1. DMWalker

    DMWalker Registered User

    Aug 14, 2006
    West Yorkshire
    Hi All,

    My husband aged 65 last Christmas was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in March of this year. I've known for quite a long time "that all what not well" but just thought it was part of the ageing process!!!

    I'm still working but plan to leave this coming Christmas, my husband doesn't need a carer as such yet, but he is trying to do jobs in the house as he used to do but cannot seem to get anything right. He is unable to plan, understand basics or think for himself, yet when I try to help him he gets so uptight and of course "it's all my fault".

    For instance while I was at work last week he went to my daughter's house and cut all the branches off the beautiful trees in her garden, 15 in all, from the bottom to as far as he could reach, my daughter is on holiday and I have had to buy fence panels as she has a young child. My daughter had told us she was getting a professional to trim the tops of the trees. My husband took it on himself to do the job knowing we were both out of the way, sadly he trimmed the bottom instead of the tops.

    Can anyone tell me how to cope with these situations without telling him off, I don't want to get on to him but he is such hard work lately. Is this behaviour usual with alzheimers? Any advice would be most appreciated.

  2. BeckyJan

    BeckyJan Registered User

    Nov 28, 2005
    Hello there. How I do sympathise. Yes I have been through a similar phase (and I hope that is what it is for your sake). David went through the cables of three hedge cutters in one season and then tried to rewire them! I got to the stage of temporarily hiding keys to the garage or moving the equipment. Sadly he had a stroke following this difficult phase which made him less mobile, so his diy adventures have almost ceased.

    I am so sorry you have this wretched illness to handle. I hope your daughter is supportive and not too upset with the state of her trees!
    You will certainly get a lot of support from TP Best wishes Beckyjan
  3. daughter

    daughter Registered User

    Mar 16, 2005
    Hi DMWalker,

    Welcome to TP. Sorry to hear about your daughter's trees. My Dad used to love gardening but he started to make big mistakes. He would plant some tomato plants and then, next minute he'd dig them up again and plant them somewhere else. :eek: Personally I believe that telling him off will not do any good, perhaps you can steer him into another activity, (there is a fact sheet about hobbies: http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/Caring...taining_quality_of_life/advice_activities.htm ), but with Dad it seemed, once he had an idea to do something, he could not be distracted very easily. Sorry I cannot be much help but I'm sure others on TP will have some ideas.

    Best wishes,
  4. DickG

    DickG Registered User

    Feb 26, 2006
    Hi Dee

    Welcome. You are on a very difficult journey and there is so much to learn that is specific to your circumstances. I fully understand your husbands actions and your reaction to the tree incident - he was trying to be helpful as no doubt he has been many times in the past and was expecting thanks. What are a few trees when measured against the love you have shared over the years? The trees will survive. If you can, try to turn the whole episode into a joke for if you can't you will fret for days whilst your husband will forget the incident in a few minutes.

    Someone on TP recommended the book "Learning to Speak Alzheimers" by Joanne Koenig Coste (ISBN 0-618-48517-1) which I have found very helpful. Good luck and keep in touch.


  5. bel

    bel Registered User

    Apr 26, 2006
    im new to this

    dear Dee
    and welcome my hubby is 60 in october and like you have known things wernt right for a long time
    i have and still having the same problems as you and am bending over backwards not to make him feel no good at things any more it is hard and i dont know the right answer if there is one my hubby understandably wants to still do things we have had a lot of mistakes some funny some not i try and get him to do somthing i know he can do tell him how important it is i have to be one step ahead but i do know how you feel we are having our loft taken down he still thinks he can help builders bless him take care keep posting lots of support on here
    Love Bel x
  6. jarnee

    jarnee Registered User

    Mar 18, 2006

    I met with my dad's consultant recently ( while she assessed him and afterwards)

    She said that it AD patients can often feel "stupid" because they get things wrong or don't remember something or don't understand and that this can lead to frustration. I try to skirt around things if I can.

    Terrible shame about the trees. Does your daughter know yet?

