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My partner knows sugar is really bad for her, why won't she stop eating it?

Pacing her time would improve her quality of life, why won't she?

Why when she is having a good day does she choose to go off shopping instead of helping?

She denies mental impairment but agrees she has it. That proves it.

How do I make her see my caregiving isn't trying to control her life it's trying to take care of her. We took vows 32 years ago that I intend to keep, that is not an issue, how is the issue.

Because of my own serious health issues we are getting away for a month, and if we get any more snow that might not be enough. 36" on the ground, below 0 for 3 days then more snow. It will be The Shining all over again. Thank you for listening.

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I don't know if this applies or helps but in al anon I learned that sometimes change can start within you and you can change how you react to someone to get a different result. I should take my own advice. I hope something changes for the good for you both. It sucks what you are going through but maybe it can get better.
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I'm still here and come back to this whole series every few days. Still following you all, grossed out thread and just hanging out with you guys helps.
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*sighs softly* and welcome to the world of dementia. I hope, for your sake, that she remembers reading the article and gives you the list. If not, she'll forget that you asked, and you can gently remind her that she promised.

When our Edna gets that way, we just tell her, "well, love, you've been really sick and you sometimes forget stuff, so you asked us to remind you, if you forget .. so, I'm reminding you to (fill in the blank)."
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I wanted to update you, my new friends. I sent her a 3 page article on sugar which is a main arguing issue. She read it and agreed (but for different reasons, still ok) to cut down on sugar. That was last night and I know it's not over but I can give it up now. Really. I can. I'm sure. I'll try not to nag or look at her in that tone. It is hard to cut down on, I had to but that was me, I feel like she is going to try. The hard part for me is not to yell "But you promised".

Today I'm going to ask that she make a list of what she needs/wants me to do for her.

The temperature has gone up over 50*, it is 38 outside. Everything that has been encased in ice and last night's snow is breaking and cracking. All I can hear are trees breaking while others are finally popping up after being encased for a week. Feels like the Twilight Zone because it's grey outside with all this going on.

Speaking of Twilight Zone, her last words to me last night were "I don't know why I feel so tired, I wonder if I'm sick?". You know you're a caregiver when?
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Digger, you are getting great advice. I understand that it can sound like "Just do more for her, and it will be all right." You are trying to do "what's right." You want her to be healthy and strong as much as possible. You want her to recognize that, and not treat you as a nag. You two had a way of life that worked, and you both knew the rules.

But the rules have changed, and the situation has changed. Your wise, compassionate, mature partner is more like a sulky teenager with a headache from eating too much junk and staying up too late. I personally would want to slap some sense into her. Oh how I wish that worked!

You have to choose your battles. To win, you have to apply an insane amount of sympathy to her. She needs to observe your sympathy. You can fake it, as long as it sounds real. Getting appreciation becomes less likely with each passing year. When she is feeling well and is calm, ask her, as suggested, what she wants you to do for her health. Remember that those requests are the only ones she might be grateful for.

Honest, we get it. You try your hardest every day. You get s**t on for your efforts. Sometimes doing something different will get a good result. Sometimes, even if you do everything right, there will still be problems. This is a very very hard road.
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Nobody can 'save' anybody else from themselves if they're bent on self destruction. You can talk/give/care/love till you're a bleeding puddle on the ground and it just won't make a damn. Ever. All you can do is watch it happen. Or choose to leave the relationship. Pick one.
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Ladee that was wonderful
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One of the things that drive couples apart is grieving and coping in different ways that don't seem to the other like coping at all, but just coldness. Not always so. But, a really good counselor can sometimes help sort those things out a bit and help people understand and move back closer to each other again. I have a hubby I love who is not quite taking care of himself...he has done a few things but it is hard to see him not do what her really needs and how much that impacts what we can do together, which of our dreams are going to be realized and what will be impossible. He knows I love him and I have hopes he will step up to the plate a little more, and in time...

