My husband, 76, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about 3-4 years ago. He is a retired professor and continues to think he’s just fine. He debates with his neurologist about his condition, won’t accept the diagnosis, and I am starting to worry that sooner or later his safety will be an issue.

He thinks he can still drive. His neurologist forbids it but my husband says that his doctor doesn’t know anything. I have to hide the car keys and beat him to the driver’s seat as if we were playing Musical Chairs. My daughter installed a stopper to prevent him from driving but it broke. I had to pay for a tow and had to rent another car. I have no family nearby.

He repeats himself constantly but, of course, to him each time is the first time. As a retired accounting prof, he has become obsessed with our bank accounts and bills. His mistakes are constant so I have to undo his errors and then correct our financial records. He refuses to give up being the head of finance in the family.

I am at my wits’ end. My 97 year old mother is fading. She lives far away and refuses to move up here. I have good facilities for seniors in our town but my husband refuses to utilize any of them. He shows no recognition that his condition is deteriorating. It’s not really denial, but more obliviousness to what is happening. I am afraid to leave him alone.

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Dear Florimond,
I identify with your situation. I am sorry you are going through these challenges with your husband.

My husband also has no cognition of
the severity of his Aphasia/Dementia
disease. So, he is happy and hopeful.
it is called anosognosia. Not understanding the disease. Perhaps a coping mechanism? ( a blessing in disguise, for him...)

He was a University Professor of Physics and he thinks studying the English language will make him better... He has hope and he participates in life with family and friends. In order for me not to loose my mind, I accepted the situation. It saves me a lot of energy. I do not disagree with him. It keeps him calm and happier. It would be a lost battle anyway... Why convince him of something horrible? What is the gain?

He wanted to drive, and not to sell his car. I put away the keys and kept his car in the driveway, paying for the insurance etc to keep the peace...Recently, at the Neurologist’s office, using gestures, he expressed that he wants to drive. The Neurologist said “ absolutely not
safe” My husband accepted it and told me to get rid of the car! I did that, selling it to a car dealer, the same day! But, I told myself to be patient... Something I try to be everyday...It pays off!!!

As far as handling the finances, they
do not want to loose that control, but, little by little you have to take it over. Talk to someone at your Bank. Bring the Doctor’s diagnosis and a POA if you have it. Open an account only on your name. Do $ transfers. Set up automatic payments. Make sure your name is on all insurances, electricity accounts, phone bills etc. It will make life easier for you to
manage, as he deteriorates...

Also, you said your husband does not want anyone to come and help in your house. YOU need help. So, tell him the help is for you...
My husband got used to the Caregiver by now. As he is deteriorating, I already have help in place, before I burn out. It works. Not perfectly, but it is invaluable to have help for you and for him...

Stay calm and take actions. You two are not a team anymore. You do not need his permission. He is like a child...Accept this horrible change the disease brought and follow what you think is right.

Keep a good support system, like family and friends and get some advice from Doctors, lawyers and Therapists. YOU will survive this!

Sending you good vibes, good wishes and hugs 🤗
Helpful Answer (24)
Sharrie98 Jun 2019
Thank you, godguidesme, for your words of wisdom! Today I am beginning to implement all of your suggestions, as they are spot-on applicable to the situation with my husband. {{hugs}}
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My husband (a former Navy Carrier pilot & defense attorney) sounds like your husband's clone. It is imperative that your husband not drive for the sake of others on the road as well as his own. The financial ramifications of harming others (or worse) may be a tool you can use with him. I had to practice tough love on this issue but finally prevailed. My husband's attitude about financial matters is also the same as yours. Paying bills online has been a God-send since he always relied on his assistants and isn't computer savvy. So- - - I have managed some issues but have many others to keep working own anxiety and depression are two of them! Good luck. Stay strong!
Helpful Answer (11)
Eloise1943 Jun 2019
Anosognosia is a medical term for the denial of dementia
my husband is like this. It helps to understand this. My husband was a successful builder. I think the smarter they are the harder it is.
I also deal with stress and anxiety. I really can’t leave him unintended. I am slowly adjusting to be home constantly with him.
Blessings to you.
Prayer helps so much
Coming up with a name for not knowing/accepting the Dx doesn't really matter. Our mother was only HS, but would NOT accept us mentioning the word dementia (to her it meant you were 'off your rocker', aka crazy, which is NOT true.) Short term memory loss is going to override ANYTHING that is said or explained about the condition. Mom's argument was that she is old and is entitled to forget things now and then.

