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My husband's personality has been changing -- CONSTANT temper tantrums (yelling and cursing) over next to nothing. He also cannot remember things that he has known for years, or has been told repeatedly. He gets angry over ridiculous things that he imagines (like me going into his medicine cabinet and stealing his toothbrush, and putting another one in its place -- Huh???).


He is only 73, but has had Type 2 diabetes for years. His mother, who was also a Type 2 Diabetic, eventually died of Alzheimer's. No one realized the state of her mind until she was hospitalized for something else, and they had to go into the family financial records she managed to try to put together the tax return. Invoices were paid YEARS into the future (every time she would receive a statement acknowledging a payment, she would pay it again); a tenant who had not paid rent for 1 1/2 years; no record (or any idea) of who was living in some of her rentals - and many other examples.


Anyway, that is probably WAY too much information -- But I am frightened. If it is dementia, maybe earlier medical intervention will help? Or maybe he is just becoming grumpy as he ages, and these things are normal? I just do not know what to do.

Hi,
First, your concerns are valid.
Second, don't try to convince him that he needs assessed. He won't believe you, and amping his emotions up around this issue will make things harder. You just need to get him to the doctor's for a routine 'checkup', and let the doctor take it from there. Don't discuss your concerns with him. Part of the disease can make it so that the person is oblivious to their losses (anosognosia). If you try to disagree with his 'reality' he'll get angy (That's what's happening with the toothbrush-he doesn't recognize the current one as his because his short term memory isn't working. So the story that makes sense to him is that you replaced it.) Just agree with him as much as you can and try to divert his attention if you can't. Do NOT try to reason, argue, or explain your decisions.
This really helped me understand the changes my mom was going through (you'll have to paste the address here into your browser's search window): http://www.dementiacarestrategies.com/12_pt_Understanding_the_Dementia_Experience.pdf

It's important to have him assessed by his physician, who will rule out other causes (thyroid, depression, low vitamin D, a UTI) and who may refer him to a specialist for further assessment. You'll have to let the provider know your concerns in advance. Many people give the office a heads up about the reason for the visit when scheduling it, and then slip a note for the provider to the staff at check in that details the behavior you see. It's ok to tell 'fiblets' to get him to the doctor's office-I told my mom that it was for her Medicare wellness check.
I do recommend that you also head over to the Alzheimer's forums as well, and utilize the resources there as needed. There is an excellent 'spouse' forum over there, and you will see that others are in the same boat. There are a wide range of folks, with great advice.
Here's the link: https://www.alzconnected.org/discussion.aspx
This is a site that lists the changes seen in Alzheimer's disease, which is just one of many types of dementia. Still, it might help you identify some additional changes you see: https://tamcummings.com/stages-of-dementia/

Legally: It might be a good time to talk to a certified elder care attorney about future plans, power-of -attorney for your husband, finances, medicare/medicaid, advanced directives for healthcare. If you don't have arrangements for yourself set up as well, (for instance, if this is dementia, and something incapacitates you, who will help your husband) now is a good time to do those too.

I like these videos as well:
Early signs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqmqC-702Yg
Losses besides memory: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awBm4S9NwJ0
Anosognosia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nw3YUDQJuY
Stage 3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TIkTO4d8YyI
Stage 4 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coiZbpyvTNg

Best wishes,
Helpful Answer (16)
Reply to ElizabethY
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Scared170 Jan 22, 2022
Elizabeth - I cannot thank You enough. Your timing in answering and putting together the resources is much appreciated. Thank you.
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Start by sending messages of concern to his doctors. Especially if you are not on his HIPPA documents. This sounds like moderate dementia. Getting doctors on board will mark the time of occurance for legal purposes and start the process of diagnosis. Dementia can last up to 18 years but can you?
Since I have attended 7 years of support groups and now run my own group, I want to warn you of certain types that the dementia escalates anger to the point of violance. I lost a cousin that way by murder/suicide. If it gets to that point, I can recommend to make sure weapons are secured and that it is very much OK for a call to 911 for emergency "Baker act" This is way ahead of issues but it is some future advice. Keep posting the forum with any new questions.
You can try to do the legal wills and stuff, but you need education on how to not impoverish yourself if he gets into SNF needs. His anger may make that process difficult as well. You should ask the lawyer about his memory issues and be prepared if the lawyer will do yours but not his. Seeking legal help now will save you a ton of $$$ in miscalculated spending.
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Reply to MACinCT
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Scared170 Jan 23, 2022
Thank you. VERY good advice. Much appreciated.
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Also on YouTube, is an excellent set of videos by Teepa Snow that covers a wide range of areas on dem/ALZ……hope you have a moment to take a look. Blessings, Liz
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Reply to cherokeegrrl54
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Scared, don't blame you.. tough times!

Firstly, support for yourself?Are there adult kids, a close friend you can confide in, not for medical advice, just to keep your own boat afloat?

Secondly, medical opinion & tests (as mentioned by the wise folk already). The old 'check-up' routine. Doctor has called & wants to see him for *diabetes check/renew prescriptions/new blood tests for chol* whatever works. Pre-warn Doc as mentioned.

Diabetes. I believe it is linked to kidney function. This should be looked into. Kidney function being 'off' may cause confusion & anger.

