, we rest in His Presence. That takes nothing away from His handling of other things. Hope you can let Him show you that level of love!
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It helps so much to know others have similar problems and are " going through it".
The comments and tips are so useful and help me to keep strong! Thank you all.
Brandywine - you are having such a tough time. I dont think your DH means what he says at all as you realize. its like they have some gremlin in their heads. great sympathy and caring from Rosmarin.
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I just want to thank all who help with this,,, It is hard for all of us in different ways,,, But you all relate the same,,, I'll keep posting but maybe tonight I'll sleep better tomorrow another day one hour at a time,,, I pray more than ever isthat wrong ,, God is Burdened enough,,, with world problems
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I'm dealing with the same thing. Husband says cruel things. Like you are not good looking. I could have done better. Those kind of things. He willingly went to a neurologist but it did no good. The doc said he couldn't be sure what was going on. As I have said before, we will out in the sticks, very few doctors here. Goodness knows we will thousands of miles from a teaching hospital.
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Yes very common to deny anything wrong. I have been there myself and I know it's not a good time. It does not help much at times, but I have found that remembering this is only a phase and it will pass helped me cope. Medication may help, so get him in to the see a doctor as just a checkup. I found that it was difficult for me to discuss the issues with my wife's doctor with her sitting right there steaming over my comments. So I would fax the doctor a note, or just drop one off several days ahead of the visit and explain what the symptoms are you are seeing so he has a starting point. That will give the doctor a chance to form a plan in his/her head so he can ask the right questions and assess the answers and his demeanor without putting you in the middle. At least it might get some med's started and maybe help calm things down a bit.
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Good luck to you too rosmarin - I swear sometimes I feel like I'm on a rollercoaster ride - you never know what will set him off, There are days when he is so caring and "normal" and then I don't know who he is. I'm glad I found this site - so much helpful tips. (And thanks for letting me vent - sometimes I think I just need to vent.) Today is better but we will see what tomorrow brings. I am going to talk to his doctor and see what we can do. Thanks everyone for listening and caring.
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I feel for you all! Sounds quite familiar. My husband has not got dementia -(the doctor says after a quick test.) But he gets things twisted that happened or didnt happen in the past and blames me. I gave a leather jacket he had never worn to charity 20 years ago and he keeps coming back to that and causing a very heated argument . He seems to have a problem with memory and getting things wrong which may be linked to the liver cirrhosis which can affect the brain. I get criticized so much I too want to walk out, I am often in tears and /or shout at him and then feel so guilty as he is so ill and used to be a nice person.
A friend says he should never have been allowed to be so controlling years ago.
Now I feel so mixed up - should I just walk away when challenged - about not keeping the place tidy or filing bills etc etc? I have to hide things I buy without his permission which at my age and circumstances I can afford with my mothers
money. I need a punch bag! Other times he can be sweet and loving. Dual personality perhaps. The doctor says I need a break but he would never go in to respite and we would have to pay the earth if he did agree. A friend says she would stay with him a few days but he says no I can manage. Clearly he cant. I am so exhausted . Please I need sympathy because I feel the only way is to keep going come what may! Must be strong somehow. Good luck all of you carers!
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It is very common for folks to deny that they have Alzheimer's. This is not helped by the fact that many doctors do not tell their patients.

First off you need to be the person in control. Your husband sounds like he already has belligerence with memory loss. This can be a frightening situation and can even be fraught with danger as if he does have it he can become more and more unreasonable and become threatening.

You must have control over finances and healthcare. These are not maybes but must haves. You must not discuss this with your husband before you speak with an elder law attorney. Call your local Bar Association to get names of elder law attorneys.

Ask about how to become the Durable Power of Attorney for both Finances and Healthcare. You also must have what we call in WA state a POLST or DNR.
DNR documents are displayed in the home usually on the fridge or in the freezer.
They are there for the emergency medical workers and fire station staff if they are called to your home. It simply states yours and your husband's wishes in case of an emergency that might be life threatening. These are filled out with your doctor so that he signs it also.

