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My husband has had a memory problem going on 6 years and I really didn't know he had the disease of dementia back then. Now my husband is at the point where he is regularly forgetful. He can stand in front of the napkins on the counter and ask me where they are. If he wants cereal he goes and gets one of my plastic mixing bowls. We have been married for 48 years. Here's the problem. If I try and help or direct him he becomes agitated and sarcastic. Its getting worse. Its as if he's turned against me. I'm the bad guy. He accuses me of changing things on him. For instance I washed his sheets and put them back on his bed. He says I changed them and he doesn't like the ones on the bed. There are many, many stories I could tell. I really am at my wits end. I look at him and barely know him. I wait on him hand and foot. I try to anticipate what he needs. I am crying quite a bit. Once in a great while I will see his soft side. I know the rules of how to respond to the situation but its so hard when he is at me all the time. He told me the other day that I play victim. He also tells me that "he's back" that his memory is ok. I never correct him on this point. He watches fox news 10 hours a day and he retains pretty much what he hears. I think this is good because it challenges him. He won't exercise which his neurologist heavily suggested. He also refuses to go back to see him. He used to be a walker but now he just sits in front of the TV. We do have 2 yorkies which he adores. He kisses them and holds them and really shows love, he rarely shows me the same affection. I am so confused. When he initially had a cat scan it showed he had 2 mini strokes. When we are in a group of people he will tell them that he had a stroke, he refuses to say the word "dementia". We recently had another cat scan and his regular doctor told me nothing seems to have changed since the first scan. My husband is on Memnatime and Dopezil. He takes the max dosage. My husband will turn 79 in a few months. I am 68. I am lost and don't know what to do. My concern is he will get more verbally abusive.

I think sometimes people take their stress out on the person that is closest. It’s terrible when that person is you.

Maybe you can talk with his doctor privately about his emotional changes to see whether his medications could be contributing. I think I would feel depressed if I had his dx. Maybe he needs something to help with that.

We are mostly here (at this forum) because we have significant loss of a close relationship (or a significantly changing relationship that will eventually become a loss). It may not help you to know you are not alone on this terrifying rollercoaster, but you aren’t alone.

Make sure you you are doing little nice things along the way to make your life better. Enjoy things that you once didn’t notice (the beauty of the carnation in the vase at the diner), nature’s fireworks - a sunrise/sunset. A great book (not related to your painful situation).

Take care of yourself. Be gentle. Go on a nice walk, play with those darling Yorkers, ask for extra conditioning when you get your haircut. Don’t forget to live while you are going through this confusing time of change. You may have to work hard to remember sometimes to look out for yourself. Please be good to yourself.
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Ahmijoy May 6, 2019
Great answer. Took me a looong time to learn to be good to myself and not sweat the small stuff. Still trying.
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Hi yatzeedog

It sounds like you have lost the husband you knew. I’m sorry for that. It’s such a kick in the gut. If he had died, you would be grieving him but he wouldn’t be mistreating you any longer. So it’s worse in some ways.

Somehow you will need to detach emotionally. You will need to look for support in other places. He is no longer able to provide it. Somehow you have to equate his hurtful words with his illness and not your memory of him or your own self worth.

I don’t know how you can be expected to do that. It’s cruel.
We, as a society, expect the spouse to suck it up. That’s just not fair. And you do have to remain strong to take care of the both of you. So put you, your own care, at the top of the list.

Seek help from a therapist so you can sort these very complicated feelings out. You are grieving. Support groups and even forums like this can support you going forward but you will have decisions to make about your future.
See a certified elder attorney to make sure you have your essential paperwork in order.
Let his doctor know about his behavior in case there are medications that can help him come to terms with this awful disease that he is dealing with. He will change as his condition progresses. Sometimes that makes him easier to deal with. Sometimes it’s worse.
Factor in time for you away from the situation.
Keep practicing with the rules until you hit on a way he will be soothed by what you say instead of reacting negatively.
You are important too. It can’t be all about him. Any level or layer of help is beneficial. A little bit of help can go a long way in making your life easier to manage. There is a poster who was on this forum for years, JeanneGibbs. She posted often about her long journey with her husband who had Lewy Body Dementia. Do a search for Coy on this forum. That was his name and you’ll find many of her posts. You might find some help in how she managed his care and her attitude toward him.
I am glad he has the dogs for now. They have a big job countering 10 hrs of Fox or any news program.
Hugs
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Yatzeedog, of course you have the right to divorce your husband, but after 48 years, you’ve been with him longer than you were anyone else. Could you live with yourself if you left him? Can you live with what your family and friends will say? Would you truly be happier alone?