Being more educated might make this all harder, but what is the purpose behind trying to make someone understand/accept their condition when that condition is going to make them forget it? It’s the same philosophy I use in not telling mom that her mother is gone (40 yrs.) It’ll upset her and then she'll forget, so we have to play Groundhog Day until the end? It's easier to come up with plausible excuses (she's in FL for winter, etc.)

Safety can be an issue, but if you educate yourself about what to expect and monitor his comings/goings, at least for now it is doable. You are "afraid to leave him alone" and likely should be. If you need to run errands but he doesn't want to go, can you hire someone to be there (pretense is they are doing chores to help YOU - use any excuse!)

As for driving - hiding keys can work as can disabling the car, but can lead to arguments over it. Something that might work, since it sounds like this is the only car, is a kill-switch. Often this is an option with alarm systems. A good mechanic could install this for you, just be sure hubby doesn't know where the switch is! It prevents starting the car until the switch is thrown - so long as he doesn't see you do this, it could be a good deterrent. Later, when it "works" you can tell him you had the mechanic or AAA come by fix it....

"He repeats himself constantly but, of course, to him each time is the first time." - typical. It was one of the signs noted early on with mom. It doesn't get any better - mom is now into year 3 at the MC facility and still does this! You have to get a deaf ear to it... mutter some kind of benign agreement or answer - don't try to correct or tell him he's repeating himself. That’ll just lead to anger/frustration for both of you! It gets tedious, but also gets easier if you know not to disagree/correct.

Can you have all banking/account/important information sent to a PO Box? We had DPOA, but taking over wasn't enough – brother had to take mom out and I cleared ALL paperwork out! She lived alone then, but was digging out old papers and driving me nuts! Also, if banking/accounts are done online, CHANGE the passwords (and security information) so he cannot get online. Blame the banks for having a broken system! Do all banking, etc when he is occupied elsewhere.  Perhaps you can buy him an accounting notebook and let him have older statement copies to make entries and "reconcile" them - busy work ;-) to keep him out of your hair? Open new account(s) in your name only and have deposits done there. Typically you can't close joint acct w/out agreement from the joint owner. Request rep payee from SS.

Not sure what to do about your mother. If she refuses to move, not much can be done. Are there other children who can help? You can’t manage her from a distance AND negotiate the path with hubby. Even if she agreed to move, would she be in AL or at your home? Juggling two is likely going to be too much to handle!

While it is nice to have elder services available, we can’t force them to participate. My dad didn't like the place mom tried, because he was still okay mentally, while the others were pretty much gone and immobile. Your hubby doesn't think he has an issue, so isn't likely to want to go there.

While implementing suggestions made, learn all you can about dementia/Alz so you are better informed and prepared for what is to come.
Helpful Answer (8)