You can get DVDs about Alzheimer's from your local library. You can find free counseling help nationwide through the Alzheimer's Association in your area. They have 24/7 counselors on staff to help you figure out how to communicate with your husband. I highly recommend these 2 things because the majority of folks do not know the details of Alzheimer's.
It is a shrinking of the brain because it is drying out and there are large gaping holes in the brain so that a person no longer has important reasoning powers.

Before your husband's symptoms escalate you need to have the important documents I mentioned earlier so that you have power over what decisions to make.

I work one on one with severe Alzheimer's patients. What has worked is to communicate quietly, positively and remind the person of your love for them. Stay away from the topic of dementia/Alzheimer's. But do call your doctor and explain to the staff what your concern is about Alzheimer's. Set up a time for a yearly physical. Don't tell the doctor in your husband's presence that you believe he has Alzheimer's. That will only make him resistant.

Once the doctor has made his assessment he can call you later and give you his opinion and he will likely recommend a drug such as Namenda which might help retain some of your husband's capabilities in communication. There are no miracle drugs for the disease.

Researchers have stated that it is a "lifestyle" disease and they feel that it can be prevented caught early on or at least ameliorated somewhat if caught otherwise.

See Jean Carper's very easy to read, short book:

100 Things You Can Do To Prevent Alzheimer's


You can get the book from Amazon for about $14.00 with shipping. Our library here in WA state carries it. She takes all of the relevant research and puts into what you can do easily based on diet change and vitamin supplementation to start.
The sooner you start the faster you will find some answers to your stress and worry.
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You will never be able to change him but be certain he will get worse and worse. Good news - you can change yourself. It won't be easy but if you put your mind to it, you can do it. When you do your life will be transformed. My husband has dementia and has for several years. You need to put your mind into a happy place. You have to think of it as a challenge - a game. If you have ever had children - you need to treat him as you did them - but never in a demeaning or disrespectful way. When my husband asks me the same question - I just answer it. Even if it is the 27th time in ten minutes. After several times I just put a smile on my face and giggle in my mind as to the silliness of our lives. This really gets me through most of my day. There are so many things in life that we need to be upset about - don't let this be anymore than silly. Somedays after a few hours or sometimes minutes, my mind doesn't want to play and my frustration takes over. That is when I excuse myself to go into the other room. Of course there are times when I lose it and yell, etc. I then feel awful and guilty that I have inflicted more pain and frustration on him. Then the wonderful upside happens. Five minutes later he has no idea that I was out-of-control angry. Again - just smile and be thankful for the good things still in your life. Good luck - I know you can do it.
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Since you believe that he may be suffering with dementia, unless he has signed Durable Power of Attorney, I might make sure that accounts in his name have you too, since if he becomes unable to communicate with the power company or phone company, they may not discuss it with you, since your name isn't on the account. It might be stressful to deal with that and his situation at the same time.
I would consult with an Attorney, before I transferred or changed names any monetary accounts though, since that could have legal consequences. I would make sure all financial matters were addressed, so that you are prepared if he is not able to tend to them.
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Jmck, it is possible something treatable is causing the memory loss. An urinary tract infection, for example, can cause delerium in some.

Isn't that a good enough reason for hubby to cooperate in going to the doctor and talking about his symptoms? A complete physical and blood work to rule out other causes.
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So you are not convinced your husband is starting dementia? The behaviors you describe suggest he has a dementia, however, a deficiency in B-12, low thyroid, and low Vitamin D can mimic dementia. Have those tests run first to rule them out. If they are all "normal" then there probably is no need to get him tested as those tests are very stressful for someone with dementia. He is going to be mean, verbally nasty, and not himself, but this is dementia. Get used to it (if in fact he doesn't have a metabolic issue).
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Get him to a geriatrician. Call the American Geriatrics Society at (212) 308-1414 to get a list of doctors in your area who are board certified internists in geriatric medicine or family physicians who have a certificate in geriatrics. Geriatricians specialize in aging. If you have a teaching hospital nearby check them out. Good luck!
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Salisbury, thank you for your succinct description of this phase. I seem to be entering it with my husband while I am still caregiving for my Mom who is in later stages. I' must glad there are others whose immediate future appears to be mortgaged to easing the path for people with this dreadful disease.
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Also, someone said, I think,,,PICK YOUR BATTLES if he says it is dark outside just say I wonder why .if he says he saw something, ask him about it. I have taken a crash course here as my DH was diagnosed July 28th 2015 a day I will never forget.
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I was right where you were a few months ago. He finally let me take him to the Memory specialist. Started on Aericept and it really helped but not enough. Then the miracle drug Seroquel. OMG almost like his old self again and now he even realizes he has Dementia. Seroquel saved us for now because I too was ready to walk out and let the cards fall where they may. Remember one thing THEY CANNOT HELP IT...keep repeating that and try your best to get him at least to a neurogolist. Hugs and prayers Let us know
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If your husband has dementia, there's no point in arguing with him about this or anything else. Take your concerns to his doctor.