Don't worry, love and pray instead when you can; one saying is do your best and leave God the rest, and I've sure found that to be true. And, don't feel guilty or bad about being asked to think about some aspects of the situation differently. It may be a way out that you didn't think of before. You didn't want just tired old commiseration, did you, you wanted ideas, right? Hugs!
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Just to set the record straight, I wasn't suggesting so much that you try to make HER happy, as much as suggesting a way for it to be easier for you. To make it seem like less work and more like what you remembered and want to feel. For you to be able to understand = from her perspective = what's going on. As a caregiver, the best thing we can do for someone is to understand what works. And what works is generally something that makes them happy .. puts them in a happier place. Right now, as Veronica says, she's not *capable* of thinking about you.

You're trying to play two roles, right now. The Lover and the Caregiver. And, while they're not mutually exclusive, they ARE different.

As a caregiver, our most basic concern is for our loved one/charge. And, frankly, our feelings be damned .. and yah, that sux, but it is what it is. Especially with dementia. Railing against it, only makes it harder on YOU (and, yes, on her as a result). She's *not* rational. So, as a caregiver, you/we have to get the 'rewards' elsewhere.

As a lover/partner, we have to give up the idea that we'll be appreciated, that our loved one is still the same person we've loved. Because they're NOT the same person anymore .. and that's called grieving. And, you're entitled to a LOT of it. I just don't recommend doing it in front of her. All those years of commitment and dedication come down to this, right here. It's not what you thought it would be. Certainly not what you hoped.

It just is. At this point, your focus has to be on you .. what makes you feel good enough to be able to caregive and to continue to love her ..

I don't think anyone who's made a commitment to "... in sickness and in health ..." can conceive of this level of dissolution and dis-ease. We just have to learn to live with it, deal with it and/or move on.

Please let me reassure you that I hear your pain. And nothing in what I'm saying is intended to make you feel bad, on any level. If you feel that or hear it, please reread what I've written knowing that my intention is to help you see from the other side, to suggest alternatives to what you're currently doing, feeling, hearing, etc.

You said/asked, "How do I make her see my caregiving isn't trying to control her life it's trying to take care of her. We took vows 32 years ago that I intend to keep, that is not an issue, how is the issue." My first suggestion is: as I said, ask her what she wants. Maybe she doesn't want to get 'better' .. maybe she wants to sink into that hole to never come out, knowing it will never improve. Think of it like a DNR. If that's the case, grieve for your loss. This will be the hardest thing you'll ever do. If she wants to get better, seek advice from her medPro and find the best way(s) to approach it, and still you can grieve. The hardest part to reconcile ourselves with is that once this pathway starts, there's very little likelihood of it reversing .. it only gets worse .. and at that moment, it ceased being about you ... in her eyes. And the sooner you can come to terms with it, the easier it will be.

You are grieving ... you are, in the most painful way possible, losing the love of your life. And, my heart hurts for you.