For markedly new symptoms a thorough medical will rule all other causes, never just state 'age-related decline' or Alzheimer's Disease. Never accept an Alz dx without a Neurologist input.

I have read many times people throwing those terms around. If incorrectly - maybe this causes a missed opportunity to locate the actual problem? Something that could be treatable.

Best of luck getting the info you need. Then you can chart the course required.
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Helenn Jan 25, 2022
Good advice … rule out anything medical first … !!!!
if it’s dementia there’s some meds that may improve behaviour and anxiety .. slow it down
for awhile … but there’s nothing that will stop the progression or reverse it. He’s obviously frightened and confused cause he knows there’s something wrong with his brain…and that would cause anyone to lash out especially if they’ve always been
in charge and in control.
good luck with it all .. truly a nightmare journey
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He may resist getting a neuropsyc eval, many patients going down the dementia path do because a part of them knows there is a problem and don’t want to know so the way it’s presented is important. If you have a good relationship with his primary ask him to recommend the exam as a baseline, something they always recommend for patients at 70 and something you both should do because having a baseline will help diagnose and treat in the event either of you develop signs of dementia, have a stroke or other maladies we don’t hear about as much. Sell the importance of doing it for the future not for a current problem. If that isn’t possible focus on using it to eliminate dementia rather than proving it. This test sounds much scarier than it is, just the name and “psychologist” or “psychiatrist” make people resist but the experts that administer this test at least in my moms area, only administer and interpret this test they don’t treat or provide long term counseling, this isn’t about changing who you are or exploring how your parents damaged you it focuses more on your reasoning skills, memory and how information is interpreted in your brain.

One step at a time and the less you panic, the calmer and matter-a-fact you can be about it all the better for both of you. Good luck
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Reply to Lymie61
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Not to frighten you, but this does not sound like just old age behaviors. He sounds like he is definitely showing signs of some mental decline which could be Alzheimer's/dementia, and as today there are really no medical interventions to stop either. And the fact that your husband has diabetes, makes him at a much higher risk for any of the dementias. Yes, there are some drugs to try and slow down the progression, but often they don't work at all, or the side effects are not worth it.
Your best bet is to send a message to your husbands neurologist via the patient portal sharing what exactly your concerns are about your husband, and that way when you take him in for his appt. his Dr. will be well aware of what's going on, and will ask your husband the appropriate questions and order the necessary tests.
I had to do that with my husband several years back, and it worked out really well because he didn't know that I had contacted his Dr. prior to him going.
This is hard I know, but you really need to know what exactly you're dealing with as it will make it easier for you to plan for yours and your husbands future.
If you're not already his POA for both medical and durable, do that ASAP, because once he's diagnosed with any of the dementias he can no longer legally appoint anyone to be his POA's. Make sure that he also has his wishes notated in a living will and any health directives too, as that will make any decisions down the road that you'll have to make on his behalf a little easier, knowing that you're honoring his wishes.
I wish you the very best as you travel this road with your husband.
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Reply to funkygrandma59
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Scared170 Jan 22, 2022
Thank you SO MUCH. Great advice. Despite our age, we have never formally put together a will/trust -- just have all of our separate assets POD to the other, and our house as community property. Lots to do and think about. Thank you.
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Good answers here as always, I would just interject that if you can get him to sign POA for health and financials, do it now, while he is able to sign in a recognizable way. This will help you no end when it really begins. I had no idea how much this would help us now. We did this previously and I could not have coped with him now without it. It is so important. Everybody who dealt with your husband in any financial endeavor, as in TV/cable account, health care, credit cards,pension plans, banking, will want a copy of your POA in order for you to make decisions. Believe it or not, I had to fax these documents to a well-know internet company before I could cancel that service to get a better deal elsewhere. I also had to fax them to our heath care plan in order to just talk about, just TALK about, his appointments, payments, and meds.
I know this is an added stress for you now, but see if you can just accomplish it before it gets later. God bless you, and hang in there.
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Reply to HisBestFriend
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I agree that it is better to suggest that you both get a good check up and prepare for future illness or incapacity, If he says there is nothing wrong or some problem other than you suspect, don't disagree. Even if he says it's you and not him, agree it is possible.He might be right, and concede this. I am sure you would prefer another explanation and possible treatment. Do alert the doctor's office to the changes you have observed first. Good luck; it is a very scary problem to consider.
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Reply to Moxies
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If you are frightened that your husband has an unstable state of mind, there are techniques you can learn, some of them mentioned here in previous posts.
Here is another one:

Never shame someone experiencing the symptoms you are describing.
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Reply to Sendhelp
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I had the same with my mother who refused to believe there was anything wrong with her I called her doctor and they got someone to call her and asked her questions over the phone she didn’t pass and is still in denial it’s hard but you can only try unfortunately they are hard to convince
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Reply to Taylorb1
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Beatty Jan 25, 2022
It's a little different to denial (a sort of emotional protection).

It's lack of insight. The brain becomes a little faulty in parts & cannot understand.

I think of denial like if I don't turn the light on in the bathroom at night, there won't be any spiders.

Lack of insight is like walking right past the spider & seeing it but not being able to recognise it, understand it or remember you just saw
a spider.
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