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Handling the loss of partner memory of 50 years of relationship

Discussion in 'I have a partner with dementia' started by nonasusan, Jan 19, 2016.

  1. nonasusan

    nonasusan Registered User

    Jan 10, 2016
    For a while now my partner has had moments when he didnt recognise me but yesterday he didnt know who I was all day and had no memory of anything of our long relationship. I fear that i handled it badly as I was devastated even though intellectually that it is his brain deteriorating. he was baffled my upset. he believes I am one of the carers who come in once a week. Then the guilt at not handling it well was awful too.Poor old man..kept telling me that he ' learn to like me' !!
    Every time I steal myself that he has gone down so much then he seems the next couple of days to be a bit clearer and then down further again a couple of days later. He has no other family to help so it is very intense for me and SO exhausting and sad. the lack of sleep gets me to a point where I can only just cope with him and with my own emotions
  2. 1mindy

    1mindy Registered User

    Jul 21, 2015
    I have gone through exactly this over the last few months. It took me a while to realise that he was talking to me who wasn't me at all. It is now just a part of our daily routine sometimes I am me but more often than not I am someone he likes in the main and if I want to I can stop with him and he will look after me. There will always be things we could handle better but this is an ever changing scene that we learn to adapt to one thing and something else comes along.
    So sad for all concerned but we will adjust and roll with the dementia punches.
  3. Scarlett123

    Scarlett123 Registered User

    Apr 30, 2013
    Sweetie, welcome to Talking Point, where you will find many other lovely people in the same, or similar situations, who will help and sympathise. I too cared for my husband of nearly 50 years, on my own, and know how exhausting it is, and how frightening when they don't recognise you.

    I couldn't have coped without a break, when I could catch up on sleep, and occasionally live life in the fast lane, and meet a friend for coffee or lunch ;), so I arranged for John to attend Day Centres. There are lots of threads about these where you'll find a wealth of information, and experiences of other members.

    You can't carry on if you don't get some help. Have you had a Carers Assessment from Social Services? And is your hubby's situation known to them? I hope you get some much needed help soon xxx
  4. nonasusan

    nonasusan Registered User

    Jan 10, 2016

    Thank you for the reply.Its amazing how quickly you seem to learn to adjust to the next phase and somehow manage to deal with it emotionally. Have to really! Now when he asks me who i am and I say my name he says 'you cant ALL be called Susan!'
    It seems to be the same..sometimes I am me sometimes not.
    It helps hugely to hear other peoples experience of it ..it helps the isolation very much
  5. nonasusan

    nonasusan Registered User

    Jan 10, 2016
    thanks for the reply .

    Thank you for the suggestion of Day centres. I will look into that. Also I didnt know about Carers Assessment.I will try to find out more about that too. Its all got so much worse suddenly and I am new to what help there is out there!
  6. hollydar

    hollydar Registered User

    Dec 17, 2015
    Struggling to cope

    I saw your post and suddenly realised I was not completely alone with this terrible complaint. Like you, I will have been married 50 years in February. My husband was diagnosed in June. At first it was just being forget of things but now he has it his mind that we broke up and that he has only recently returned. He also thinks I am another Pat (not his Wife) and if I relay to him something that happened, he will say that;s funny that happened to Pat as well. I can cope with that, but what I can't cope with is how nasty he can become at this time. He asks who I had living here when he was away and implies it was another man. When I explain he has never been away he calls me a liar and says I have been taking him for a ride. We met when I was 18 and I am now 74 and he is the only long tern boyfriend I ever had, so when these accusations come I fidn I don't deal with it at all. The other day I completely lost it and screamed and shouted at him, which I know is not the right way to deal with it. We have no children and family live a long way away, so I am completely on my own. When he is nice I feel it"s the old him back again but feel I am walking on egg shells waiting for the next outburst. Can anyone suggest how I should deal with these nasty spells as I know shouting a screaming isn't the right way. Any help would be appreciate so much. I am new to the site and am struggling to get around it at the moment, so I hope it is ok to have written in this thread. Thanks for being there.
  7. optocarol

    optocarol Registered User

    Nov 23, 2011
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Welcome to TP Hollydar - it has been a sanity saver for me. My OH does know who I am, though we haven't been married 50 years. From what you say, I don't know how you've managed this long! If he's nasty, I got to where I'd walk out, either to the bedroom or outside if really bad. It helped me to keep saying, "He looks the same, he sounds the same, but he's NOT the same." It doesn't sound much when I write it down, but it did help remind me. Are there any daycare or dementia clubs in your area? (Put it in Google.) I wouldn't have lasted this long without them.
  8. hollydar

    hollydar Registered User

    Dec 17, 2015

    I appreciate your message very much. Tomorrow we have the nurse coming that first diagnosed my husband so I hope she will have some helpful information. When he is not in this muddle he is just the same person I always know and love, this is what makes it so difficult. I am so glad to have this site to come to with people that share this nightmare. Thank you again......Pat
  9. Jinx

    Jinx Registered User

    Mar 13, 2014
    My husband usually knows me, occasionally I'm not his wife, but If I tell him something he often says "mum said that too", so presumably he also thinks I'm his mother who died many years ago. xx

    Sent from my iPad using Talking Point
  10. Scarlett123

    Scarlett123 Registered User

    Apr 30, 2013
    There's no simple solution, but, in time, I found that the best way was to accept that what my husband said was his reality. So if he accused me of stealing his keys and hiding them, of being the Town Tart, of having men staying here etc etc, I'd take a deep breath, count to ten and say "I'm sorry darling, I wouldn't upset you for the world. I'll do my best to see it doesn't happen again".

