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Caring for 80 year old angry, difficult personality husband with Alzheimer's diagnosed 2016.
Background: He experiences frequent hallucinations and often does not know me. His most difficult time is evening when he experiences sundowning.
I am a healthy 78 year old. About three weeks ago I went to bed feeling fine and the next morning when I got up my entire body ached from neck to thighs! Could this be stress from caregiving? Has anyone experienced issues like this?

Anything can happen to a once healthy caregiver after enough time is spent caring for a demented and angry elder. Don't take this lightly, okay? Don't write it off and/or ignore it, either, as most women tend to do with EVERYTHING we feel in life. We chalk it off to 'just stress' or 'just' this that or the other thing, then wind up in the hospital or at death's door with a life-threatening experience.

You've gotten some very good advice here. I'd like to add one more piece: try to remember that there are TWO lives here that have been affected by your husband's diagnosis of AD. Not just HIM. There's YOU to consider too. TWO lives have been irrevocably altered. His disease is terminal. You, however, do not have a terminal disease, thank God, so please don't neglect yourself while caring for HIM and wind up with one.

Memory Care ALs are popping up on every street corner in the USA for a reason. As dementia & AD increase daily, exhausted, worn out & sick caregivers wind up with no other choice but to place their loved ones and save TWO lives in the process by doing so: the loved one and herself. You can visit daily if you'd like, once covid is under control. Please consider going back to being a wife instead of a caregiver.

Wishing you the best of luck moving forward.
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Keeperofthegate Dec 23, 2020
Thank you for your kind advice.
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Keeperofthegate, so sorry you are going through this. When you think about it, you are doing the work for 3 full-time caregivers who do 8 hour shifts, per day. And those caregivers are so much younger, thus more energy. Yes, what you experience was your body crying for help.

For me, I would get the tremors helping my parents. And even though my folks have passed on, I still have those tremors. I could kick myself when years ago my primary doctor asked me to take xanax [or similar] to help take the edge off, but I didn't want to take any pills. Today, I am taking them :P

Is there any way you could budget for one shift of caregiving to help your husband, mainly to help "you"? Please note that up to 40% of family caregivers die leaving behind the love one they were caring. Those are not good odds. Then what? Who would be there to help hubby, or will he need to go into a Memory Care facility?

Even if you put hubby into Memory Care, you will still be his caregiver, but at least you can go home and get a restful sleep. Once covid-19 is over, you could visit with him as much as you like.
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Keeperofthegate Dec 22, 2020
Thank you! Your response is very helpful.
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I cared for my mom in my home for 15 years. It wasn’t so bad in the beginning but it became a heavy burden.

No one truly knows how stressful caregiving is unless they have walked in your shoes.

I had heart palpitations and extremely high blood pressure during my caregiving days.

I admit that I have never been a big eater but I got to a point that I couldn’t even eat. I’m small and can’t afford to lose weight.

It became unbearable to never have a break.

I will tell you something that I experienced while I was trying to explain my emotions to a therapist.

My emotions had been built up for so long. I actually broke out in hives!

My therapist said to me that when stress starts to manifest in our bodies, we are experiencing overload!

My doctor told me that my physical state was a warning to take care of myself or have a heart attack or stroke.

Consider yourself warned. You have a LOT on your plate. Please reassess your situation and adjust accordingly.

Take care, my friend.
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Keeperofthegate Dec 23, 2020
Thank you for sharing your experience.
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I only had my angry mom with dementia here for 8 weeks. My mind and body completely shut down. Please consider getting yourself some assistance, or look into a Memory Care unit for your husband. He needs you to be able to make decisions for his care. If YOUR ship goes down, who will keep him floating?
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Keeperofthegate Dec 22, 2020
Thank you!
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I hope by now those symptoms have long passed. If not, it's time for a PCP visit. My first thought was either the flu or a COVID infection. Who knows what unusual symptoms stress can bring. Did you help him with mobility like transferring or helping him out of a chair or bed? Our bodies are no longer suited for that. Just the exhaustion of caring for him could have an effect. Do you have someone coming in regularly to give you some respite? His behavior may indicate you need help or even look at care facilities. There are limits to your caregiving and exceeding them can result in various mental and physical maladies. Prior to my wife's AD, I was always a good sleeper. Caring for her robbed me of any decent rest. 3 yrs since her passing I still have insomnia and takes meds to get any sleep.
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Your body is letting you know something and I hope you’ll pay attention to it. Please start with medical appointments for both you and your husband. You need to follow up on what you’re feeling and hubby needs to be seen to explore meds to help with the hallucinations.
And consider if his care has become too much to handle in a home setting. I wish you both peace
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I know where you are at. When you love someone like your husband love gets in the way of everything. I know you want and wish to care of your husband by yourself, but as we age it becomes more and more difficult. You are smart to start thinking about what to do, before it becomes a major problem for you. If you can include family members in reviewing your options or getting help.
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YES! I'm 60 and after caring for my mom for the last 3 years was suffering all kinds of ailments. Especially the body aches and extreme exhaustion. I thought I had everything under control but my body was telling me otherwise. She was a Narcissistic mother and always very hard on me. She was 90 when she moved back in and I was just trying to do right by her. Well all good deeds do not go unpunished. After 3 years I was at my wits end and was suffering from heart palpitations which sent me to the cardiologist. Nope heart was fine. I suffered shingles, and had many tests run this year due to always feeling the joint pains. Everything came back fine! My mom suffered a stroke this year and has been moved to an assisted living facility. She is doing better but her anger and manipulation still rears it's ugly head. I truly think I was also suffering from PTSD because it took about 6 months for me to feel like my old self. I felt my normally happy go lucky attitude return as well as my energy level. I went to visit her for Christmas and after doing quite well for several months she was having a fit - said she hated it there and kept trying to leave. She told me I lied to her and I was one mixed up girl! Needless to say it was traumatizing for both of us. So even though she is not living with me and my life is finally calming down the visits I am now dreading. Peace to you and yes take care of yourself - especially at your age. Happy 2021!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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My mother was angry, depressed, lashing out. They put her on anti depressants and she is a much calmer and pleasant person now. It took a few weeks and adjustments in dosage but she is back to her old self. She can handle changes in routine better and even if her phone doesn't work right she is calmer. She used to get very agitated and angry. Just a thought.
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Yes, stress can kill you.  I have had everything from insomnia to heart palpitations.  For me it was knowing that with dementia....it will never improve, it will only worsen.  Not having a light at the end of the tunnel was so depressing for me.  It was only after I had placed mom in assisted living that some of the stress lifted off of me.

I have several friends who were caregivers for their spouses and died before the one they were caring for.  I attribute it to the stress of it all and not having the time or energy to care for themselves.

Find what works for you and take care of yourself.
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