Hi, My mother was diagnosed with mild dementia (probable Alzheimers) last year, and at the same time, clinical depression – something that she’s suffered with (unofficially) her entire life. She’s a very smart woman who has sharper wits than anyone I know and because of her career choices, could not afford to give credence to any mental illnesses that she may have been suffering. My father (they’re both now in their mid-70s) is her main carer and unfortunately, the brunt of her paranoia and aggression. She’s always been, for want of a better word, “feisty”… but obviously with the progression of her depression and dementia, things are now pretty appalling for him. My mother sleeps most days until 3 or 4pm in the afternoon and does literally nothing to help him manage her condition, indeed, she won’t even admit to it other than to accept that she has a “memory problem” – one which half the time, she says that my father has fabricated simply as a way to bully her. She also struggles with recognising that she’s a depressive, and is highly suspicious of anyone bringing up the subject, no matter how gently. Her paranoia is extreme and ranges from suspecting that my father is having an affair, to hiding her debit cards (she still has joint financial control). She won’t let him claim attendance allowance and punishes him by not eating/refusing her medications (she’s also on statins and other things)/barricading herself in her bedroom etc. My mother has always been a hoarder and their house is not only cluttered but becoming dirtier as time passes. I’ve tried to step in and help declutter but it always results in her screaming at me to get out in a paranoia-driven rage, she accuses me of interfering between “man and wife”. I’ve suggested that they hire a cleaner for a couple of hours a week but neither are willing. I do what I can to help in secret but it’s not even scraping the surface. The sad thing is that my father still has so much zest for life, although I see it being beaten out of him before my eyes. My mother would rather not go anywhere or see anyone. My Dad is lonely and trapped. I don’t know what additional support we should hope for from health services, they seem so disinterested. It’s a battle just to get them to manage the depression side of things. I don’t know if it’s wishful thinking but I can’t help but wonder just how much of the daily struggle could be alleviated with a better grip on my Mum’s depression. She’s taking a combination of Sertraline at apparently the highest possible dose (150mg, I think) and generic Aricept (I’m not sure of the dosage), and whilst this combination initially seemed to have a huge effect on her willingness to converse and join in with family life… things seemed to have slowly returned to their original state. I’m so sorry for the ramble, it all just fell from my fingers onto the keyboard. I guess what I’m asking for, is your experiences of the male carer struggling with a female partner’s aggression/abuse and also, your opinions on how unmanaged depression can affect this horrible disease? My Dad is beginning to crumble and I see him looking to me for support in the way I always imagined only I would look to him. I just want to be able to help but don’t know how without making things worse, every time I try to be proactive, it boosts my Mum’s paranoia and my Dad ultimately, suffers more.