    It was useless to tell him that he'd mislaid his own keys/glasses/remote control, and that I had no energy, let alone the inclination, to have an affair! This was a very s-l-o-w and long learning curve for me, but an answer like this usually put an end to the conversation.

    Ask whatever you like on here, cos that's what it's for. We've all ranted and raved at some time, and it's comforting to know you're not alone. TP was, and still is, a life saver for me, and everyone is so friendly and helpful. I wish you well.:)
  11. Alicenutter

    Alicenutter Registered User

    Aug 29, 2015
    Massachusetts USA
    Its all very odd

    One of the clearest signs that my husband is suffering from something serious has been that he thinks there are many women around, all of whom look like his wife. I've already been through denying the existence of the other women (hopeless, and NOT THE RIGHT WAY TO GO ABOUT IT, but I didn't know), to accepting that he could see them but not knowing anything about them myself, to finally, today, admitting that I know them, and that when I am one I have a different name to my sister, who has kindly lent me her car and her clothes…

    This seems to calm down the anxiety that plagues my husband, although he's worried about unfaithful to his wife :))

    I think it's called rolling with the punches.

    Good luck to all
  12. Scarlett123

    Scarlett123 Registered User

    Apr 30, 2013
    ............. or go with the flow! ;)
  13. June the spoon

    June the spoon Registered User

    Oct 18, 2015
    Loss of partner memory

    I agree walk away from the situation, if he is safe you can just take 5mins out I always say "it is not your fault and it's not mine it's just bloody" that helps me
  14. Gwyneth

    Gwyneth Registered User

    Nov 25, 2015
    Dear all who would seem to share much the same horrible experiences as me. I am fortunate, if that is the right word, in that my husband still knows me but he can accuse me out of the blue of seeing someone else and the car has apparently been parked in a place up the road when he has been out for a walk. When this happens it is usually when I am at the hairdressers or working for a couple of hours and he is lonely lost and can't remember where I am. Even though I leave details of where I am on a pad and ring him, he lets his mind run away because he doesn't remember. It does hurt and I don't always handle things at all well. I am sure if we are all honest, we have to admit to not always getting it right. I tend to find a hug and reassuring kiss, laughing it off with a joke and diverting things mean it is quickly forgotten but it does hurt. But then dementia hurts, don't we all know it!! The occasional mood swings, looking at me as if I am a piece of dirt and the shouting, are very difficult to handle. One has to remember it is not the person that you have loved and been with for years. If it was, then.probably the relationship would have failed. This is the place for a boost to one's self esteem without a shadow of a doubt. Thank goodness for TP. Hugs to all.Gwyneth. PS I would love to have the energy for an affair but with my husband of old all over again!!!!
  15. Fancyday

    Fancyday Registered User

    May 4, 2012
    Seeing all your messages reminds me of how difficult it was and is ... my mother had dementia, and also my ex partner now has it.

    I so agree with the responses about going with the flow and responding to their anger or accusations as calmly as possible. The dementia sufferer is rarely living in the world of reality, and we have to enter into their 'other' world, their 'frame of logic' ... denying or arguing is completely pointless and only a waste of our energy.

    The best book I've read about this is 'Contented Dementia' by Oliver James. Everyone who deals with dementia sufferers should read this book ... it really does help to make this dreadful disease very slightly easier to deal with.
  16. Peace and Truth

    Peace and Truth Registered User

    Feb 20, 2012
    I know exactly how you feel, my husband used to ask me when I was going home,

    All you can do is go along with his train of thought, he used to say I had to go before Irene (that's me) got home as he didn't want me to be upset. I used to say that I understood, and offer to make a cup of tea or hot chocolate before I went, and this would divert him from the subject.

    It does get awful! And you must have some respite. I used my carers allowance to pay for someone to take him out twice a week for a couple of hours. They went to the driving range together, and he was convinced he was teaching the carer how to play golf. He always came home happy, and I would have had a welcome break.

    Do ask for help fromSocial Services! They can be really supportive.

    He has been in Care now for four years, and clearly fading away. Sleeps all the time, and taking only minimal amounts of food...it is sooo hard to see him like this but at least I can be sure that he is being well cared for. Do take care of yourself...life is cruel

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