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Husband not admitting there's a problem

Newanne

Registered User
May 1, 2010
28
0
clitheroe
I don't know what to do. I've been worried about my oh for a few years now. (maybe 4Y) at 1st I talked to him about seeing a doctor and he was worried and said he would think about it. Some time later when I asked if he'd though he got angry and shut the conversation down. Things seemed to stay the same for a long time and I learnt to live with it, thinking it might just be age. (he 73 now). Recently he has got worse, other people are asking me if he's OK, and it's becoming noticeable how he's changed. I decided last year I had to let him know how bad it was so I kept telling him when he'd forgotten something or got things mixed up. He then told a friend I was trying to make him beleive he was loosing it. He said later it was a joke. Then he said I accused him of having dementia. He has always been an exteerly capable man, very hard working and fit. His attitude is doctors are for weak people. 2/3 months ago I noticed things have got much worse, I've tried to just be a support and help, but his problems have never been mentioned. I feel they can't be ignored any longer but when I try to bring the subject up I can't seem to find the words, what to say, he seems to think what's happening is normal and it's far from it. Have I covered up too much? Have I reassured him too much? Oh god I can see the future and I'm so scared.
 

Sarasa

Volunteer Host
Apr 13, 2018
3,904
0
Hi @Newanne , can you write to your husband's GP with a bullet point list of your concerns and see if he:she will call him in for a ‘well-man check’ or similar? There are other things that can cause dementia like symptoms so it needs checking out. If others are beginning to notice things do you think a friend telling him he needs to see a doctor might be better received?
 
Last edited:

Jessbow

Registered User
Mar 1, 2013
3,743
0
West Hertfordshire
He wont see it, no matter how hard you try.

My mother told everyone she was perfectly capable, cooked, did the laundry and everything else. She did nothing all-day-long. Not a thing. Just sat. But in her mind, nothing had changed.
She was also doubly incontinent and totally denied it ( even with urine running down her legs & Soaking her slipper- Hw very dare we suggest it was her.

Sadly it goes with the territory
 

Newanne

Registered User
May 1, 2010
28
0
clitheroe
Thank you for your reply, I have approach the doctor, just before covid hit, their response was, 'he needs to come to see us himself, if he doesn't want to there's really nothing we can do'. Not very helpful. Thinking about his friends, not sure if any of them would feel able to approach him. I will think about that though. Thank you
 

Newanne

Registered User
May 1, 2010
28
0
clitheroe
He wont see it, no matter how hard you try.

My mother told everyone she was perfectly capable, cooked, did the laundry and everything else. She did nothing all-day-long. Not a thing. Just sat. But in her mind, nothing had changed.
She was also doubly incontinent and totally denied it ( even with urine running down her legs & Soaking her slipper- Hw very dare we suggest it was her.

Sadly it goes with the territory
That must be so difficult day to day. Sending you love and hugs. I'm afraid you're right about him not seeing it, but how on earth do we get a diagnosis?
 

Violet Jane

Registered User
Aug 23, 2021
402
0
There does seem to be quite a range of responses by doctors when relatives raise concerns about a person’s cognition. Some respond as Newanne’s husband’s GP has done and others try to find a way to see the person by inviting him/her into the surgery on some pretext. I wonder whether the pandemic has made things worse as surgeries are operating triage systems which create more barriers to getting someone like Newanne’s husband in.

Newanne, if friends have started commenting then your husband must be displaying quite obvious changes in behaviour / mood. There are other illnesses (eg thyroid problems and depression) that can have similar symptoms to dementia and so it is important that your husband sees a doctor. Easier said than done, I know.

I would keep a detailed and daily record of incidents, lapses, forgetfulness, mood swings and anything else that you think is strange or unusual about his behaviour. This will help you when you do eventually manage to see someone about your husband’s cognition. Every PWD is different but, looking back, some of the earliest red flags which my mother’s AD were the following:
• apathy
• not being able to judge periods of time accurately (she thought that my husband and I must have been in an accident because we had been away for so long doing a big shop at the start of a family holiday)
• not being able to remember simple arrangements (eg to meet me somewhere in a theatre after going to the lavatory)
• not being able to understand why her passport had not expired
• not having enough money to pay for groceries
• not being able to negotiate the various stages of getting on a flight to Belfast (a trip which she had done many times before)
 

Cazcaz

Registered User
Apr 3, 2021
176
0
Possibly another option is to get him to see the GP for another reason, eg the flu jab and see if the gp will steer things from there? Does he have a current driving licence, maybe he needs to see a gp to get it renewed as some people do, you could use that as a ‘way in’?

Or ask someone with medical knowledge of any form (if you can) to pop round to see him. Explain to him that ‘a friend Is coming round for a cuppa’ and see how that goes?

But definitely start keeping a record , as others have suggested. Detail is the key.
 

Newanne

Registered User
May 1, 2010
28
0
clitheroe
Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. The idea of keeping a diary sounds good, I'll give that a try. I'm also thinking of writing to the doctor with info asking for it to be place in his records for future. I am trying to bring up a visit to doctors. I do appreciate all the support and helpful ideas. Thank you everyone.
 

