Follow
Share

I came in tonight and checked that a subscription had been renewed. I said "that's good - now set to the 10th November". He looked at me blankly. I repeated - "look it's been changed to 10th November". He just stared blankly again. I said, "we've just paid xxxx amount and the date's been changed to 10th November". So, now he's looking at the wall-mounted calendar and saying "November???", it's May. So, I continued trying to explain what I'd been saying. Now he gets very abusive saying "you're just having a go at me again. I know what you're doing - you are going to tell my daughter that her dad's lost it." I was shocked. I tried to explain again but the conversation went from bad to worse and I was just accused about causing another argument! I tried to get him to sit down and talk about the mix-up, but he just looks at me and says that he's fine, that he forgets some words now and again (actually all the time - can't finish a question/sentence unless I help him. I really think I should stop doing that so that people start to see the problem. Or, does he do it more when it's just the two of us. HELP! I feel like I'm losing my mind and don't think I can carry on with this relationship.

Find Care & Housing
Your profile says that your DH has dementia. Based on what I have seen and read, pointing out their mistakes, errors, issues, isn't really helpful. If he's not capable of continuing on with bill paying, I'd figure a way to check behind him (so he's not embarrassed) or get it set up for automated draft. He may oppose it, but, eventually, he won't be able to handle it. And, he could cause some damage to your finances.

He may not even realize that he has a problem and if not, you probably won't be able to convince him of that either. It seems that we have to learn a lot of patience, toleration, and understanding. If he's agitated a lot or overly anxious, you could discuss medication with his doctor. My LO was much more content and less accusatory after she went on medication for anxiety and depression.

I recall that my LO would make very odd accusations that were completely untrue, but, she believed them, so, there was no convincing her. The best thing is to go along and avoid conflict. They can't process what we are trying to explain. My LO would accuse me of leaving grease on her counter tops, but, there was nothing there. She imagined a lot of things that were not real, but, she could not be convinced otherwise.

You might check out the book The 36 Hour Day. It's about caregiving those with dementia. Most people don't understand how extremely challenging it is.I think it's particularly challenging when it's a spouse.
Helpful Answer (16)
Reply to Sunnygirl1
Report

You say "relationship". Are you married to this person? If not, the Dementia/ALZ journey is a long one. ALZ being the longest.

Dementia only worsens over time. The first things to go is the ability to reason and the ability to process what is being said. You can't argue with them. Their reality is not going to be your reality. With my Mom TV, dreams and reality became all the same. Changes can literally happen overnight. My Mom declined on a monthly bases.

Please don't hide his condition. It will only come back to bite you. Others will tell you even when they explain to family a LO has Dementia, the family won't except it. And yes they can "showtime" for a little while but just enough that family may not believe you. You need to get hubby to a doctor for a good physical. There are other health problems that mimic Dementia. Dehydration, low potassium, diabetes...if found he is in the early stages of Dementia I recommend a neurologist. If found he does have a form of Dementia, have the doctor sit down in front of him and look him straight in the eye and tell him. Also, get it in writing.+

You say "don't think I can carry on this relationship" then you need to know that caring for someone needs to be out of love. If you are not married, then you have decisions to make. Caring out of obligation does not work. Its a stressful, overwhelming job. There is no consistancy in a Dementia patient and you need a lot of patience and people helping. Will "his daughter" be willing to help? Because like a child, it takes a village to care for someone. If you think him coming back at you was abuse, then you have seen nothing yet.
Helpful Answer (13)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report

Rosy, this is one of the most difficult lessons I have learned with my husband. If he doesn’t understand what I’ve said, I drop it and distract him with something else. Once he is confused, there is no saving the conversation. And yes, I feel I am losing my mind too. That’s where the company and conversations with sane people help balance out the surreal world we share with our demented “patient”. Your previous, normal relationship gradually becomes shredded. It is a loss that is disorienting and soul draining. You need outside support for your emotional and mental health. I’m sorry. Your pain is appreciated by thousands of fellow caregivers.
Helpful Answer (13)
Reply to scotchtape2112
Report
jjmummert May 12, 2019
Great sharing. I agree. No explanations if one's loved one seems confused. I have become a master of improv. Wherever Mom is in a conversation or an observation or a worry...I follow until I find an opportune time to distract.
(10)
Report
RosyPosy,
You may need to take over the bill paying, subscription renewals and financials 100% and stop discussing same, unless he asks.