I agree except I would add that the bond you and your parent had as a child is largely absolved, meaning child parent. Yes your still her child, but the context of child no longer exists, if it does, then it's not applicable in this situation. In this situation your the adult and have to act as such. You have to let the parent know you are the caregiver but your also a grown woman, who has a family now, and are also of a certain age, this is not 1970 or 1980 anymore and you told me old. And need good treatment. And that has to be respected. You set rules and functional boundaries. And it works itself out for as long as it can before she naturally gets tired of you. like any person would really, and you have to find professional care. Or consult elder care in your county for what programs are available when it's beyond your care. There will hit a point when things are beyond your care. But in this stage it's not and you use this time to plan and prepare for professional care if needed.
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iCare4mum Jun 2019
I feel for you, sorry you are going thru this. I was my mums full time care giver for her last 6yrs. She passed in Jan 2019, but we went thru the exact same thing around 2012. My mum owned her car and house and was very used to going to the shops everyday to pick up groceries. As her Alz was progressing, about 3yrs in after intial diagnosis, she started having light fender benders, she didnt hit anyone, but she scrape side of car driving into the garage. One time she reversed car so fast she drove across the road into a ditch, we had to tow the car out, but the police came and called me at office. A few days later, she must have drove to close to the curb and blew the tire out, managed to still drive home and put the car in garage. I started to realize, just telling her not to drive was not going to stop her. She needed a driver on demand, but someone had to be at her home to stop her from going out in the car alone. I decided it had to be me. Thats when I left my job, and moved in with her. I used to hide the keys, but she had so much time on her hands, she would spend the whole day looking for the keys. Sometimes, she would wait a few days till it was off my mind, and would pretend she is dusting and cleaning, but really she was looking for the keys. In a way it was sort of cute to see her determination, and even cuter when she actually found the keys, sometimes we had a good laugh about it. I could see myself in her when she hid cookies from me growing up and id find them, but the key thing was serious. Eventually I video recorded her Neurologist telling her she must not drive. I used to play the video to her everyday for few weeks, and eventually she stopped. It was sad to see her forget how to drive. I felt guilty to take her independence away and force her to forget something she loved to do, but it had to be done. On the flip though, I took my mum to the shops every single day up until last 3 weeks of life when she was in wheel chair. We went to every single mall in our state, to keep things interesting. Everyone in the shops got to know my mum. Try and find positive solutions, record video because they dont remember things, The meds make them zombi ish , almost wen U are ill and u take heavy meds to make you feel better, its the same thing, they are on meds 24/7. Good luck with your journey . There will be frustrating days. try not to get angry, think of positive ways to resolve things. I feel for you, take care <3
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First of all it sounds like you are doing a wonderful job supporting him and letting him continue with tasks that he finds fullfilling. I’m not sure it’s really necessary for him to except the diagnosis however you might need to create a new dynamic between you and him in regards to taking care of household tasks, accounts, the car etc. Perhaps re-assigning roles not because of his Alzheimer’s but because you would like to have more involvement, perhaps learn more, something on that train of thought.
I would be curious as to whether he thinks there was any kind of memory loss or confusion happening. Another thought is maybe if you heard the diagnosis from a different family member. But again my gut feeling says that he doesn’t really need to know the diagnosis or even to mention a neurological disease, but perhaps just talking about changes in personality and behavior changes. It might be a good idea to bring other caregivers or helpful friends involved in his life. As it progresses he’s going to need more help. And if he refuses to go into a facility then he will need to bring caregivers into the house. So getting him used to having people help him around the house and possibly with a few of his needs like laundry etc. it would ease him into that potential future. Hang in there and take it one day at a time. Hugs, Melanie
Helpful Answer (5)

Hide the keys, step 1. Give him old useless keys, step 2. Hire in home help or take him to adult day care, step 3. Live your life, step 4.
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Talk with an elder care attorney. You may need to seek guardianship which would give you the authority to make decisions- financial and for health. Talk with your children about getting their help in getting matters under control. perhaps talking with your minister and/or doctor to get some counselling. If you have medical insurance, check out what is covered that may be helpful,
Helpful Answer (4)

My mother developed Alzheimer’s/ frontal temporal dementia over 4 years ago. She has Never admitted that she has anything wrong with her....from day 1 she was defensive about forgetting anything - she would get angry and accuse everyone else of being crazy when we suggested gently that she was having trouble remembering.
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Please, please tell me - why is this man living at home with you and you are allowing havoc in your home and life? The man has a serious mental condition and you see what is happening with him. You cannot allow this to continue. And on top of that you have your mother to worry about. Your husband refuses to cooperate and this will get worse and worse and some horrible things will start happening. You cannot live your life like this - no way! It is time to get him moved into a facility - remember, you can always visit but you will be able to have a peaceful, normal life. He needs care you can't give him.
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Eloise1943 Aug 2019
nice advice but who pays for it. Only the wealthy or the poor get care sorry
Almost all bills can be paid online now, or via direct bank account deduction, so you need to set them up quickly! That was the first thing I did when it became obvious that my father had dementia. This was a man who was meticulous about his finances. But when I paid a visit from out-of-town and there was a stack of unpaid bills on the dining room table, I knew something was very amiss.
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