My 64 year old husband was diagnosed with vascular dementia over a year ago. He functions very well, but exhibits apathy and tobacco use. He stopped smoking 25 years ago, but started back up one year ago. I'm at my wits end trying to get him to stop. He functions very well, but is forgetful. He doesn't enjoy the things he once did (exercising at the gym, attending Christian meetings). He loves movies, going to Starbucks daily, he lives on his phone, listening to music and reading. I was diagnosed with high blood pressure a year ago. I feel due to stress. I retired early from teaching this past summer so I would be available to spend time with and take my husband places. I am bored, lonely and afraid. At times I'm impatient with him, which I feel awful about afterwards. He has one friend who calls him often; with the exception of our out of state children and one son locally, we are literally alone. I am constantly reminding, prodding him to help out around the house etc. The things he likes to do, he remembers, such as eating cooking and drinking. I don't know what to do for the sake of my sanity. Any advice would be most appreciated.

Alone in Philly.

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Honest answer? Let him be. You are putting stress on yourself by insisting that he do things he doesn’t want to do. Smoking and drinking to excess aren’t good for him and may not interact well with any meds he’s on, so concentrate on that. Ask his doctor for help. But unless someone wants to stop, they won’t. He started back up when he was diagnosed. It may be his way of handling his disease.

Is he still going to Starbucks, movies, etc.? Then it sounds like he’s handling his diagnoses well. If he doesn’t need constant supervision, consider going back to teaching as a substitute. His apathy may be a result of your prodding him to do things he doesn’t want to do.

Also, just wanted to say that my children are uninvolved with caregiving for their father, too. They have their own families and their own lives. I’d like them to visit more than they do, but I don’t insist.
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