I am a survivor of child sexual and physical abuse and am now a 24/7 caregiver for my husband. He is verging on physical violence if I try to prevent him from doing certain behaviors that are dangerous to himself or our home. Though he can barely walk or get up from the sofa, he becomes very strong in these moments, such as heading outside, (front door) in his underwear with no shoes. We have absolutely no money for assisted living and though he served in the army, he does not qualify for VA benefits due to lack of service during any time of combat. A counselor has asked Adult Protective Services to contact me and it helped to talk with them, and I have a sort of plan in place with packed bags. I have warned his children that if he hits me -again - I am gone. He took good care of me when I had hip surgeries and this dementia has indeed wrecked havoc on his mental and physical capabilities, but when he gets angry I go into a panic mode. Of course this is not at all the man I married, but I cannot sleep and my days and nights are filled with fear and sadness. His children simply cannot imagine or believe that their dad would hurt me and keep reminding me that his illness is at fault and not him. I do, honestly, try to put myself in his place, but he seems to have no concept of what is happening to him.

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Your husband needs you to advocate for him. To get him the best care in the circumstances. To see that he is being treated well by those that interact with him. And you can't be that advocate if you are in the hospital recovering from injuries he inflicted.

OF COURSE it is the disease that is causing this behavior. This is not the man you married. All the more reason you must protect yourself from this disease.

Even if you did not have abuse in your background, this behavior and the fear and panic it invokes in you is not acceptable. If he heads outside, let him go. Call 911 after he is out the door. You must do this as his advocate, and to protect yourself.

I understand that his children can't/won't believe he could hurt you. Many people on this board believe it because we've seen what dementia can do to our loved ones. We believe it, and APS believes it. You are definitely at risk of abuse from this man you love. Do everything you have to to protect yourself. Of course it is the illness and not the man you married. But that won't make your leg any less broken or your concussion any more benign if the disease attacks you.

His adult children will not be able to manage him any more effectively than you can. They would be at risk of abuse, too. Don't turn his care over to them if you need to get out of the situation. Involve professionals.

Have you explored Medicaid as a way to pay for the care he needs?
Helpful Answer (32)

Hitting only happens once.
Do not block his exit.
Call 911 for a vulnerable adult once he has gone. The part about in his underwear will speak for itself. You may be given the option to have him placed if you cannot safely have him back home.
Keep the communications line open with APS.

Try a geriatric psychiatrist for better behavioral meds.
Helpful Answer (28)

I think most people who put up with abuse try to picture themselves in their abusers shoes at some time or other. Some people say, oh my Loved One is fine except when they're drinking or on drugs, so it's not really their fault. Some people say, oh, my LO had a terrible childhood so it's not really their fault. Some people say, oh my LO has a mental illness, or had a brain injury, so it's not really their fault. Some people say, oh it's just dementia, so it's not really my LO's fault.

Those things may be true some of the time.  But having TOO MUCH empathy for someone who is abusive is part of the reason so many people stay with Loved Ones who abuse them. It doesn't really matter WHY they're doing it. What matters is that they're DOING it.

One positive thing that comes out of experiencing what you did when you were younger, is that it's kicked your instincts into gear faster than someone who's never been through something similar. Your instinct is to get away from this behavior, now, because you know what's happening, you know how bad it can get, and you know you don't want to be abused again. That is a good, healthy, survivor response. Congratulate yourself for it! Your experiences made you strong!

I know it's hard, especially when this isn't the person you used to know.  Yes, it's heartbreaking and awful and not what anyone expected.  But you don't have to be a victim of it for any reason.  Not being able to be around him doesn't mean you or your kids have to stop loving him.  And I hope your kids will come to understand that abuse is NEVER okay, whatever is causing the abusive behavior. But even if they don't, please don't let them guilt you into putting up with it. It's wrong for them to ask such a thing of you in the first place. 

I really urge you to call your local women's shelter. You don't have to be ready to leave.  You can just talk to someone.  I really do think you should talk to someone. The staff there can tell you what your options are and help you with your plan. 

If you don't know the number for your local shelter or women's services, you can find an organization anywhere in the world here:
Helpful Answer (20)

If someone knocks you flying and walks out of the door and into a busy road, what practical difference does why make? Fact is, no matter what you're prepared to sacrifice, he's not safe and neither are you.

Go back to APS and ask them also to come up with a plan to ensure your husband's safety. It isn't that I don't completely agree that you should be prepared to walk - too right, so you should! - but it is also their responsibility to ensure that no harm comes to him as a result of his disease. And, importantly, you are more likely to remove yourself if you can be confident that he'll receive the help he needs.