Ladee
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Thank you Veronica.
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Dear Digger,
Do you know what I like so much about this site is how you can say what you feel the need to say and everyone has to listen until you have finished, or walk away. It's their choice, but you are allowed to get it out of your mouth before anyone is allowed to interrupt your narrative , belittle you or play the one up game, and jump to conclusions.
Now I am ready to put my foot in my mouth but it is a beautiful day, with crisp white snow and warming sun. The sunrise was spectacular, brilliant red with the skeletons of trees out lined in front - from the comfort of my cocoon in front of the fire.
You are in a cold hard place right now, the person you love and made a commitment to is not the same. She has retreated inside this ugly shell of cognitive impairment however much she denies it. It is an ungrateful place where she sees her world getting smaller day by day and the claustrophobia clasps it's hands tighter and tighter round her neck. When a glint of sunlight penetrates she reaches out and grabs for it like following a rainbow to find the pot of gold. but there is no gold so she trudges back to the only safe haven she knows and collapses in a chair her hands held out for that warm cup of coffee. She does not notice how fresh and clean the house is and it never occurs to her to wonder how these things came to be. It is all about her as the darkness closes in. She can no longer feel another's pain, hers is not rational. You are still the caregiver who is doing her best, in fact way beyond her best to take care of this person who used to be so close to you that you could finish each others sentences and laugh when you did. You have not changed your views and values are still the same your commitment to your relationship is still there but you are hurt deep down inside that your sacrifices are not appreciated or even acknowledged, but it is way beyond that she can no longer even see them. That is the reality of this deadly mental disease. I have known many same sex couples and see little difference between their problems and feelings than those we see as being in a traditional marriage. The reality is that rejection is extremely painful. You feel that you made vows and intend to keep them. It will not be easy as you already know. You have to take good care of yourself. the month in the sun is a good start but accept the fact that the practical arrangements will all fall on you, just don't be bossy even though you feel entitled and frustrated. Ease your load at home. Hire someone to clean the house and take care of the yardwork. You have earned it. Insist she pay her share but do it. Downsize and simplify but you know all this you are an intelligent woman.
Shall I post this or shall I erase it? Have I overstepped my boundaries again? Don't take offense Digger people write because they do care. We can't make up for the loss of the emotional side of your relationship but send many cyber hugs your way and realize how much your caring will mean to your partner on this journey. If she does not initiate a hug it doesn't mean you can't.
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when the husband got mad he could do things he normally would not do so there were times I encouraged him to get pissed and it was amazing what he could do like prepare a whole meal for himself-I had to learn to detatch and not feel bad about it-he lost some of his power over me before he passed-the simple answer was he liked being waited on and felt entiltled to having things done for him and he did not really like me and felt I was his slave.
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This is the second comment about making her feel good and just now I read this and started to feel bad. No...don't you make me feel bad about complaining, my life sucks right now, how about doing something fun for me that I might like? How about a simple thank you or a hug, any gratitude at all would be appreciated. Fun, isn't her life so hard.
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I little insight from the other side:

I'm 60. Partnerless, and grateful that I don't have anyone who can "nag" me about my habits (enough people try, anyway, and I just dismiss them: "it's my life, let it be"). I'm fully aware (and accept accountability) that my actions have consequences. It usually emotionally and spiritually offends people when I suggest, "Maybe it's intentional? Maybe I really just don't care anymore and welcome the outcome?" Or maybe I'm just lazy. What I do know is that I don't want to be 80+ and need to care for me, as I currently care for another. Just let me go. I've had a really good life, and where I've walked, I've made a difference. I'm proud of what I've accomplished, even if nothing I've done is earth shattering. I'm not depressed, I'm not suicidal (in the traditional sense, though I'd welcome an earlier than life-expectancy exit .. gods I'm tired) or depressed. I'm fully aware of what I'm doing. I'm content with life and MY life. I like quiet and solitude and munching on my chex mix and drinking a soda. I hate that people try to make that into the crime of the century.

When I was partnered, I used to say, "I know it's hard to accept, sometimes, but it's not all about you. I'm not going to stay around to make you happy. I'll stay around to make ME happy. If that makes you happy, all the better." (I spent far too many years trying to make all the others in my life happy and it took me decades to 'get' that no matter how much I did to make others happy, it was never going to be enough, and when I started living for ME, life had/has far more appeal.)

Have you asked her what, if anything, she wants you to do for her? Does she feel safe in being truthful? Safe also means no judgement, simply acceptance of HER reality. Maybe it's time to drop all the issues and just find the fun things to do. What would happen if you woke up each morning and said something like, "Gotta work the next 10 hours, but when I'm done, let's find something fun to do: no rules, just enjoy each others' company. I love you so much, I just want the rest of our lives together to show that to the world."

