My wife of 65 years has dementia/Alzheimers. She has never acknowledged that she has a memory problem. Is this the norm? Our two daughters and I started noticing personality changes in her about 6 years ago. And when our 15 year old grandson died in Feb of 2008, we knew for sure that something was seriously wrong. Our daughters live about 3 and 4 hours away, and after getting the message that he had died so suddenly, I was devastated. She didn't seem to know what was going on. On the 3 hour drive to our daughters house, she carried on conversations as if nothing had happened. I should interject here that her phone conversations with the girls always ended up with her telling the same stories over and over. That's what she was doing on our drive to our daughters house, I wasn't wanting to hear her stories about her aunts and cousins again, I was grief stricken. When we got there, everyone was grieving the sudden loss of the son and grandson. Not her, she acted like it was a regular family visit, and she never grieved our loss of our loved one.
Later on, the girls and I got together and discussed the situation. We all agreed that there was definately something wrong, and we decided that the thing to do was to get her to our family Dr.. I contacted the Dr. and told him what the situation was, then made an appointment for her to see him. He gave her a mental test, she failed it. Then he referred her to an Neurologist. The Neurologist had many tests, scans, etc done. He put her on Aricept, but she wouldn't take it like she should. She was aware that Aricept was for dementia/Alzheimer's, but said that she didn't have that. The girls have a loving relationship with their mother, they talk for hours every week with her. We were all bracing ourselves for the time when she would ask one of us if we thought she had Alzheimer's, and even though we had our responce all figured out, the question never came. Her memory is so bad now that we don't think she will ever ask the question. Her short time memory is gone. People that we have been friends with for 40-50 years, she doesn't recognize them any more. She will ask me a question and I will answer her, only to have her ask the same question again in the next hour. I am patient with her, and don't argue with her when she makes mistakes about the facts on things. Both girls and their husbands have gone to caregivers class, and then when a class was going to be presented in my city they came for a visit at that time so I could slip off and attend the seminar.
Her driving is another thing. One of the unusual things that got us to wondering about her in the first place stemmed from driving. She always went grocery shopping by herself once a week, did this forever (and went shopping for anything she needed, drove everywhere). But I kept noticing that every time she came back from town, she had some story to tell about almost being run over by another driver, or she witnessed someone else almost having a close call. Looking back on all that, we came to the conclusion that she was getting afraid to drive, or that she got lost a few times. Bottom line was, one morning she got ready to go into town(we live about 7 miles out), had her purse on her arm, but hesitated at the door. She turned to me and said she didn't need many things at the store, could we stop at Wal Mart when we both into town. I said sure, no problem. Her trip to town the previous was the last time she has driven, and that has been at least 5 years. But for the last couple of years, she has been telling the girls that she is going wait until I am outside in the garden, or doing something in the shop, and she is going to get in the car and drive to town. She got so adament about this that I thought I had better take the keys out of the car and keep them with me. She had a set of keys in her purse, and I managed to slip them out and hide them. She has never fussed at me about driving, it's always to the girls, and she is still telling them that she is going to slip off in the car one of these days. They tell her she can't do that, it would scare me to death if I discovered her gone. But she doesn't listem to them when they make a statement or have a question. She does 90 percent of the talking when they are on the phone, and doesn't respond to anything they ask her. She isn't ignoring them, we just think that her braain can't compute what she hears.
At 83, she is physically in good health, and I am also in good health for a man my age. We love her from the bottom of our hearts, but we all know what we are facing. Her memory has declined so much in the last several months, and seems to be accellerating downhill. I will take care of her as long as I can, she is my loving and faithful wife.
This story is so rambling, I hae to jump in with something I remember as I remember things. Falling asleep so much, and that's after getting a good nights sleep, is this common? OK, out of space. No spell check here, please forgive. And forgive all the rambling, but it is good to get vent my thoughts. I will re-read this to see if submit.