1. Expert Q&A: Living well as a carer - Thurs 29 August, 3-4pm

    As a carer for a person living with dementia, the needs of the person you care for will often come before your own. You may experience a range of difficult emotions and you may not have the time to do all the things you need to do. Caring can have a big impact on both your mental and physical health, as well as your overall wellbeing.

    Angelo, our Knowledge Officer (Wellbeing) is our expert on this topic. He will be here to answer your questions on Thursday 29 August between 3-4pm.

    You can either post questions >here< or email them to us at talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk and we'll answer as many as we can on the day.

After 36 years of marriage, my wife (57) thinks I am someone else now.

Discussion in 'Younger people with dementia and their carers' started by BrianS, Mar 13, 2012.

  1. Struth77

    Struth77 Registered User

    Sep 20, 2011
    #21 Struth77, Mar 28, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2012
    Hi Brian,

    Reading your request was a mirror image of my parents, my father is 82 and suffering with Alzheimers, my Mum is his carer but is feeling very down and emotional, like someone previous said Mum quotes 'for better for worse.....' from it at the moment, its very difficult. He doesn't know who Mum is at all, he accuses me and my brother of stealing regularly, he hasn't had any lucid moments in the past 2 weeks. We are seeing his specialist tomorrow to discuss care, as currently Dad refuses to go to day centres or groups (has threatened to jump from Mums car!!) we need to know what we can do to give Mum a break because he won't go out or leave her side, my brother and I won't take our children down there. Where do we turn? I totally feel for you and would say just embrace the good times!

  2. Janeyjane

    Janeyjane Registered User

    Aug 21, 2011
    Northamptonshire, UK
    My Mum

    Hi Brian,
    My Mum stopped knowing I was her Daughter a long time ago, it is heart breaking
  3. EAS509

    EAS509 Registered User

    Sep 24, 2011
    Difficult times

    Brian, this is such a difficult time. My husband was diagnosed at 54 and I looked after him for 6 years. Often when he woke up, he didn't know who I was and I just had to talk to him gently until he realised. He has been in hospital level care now for 6 years and sometimes there is a flash of recognition, but most times not. We have been married for nearly 46 years. When he went through an agitated stage he would hit out. I had to think that this was not him, but the disease, but it still breaks your heart.
    I sued to try and "go with the flow", if he knew it was me then I would talk about family etc. If he didn't then I would follow with his conversation and try and bring in things that we had done together to try and get that recognition.
    The most difficult thing for a partner to go through. But there is always someone out there who you can talk to, as others are going down this path ahead of you.
    Take care of yourself too

  4. rajesh

    rajesh Registered User

    Oct 24, 2008
    Mumbai, India
    My mother could not recognise me as her son. She was 95 or thereabouts. But she was always aware that I am someone who would look after her and she could turn to me for help. She would watch TV and take the TV anchors and characters to be real. She would take me to her room saying that there was an old woman in the room and would show me the mirror pointing to her image as that old woman. Every sound in the house would alarm her. She had become like a child. Just learn to be patient with her. That is the key. Patience. She knows you really care for her and will be there for her in moments of crisis even if she does not recognise you. She will always turn to you for help, while fighting the demon of her forgetfulness and memory loss. She is scared since she has become a stranger in a world that was once so well known to her. She is like a child lost in wilderness. She takes time to comprehend her surroundings. Extreme patience is the key to deal with all this, the way you deal with a kid. It is not easy to reorient your life in tune with her condition. But that is the real challenge.
  5. leegabain

    leegabain Registered User

    Mar 29, 2012

    Hello Brian. My friend is mid 70s and husband with alzheimers in mid 80s, he went into care home last autumn, but came home few weeks ago with home care. I was a carer for him at home last year and again this month. He went back into care home on monday, I am Close to his wife who really needs someone to talk to. Can you help?
  6. BeckyJan

    BeckyJan Registered User

    Nov 28, 2005
    Hello Leegabain,
    I have replied to your first post about finding people to talk to your friend. I do recommend you ring the local branch of the Alzheimer's Society as they will know what local support is available. They do run 'cafes' which I have also explained in the other Thread.

    For everyone I think it is wise that you read this advice re online safety:

  7. Big phil

    Big phil Registered User

    Jun 27, 2007
    East Sussex
    young wives

    It all sounds so familiar Brian... my wife started at about 52 but has now been in a home for 11 years. I endured similar problems ..bed time..Im not getting there with you.. who are you?, standing in her dressing gown after a bath..I want to go home now... as with others showing wedding pictures doesnt cut it. I found the best way is to just agree and change topic completely then come back to the issue 5 minutes later, alas their attention span gets so short there is no recollection of what occurred previously. Aricept is no cure but prolongs some semblance of liveable life keep her taking it (or simiilar) for as long as possible. Then when it all gets too much dont be afriad to look at a care home.. you have to look after yourself too. The pain and guilt are indescribable but when the time comes it just has to be done. Like someones passing the pain never goes away but it becomes duller as time goes by. Its just that we dont have the luxury of closure as our loved ones still exist to remind us at every visit. I kept a diary (In my computer where she couldnt find it) as my wife deteriorated and scored each day for the quality of her day I found it helped me to be objective in my assessment of her rather than letting emotions cloud my judgement... good luck my friend!:(
  8. Bastan

    Bastan Registered User

    Feb 10, 2011
    #28 Bastan, Mar 30, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2012
    Yes Brian you are right. My husband (Nats) has been in care for 18 months now. It is hard to define the stage really. I looked after him through many changes, always changing the goal posts. I had preconceived ideas about what I'd be able to handle.

    Thought I couldn't cope without sleep, however, I put up with disturbed nights for a yr before getting a waking night sitter.