Blessings and best wishes for the new year,
*Hugs*
Ladee
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Veronica, the last part of what you said is painfully true, we were a team and are now not getting along. But the owwww was concerning "competition over who's sickest" because that couldn't be farther from the truth. I seldom complain about pain and manage to do all of the work in this house. Yes I do resent it a lot but there is no competition going on. .
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Veronica - Digger answered within the thread of another post that her partner DOES have some cognitive impairment. even though she is an RN, that probably has much to do with her inability to see clearly how she could help herself.
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Dear Digger, I am so sorry that I hurt you, that was far from my intention.
When you write something you know the background to what you are writing but the reader can only read and come to their own conclusions. I should have left out my comments on the nature of your partnership and left it to "because she does not want to" which would be the reason why I would not do something I knew was "good" for me. That is the reason why I am still in my PJs at mid day wrapped in a blanket in front of the fire -2F outside rather than spending 1/2 hour on my exercise bike which I hate!!!!
I have not seen you post before so assume you are new to the site so hope you will find lots of new helpful friends here. It's lonely out there when you are dealing with something on your own
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The only person you can change is yourself. Stop trying to change your partner's behaviors and life will be so much less controlling, and you can enjoy all that snow! Happy New Year.
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I said owww to you Veronica because what you said was not only hurtful but couldn't be farther from the truth. Please feel free to ask me any questions you want that would help you understand my situation, your answer is still on my mind.
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Owww.
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Why wont she do what she can to help herself. I thing the short answer is because she doesn't want to. You are both sick has this become a competition to prove who is the sickest?. You seem to have turned from being a couple who complemented each other to one who cancels each other out. Maybe some councilng would help you both see a better way to manage your lives
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My daughter gave me "Hyperbole and a Half" by Allie Brosh. It's FANTASTIC! She has one story entitled Depression Part I and another about Motivation. It's also on the Web. They both describe me pretty well. People are just really kinda F'ed up in their behavior. They are not very logical.

What about humor? and drugs? I call my husband a poopyhead, and he laughs. Is there some funny thing you could say that would get a smile, and remind her that you are a couple? Seriously, antidepressants.

It's SO hard. Hugs.
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Digger; I'm going to ask a rude question...are you both on antidepressants? You both sound depressed, maybe some seasonal affective disorder thrown in, just for fun. Maine in the Winter, like old age, is not for the faint of heart. Can you see someone who can help figure out if you're depressed and what the appropriate treatment might be? Is there a therapist/mental health professional who can help you work through some of these issues? You will find out both from reading posts here and from your own experience that trying to reason with a cognitively impaired person is like arguing with a three year old. Does she listen to/respect her doc? Someone besides you needs to lay out for her whst she needs to be doing. Glad that you're asking these important questions, and that you're here.
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Maybe a cheer leader would help. Does she get angry if you tell her you know she can do it and congratulate her on each success? Is she "getting back" at you for unresolved or unspoken issues? You cannot change her behavior without changing yours. But what and how to do is often very difficult.
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Denial is the biggest thing, I see that with my aging father. His primary doctor suggested he get one of those medical alerts to wear where he can push the button and help arrives..... Dad didn't want that, "that's for old people"..... Dad is 92 years old.... [sigh]
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Do any of these fit? How about all of them fit, exactly as you said them. Almost in that order. We have talked these things out so many times I don't have the energy to do it again. Oh we come to resolutions and agreements repeatedly that don't last long.
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I sure don't know why your partner does what she does, but here are some reasons other people have been known to avoid doing what is good for them:

1) Depression. This insidious disease takes away initiative and gives people the attitude that nothing is worth doing. "Why try to take care of myself, nothing ever helps anyway," or "I'm not worth the effort to take care of myself."
2) A feeling of entitlement or of needing to be compensated for all the suffering involved in a disease. "I finally have a day of a little better health. Why should I be expected to use it up doing my usual chores? I deserve a little happiness."
3) A lack of discipline. Often taking care of ourselves involves a lot of self discipline. There are times in our lives when that is very hard to activate. There are two health things I should be doing for myself and both of them take more discipline than I've had lately. My husband died a year ago. Just keeping going has been hard enough. I am hoping to tackle at least one of those high-discipline tasks this year. I can imagine that getting a serious diagnosis might temporarily knock the will to exert self-disciple out of some people.
4) Mental impairment due to disease.
5) Denial. Our words say we understand we have a disease. Our actions display our denial.
6) Rebellion/anger. "I don't have to do what the doctor said, and you can't make me!"

Do any of these seem to fit?

Have you sat down with your partner when she is feeling good and had a calm, serious discussion about why she behaves as she does?
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My uncle said "Old age is not for cowards". I never knew what he meant until recently. In the early stages, you know you are not energetic. You want to get up early, tackle the chores and be beautiful and vibrant when your husband gets home. He is still your handsome prince, but you aren't feeling like a princess anymore. Sugar and shopping are an escape. Find the princess in her.
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