A husband (72) with Alzheimer's?

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My best friend's husband has been diagnosed since November although we all know his condition has been present for quite awhile. She is overwhelmed. I have tried to give her advice because I was through it for 8 years with my mother. Her only response is, "You don't know because it was not your spouse." Of course there is anger in this. It is difficult to watch because she won't even talk to people who have spouses who are in similar situations. Any advice?

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Maybe you can help her in other ways right now. Take them over a dinner, treat them to pizza. Tell her you are going food shopping tomorrow and make you a list and you can pick up what she needs. Maybe she would let you vacuum or dust, fold a load of laundry. I think I was overwhelmed with the care of my mom because I still had so many other things to do around the house and just did not have the time or energy to get every thing else done. I am the type of person that likes to hear anything that worked for others. However, many people need to figure things out on their own. Even a nice bunch of flowers or a thinking of you card may be a nice idea. Good luck, your heart is in the right place.
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There is an old book by Peter McWilliams. He was a poet popular in the 60's or 70's?? Anyway he had a little book called How to survive the loss of a love. This book is really good for almost any loss. It goes through the steps of loss you will recognize and has just a few words on each and a poem for each phase. You may have seen it. It's still in the book stores. Anyway I thought about that book as I read your post. It's light hearted in parts so I mean no disrespect but it's a touch stone of sorts to help you recognize where someone is in their grieving their loss. It occurred to me how we lose our husbands through death or divorce or separations due to life events and all of those are hard and while we live through and recover to varying degrees the slow, slow process of losing a love through a long illness is especially hard. So close and yet so far away. I have a friend who is losing her husband now to pancreatic cancer. He has no cognitive disability. It's so sad. Sometimes it seems it might be less painful ( I can't say easier) to not be aware. Admire her strength. She will find it. It's good to have a friend who is a steady sentry and is there when needed.
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Dealing with hallucinations (for example) with a spouse is pretty much the same as dealing with hallucinations with a parent. Many things we face are the same no matter who we are dealing with them with.

For me personally, dealing with my husband's dementia was extremely different emotionally and psychologically than dealing with my mother's. Both are hard. Both are sad. But if the marriage is of the "two shall become one" variety then it is truly part of you that experiences the dementia. Maybe for some people the degree of devastation is exactly the same with a parent or a spouse. That is hard for me to imagine, though.
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I think maybe you should offer your friend an apology in that you don't understand what she is going thru with her hubby.....then just let her know that whenever she needs a shoulder to cry on, or an ear to listen/vent, you will be there. (and then let it go). she will eventually come to you for listening/venting or maybe even a "little" advise or suggestions. until then, just be there for her.
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Yes, all of us caregivers must think about the time when we will be left alone. Volunteering is a great way to make new friends and it will help in the grieving process. I hope there is a special place for us in heaven...
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Jeanop we all experience a form of isolation and diminished friendly contact. I was my wife's caregiver for over six years and we had a tremendous social life that vanished when she became ill with AD. After she passed and I am alone only one of her friends has been a support but fortunately my volunteer work has provided me with a great group that has been a lifesaver.
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My Mother was diagnosed with AD 20 years ago, now my husband was diagnosed a little over 3 years ago. Each person is different no two alike but sometimes many similarities. When it is a husband you have to do everything, and are thrust into thinking what will be left for you to live on when no long term ins. If you are 24/7, the work that consumed his life, no one comes or calls. A loving friend that listens is worth a million.
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I have found the advice - no, the discussions! on this website helpful in caring for my husband with AD. I think that it matters less WHO the loved one is, and more what the relationship is like. If Mom or hubby is a jerk and always has been, or if this person has been your rock to rely on through the years.

Our daughter, 25, doesn't want to talk to anyone about it because she knows they will say that HE can't change his behavior, so she must change hers, change her expectations, and learn to live with it. I don't blame her for having trouble hearing that as, "Your life sucks, and nothing can be done, so shut up." What she wants, and maybe what your friend wants, is some magic or medical cure to stop the disease. Isn't that what we all wish for?

My advice is to give your friend only the most practical advice, not to make her face how bad things will get, and offer mostly sympathy rather than emotional advice. That sounds like all she can handle, so bite your well-meaning, well-informed tongue and let her find her way. It sucks to watch someone struggle when we think we know how to help.
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IT IS VERY DIFFERENT! When your spouse has AD you lose your support system. You lose your lover, your best friend, your rock. I have taken care of three elderly relatives with dementia but through all of them I had the love and support of my husband. Now he has it and who can I hug in the middle of the night and be reassured that this too shall pass. No longer do you have a sexual partner, only a man with a child's mind (not conducive to making love), who will advise me on the financial survival of us, who will tell me I am beautiful, strong and sexy. So many things are lost when your spouse has Alzheimer's. I guess if you have only a friendship relationship with your spouse, you would not be losing so much but when your lose your lover, your rock, your most intimate friend. It is far different when it is a spouse than any other person.
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I see lots of comments concerning caring for a parent vs a spouse. What I don't see is someone who has done both. I am currently caring for my 96 year old Aunt but I never had to do this for either of my parents. Something tells me it would be different if she were my mother but I have no way of knowing. I agree with tired1933...All of our journeys are different and all of our experiences are valid. As a recovering alcoholic of 18 years, I have learned that no one wants to hear my advice about how to travel this path of sobriety. But many want to hear my experience. So, when I am talking to a newcomer, I tell them what I did in a similar situation not what I think they ought to do in theirs. They are more receptive and perhaps a nugget of experience sinks in and becomes helpful as they move down their own path of discovery and growth. Be her friend. Listen. And let her know you are willing to be there for her, sharing your experience and helping when asked. She will love you for that.
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