Newanne

Registered User
May 1, 2010
28
0
clitheroe
Well I tried - I sat my oh down told him how much I loved him, explained we were in this together. Told him he needed to see a doctor, explained it could be other illnesses causing the symptoms. He asked a few question, "what have other people said?" "what sort of things do I do?" asked me not to get upset, (impossible). The he stood up saying we really need to get started on cutting the hedge. Thats it, that was 2 days ago, nothing since. Should I bring it up again? Should I leave him to think about it? Does he even remember what was said? I wish there was a rule book on how to deal with this illness.
 

Violet Jane

Registered User
Aug 23, 2021
402
0
Try not to panic, which is difficult, I know. You need to pace yourself because this is a long haul. There are three things that you could try:
1. speak to your husband again, tell him that he's not himself and needs to see the doctor to have a few blood tests done to rule out a vitamin deficiency / thyroid problem (which is actually true) then get him to make the appointment
2. ring the surgery and say that your husband needs a face to face appointment and cannot go through telephone triage (explain why)
3. write to the GP and ask him to call your husband in for a Well Man check (he probably hasn't had one recently)
4. if your husband will be having a flu jab then go with him to the appointment and lay out your concerns then (this probably wouldn't be ideal as your husband would probably see a nurse rather than a GP but it's possible that he would see a nurse practitioner who might have the authority to get the ball rolling)

Unfortunately, you may have to resort to subterfuge or economy with the truth if your husband won't go and see the GP voluntarily. If you can't get him to the GP then it's a waiting game: waiting for a crisis, whether that's a fall, illness or injury leading to an admission to hospital or bizarre or violent behaviour which leads to the police being called out.

Does anybody know if someone can contact the DVLA to express concern about another person's driving and if that would trigger an enquiry of the GP about the person's fitness to drive? If the GP had on record a letter from a relative saying that s/he was worried about the person's cognition then would the GP have to report this to the DVLA / feel that s/he needed to call the person in for an assessment? I'm just wondering whether this could be a roundabout way of getting the GP to take an interest.
 

Janie M

Registered User
Jun 12, 2018
77
0
@Newanne i was able to get my husband to the doctors on the pretence that it was to do with his diabetes check, but in all honesty we have brilliant doctors. I pointed out that some of his reality didn’t add up, this was 5 years ago, and that got the ball rolling. Because his diabetes problem was ruled out it helped! However that was 5 years ago and as things deteriorate it does get more challenging, but try and get all the help you can. Feel for you, big hugs
 

29Wilkia29

New member
Nov 12, 2019
7
0
Leeds
I had exactly the same for 7 years with my husband. Was told there was nothing wrong and doctors only would talk to him. Its the hardest thing to do but I just braved it. He had another issue he needed the doc for and I went in with him amd blurted everything out. I had to. I was literally loosing my mind. It then took about 7 weeks to get a diagnosis. Alzheimers. It started when he was 55. Your husband being older there doc Will see and do the cognitive tests. I pray for you x
 

Sarasa

Volunteer Host
Apr 13, 2018
3,904
0
I too piggybacked an appointment my mother already had, and just handed the GP a letter with my concerns. It took a while, but at least it got the ball rolling.
If your husband doesn't like going to the GP it might be trickier. Mum was there a lot as I think she knew something was wrong but thought it was various other things, not dementia. The GP tried to explain to mum, that just as her joints were wearing out, her brain was too, but mum obviously didn't want to think that.
At least you've broached the subject @Newanne. Your husband might think on it a while and then decide yes he does want to be checked over.
 

Newanne

Registered User
May 1, 2010
28
0
clitheroe
Thank you so much for you replies. The statement 'don' t panic' made me stop and think, yes I was panicking. I've calmed down now and think maybe if he really doesn't want the doctors involved yet then so be it, just for now. I understand things can go on for some time, he still can function well as long as there's no problems to solve or things to organise. The memory problems I have got use to over the last few years. Maybe I just need to adjust to this new stage. It's so wonderful to have other who know what it's like and care. Sending love to all going through this terrible illness.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
1,283
0
Does anybody know if someone can contact the DVLA to express concern about another person's driving and if that would trigger an enquiry of the GP about the person's fitness to drive? If the GP had on record a letter from a relative saying that s/he was worried about the person's cognition then would the GP have to report this to the DVLA / feel that s/he needed to call the person in for an assessment? I'm just wondering whether this could be a roundabout way of getting the GP to take an interest.
Yes you can anonymously report concerns to the DVLA. Also if you contact the GP about driving the GP is supposed to tell the DVLA. The DVLA will ask the driver for permission to get a medical report from the GP. ( If permission refused, driving licence will be revoked).. The DVLA medical department get the GP report and then make a decision.
 

Cazcaz

Registered User
Apr 3, 2021
176
0
@Newanne another thing to try is what my dad ended up having to do.

Mum tried to say her memory problems were ‘just age’.

