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How can I best comfort him? He told me, before he was diagnosed, that knowing he had ALZ would only depress him, so we call it memory problems, and try to joke about them or ignore them. He has progressed to stage 5. He can go for walks by himself, and usually finds his way home with no trouble.

A few times lately, he has wandered into the next town, and called on his cell because he has no idea where he is. I get him to find a street sign or two, and a business name, then I google it to find him, and go pick him up. Some people might feel that this is too risky, but we live in a very safe area, and his ability to walk out of the house is very precious to him, and I believe that it is still safe for a little longer.

The problem is that he is noticing that he gets lost. He talks about landmarks that disappear, change, or reappear in front of him. He wants to know what is wrong with him. Well, I know, but I've tried to tell him a few times in the past, and it doesn't go well. How do you think I should handle his awareness? What could a doctor say to him?

I have set up an appointment with a geriatrician, as a first step towards seeing a geriatric psychiatrist. Since he started worrying about his mind, he has stopped worrying about a cousin who probably didn't really steal from him 40 years ago. That is a relief, since he was talking about getting a gun. There is no gun here, nor is there a nearby gun shop.

It was easier when he was denying that there was anything wrong! What can I do?

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I agree that your husband has the right to walk if he'd like to. As a precaution maybe you could tuck an information card into his wallet with your name, address, and phone number and the fact that he has Alzheimer's.

Remind your husband of all the things he can still do. Try to boost his confidence.
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I had a similar situation with my husband and we lived in New York City. One day each week or two, he would take the train to New Jersey to visit his best friend. I worried, but he had his cell phone as your husband does. But he forgot to turn it on. When he didn't return, I called the friend who had put him on the train. He did find his way home much later, in the dark, but then he decided he would not visit his friend by himself any longer. Maybe your husband needs to come to these decisions by himself also. All you can say to him is that his memory problems are now interfering with his safety and ask him how you can help him. I didn't ask, I told and nagged and my husband resented his illness which he never acknowledged and blamed me. This time during the progress of this dread disease where the person is aware of his decline is terrible for both spouses. You can't wait for it to end, but when it does and he is unaware, of course it becomes much harder to deal with emotionally for the caregiver.
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See if you can get an identity bracelet that he would wear, just in case. Also, check if your local law enforcement has a program for people with dementia or those with cognitive disability. We have such a program called "Take Me Home" that identifies people to the sheriff's office. This can be helpful if your loved one gets agitated and people around him become frightened and think he's a threat. If they call the police, the police can check the listing, understand what's going on, and react appropriately. It could avert disaster.
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One suggestion i have is a Freedom GPS locator watch. It is a watch that tracks movement and sends signal to your phone. This way you can locate him no matter where he goes and if and when the time comes when he does not answer his phone or remember to call you when he is lost. The alzstore has them and there are other models to chose from. As long as you feel he is safe allow him his freedom. Try and read his signals, when he wants to deny whats happening let him and when he wants to talk about it support him. This is such a difficult time for you both and my heart goes out to you. Another thing to think about is a living will. If hubby does not already have one now is the time to do it, before he can no longer make those end of life decisions for himself. Having a living will puts him in control right down to the end and takes the burden off your shoulders. Please remember to take care of yourself through this, that is so important. Hugs to both of you.
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Instead of telling you husband about is declining memories ask him questions about how he is experiencing life. How did it go when you were are the grocery store? How was your time with Susan? When he opens up reflect back what he says, with empathy. So when you where at the store it sounds like you could have used assistance and you forgot what you where there to buy. Tell me about that more? The doctors appointment will help too they will ask questions that move him through the process naturally.
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First of all, he should not be allowed outside by himself. NO EXCUSES!!! He could wander into traffic, and as the last days events have proven, there is NO place in the world that is "safe". By allowing him to take walks by himself, and you know about his dementia, you can be held responsible for anything untoward that might happen to him. Do not care about his denial. He has dementia and that is what it is. It is a terminal, incurable disease that will NOT get any better. Seems like you are the one in denial...
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Jinx4740, this is just to say my heart goes out to you. I think there are very few "right" answers that fit all situations. We each do our best with what we know, what we believe, and often factoring in experiences others tell us about.