    Thought if he hit me, that would be the final straw. He did and he stayed.

    Incontinence was a big fear of mine, it happened, I coped.

    Then one day I lost him. He was missing for 8hrs. The police were involved. Exactly one week later he was in care. He lives in a purpose built unit for dementia sufferers with challenging behaviour.

    When he was admitted, he had I guess, reached the stage where he was unaware of his surroundings, he didn't query the place nor ask to come home. He was unable to wash and dress himself, could only eat finger food by himself and had very poor speech. He was however, still very active and walked the corridors for hours on end.

    Brian, this is our story and how it happened for us. It may be very different for you and your dear wife.

    I add the best advice I can, and that is, as I said in my last post, make the most of everyday with her now. Please don't waste a minuet of it worrying about what may be to come.

    Live in the moment.

    Keep in touch, love Bastan. x
  9. brizzleychris

    brizzleychris Registered User

    Jun 29, 2010

    My wife is 55. She has been diagnosed for over three years now.
    She does recognise me, but I am at some point on most days her worst enemy i always do something wrong and dont often know what it was, but i try to make her laugh which sometimes does the trick.
    The only advice I can give is that Friends are the greatest support but I have to say in our case, even they are starting to fade, which I can understand, but even so it hurts.
    Keep going mate, Its hard but she deserves your support for as long as you can manage.

  10. Izzy

    Izzy Volunteer Moderator

    Aug 31, 2003
    Remember that even though friends disappear your virtual friends on TP will be here for you as they have been for me for a very long time.x
  11. Lozzy211

    Lozzy211 Registered User

    Mar 21, 2012

    Im sorry it's hard I know I used to look after my mum and every day was different it was like a an explosion for me I never Knew what to expect some days ver lucid ans aware others she was not with us so very sad heart breaking really for families....and now I have early stage altzimers....I'm 56yrs old and don't know what the future holds for me and mine my heart goes out to you and your family....all. I can say where there is love and life there is hope take care my friend god bless u all hugs lozzy
  12. Annella

    Annella Registered User

    Sep 22, 2010
    No answers but it helps to share

    Hello Brian,

    I am afraid I have no solution to your problem but wanted to thank you for raising this issue since the discussions have been helpful to me. Probably for about six weeks now my husband (62) has treated me as if we are courting and asks all about how I spend my time, my parents, my education, my interests. He is really sweet and lovely but as it keeps happening it is beginning to wear me down.

    He once thought I was his first wife come back to him and started giving me a tour of the house. He is quite funny when he gets a sheepish look on his face and very politely ask if he can sleep with me tonight. He has asked me if I my our sons, and when we were on holiday asked if I visited this place often. He often talks about me in the third person, telling me all the things that his wife likes and dislikes. Today's was a humdinger. He insisted that he drive the car because he said I wasn't registered with insurance and so it wasn't safe for me to be driving. So far he hasn't been aggresive he just gets really confused as to who I am. He later apologised about the driving comment. Must be so hard if your reality is constantly changing.
  13. neville

    neville Registered User

    Mar 17, 2011

    Hi Brian, Reading your personnal report and the response to-date, it is re-assuring that many hearts are offering their support and advise. My wife has had dementia for about 18 months, and after 55 years of marriage it has got to the stage, where as with you . she has illusions of other persons in the house, often failing to recognise me as her husband, askings me " where I am sleeping tonight", "where is your wife", etc., whilst continuing to maintain a casual lifestyle. Bedtime is solely for sleeping. Take heart.:p
  14. rachael79

    rachael79 Registered User

    Apr 14, 2010
    Hi BrianS,
    Your situation is certainly all too familiar. My mum and dad have been married for a similar length of time and she is only in her late 50's after having been suffering with dementia since she was 51. She doesn't realise that she is married to my dad and when we try and explain this to her, her response has sometimes been 'I wouldn't marry that'.
    She often glares at him when he is talking as if he is speaking bad about her. She doesn't associate the face of the man she married with how he looks now. It is so very hard to see, and my sister and I have occasionally got cross with her and then felt guilty about it afterwards as it is not her fault she is so confused. It is hard to watch this decline and I struggle to come to terms with what has happened when she should be enjoying life.
    None of us are alone and it is comforting to know there is so much support on this forum.
  15. Padraig

    Padraig Registered User

    Dec 10, 2009
    Like many on here I've never known when my wife's Alzheimer's began. On reflection I'd say she was around 60 or even younger. The thing is that it creeps up on us and there must be many like me who knew nothing about the illness.

    In my case I consider that I was very lucky as it became a self learning lesson like most aspects of life. Before marring my wife few would believe how little I knew about everyday life. She became my salvation and inspiration and I never tired of her saying: "Your strange." Not surprising I'm strange, having spent the whole of my childhood as a young criminal, from the age of two to sixteen incarcerated in all boys Institutions.

    Without the guidance of parents or an adult makes one self reliant. This I found to be no bad thing, in fact it's proved a great advantage and so I see life's challenges from a very different perspective. Most of my self education has come from observation.

    When my wife failed or ceased to recognise faces there was a logical answer. Like a box of tissues the memory works: first one in is the last one out. When a husband/ wife sees a spouse, depending on the 'number of tissues vanished from the box' they are seeking 'the young person' they married all those years ago, not some older person.
    Though the loved one's eyesight may not presently be as good as where the mind is. They may still recognise parents or other relative in the features of a daughter/son or grandchild and see their parent.

    Sorry to have taken so much of your time, but having traveled the whole journey on our own and refused help, I was privileged to experience and learn about almost ever topic discussed on TP. It would take a book to cover all the challenges I encountered along the way. Would I do it again? In the blink of an eye. I wish you well on your journey.

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