My husband (90) has mood swings every 3 to 4 months accusing me of not loving him. Is it dementia?

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He went to bed last night in a good mood after a big party in his honor. Next morning he accused me of being gone for three hours. I was there the whole time. He filed for divorce but cancelled one time. Then he was confused about why I was getting breakfast started. Since then he has been very nasty toward me. I haven't done anything but support him since he is going blind. I drive him everywhere he wants to go, and anything else he needs done around the house. If I can't do it I hire someone. But mostly its all on me. I'm afraid to go anywhere because he might file for divorce again.

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Hi Lovingcare,

All good advice from these wonderful people. Read everyone on the thread.
Jeannegibbs was especially helpful.

Some types of dementia present with personality changes. Your husband needs a physical and psychological checkup by qualified doctors. Also make sure that they check the medications he takes for negative side effects. Personality changes can occur from some anti-depressants and other drugs.

Start with the right doctors and go from there. But do take care of yourself. You may need to see an attorney if this illness keeps manifesting in trying to file for divorce.

Please check back with us to let us know how you are doing.
Carol
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His behavior would indicate something is wrong -- it could be dementia but it is definitely something wrong.

Don't take his accusations personally. He is obviously not speaking from his true personality.

Getting him to a doctor to explore what the "something" that is wrong could be would be my first suggestion. This doesn't have to be a visit "because you are acting strange," but for any reason he would accept -- time for a pneumonia shot booster, doctor wanted to get a baseline recorded as he is now in his nineties, a general "well person" physical, any thing he might accept. Tell the doctor ahead of time what your concerns are.

Once you get a better handle on the health issues involved, that may suggest a treatment plan or a way of approaching his mood swings.

You promised to take care of him, but at that time you didn't know how his health might change and fully what "taking care" of him would mean. Do you still want to honor your promise? If he wants a divorce, would you want to give him one? What are your own feelings and needs in this situation?

In any case, I think the first step is to get medical professionals involved. Then you have some decisions to make.
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It could be dementia, or not. When you go for the doctor visit, I would have him checked for a UTI as well. A UTI can cause persoality changes in seniors. After a full medical check-up, I would either make an appmt with a neurology or have the primary care physician do a "mini-mental" to at least begin to acces whether or not your husband has memory or cognitive issues. Based on what the primary finds, he should be able to make a recommendation. You may also consider a "geriatric psychiarist," but I would see all medical doctors before going that route. Good luck to you.
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1lovingcare, these episodes must've been so difficult for you. You sound very reasonable about it, that's good. To me, these thoughts of his are clearly an issue. Could the doctor who attends to his blindness be a good place to start, as it seems s/he'd be interested in any neural or blood flow issues in the head area? Wishing you well.
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Another thought... manic/depressive.
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I would recommend a geriatric doctor as his pcp. Get him to the doctor right away.
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My husband got Alzheimer's disease at the age of 50. Too young of course and no doctor believed me when I told them what had changed over the couple of a few years only. As can be expected the first thing that was very clear was the memory. But after a couple of years, I did not recognize him. Why ? Having lived together for so many years, I never had seen him in an aggressive way, not even seriously angry, never shouting, never screaming, always full of patience, always calm and loving and caring. But a certain day, out of the blue, he accused me of being the biggest "man eater" in whole the city ; that I had never been faithful to him, that all the years we were together I had been with several lovers at the same time, that I was disgusting, aso.. Impossible to describe how I felt the first time he did speak to me like that. If someone would have told me in advance, I would have said : you are crazy, nuts... And then, a couple of days later, he again was the loving and caring husband, with kisses, caresses, trying to help me in the kitchen and in the evening, in bed, he gave me a full body massage with oil, very tender and loving like all the years we had been together. Then there were other things popping up. For instance, he deliberately broke nice objects he had given me for birthday presents, or which I had received from the children for X-mas, etc.. because I did not deserve those presents. Because I was a horrible mother and wife. I had never loved nobody ! I was Evil ! According to the specialist (geriatric psychiatrist) this was totally normal. Due to a kind of short circuit in his brain, he could not avoid these outfalls, and also did not remember having done / said something of this kind.
Of course I can not judge whether your husband also has Alzheimer, but it is very important that you certainly do not accept these accusations as being meant seriously and personally. At those moments, he is totally unaware of what he is doing or saying. The only thing you can do is just to stay with him and try to change the subject at a moment of silence. If this does not help, just let him do, and please, please, please don't be angry with him !! I wish you all the best and give you a big big hug.
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You might call the Social Work Dept. at your local hospital. This situation appears to be getting worse, and too big for you to handle alone. My concern is mainly with you and your safety. Do not let fear direct your decisions, and I am hearing this in your plea for help. You must let the Social worker know exactly how you are being treated. You also have your right to compensation for the years you have devoted to him. Ask and look up your state's Guardianship and Advocacy commission in your state. They regularly address problems such as these. Don't let loyalty blind you to your right to be respected as a human being. Get help right away.
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Loss of vision effects melatonin. I am not sure how this changes mood, but it effects sleep which changes mood. Establish a pattern each day. Don't disagree but respond "gee, I didn't know it seemed that way to you. I really was here." Where a light fragrance (coconut, vanilla, cinnamon) he can associate with you since vision is going. You are away from him in that he can't really see you as much now. He may be depressed, and his MD can use antidepressants, which your husband might agreed to if they improve his sleep for example ("real men" don't get depressed.). Also, he might be expressing his fear that you will abandon him, not love him, now that he is impaired. When he says he doesn't love you, tell him you still do no matter what. Loving him and not liking his behaviors are two separate issues.
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