I'm surprised at the VA's response, I must say. I know the various branches have had their difficulties recently, maybe they're tightening their belts in every way they can, but all the same I'd have expected better support and advice from them than that.
Helpful Answer (14)

Totally agree with JeanneGibbs!! This situation is only going to get worse. Medicaid should be explored. I've recently had contact with them and the process is not as humiliating as it once was.
Please, darlin', take care of yourself--the children have no clue because they're not living your life mostly because they wouldn't want to! Hard as that sounds (I'm sorry) people especially family put they're heads in the sand and pop back up when "It's over" or you're seriously hurt.
Let him go out, call 911 and apply for Medicaid.
Take care!! Hugs
Helpful Answer (13)

It is at this point where YOUR safety comes FIRST.
A call to 911 when he becomes violent or runs out the door might be the "wake up call" his kids need to validate what you are telling them.
No child wants to believe their parent could do something like that.
(This type of violence was happening to a friend of mine, her kids did not believe it until he became violent when one of them was visiting.)
You should talk to an Elder care lawyer and determine the best course for you. Application for Medicaid might be the best bet. But you also need to protect any assets you may have had prior to the marriage. (sounds selfish but it's reality)
Just remember YOU are the only one that can protect YOU and that is your priority.
Helpful Answer (8)

My dad is going thru something similar with my mom. My mom has always had emotional issues and I believe at one time she was diagnosed as bi polar. They moved from Long Island to Texas and over the years her behavior with my dad has gotten progressively worse. Now after her heart attack, her emotional outbursts and violence in throwing things, breaking his cell phone and even locking him out of the house is much worse. I have tried and tried to intervene and see if dad would get her to a psychiatrist. He did call her heart doctor and got a recommendation for a neurologist as her eye sight has been impacted by the heart attack. But the last episode between them, I call the police to do a well check. She then called me and all my kids and declared that I was no longer her daughter and not to call anymore. This is by far the hardest thing for me, to disengage and watch my dad crumble under her radical behavior. But I don't have power of attorney. I have called the Aging Agency in town and had a visit scheduled for them so they can talk about Medicaid. But knowing mom, she probably will not allow the person in the house. I told dad that until he decides he needs help there is nothing I can do at this point. He is the one that has to make the call on mom, or he will have another heart attack. At that point, the decision will be mom's until she proves herself to not be capable of taking care of herself. Long story short, my parents are not doing anything to prepare for the last years of their life. No funeral plans, the house is loaded with stuff and now no communication allowed in or out.
Helpful Answer (6)

A red flag went up when you quoted his children : "simply cannot imagine or believe that their dad would hurt me and keep reminding me that his illness is at fault and not him". Only you know if he is dangerous, and you can be sorry for "his illness", but that does not mean you have to suffer abuse at his hands. Talk to someone at Home Health Care and they may have some answers.
Helpful Answer (6)

I had to do something similar with a relative...

The next episode...when he heads out the door, call an ambulance. They will take him to the hospital. Once he's there, tell the Social Worker, he is homeless and you are scared of him. When you meet with the doctors, tell them he has dementia and that you're scared--he doesn't know what he's doing. He may require a behavior medicine. We used Depokote 250mg 3x/day at first, a mood stabilizer. Not too drugged out, mind you. Doctors tend to over-medicate...

Stand firm with the Social Worker, ask her to help you with Medicaid and get him placed somewhere (my experience is that they tried to push me into taking back home my relative until a place was found and I said NO, it was not safe for us. And, how was I to look for a place if there's no one there to watch my loved one?)

The children require to face reality--that you can no longer live with him. When that episode happens and he's placed elsewhere, have a talk with them if they cannot be involved in the process. Ask them to join this forum...

Once my relative was stable on drugs (and not drugged out) there was talk of returning to the home, yet it was decided that the trust was broken, and there was no way of return from that, it was too scary for all involved. I agreed. Plus, dementia doesn't get better, it's a debilitating disease. It was just time for a change, and how sad it was....yet it got better later. Our loved one settled, we even had some enjoyment return...visiting became regular and it was ok...

So stay strong, you're going to get through this...We support you and are rooting for ya!!
Helpful Answer (6)

My mom is going through a similar situation. The medications can cause some of these aggressive behaviors. Klonopin was the reason my dad got extra aggressive however this illness is also causing it. I suggest you apply for Medicaid. Once you do this you can get in home services to come help you “deal” with him... go over medications and help you cope with his behaviors. If it gets bad then you can send him to a 24 hour care facility and Medicaid can help find and pay for one. I actually called C.A.T Christmas night with 911 because my dad went nuts on my mom. I did it the next day also. I asked the officer to help my mom hide his gun because we couldn’t get him to give it up! They didn’t take him anywhere but it definitely scared him and he hasn’t been as “naughty”. I feel for you but you must protect yourself. Worst case... you walk out then call 911 or have Medicaid supply him with care somehow. We started giving him Seroquel to sedate him... when he gets “excited” and now we are trying Aricept to help with the hellucinations which are what make him angry... he thinks my mom is meeting up with other men at night. Agh my mom is a sweet saint... married him and never touched another man before... 55 years of marriage. This is a sickness that is tough for everyone in the family. Stay communication online... call the alzheimer association and 24 hour hotline for advice and someone to talk to... call APS... Medicaid... check medicine... we are here for you!
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