Prepare a folder he can view of the accounts, amounts paid, and leave it where he can access it.

Consult Soc. Sec. if/when a doctor advises he should not be handling money, in which case you will become his Representative Payee. (This if you are qualified).

Get help by professionals like a bookkeeper, a CMM (Certified Money Manager?),
or CPA.

Since your dH is already concerned about you "telling his daughter", keep your financials private. That will protect your own privacy also.

Change your expectations that he may "be there for you", and make every attempt to be his advocate, friend, loyal spouse, even in the face of him not trusting you.

Do not allow "family", extended family, steps, in-laws to become devisive between the two of you. Take heed of when the two of you argue---especially after a visit or contact from his daughter, or others. Keep in your mind that your hubs is not the enemy, but an illness may cause him to act this way.

Keep this phrase in mind, asking yourself: "What exactly did he do wrong?".

You are exactly correct to allow others to see his decline for themselves. (This is done by saying nothing, and not explaining.) The situation requires that you NOT attempt to prove who is right or wrong, or who is crazy or losing it. See a therapist for support and your own mental health, imo. Or, choose someone you can trust to vent to, but not family, imo.

Chances are, if your husband has not been abusive during your marriage, he is not intending to be now, and it is a huge misunderstanding in what seems like an already difficult communication dysfunction. This is why the therapist for yourself.
I am not discounting that there may be abuse, or it may feel like abuse.

I have read on here not to argue with a person who has dementia or Alzheimers.
However, you have not said he has been diagnosed. You will get him to a doctor?

That is all for now. It has been my experience that what my hubs says can throw me for a loop.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to Sendhelp
Report

The anger comes from the confusion. He probably realizes he used to know what you were talking about, and when you keep trying to explain, you both end up frustrated. Using logic may make you feel better, but it's one of the 1st things to go with dementia. Stop forcing it on someone who can't use it anymore. Stick to one-step processes and explanations. Even "I fixed it" works better...
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to SFdaughter
Report

I think what has to be very sadly acknowledged is that he is not capable of understanding what you were telling him, so for such situations it's best for you and for him to drop the conversation that is going nowhere and causing anger, and begin another topic. The "relationship" can't be the same any longer, but you can find new ways of relating that keep you both happy. Suggestions here are good, but it's very difficult to accept this sort of change and will take much experimentation and patience. He will most likely continue to believe he is fine for quite a while and get upset when it seems you are questioning his sanity or abilities. So try to avoid those conflicts. It's a real shock when someone misunderstands your good intentions so drastically. So sorry this is happening!
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to ArtistDaughter
Report

My mother has vascular dementia. The first things to go were her ability to pay bills and handle her meds . She wasn’t even considered to have a diagnosis of “ dementia “ at that time. Also some word finding ability and a hair trigger temper.
They are capable of putting on a good show which is why even medical professionals may not pick up on the problem early on unless you get them professionally evaluated. There may be a geriatrician in your area who can do it. I suspect your husband knows something is “off “ with him and the frustration and worry is causing him to lash out at you. My mother has always been abusive but has gotten more so. Next came the accusations that we were stealing from her, someone was breaking in her house and taking things. Junk no one would want and her furniture that actually was in her independent living apartment after she sold her house, obviously didn’t make sense. She’s delusional now, roughly 4-5 yrs after it first all started.
You cant argue with them, what they think is real is real to them. Things you don’t view as confrontational, such as explaining something, is viewed as confrontational and makes them blow up. Her dr told me , change the subject if possible ( my mother gets more and more reved up) , if not, since she is in an ALF, leave. So if he’s safe, go to another room or the backyard. They’ll forget pretty soon.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to Jannner
Report

If he has dementia, no matter what the form, arguing gets you or him no where. It's useless especially for the caregiver. As his dementia progresses, and he loses all reason, really what's the point? Just agree to disagree and move on. In the end most will beat you up, hit you, call you names, and put you into c-ptsd. It's best to save up your reserves for when it really matters.

