He still golfs, but no longer drives a car since he got lost last year. My concern is his excessive sleeping. He goes to bed around 10pm, and never wakes before Noon. He may arise and read the paper, eats very little, and then naps until 5 or 6 pm., unless I interfere. I work, so have to call & yell over the answering machine to make sure he gets up for his golf. His hearing is getting worse, so that is not always successful either. Leaving notes suggesting he walk, excercise, do small chores, etc. don’t work either...he forgets to read them even if I post them in obvious places. There are days he seems a little more confused, but overall his memory loss has been progressing slowly. He recently began eating leftovers stored in the fridge with his hands instead of using a utensil or putting some on a plate. I have not had a Doctor say “Alzheimer’s” to me, but he has been on the usual cognitive medications for a while now. Are these typical symptoms? Is his sleep a depression indicator? How can I motivate him without nagging? I feel like a widow already.

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"I feel like a widow already." Ah yes. How very true. While our spouses are leaving us little by little we experience "ambiguous grief." An excellent book that deals with this is "Loving Someone Who Has Dementia" by Pauline Boss. She tells of a wife who took her ring off while caring for her husband, because she did not feel like that was genuinely her role any more. When her husband died she put the ring back on, because now she was a genuine widow.

People with dementia usually progress to the point where they are not safe left alone. I think it would take someone there with him to ensure he spends more time up and active. Golf is awesome! How many days a week does he do that? Is there a chance it could be increased? Another way to keep him safe and occupied while you work is an Adult Day Health Program. They usually pick the person up and return them home.

How to keep him up and occupied is one questions. Another part of it is why? We instinctively feel that up, awake, at least a little active is better for our loved ones. I don't know if there have been any studies on that, though. Maybe a good period before bedtime is the best you can expect at this stage of his decline. Cherish it!

It is really hard to distinguish among depression, typical dementia symptoms, and boredom. (Or any combination of these.) More golf and/or a day program would help remove boredom from the equation. When you are home with him in the evenings, does he show any other signs of depression? What is he like on weekends?

My advice is to have him evaluated by a geriatric psychiatrist. They would have the expertise to diagnose depression and to treat it, as well as to advise you about what to expect with his cognitive decline.

I asked my cousin if she wrote notes for her mother who had extreme short term memory loss. Yup. Mom reads the note, folds in into a tiny square and puts it in a pocket. Notes work well for people who don't have cognitive impairments. Not so much (as you've discovered) for folks who do.

Keep in touch here. Many of us have gone/are going through experiences like yours. At the very least you'll feel less alone!
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Thank you for your response. My spouse golfs three times a week and, if there is an opening, again on Sunday. However, I’m hoping to go back to work soon and I’m getting more concerned that he won’t wake up if I am not at home to wake him and help him get organized. Lots to think about.
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