Alzheimer’s presents in different ways for everyone who suffers with it. My father-in-law was meek and mild. He wasn’t particularly delusional and didn’t have many hallucinations. But my mother became even more snarky and self-centered than she had been before she got Alzheimer’s.

When your husband goes off on one of his accusatory, nasty rants against you, if he is at all capable of understanding consequences, seriously and without anger in your voice, tell him you are very sorry that he is not happy with you and what he sees you are doing or not doing. Tell him you are going to start looking for someplace for him to go where he will be happier. Tell him you are not leaving because you are not the one who is so unhappy. Repeat this every time he gets nasty. 97yroldmom is right. You need to detach emotionally and try to not take this so personally. Your husband is depressed and unhappy with himself and the way things have turned out. He’s taking it out on you. Innsome way, when he sees the hurt in your eyes, he feels vindicated. No, it’s not fair. It’s the disease.

If you do decide to divorce, get an attorney on board immediately. Your own attorney. Find out what your rights are. Don’t make threats to him about this. When you decide to do it, do it. And prepare yourself to live with your decision.
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Blessings to you as I have experienced some of what you describe. I, too, find it hard to be "on call" 24/7 and like you, I am saddened to see my love one's decline. I am also 11 years younger than my loved one, as you are. And sometimes I feel robbed because of the age difference.
First, I would like to tell you that you are not alone. Many others are in similar situations. Second, it helps me to realize that I have a choice to go, and a choice to stay. I choose to stay. There is some strength and power in realizing that I get to make that choice. Another source of "power" (empowerment) for me is God. I know that this caregiving is a spiritual opportunity for me to love my loved one even when he's difficult. I may need to step back for a few minutes, a few hours, or 1/2 a day, but it is a huge area of growth for me. I'm growing in patience, in tolerance and especially in NOT being defined by what another does or says. That's been a core lesson for me. I've been learning that lesson for a very long time. I've also asked for help so I can get away and renew myself and my commitment to the "project". AgingCare.com has many mentions of community and governmental resources as well as help from friends and family. I am learning to ask for help... and to accept it.
Another resource for me is gratitude. I try to remember what I can be grateful for in my life and in my loved one's life. There are plenty of things. When I jot them down, I'm amazed.
Wishing you peace of mind, health and a fruitful journey. Not everyone can do this work. It's the hardest emotional work I have ever done. But if you choose to stay, and if you choose to see the "gifts" of the work, you will be changed forever. Sending hugs and more hugs.
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yatzeedog123 May 8, 2019
Thank you for responding. I choose to stay the course. Unfortunately I have no faith in God because of this terrible disease. My God would not put people thru this.
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It sucks big time to be with someone so long and try your best, only to be ragged on whenever anything goes wrong. The verbal abuse despite all the solid aid you give him is demoralizing. I hope and trust this forum helps in real ways to show how to ameliorate the hurt of feeling hated in your own home.

Spouse accuses me of stealing from him, hiding his food, and at the worst times, being uncaring of his welfare. I have learned to don mental armor and not to ask him questions or helicopter because he sees this as intrusive. If your husband refuses to say "dementia," he realizes that all is not well and is fighting the world and you're the part of the world that he lives with, so you get both barrels. It's such a war zone and trial; I wish you the best. How nice that you and he share doggies' love.
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I saw this happen with my parents. My dad has gone through the 7 stages of Alzheimer's disease, and in some of those stages he was horrible to my mother. He accused her of cheating him, having boyfriends, deceiving him in any number of ways (bear in mind, she was nearly 90 at the time), you name it. After that, he would get irritated when she tried to help him or redirect/distract him. He changed for the better as the disease progressed. We all knew that it was not him, it was the horrible disease he had. Eventually he became friendly and compliant again. I know it's hard, but keep in mind it's not him, it's his disease.
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yahtzeedog,

I'm so sorry for what you're going through. The emotional toll must be devastating. Typically, with dementia, the one they interact with the most is the "bad guy," and sadly you are "It."

Your marriage isn't over, but the dynamic between you and your husband is forever changed, and you must change with it. He's not the man you once knew. His brain is broken.

Will he go for a walk with you if you ask? Tell him you're taking the Yorkies out for a walk, and would he like to go?

His verbal abuse may or may not accelerate in the coming months or years. People with dementia don't always follow the same predictable path. But at some point you won't be able to leave him on his own. Take as many opportunities as you can to get out and away for awhile, for your own sake. In the meantime it's not to soon to explore options for his future care. At some point (perhaps sooner than you think) his needs will exceed what you can manage, and it will be reassuring to have a plan in place.

Caring for a loved one with dementia is so hard, so painful. ((((Hugs))))
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shad250 May 5, 2019
Brain is not broken it's dying
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The marriage you knew has changed. Since he has had strokes, there. Is a good chance he has vascular dementia in addition to other diagnosed.

Our mom after first month in memory care said she had graduated from it and could now go home, so her dementia was special and she was going to get better. She knew because, well she just did.

Huh. Of course that did not happen and she has been failing for last month, significantly so in last 2 week's. This disease whether straight up ALZ or mixed,which what my mother has per hospice Medical director, takes some pretty wild turns at times.
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I know exactly what you are going through. I too have become my husband's enemy. I get blamed for him having LBD, because I am in "cahoots" with the doctors. I am also constantly being accused of having affairs and having my lovers shine spot lights into the house to "piss" him off. I also have to wait on him hand and foot because he can't get out of a chair or the bed without my practically doing all the lifting. I am so exhausted, I barely have time to take a shower much less have these numerous affairs. I can try to redirect him, but he's like a broken record and keeps on and on with his accusations. What we do is not easy and some family members don't understand, because since he can carry a conversation with them for a few minutes, they think he's fine and I'm just exaggerating. So, "yes" our marriages are over because our husbands will never be the same and neither will we.
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With the verification of him suffering two mini-strokes, I would say apart of his problem is vascular dementia. That can cause personality changes. My husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease with vascular dementia in 2014. I cared for him at home as he progressed until two years ago when he was admitted to the Senior behavioral unit at a local hospital for evaluation. After he was placed on several pysch drugs, we decided that I would be unable to care for him at home. He was having hallucinations, delusions, and was unable to walk more than about 10 feet even with a walker. Since he was 87 and I was 82, I was anable to care for him. We had had income caregivers for about 8 months preciously but he had become too sexually assertive with them, that they would no longer accept him, so I had been doing it on my own for about 6 months. It was very hard to place him in a memory unit care center, but my life began to return to more normal and I was able to attend church and get out with friends which I had totally given up while he was home.

I suggest you keep a list of his actions, and other observations you have, then just give it to his Dr. rather than voicing your concerns in front of him. You should talk to the Dr about his driving, since that could become a problem and he will not respond favorably to anything you or a family member says, but probably will accept a Dr's. When the psychologist told my husband he really shouldn't drive any more, he accepted it and never offered or tried to drive after. He still had his driver's license, and would tell people that he could still drive, but he never tried. I always made sure I was available to take him wherever he wanted to go as long as he was able to get in the car.

It is a hard decision, but one that must be made and I still cry on the way home after visiting. I try to visit at least every other day for a couple hours, as the care center is 45 miles from our home. Couldn't find one closer that would accept him with this diagnosis. They are very caring and put up with his mood swings.
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