My husband is angry at me and will not eat or sleep in the same bed. He has early Alzheimer’s and he seems to hate me. Any advice?

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A couple of days ago he stopped talking to me and says I am the cause. He still drives and if I ask him to take me to Drs for appt. He says “all I am is your chauffeur. I do not know what I did to cause his behavior. He will not eat anything I offer him. He seems to hate me!

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Ellie, those of us who’ve dealt with loved ones who have Alzheimer’s or dementia know that it is a “thankless” disease, if you will. It’s like growing up with a sibling and getting yelled at and punished for something they did, and no one ever finds out that they did it.

Your hubby is not the person you remember him as. And, if he could go back to that time and see himself now, he’d probably be shocked and upset. When my mother was in a nursing home with dementia, she told me once that “someone” told her her aide was her daughter. I spent a half-hour saying “No, Mom. I’M your daughter!” It was fruitless, but she was very accepting about this aide  being her daughter so I finally gave up.

I agree, if you don’t drive and if it’s possible, learn. If not, investigate whether your city offers door to door community transport services like ours does. Since this is a sticking point with your husband, you’ll need to find an alternative. Frankly, he probably shouldn’t be driving anyway.

We tend to sound like broken records when we say check for urinary tract infections, but they can be awful in seniors. My meek and mild mother became combative when she had one and wound up tied to the bed in the hospital.

As for eating, put the food in front of him and leave it. He will eat when he’s hungry enough. If he attempts to cook for himself, supervise from a distance, but let him. If he should by some chance throw the food on the floor, silently clean it up, wash the dish, put it away and leave the room.

Please come back and let us know how you’re doing. Someone is always here to listen!
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Reply to Ahmijoy
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Ellie, do you not drive? I realise this isn't the main point of your post, but it will become an issue. If you don't, perhaps you had better learn. Or get used to Uber.

If your husband doesn't respond to your questions about what is upsetting him, how about just stating the facts. Say something like "I can see you are upset and angry. I would love to help put things right."

It could be simply a phase of the dementia on its own; but if it were I'm not sure you'd have got the chauffeuring complaint. Bear in mind that he can be angry in general, and upset in general, without its being anything you have done or, sadly, can help.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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Have you reported this change in mental status to the doctor who is following his dementia?

He may have a UTI.  He may be going through a paranoid stage.  There are meds that can be prescrbed for his agitated behavior.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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You probably didn't do anything. He has dementia. His brain is broken. If this started a few days ago, I suggest you report it to his doctor. Also inquire whether a test for a UTI might be helpful. (UTI has strange behavioral symptoms in older people.)

This anger may pass as suddenly as it came on. Or not. Sigh.

Early onset ALZ is when the dementia starts before age 65. Is that what you meant? Or did you mean early stage dementia -- near the beginning?
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Reply to jeannegibbs
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Ellie, have you talked to his doctor yet about his change in mental status?

Please stop guessing and doubting yourself.

If your husband has been someone who verbally abused you during your entire marriage and you're done with, that's one thing.

But if this has been a good marriage of true partners and now he's verbally abusive all of a sudden, you need to call his doctor and say " he's acting crazy, paranoid and abusive. I'm afraid for my safety. What should I do?"
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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My grandfather left my grandmother but came back after a few weeks. Maybe a little time a part not so bad. Be kind but don’t be his door mat. If he’s not in his right mind you may need to get the authorities involved. He is vulnerable to being taken advantage of financially. As my grandfather gave away a car and money.
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Reply to SpiritDancer
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Unfortunately, it's probably not yet possible to know specifically what people with dementia are thinking, but I wonder so often if they have some idea that something is amiss with them, and particularly with their ability to reason.

If so, I often wonder as well if they recognize that they're slipping away, losing cognitive function, and become frightened or resentful (or both), and lash out at others in frustration. Or perhaps that resentment is a function of which area of the brain is specifically compromised at that point in time. I don't know if medicine has progressed to the point that it can identify which portions of the brain have been compromised and where the placques are.

It's such a sad and frightening disease.
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Reply to GardenArtist
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Ellie, From what I am reading, I am concerned for your safety. It sounds like a form of mental/emotional abuse. It sounds like you are walking on eggshells and you should not have to live like this. Have you spoken to his doctor about his abusive statements? Have you spoken to Your doctor about it? Is he on medication? Was he always domineering? Are there weapons in the house from his past profession? I hope you get more ideas from others knowledgeable on this forum on how to deal with this.

GA, I’ve been pondering the same question you raised...what is happening inside the mind of our loved ones. My Mom was always a happy and sweet lady. Even with her dementia progressing, and subsequent vision loss, amazingly she was still happy and singing and seemingly unconcerned about her condition and never complained. She has started on Namenda about a month ago in an attempt to deal with sundowning, and now she seems to be a little more aware of what’s going on. She can hold a better conversation and seems a little sharper. But she also seems a little more fearful or afraid of her surroundings, a little sadder than I’ve ever seen and has gotten more needy for my presence to reassure her that she’s safe and well taken care of. Yesterday she said she doesn’t “ like herself”. Never heard that before. Not sure if it’s the medication or just progression of the dementia, but I’m not liking this new “awareness”.
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Reply to rocketjcat
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GA, I absolutely believe that what you say is true. I remember visiting Mom and she was off the wall. Then, just as I was getting ready to leave, she passed the mirror above her sink and said, “You know, nowadays when I look in the mirror, I don’t recognize myself anymore.” It was one of those “Just kill me now” statements.

Trouble is, we don’t live in their world or in their minds. And like you wrote, Medical science has yet to pinpoint the reasons why anger and paranoia can be such a huge part of Alzheimer’s and dementia. They yell at, insult us and carry on and we always seem to be a step behind them. They’ve moved on and we’re still smarting from the accusations. It is sad and frightening. For everyone involved.
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Reply to Ahmijoy
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Ellie, one more thought...he says he wants to leave you. Does he have the mental or physical capacity to do that? Is he capable of planning that move successfully? Or is this just more hurtful talk knowing he couldn’t follow through? Do these outbursts ever turn violent or are you afraid they could?  Is there another family member that could stay with you for a while as a support person/witness? I definitely would brush up on my driving skills so you are not so dependent on him. It’s your car too, right? I cannot imagine under what circumstances my DH would not “ allow” me to drive our car that would be acceptable to me. 
In our area we have Vera House which is an advocacy group for women who are being emotionally/sexually abused.  Your situation has a twist in that your husband also has possible dementia, (has he actually been diagnosed?) but a similar group in your area may help lead you to more action plans or support.  Just a thought. 
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