You mention his being ill. Another possible explanation for his behavior changes could be a side effect such as depression.

Blessings for quick relief for both of you.
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I'm dealing with the same thing. He moved to one of our other properties 5 months ago. I called his Dr. and then had to wait for him to go. I think he has early stage Parkinsons. Low Dopamine. He is on a medication now and he is a bit nicer when he stops at the house. Talk about turning your life upside down. I swear he has memories of things I never even said. It's heartbreaking.
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Probe,

Sorry about that. I went through that with my mom starting three years ago. Now I am going through it with my husband. So, empathy, sympathy.

The most difficult phase of all of this is, IMO, this phase: they are not capable of fulfilling their responsibilities, but are not yet ready to admit it or accept help. Everything else, including death, pales in comparison.

Sometimes it takes me days on the phone to fix something. Last week I had to request money back from an insurance company because my husband had paid two companies for our car insurance months ago.

He was very apologetic. Yet I don't think he realizes at all what is happening. I have been repeating myself for YEARS because of his hearing (up to four times for one sentence!!!)--but now must repeat because of his memory. And if I lose my patience, I feel so guilty because he is such a sweet person.
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My mom is going through the same thing ,, She asks a question I give her the answer I walk up stairs come down she asks the samethng again than 10 minutes later she asks the samething,,I said I just .told you, than she gets mad, ,, Last week I had to take her to the Bank get both of our name on her Checks so I could sign her checks,, 2 days later the bank called to ask how out visit was,, they wouldn't talk to me wanted to talk to her,, Was a foreign operater so she couldn't speak her name that well,, Mom freaked was convinced they couldn't read her name well on the paperwork we signed,, Even though I told her,, her name was printed on on the paperwork and the lady couldn't pronounce her name she had me drive her back to the bank, (Thank god was the same guy that did our paper work the day we signed) He told her it was a survey But somehow it was my fault,, Today I have to write acheck she pulled out every bill payed from last 3 years looking for the newbill which was right in front of her, (she can't hardly see) I showed her the bill ,, went to lay down heard a lot of noice she was going the bills again, Today I pay the bill (Taxes) Hopefully she'll be quiet,,, I to was ready to just walk out,,
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JMCK88,

Sometimes it works to just take the initiative and get something going. Make an appointment for an annual routine physical for him but be sure the doctor knows what is going on. Write letter before the appointment!!! Be sure to mention the moods. Start like that.

Windyridge is right. A diagnosis is not a panacea. You re still on the path you are on with him. BUT medications can really help. First, there are medications to slow the memory loss down, and, more importantly to me personally, he might get medications to help with his mood.

My mother had turned my life into a pure misery--she was the same way. Then she got the right meds and enough of them(!) and now she is a content, cheerful person. Not doped up; she can still beat everyone at bridge. And I no longer want to kill myself and her. That was a year ago and I still can't believe it.

How grateful am I to the chemists who developed these drugs?????? Words fail me.
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JMC, it's does sound like he is developing some form of dementia but it's very hard to force someone to get tested. It may not be worth the battle.

I would suggest that you learn all you can about dementia and how to deal with it. This site is a great place to start. My Dad also has always refused any testing, IM JUST FINE!! But it's quite clear that he has dementia, very little short term memory, and he can no longer reason through simple problems and tasks. In our case it's just not worth the battle to confirm what we already know.

Just a couple tips, don't argue with him, don't keep trying to convince him something is wrong with him, in his mind all is well. Don't constantly correct him and ask DONT YOU REMEMBER.....I JUST TOLD YOU THAT......... It's ok to fib a little and redirect his attention.
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