Since you are already stressed, and at the beginning, it's best to get some help.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to Nicene
Report

There are about 70 varieties of dementia. The most common is Alzheimer's followed by Parkinson's. Has he had a recent change in behavior? If so, maybe he has a UTI that can cause symptoms that you are seeing.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to gladimhere
Report

SendHelp’s answer reminded me of something I was told that really helped. She wisely says, “Keep in mind that your hubs is not the enemy, but an illness may cause him to act this way.” We were given a variation of that, which has become a mantra for me (inside my head and sometimes out loud to him). It’s along the lines of “I’m not the enemy. I’m your wife trying to help you.” The brain tends to immediately mirror what the eyes are seeing in another person, so when I get myself fully focused on not being dangerous, it’s lots more likely that he will mirror my calmness. On the other hand, when I’m furious, tired, irritated, or feeling sorry for myself, that is mirrored back to me as well. Basic science based in what “mirror neurons” are built to do. And this is also why it never pays to take up the fight.

Here’s why that was so important to me. In looking at the results of his scan, we were shown the areas of his brain that were actually being destroyed day by day. We could see the shrinkage, which was pretty sobering. If I remember correctly (lol - irony, eh?) it was the “executive function” area that was worst. External input goes directly to the amygdala, which is always on high alert and scans first for danger, then the executive function part of the brain quickly determines if it is really dangerous or not and devises a course of action. So when I was trying to explain to him why his doctor wanted him to eat these (nonfavorite) foods and not eat these (favorite) foods, he saw me as the enemy and everything after that was designed to protect him from someone who intended him harm. With the executive function gone, he is unable to mitigate this response by thinking, “Wait, that’s not a dangerous enemy; that’s my wife trying to help me.” So instead of arguing, I stop, look him in the eye (where I still believe I can often see his old self) and say, “I love you very much,” and kiss him on the forehead or cheek or sometimes the lips, constantly repeating to myself, “I’m not the enemy. I’m his wife trying to help him and his brain is physically incapable of understanding that”. Then I ask if there’s anything I can get him and smile reassuringly at him and go about my business. (That’s on a good day, keep in mind. It works well so I’m remembering more often to use it — more as a way to prevent tantrums and to keep me from accepting the invitation to fight). Meanwhile, yes, I have taken on the finances. And I follow him closely when he shows up with tools and heads off to fix something. I guess my formula is becoming, “Detach, Distract, Disappear, Decompress” with a healthy reminder that his brain is incapable of the responses I remember so fondly and miss so very much, but it is not incapable of recognizing acts of love, kindness, and compassion. As has been said, having a strong social support network and possibly a support group or therapist is a tremendous help in maintaining serenity in the midst of the chaos that is dementia. Knowing he is frightened and feels he’s fighting for his life (rather than angry and hateful) reframed his situation in ways that help me do the right thing more often than the wrong thing. I doubt we ever reach a perfect record, but celebrate your successes where you find them. It is a long journey and every bit of joy and victory along the way is a blessing for which we can be grateful. (There I go again, blathering on instead of stopping with the 4-line post I had intended. Hope something in there is useful to someone. Be kind to yourself first; it helps counter burnout.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to lindabf
Report
health2018 May 12, 2019
Thank you for saying much more than 4 lines could have. The part about following him when he has tools, wanting to fix something is one of my great difficulties. In my case it's vigilance over answering the phone (so many scams, or people trying to sell something); and he does sometimes think he can fix something. These things keep me on edge and I find myself trying to explain to him why it's best not to do whatever it is. I try to "detach" at first and wait to see what he may be about to do. I will try now to use "distraction" to dissuade him. Thats gonna be a hard one with the telephone.
Thank you again
(0)
Report
See All Answers

Ask a Question

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter