My husband tries to do things he has forgotten how to do like taxes or closing the pool. How do I stop him?


He decided to close the pool yesterday, It is wrong with water still in pipes but he argues with me that it is ok. He thinks as long as he did something it is fine. He insisted on doing the taxes, he didn't get it right. He now thinks if something breaks it is ok the way it is and we should just leave it. He sits in front of the computer all morning and the tv in the afternoon. He watches the same NCIS and Law and Order and similar shows over and over, even if they were on just the day before. I don't mind that but he wants me to sit with him and I'm going out of my mind. He was outgoing when we met 39 years ago but as time went on he became more into himself. He loved tennis, golf, skiing (snow) but now he won't do anything not even a short walk, he claims his feet hurt. I have taken him to Dr. after Dr. and they all refer him to someone else. Nothing shows on MRI. He can't speak well and is very forgetful. Last week he called me by our last name, I am assuming it is because he forgot my first name. We spend our days in silence because he doesn't talk and if I ask questions he gives me some off the wall answer that frustrates me to no end. I am not a good caregiver, he has no family to help, our only child died, I have 2 children that live in other states. Our neighbors are nice enough to try talking with him but he mostly ignores them so they leave. He still wants to drive, I gave his car to a relative to keep so maybe he would not drive but I will go looking for him and he has taken our only car and left the house without saying a word, mostly he likes Wal Mart.There is one person he likes at church and if he goes there and they are not there he will return home for that reason. He is 68, his father died a few years back and his Mother died this year, she was very similar. I wonder if he will live into his 80's or almost 90 like his Mother. I would also like to say my husband was a pilot, had a master in aerospace engineering but I guess mental illness doesn't care.

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You already know he has a mental problem, it is extremely apparent. You said nothing shows up on the MRI and I am assuming you meant for the mental problem not the feet hurting. Has he gone through the cognitive testing? The Neurologist at USC wanted my Mom to do that almost immediately. If he did that I am sure they would probably be able to give you a better opinion on what is happening.

You say his parents both died within the last 3 you think he could be suffering with extreme depression? Did his symptoms begin when his parents passed away?

I have to say that there are diseases that you might never think about that can cause some changes in behavior. My brother in laws father became very different and I could barely understand half of what he said and he had a disease called Myotonic Dystrophy. It was later found out that both he and his wife were carriers and almost all of their 10 children have it although it is more prevalent in men. I am not saying this is what your husband has but it brought about the same changes in him.

My mother has moderate dementia and her thoughts and expectations are anything but normal anymore. We have termites in our family room but she does not want to tent the house, her feeling is "so what, let the room fall down!" I noticed yesterday that the wooden stand that holds up the cooler had rotted in one corner and it needs to be replaced, so I went and bought the wood, the cement, everything that was needed. Now I am a 60 year old WOMAN and I am out there today digging holes for the concrete and new legs to hold up the cooler...Mom comes outside and says, "You know when I would have done this job?" Stupid me, I was thinking she would say later in the evening when it is cooler. She says, "When the whole damn thing falls to the ground!" I said, "Well Mom you and Dad previously would have never let this get to this point, and if you let it get so bad it "falls to the ground," then you will have ripped out your inside and outside wall as well, so how many thousands of dollars would that cost, verses the $50 I have spent to repair this?" Okay, granted my reply was too long, but she shrugged her shoulders and walked away. Tonight I feel like I am going to die from pain but by tomorrow night her cooler will be "safe" again.

A dementia/Alzheimer's sufferer is not able to make sounds judgements or decisions....about anything. You need to have a talk with your family doctor or fax him a letter voicing your concerns about your husbands personality and functioning changes and voice that you are extremely concerned!

Do you have a Trust? Are you listed as his Power of Attorney? If not, you had better get this done immediately. If your husband does indeed have dementia/Alzheimer's and it gets a bit too far, he is not longer considered to be of sound min and will not be able to assign his POA to you. You will then have to seek conservatorship or guardianship and this is long, drawn out and expensive.

You say you are not a good caregiver. You sound like you are exhausted and bored out of your mind. You need to find out if you can either put him in a day care facility to allow yourself time alone or have an in home caregiver or if it is bad enough put him in a facility. If he really does have a mental problem there is no shame in doing this. How many years can you sit on the couch next to him before you finally say enough is enough!

I would also suggest that you check with agencies in your area that can teach you about dementia and Alzheimer's because you need to know about the disease and what you are dealing with.

I feel for you because he is young, but these diseases are affecting numerous people at younger and younger ages. In the meantime when something goes wrong or needs to be done, if you cannot do it, then pick up the phone and hire someone to come and handle it for you. If he says anything to you, just say..."Well honey you have been under a lot of stress lately so I hired ____ to handle this for us."