I think that I was extremely fortunate that my husband knew his diagnosis from the very beginning, and we could talk openly about it. That didn't mean that he wasn't in denial about what he could and couldn't do, especially in the early days. It didn't mean he accepted his condition gracefully. But we could talk openly about the challenges and that helped us both.

But I know that is a highly individual decision. We do not talk openly about her dementia to my mother. Different strokes for different folks. I'm not trying to suggest what you should do, but just empathize with how very difficult this aspect of caring for someone with dementia is. Hugs to you!

Lewy Body Dementia (which my husband had for about 10 years) does not typically include wandering. He did have a mobility scooter and ran errands in the neighborhood for several years. That was a great boost to his happiness and quality of life. This posed risks, of course, but they were mainly risks to himself and not to the general public.

A couple of practical things we did about his neighborhood outings: He wore an identity bracelet. (Check out Road ID) I wore one, too, if I left the house without my purse. I still do. So it was easy to convince Hubby that this was a normal and sensible precaution. I also made sure he had a cell phone in his pocket, fully charged and turned on. Since he hadn't used a cell phone before the dementia using it wasn't second nature to him and we had a short practice session before he left the house each time. He found this reassuring rather than demeaning -- but then, he was very aware of his limitations.

My husband's wonderful, wonderful geriatrician talked to him openly about his dementia. (She didn't use the word dementia in talking to my mother.) He was a subject in a research program at Mayo Clinic, and of course the disease was talked about in every visit. As I say, I feel very fortunate to have had that openness, and my heart goes out to you as you struggle with your husband's denial.

I would be interested in hearing how the geriatrician visit goes. Keep us informed, Jinx -- we care!
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My family did not use dementia or AD with my mother. When my dad died, she had to go into assisted living and did not question it. She tried to wander, so we hired a companion to be with her all day, to take her for walks. She carried an empty purse, but it had my brothers business card in it. She figured out how to get out the locked gate and got lost 3 times. It was so scary, we moved her to a higher security facility. We were all working full time, supporting families. It was the saddest experience, losing her bit by bit. She is gone now. I personally have a living will that calls for caretakers in my home. This is a scary time as I am 69, watching for the signs of AD in myself.
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My Dad will get annoyed if he can't remember something... so I tell him how my boss and I would sit and stare at each other because we can't remember a name of something.... it was a game on who would remember first. He and I are both senior citizens.

The other day Dad had issues remembering a certain telephone number... I told him not to worry because I could rarely remember telephone numbers once telephone numbers become 10 digits..... compared to decades ago when they were 7 numbers and usually the first two number were letters such as HOward 3-5555.
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When my Mom moved through this stage is was hard. You balance between wanting them to have a life in which they decide what to do and also between keeping them safe. It is hard to see as it means decline from the few remaining things that the person loves and is able to still do. The GPS also worked for us. Mom could be a wanderer. No matter where she was I could find her as could the police. She wasn't that way at first, but as time went by we noticed it more and more. Sleep patterns disrupted, a need to prove she was still in control of her life, etc. I was overly cautious concerning Mom, but still managed to lose her in a parking lot. I was horrified. That was when we decided we needed a bit more help than just ourselves to keep her safe. The GPS helped, was discreet, and helped me so I didn't lose my sanity. Also we put an alarm on our outside doors and her bedroom door. They were always set to "chime" except during bedtime when the outside doors were set to alarm. They were battery operated and inexpensive, and purchased at Wal-mart. They let us know that she wasn't sleeping like we thought. They saved us many times. As my Mom started realizing that it was becoming impossible for her to be alone or do many of the things that she would normally do, she became concerned and depressed. I would help get her dressed and ready to go regardless and tell her "we got this Mom" and would accompany her. I'm sure it wasn't exactly how she would have liked it at first but after a few times it just became the norm. I would accompany her to her friends, the hairdresser, the salon, and once she was in that persons care I would leave and enjoy the hour or so that I had while giving her privacy to visit. That person would call me when they were done and I would return to bring her home. She would excitedly tell me about her day, and that would make me smile. As I said the transition was a bit awkward at first, but after a time or two it just became the norm. I agree with the person who said to try and live in the moment. As the disease progresses you will find that piece of advise will make the difference. Your husband will forget your shortcomings on this journey you both are on. Seeing him smile and being happy in the moment will mean so much more as time moves on. Remember most of this is a guess, and it takes practice to find what works best in your situation. It will come, I promise.
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