Dad began gently keeping mum aware of when her memory “wasn’t on” as she called it, and asked her to do the same. He basically said “we will let each other know when our memory isn’t on”. As there is only just over 1 year age gap, it worked well. Showing mum how often dad would gently say “you forgot about….” Or “don’t you remember….” But she found she couldn’t do the same to dad, his memory was just fine.

It was done gently, friendly, no confrontation but it let mum slowly, and in her own time, see that it wasn’t her age, it was a problem. In the end mum WANTED to see the GP (she thought it would be something hormonal or stress, still not willing to think of anything else) but it meant she was more than willing to start things going to “fix it” as she thought.
 

Violet Jane

Registered User
Aug 23, 2021
402
0
Thanks, MartinWL.

If Newanne’s husband hasn’t seen the GP for a while what do you think he would write in the report? There’s no diagnosis of any kind and the GP has no concerns personally about his cognition. Could he go on the information that Newanne has given him in a letter / email or would he call him in, either on some pretext or by request (saying that he needs to see him about his licence)?
 

Jaded'n'faded

Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
2,224
0
High Peak
Thank you so much for you replies. The statement 'don' t panic' made me stop and think, yes I was panicking. I've calmed down now and think maybe if he really doesn't want the doctors involved yet then so be it, just for now. I understand things can go on for some time, he still can function well as long as there's no problems to solve or things to organise. The memory problems I have got use to over the last few years. Maybe I just need to adjust to this new stage. It's so wonderful to have other who know what it's like and care. Sending love to all going through this terrible illness.
This is interesting. In the early stages, I knew my mum had dementia because I saw/spoke to her more than the only other family member - my brother. I knew because I'd researched dementia years ago when I went into early meno and thought I had it! I knew because I'd discovered this wonderful site and had been reading the posts for years. I knew because mum could have been a poster girl for Alzheimers, exhibiting all the 'classic' behaviours and problems. But mum was healthy, hadn't seen a doctor for years and was living on her own, independently, many miles away. We were not close and I only saw her for a few hours every couple of months.

I knew there was zero chance of a diagnosis. I struggled over what to do then realised it made little difference to mum at that time. She didn't actually need help and wouldn't have accepted it anyway. She had a little insight at that point and would sometimes say, 'I'm always getting mixed up these days.' I decided just to watch and wait and that did work for a while. I'm certain a diagnosis would not have changed what happened. (There was a fall, hospital then things got really bad and I had to move mum from there to a care home.)

Many people expect action following a diagnosis, whether that is meds, help, support, further appointments, etc. Most people are disappointed! Often the experience of diagnosis is, 'Yes - he/she has dementia.' If you're lucky you get a sympathetic smile and a bunch of leaflets. What you don't get is much in the way of help and your day to day life will not change one iota.

So maybe there would be nothing to gain from a diagnosis for your husband at this point. I do think it's important to keep a record of things though, detailing changes in his behaviour or lapses in thinking that would indicate deterioration. You do have the option of writing to his doctor giving this info and detailing your concerns. They dont have to talk to you directly but they do have to take notice! You might suggest the GP invites your husband in on some other pretext.

Meanwhile, you're doing a sterling job! Make sure you get some time for yourself.
 

Shedrech

Volunteer Moderator
Dec 15, 2012
10,946
0
Yorkshire
hi @Newanne
it may be that this is the time to gradually make sure that certain things are in place for your peace of mind
such as an up to date will for both of you
and checking out how each of you think about potentially tricky issues such as end of life ... those conversations that we tend not to have but help us should certain situations arise
Lasting Powers of Attorney for your husband certainly and for you, just in case (you can have him as your Attorney to act jointly and severally with someone else or have someone as a replacement Attorney)
make sure you know about bank accounts, savings accounts ie all financial affairs
check out how all bills are paid ... maybe even do a comparison check
get the house maintenance in order
and make sure you both do things you enjoy, don't put off that special trip or treat
 

Duggies-girl

Registered User
Sep 6, 2017
2,899
0
Like @Jaded'n'faded I knew that dad had dementia a good number of years before he was diagnosed, I had even figured out correctly that he had alzheimers. Dads GP also knew that dad had a probable dementia because he phoned me to let me know of his concerns and to ask me to try to get dad to make an appointment, he had got my phone number from dad somehow by some subterfuge. He was also the kindest and most helpful GP I have ever met. I told him that I was aware of dads memory problems and that I would try to get dad to make an appointment but it took another couple of years before I managed to get him there.

We muddled along quite well for a number of years and it was only when dad needed to stop driving that I finally got him an appointment and a diagnosis. The diagnosis made no difference for me or dad other than him being started on donepezil which may or may not have slowed down his dementia. No way of knowing really.

In hindsight I don't think that an earlier diagnosis would have helped dad or me other than giving me definite proof to wave in front of those who were in denial and I doubt if it would have changed their attitudes either.

I agree with @Shedrech that now is the time to get practicalities done such as POA and all financial matters.

It is scary and you are probably the one who needs most support now so keep posting as this is a very supportive and helpful forum.
 

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