The driving is something else, I would remove my key from his key ring or I would have a kill switch installed that he does not know about, that allows the car to run for about 1 minute before it dies and cannot be restarted. They sell them to keeps cars from being stolen.

You have to step up and take over. He may argue with you...they all do. Stick to your guns, it does sound like there is a real problem.

God Bless You Both!
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"My Past is Now My Future" written by Lannie Butler. $20 Excellent easy reading book! I went to his seminar recently and learned a lot. Never argue with dementia. Never try to bring back reality. They can't learn. Telling them you're upset does not work. They can't reason. Always use soft tone of voice and easy body language. They will try to do things they used to do in their past life so try to look outside the box and work with that. Keep them busy and useful as much as possible. Let them make the bed any way they want to. Life isn't perfect and it sure doesn't need to be in their world now. Never take anything personally. It's the disease not your loved one! Take care of yourself first so you can take care of them when you need to. Support groups are great. Adult day care started early is wonderful. Always give them 90 seconds to respond. It takes that long for them to process. Allow them to do as much as possible for themselves or they will become dependent and harder to care for sooner than later. Alzheimer's can hit at any age starting at 17. Stages can change from 2 weeks to 20 years. No 2 people are the same. Check out Lannie Butler's web site Blessings in your life's journey!
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It definitely sounds like dementia to me. You don't want to argue with him any more than you can help, because there is no winning an argument with dementia. Let him do things wrong if they can be redone correctly.

You are going to need a whole new script of ways to get around him. For example:

I'm getting Joe to do that because he needs the work.
You've done it for 40 years. Let someone else do it now.
I hear they changed the tax laws this year. I'm going to get the accountant to go over it just to be sure.
You're probably right that it works like that, but maybe they can add something to do X.

What method is best for getting his agreement? For my parents, logic didn't move my father, but a temper tantrum did. Sometimes asking someone to do you a favor by letting you have your way can help. Probably what works is something you don't do naturally. My mother was rational and controlled, not one to "lower herself" by throwing a tantrum. She told me that she would sometimes fake one when Daddy was in a state, and it usually worked.

Good luck.
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One can develop dementia which can also be Alzheimer's at younger ages. It is called "early onset dementia". Younger people in their 40s have also been known to develop dementia, so just because he is 68 yrs. does not preclude him from getting Alzheimer's which is dementia. Have him seen by a neurologist ASAP.
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Have you seen a neurologist? My Mother - who has dementia — is 90 and I expect these behaviors but 68 is too young. It sounds like he has Alzheimer's . I find it a very tricky place trying to keep my Mothers dignity intact while still keeping the world safe! Driving is not safe because others could be hurt besides the driver so we had to have her license suspended. However she still keeps her dignity intact by telling me she will go to the DMV and get her license back. Would never happen - she cannot even find the DMV but I listen and acknowledge how frustrating it must be however she cannot get behind the wheel and kill a child - period. Little things like the mail, bills and phone calls I can usually intercept before she does something silly but not all the time. It is very frustrating as she used to be so very competent and now even the smallest task she messes up. So sad.
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No, mental illness NEVER discriminates. My husband was a pilot too, had an I.Q. of 160, but he still has dementia. Get your husband to a neurologist who can give him an EEG. The dementia won't present in an MRI in the early stages, and the EEG maybe "normal" now, but wait a year or two like we did and the EEG showed his brain was "abnormal". When he wants you to sit with him to watch those shows, just say you have work to do. Do not let him drive your other car, but you can take him to Walmart and let him browse. Try this: wait for him at the front of the store, tell him to meet you back at that spot, and let him get lost. Where can he go? Walmart is confusing for those who cannot remember things. You can always page him, and if he still knows his last name he will respond. You may have to walk the store to find him, like I have done, but you will find him. Get him an I.D. bracelet that identifies him as "memory impaired" and make sure he cannot remove it. Your husband has some sort of dementia, so do not think he does not. This is not normal behavior. Get a doctor who will not pass you off. Good luck!
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You have a difficult situation and you need help. On taxes or closing the pool, let him. Just do not submit the taxes, take them to someone else to do. The pool hire someone to close it for the season, but have them do it when your husband is not home.

He may have beginnings of Alzheimer's. Has he been screened for it? MRI's do not show Alzheimer's disease. A CT scan will show deterioration of the brain but Alzheimer's cannot be determined until after death on autopsy of the brain. Contact your local Alzheimer's Association for assistance. They are a wealth of information and help for you. Find a support group to attend, maybe your husband would enjoy a day program where he can make some friends, do different activities.

Caregiving is definitely a job for those with patience beyond words. And it is ok if you are not able to do it. Find someone to help there are many resources out there.
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