Husband was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia May 2015. He is now 85 years old and we continue to daily walk at least 2 miles a day up and down hills.
August of 2017, he failed the driving evaluation at the VA. He traded (with coersion and therapeutic lying) his driver's license for a state ID. When he realized this, he
"l o s t"
his car keys.
He then stated that he was going to shoot himself. For the first time in the 20+ years we have been together I became afraid.
I had been gone to Bible Study for about one hour. When I got home I noticed that the gun cabinet was open. Fear struck me. I called my daughter and her husband and they came and gathered up guns and ammo while my husband stomped and used curse words. When I told him that either my family take them or the police take them, he chose family.
The Sunday after Thanksgiving, in Church, he had a cardiac arrest. CPR, 911, 6 days in hospital now has Pacemaker.
3 weeks ago my oldest daughter died an unexplained and unwitnessed death. I am devastated.
That same evening, husband remembered his guns being gone, and shouted, stomped, swore and slammed doors for 2 hours until I completely broke down. Then he stopped.
He is losing autonomy bit by bit. His paranoia can be excruciatingly overwhelming to me.
He wants his guns. He wants to drive. He is an avid NASCAR fan and owns 2 Mustangs and a Ford pickup. His garage is lined with car show trophies.
And now I am needing respite. I want to be able to spend a day now and then with my 2 great granddaughters. I cannot play with them and also monitor my husband.
Respite has been offered to me. How do I DO this without the horrible backlash of paranoia that is bound to occur when he realizes that he is getting a "babysitter" for the day?

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What if you try to frame it as someone coming in to help you, not him? Mary's coming over to do some housekeeping while I'm gone... or to start dinner or help me organize my closets or...

Does his doctor know about his paranoia and threats to self harm??
Helpful Answer (9)

Oh, Edna.....

Too much for one woman to bear--me heart goes out to you!

Hubby probably needs to be evaluated for some psychological problems....pronto. Perhaps a mild tranquilizer for him? With dementia, you never know who you're going to wake up next to in the morning.

You DO need a break, but you need to know that a: he will be safe and B: YOU will be safe upon returning home. Worrying about how he may react when you come back will ruin any respite time you get.

Perhaps it's time for DH to go into 24/7 care. Have you looked into that? I feel you want to keep him home, but he sounds seriously dangerous to me.

Avail yourself of any help there is out there for Srs. Help in finding him alternate housing--help with you grief over your daughter's untimely death.

I'm so sorry--please take action quickly to get your life back. You shouldn't have to fear living the person your husband has become. (And check and double check the house, garage and any storage units for more guns and ammo. True gun nuts hide them all over the place!)

Helpful Answer (8)

Cwillie, thank you for your "Mary" idea. That may just work.
Midkid58, Dr. KNOWS about his desire to self harm. He is on Exelon patch and his Prozac was doubled last week. He is not dangerous to me. He of course has severe short term memory loss, and does not remember threatening to shoot himself. He feels disrespected and is very paranoid about his guns being gone. "How am I going to protect myself?" He says. I must add that in the 20+ years we have been together, I have NEVER seen him take the guns out of the gun locker. He has 5 rifles. He has never gone hunting or even taken them out to clean them. His son tells me that the 5 rifles is all that he knows about. No handguns. I have looked everywhere on this property for other guns. None.
What surprises me most is that he is so hung up on the guns and not so much his cars.
Last week he attempted at least 5 times to get his pickup started so he could go to town. For "some reason" none of his house keys would start his pickup. So sad.
So because he repeats his "discovery" of his guns being gone and his angst is always therefore fresh, the Deputy Sheriff of our town is orchestrating the removal of the firing pins from his rifles, then I will put them back into the gun case. I will also make certain that every law enforcement officer in our small town is aware that the rifles are disabled, preventing a suicide by cop scenario.
Thank you for your help and concern.
Helpful Answer (8)

Camille has a good question about doctor knowing about his outburst. There is medication he can be given. He could become violent and that is the time you have to make a big decision...putting him in a care facility. Are his cars where he can see them? If so, you may want to store them somewhere else. It's not fair to him that he Can't drive and he constantly sees the cars. His behaviour maybe Dementia related but checking for a UTI may not hurt.
Helpful Answer (5)

Oh Edna, my heart goes out to you. I think it's a genius idea to have the guns altered so that he can have them back. And I agree with Cwillie on how to proceed with respite. I was going to suggest other possibilities like it's someone doing some research on XXX (any topic that you think he'd like to talk about: his cars, his hometown, etc.) or even that it's part of therapy that his dr wants him to have. Then the caretaker could possibly play games with him, board games and such, if he's able to.
Helpful Answer (5)

Anyone who threatens to die by his own hand should be taken seriously.
Helpful Answer (3)

Edna - brilliant idea about the guns - if he asks why they were gone just tell him that they were sent out to be cleaned just like the dry cleaning - fib that he asked for them to be cleaned if needed - taking a while because they are at a specialist in another town & they are with someone who specializing in making them unusable so 'promote' that person in hubby's mind - this may hold him until the guns return

Do you have access to adult day care? to give you a day off each week
Helpful Answer (2)

My computer is down and i am not sure my post went through.

This is life and death. Do not put a police officer's life or your husband's life at risk. I own guns and volunteer with the Sheriff's dept.   You are asking a officer to put their life on the line by not reacting when a gun is pointed at them.  How do they know he didn't find a working gun? 

Tell him the guns went to the gunsmith.  That is the magic word.  Gunsmith.  They are being serviced and oiled.  

Please please do not give him those guns back.  The only thing I can say if you do it is have the disabled gun painted a bright orange on the end.  That might stop a tragedy.  
Helpful Answer (2)

Is the gun safe one that you can see through? If not close the door and lock it “loose” the key.

Check into Adult Day Health for a day or two a week. You can drop him off on you way and tell him it’s a club that he can hang out at for a time so that he doesn’t have to follow you and wait while you do boring things like grocery shop.

If you do have someone come in can you pass it off as a friend that needs a place to hang out for the day while something is being done at her house? You need to run out, can he keep her busy? Maybe her electricity is off or they are replacing her heating system or painting and she can’t be around the fumes. Is there someone from his old car club that could come and talk about all the shows they attended and hubby can show the trophies off too?
Helpful Answer (1)

I am concerned about the Prozac. That medication is known for paradoxical effects where people become suicidal while taking it. I do agree though that some type of medication for mood and aggression is most likely needed.
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