Hello all. I am new and this is my first post. Any advice or insight from all of you will be greatly, greatly, greatly appreciated! I have been noticing unmistakable changes in my wife's cognitive abilities and personality, and these changes seem to have accelerated in the past 6 - 12 months. Her adult sons, who no longer reside with us, have also noticed significant changes. We have no family and little friend support in our home area. Our current dilemna is that my life, let's call her Lucy, is steadfastedly refusing to acknowledge anything is wrong. After much coercion, I, together with her primary physician, convinced her to get an head MRI. However she has since canceled her last 2 or 3 MRI appointments. To convince her to go for a neurological consult or psychological veal seems out of the question at this point. Meanwhile, her symptoms mount, and I am at a total loss as to how to proceed at this point.
Here is some background. We are/were a professional couple. We still have a 17 y.o. at home, and 2 adult sons who are living independently out of town. Lucy is only 52, and I am still in the middle of my career and not nearing retirement. Lucy is also a Type-I diabetic since a teenager, but well-controlled.
Lucy lost her job during the .com bubble burst about 6 yrs ago. About 5 yrs ago, she lost all interest in trying to find work, preferring to stay home internet surfing and fussing over her dogs, which she has so far accumulated 5.
Lucy has been showing an unmistakable diminution in the ability to handle finances, and this has worsened in the past year. After she lost her job, I had simply turned over my paycheck to her and let her do our family finances. Beginning a couple of years ago, I started realizing that there are overdrawn or maxed out credit cards, our credit rating is in shambles, and very poor or neglected spending decisions. A couple of months ago, I finally assumed all control of our money, and giving her a "personal discretionary" account. She seemed relieved at this changed, but would not admit that our finances were a complete mess. In fact, the IRS is seeking $15K for something dating back to 2009, which I am still trying to sort out what happened. Don't get me wrong, we are still solvent and I make good money, but this is nuts.
Her memory, especially short term, is a mess. She can ask the same question, like what time is my flight for the next week's business trip, 4 or 5 times in the same evening and still do not remember by the next day. A real conversation with her is a real rarity these days; she often segues into a million different stream-of-consciousness topics and forgets to listen. She often mishears, especially when I use a sentence that has abstract imagery. She is very prone to sudden agitation, happy one minute, shifting to extreme annoyance over very small triggers, and then just as suddenly return to normalcy. When agitated, her behavior seems over the top, with yelling, aggressive tone, sarcasm, etc. She is also prone to sudden bouts of crying over very strange (in my opinion) issues, such as over the mistreatment of some dog she has never met a whole continent away. She is exhibiting, with increasing frequency, distorted recollection, and this is coupled with a some paranoia, thinking that I am not treating her right or hiding things from her. This latter behavior has led her to alienate most of her real life friends in our town. Much of our conversations these days involves me listening to her putting down her friends, and sometimes me too. Sad to admit, but I find myself trying to avoid conversations with her because of all the negativity.
Our dilemna is this. How do I get her to be looked at? As her spouse, what recourse do I have? Currently she is still okay being on her own, which is good because I need to work and cannot devote 24/7 to looking after her, which may also be good because I don't think I can stay sane myself if I have to be around her all the time. She really is extremely difficult to be around. It is like she is reverting to her pre-adolescent personality, with the usual governors to proper behavior removed.