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We had a companion living in our basement for over a year. About 6 months ago my husband started to see this mans name written on EVERYTHING. My husband started cutting and tearing everything up and throwing everything away. This includes pictures, paintings (hidden under our bed) albums, cd's, movies, etc. With MOST everything I have learned not to argue, it won't change things. Redirect, it has not worked. This man died 2 months ago. I thought this behavior would change, but it has not. I don't know how to handle this. I check trash cans many times a day. I have saved many things. It breaks my heart. Some of these are pictures from his days in the service. Last night he tore the first couple pages from a bible he presented to his mom many years ago. All of these things are irreplaceable. Nothing can be left out for a second. He tore up a birthday card sent to our granddaughter. It had 50 dollars in it. Found that in pieces. This goes on daily. I'm at my witts end. These are pieces of my life also. Any suggestions?

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I'm so sorry, frostedflake. What you are going through seems nearly impossible to live with. It seems as though you've tried nearly everything that you can do including locking up precious items, giving your husband things that he can tear up and attempting creative outlets.

I am against over medicating, but all medications have side effects. If nothing changes you are likely to be the one in the hospital. I'd talk with the doctor again about the medications and see if small amounts might at least make your husband's symptoms less severe.

Your husband must be suffering psychologically, as well. Sometimes we have to take a physical risk in order to lessen mental pain. From what you've said, your husband may fall into this category. You may want to get a second opinion to evaluate the true risk vs. the possible benefit.

Update us when you can. We are all concerned for you.
Carol
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So sorry to read about your situation. Gather up everything of importance and lock it away in a storage container where hubby cannot get to the documents, photos, etc. But do keep out things that he can tear up, like junk mail, the newspaper. Hopefully this phase of his dementia will end soon. What does his primary doctor say about this?
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Hello...I agree with another reply; go through all your important papers and pictures you want to save and hide them; you can purchase a filing cabinet with a key and lock it or store family pictures with relatives...go to the dollar store or garage sales where you can find many cheap items to be destroyed; collect newspapers from neighbors and put all this stuff in another room and tell him you need help with cutting this clutter up; instead of telling him no you cannot do that and then your blood pressure goes up; make it a project...hey, I am busy, can you please help me tear these items up for the garbage guy? Tell him you would appreciate his help and thank him...their minds are mixed up and we cannot understand what he is thinking or feeling; it is the caretaker that has a fit...either give him projects or the other alternative is to ask the doctor for medication that will quiet him down and he will sit and stare and that will be it...my husband does not talk the entire day and he reads the same books over and over again; at first I said hey, you read that; then I said to myself; he does not remember so leave him alone and let him read what he wants; it is like living with a stuffed animal on the chair; no comments, no moods, no discussion, no feeling, no more hugs, nothing; like emptiness taking up air space but he is my responsibility and until he needs to be placed in a nursing home if the job gets too difficult I will remain his main caregiver...then I worry who is going to take care of me!
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I have the same issue with my MIL, and I took everything that she could use to destroy and anything that I didn't want destroyed away from her room, also I took anything that could pose a danger to her, even her fingernail clippers. She was using anything she could find as scissors or sharpener for pencils. She has a box of crayons and a coloring book, that she colors in all day.

When she does something that she isn't supposed to do, we talk with her about it and tell her no and why, this helps for a few days, and then we have the talk again.

Has he started rearranging everything yet? If you have the space available, let him have his own room, with a dresser in it, and put items that you don't mind him destroying or hiding in the room. MIL likes to fold clothes, she likes to move her knick knacks around. It is comforting to her to be able to have some control in her life.
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Wow. No, you cannot just go along with this. It must be extremely hard to gather up anything that might be destroyed, but it sounds like greatly simplifying what is available and on display is necessary at this time. Do you have family nearby who could store some big containers for you?

My mother and my husband both enjoyed using the paper shredder. I asked them to help me avoid identity theft, and I did give them anything like that to shred, but I also saved junk mail for them to shred.

I almost hate to suggest giving him access to a tool he could use to be even more destructive (feeding $50 bills to the shredder makes me shudder) but if you kept it under lock when he wasn't using it under your supervision, would shredding paper be a good diversion for him at this time?

The poor dears with dementia really can't help what they are doing, and often going along with their illogic is the best approach. But you must never accept abuse or destruction of your valuable possessions.

I am surprised that the psychiatrist feels there is only medication that might help and that it is contraindicated. Ask if there is a second-best choice, without high-risk side effects.

I am so sorry that the two of you are going through this experience, and at such a young age.
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When my husband began sharpening knives and scissors, I was advised to send him to an all-day adult care center. The idea was that he have socialization and added opportunity for activities he might enjoy. Is that possible in your case? It would limit the hours at home and change the direction of his thinking, perhaps.
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I understand how you feel. My father because hypermanic and psychotic thrice at the ages of 65, 66, and 74. While in that state, he threw stuff away. I mean enough to fill his pick up truck every day. I'd come home from work and start rescuing stuff. We have a pile of building materials from 1977. I asked him why it all had to be thrown away now after it had been there for so long. He said, "It has to go. It has to go NOW!" I rescued a brand new garden hose, important papers, and the list goes on. He would rampage through a room and throw out half the things. It was pure hell so I know the feeling.
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Dear frostedflake,
I don't know if you have time or finances to do this, but I would make multiple copies of photographs and letters and other things, and store the originals in a safe place. Then he could have a new "stash" to tear up each day. Perhaps in time, this would allow you to redirect to other behavior.
Are you caring for him alone?
Do you need support from others who might help him focus on other things?
Please stay in touch with us.....
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My husband has been doing that for about 3 years. Also throwing things away. When ever things are laying around. I keep everything put away now. Papers & pictures in a file. Letters to be mailed in my purse. He even throws away his electric razor. $200.00 in the garbage I guess. I never found it. Also jewelry, rings & watches. It's very hard to keep ahead of it. Also his pills if I don't watch! I hide the scissors and razors, also the trimmers. It's all part of dementia. Hugs!
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I am pretty much doing all that. I sure hoped it would stop or slow down when the companion died. But NO. His psychiatrist said there is medicine that could help but the side effects could be harmful or even fatal in his condition. Heart and stroke. Thank you, though
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