My husband's dementia started a long time ago and we didn't know it. Now 3 years into the disease where characteristics are showing up (can't operate phone or tech items, short term memory gone, personal care faltering, gave up walking, no affection toward me, lying, temper, and now delusions). Everyone that I am close to he has attacked verbally. He even attacked me where I thought he might hit me. Here's the clincher. He still converses with me, asks me on occasion how I'm feeling, is affectionate toward our 2 dogs, and will converse with strangers in a friendly manner. The man I married is almost gone. He is isolating me by yelling or acting badly toward the people who love me. I feel like I am alone on an island most of the time. He has been diagnosed by a neurologist. He is on medication but it doesn't seem to help. I have told his doctor and my doctor what's going on. Has anyone tried psychotropic drugs like Xanax to help with delusions? I said I would never place him outside the home but the stress and his anger is wearing me down. How do I tell if its time to rethink placement outside the home. He is 79 and I am 68. We've been together for 50 years. He thinks he is fine because he says he's back to normal. He has vascular dementia. I used to cry constantly but that has stopped. We do not have any family to help us. Everyone is elderly.

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You said something mid paragraph that I was thinking as you wrote your beautifully descriptive piece. What I was thinking is "This isn't her husband anymore". Sadly, that is what happens. For someone progressed this much in, when you see the person for brief glimpses through the weeds (his love of the dogs) it is enough to make your heart drop, a physical feeling in your chest. But you do know, for the most part he is gone.
Now the choice, blunt and awful as it sounds, is to go with him, or not.
My brother is diagnosed with probable Early Lewy's Dementia. His delusions and hallucinations are fascinating, story like, like seeing movies, and he describes them so beautifully, understanding often in the midst of them that they are false. He describes the way he begins to see the world, knowing it is wrong, and describes how he must work backwards toward what he is really seeing.
All of these delusions and hallucinations are fascinating when you are NOT involved. They are very real to the person suffering them. And unless you are in on the beginning of a diagnosis, there is no self knowledge in the patient.
You have a dreadful decision to make. It is somewhat like grieving the loss of someone who is still living, because indeed that person is lost.
I have seen MANY people put the person they love into care. Go to visit them. See that person actually introduce someone at their care center as "My wife" when actually the person visiting is the wife. It is sad. And in the life of this disease it is not unusual.
Some Senior Centers have Caregivers support. I reference the Mizell Center in Palm Springs as one. If you are able to access any, please try, and I hope in future there will be many more. There are so many people dealing with this, and as our aging population continues to age it will be more and more an issue in our society and our health care system.
I hope you will update us on decisions as you move forward.
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If he is aggressive and you feel at risk, I'd get help immediately. Like call 911 and speak with his doctor. You can't rely on him being his old self and not hurting you if he is so inclined to do so. And, if he is having delusions, they could cause him to harm himself or others. I'd have him evaluated by a geriatric psychiatrist, if possible. Perhaps, an in patient stay would allow them to get medication adjusted. I won't comment on meds, because, everyone is different, but, they helped my LO a great deal and brought her a lot of relief from mental distress, depression and anxiety. She had delusions and hallucinations, but, they were of the friendly type where she saw cute animals and friendly people she liked.

You might also consult with an attorney about your options.

You sound exhausted and very stressed. I'd consider how respite time is very important and explore how to get some time for rest, so you can think and plan the future with this new reality.
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