  7. magpie

    magpie Registered User

    Jul 21, 2006
    My Mum has always been obsessively tidy, plus she's always hated gardening. Since my Dad died 2 years ago and there's been no one to hold her back, she's pulled everything up she could manage herself, then got a local gardener to cut down all the trees, take away all the climbers and dig over the beds. She's cleared out the garage (given most of the tools away to the gardener and others). It is like a desert now, but she still goes on about having to 'get rid of all the mess'. At first I spent a lot of time trying to interest her in replanting but she would have none of it. I guess this scorched earth policy IS her hobby, as far as the garden goes and it distresses her to be contradicted.
    Plants are tough; they'll come back.
  8. DMWalker

    DMWalker Registered User

    Aug 14, 2006
    West Yorkshire
    Thanks All

    It is so good to read your responses to me posting. I had not heard of anyone with the illness behaving like my husband does, I was beginning to wonder if he did know what he was doing and maybe I am 'over the top'.
    I can cope knowing it's the illness, I certainly won't remind him of what he's done.

    My daughter does know about the trees, I rang her in Ireland, I couldn't wait until she saw them, I didn't want my husband to see her reaction, she knew how upset I was and laughed it off, especially when I told her it looked like a row of telegraph poles, she understands totally what is going on and is very good with her step-dad. yesterday he tried to put a tv mounting on the wall, disaster, he was adament that the bolts go in from the bottom!! obviously the diagram was wrong, luckily I am getting to be a bit of a handyman. It must be so frustrating for him, the worst part is before he 'gives in' he can become quite upset thinking everyone else is wrong and he's the only one who understands, I've realised that backing off is the best calmer.

    Thank you so much again and I look forward to sharing my experiences with you, you have made me feel so much stronger.

  9. jarnee

    jarnee Registered User

    Mar 18, 2006
    Hi DMW

    Glad to hear that you no longer feel you are alone in this and that nobody else has similar etc etc

    I remember feeling like that before I discovered TP.....It's a scary, lonely feeling isn't it.

    My dad was a builder by trade so still wants to do whatever he can (or thinks he can)
    I remember one time when my dad decided to re-varnish the hardwood window sills in the living room. He would brush on about 4 or 5 strokes of varnish and forget why he was there and walk off leaving the varnishy brush to stick to the window sill . He did this quite a few times ( you can imagine what it looked like by the time my mum persuaded him he had "finished").....anywhere else and the sill would be considered a piece of modern art by now !!
  10. DMWalker

    DMWalker Registered User

    Aug 14, 2006
    West Yorkshire
    Remember the trees?

    Hi All.

    I last told you of my predicament when David cut off all the branches of the huge conifer trees in my daughter's garden the day after she went on holiday. I was in such a state, thankfully your replies made me realise it 'wasn't the end of the world'.
    I thought I would update you.... my daughter took it very well, she even laughed when I told her the trees (15 in all) looked like a row of telegraph poles. It cost me a pretty penny to buy fencing before she came home so that our granddaughter couldn't escape.

    Some kind soul has now given him a summer house, (knowing that he was a do-it-yourself fanatic). guess what? he's putting it up in our daughter's garden. So far he's put the lock on the doors back to front, knocked a tin of wood stain all over her sun-lounger cushions (that were stored 'safely' in her shed) and tried to put bolts in the base which have cracked the floor, bless him!! Debbie's still smiling- but has asked me to persuade him not to do anymore in her garden, he's going to re-cover the roof tomorrow, I'm worrying already!

    Our own once beautiful garden, is now bereft of my beloved arch and the honeysuckle that covered it, our fishpond, fish and waterfall and a lovely trailing clemaitis. I haven't asked why, like the trees he probably doesn't know.

    I am so looking forward to Christmas when I leave work so that I can disuade him from these ventures. He now wants to buy a touring caravan!! Do you think the house may be next??

    I'm still smiling!

  11. Kayla

    Kayla Registered User

    May 14, 2006

    When Mum was at home, she was quite obsessive about getting the drive swept when there were only a handful of leaves on it, and having the overhanging branches from the neighbouring garden, cut back "Before they take over my garden." In fact there were just a few twigs growing no more than a metre over the fence. Once, she was in floods of tears because the alpines and heathers in the front garden rockery, were "getting out of control". In the end my husband had to dig it all up for her, so just a barren expanse of grass was left. An attractive magnolia tree was also cut down because it was too near the house. Perhaps it is just a desire to be in control over something and is part of the illness.
  12. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    As I cannot sleep tonight & read along in this thread and what Dick said in reply. its put me in a lighter mood .

    Thanks Dee for shareing hear hopeing the house is not next :) Said in humour :D
  13. Tressa

    Tressa Registered User

    May 18, 2004
    N. Ireland
    Hi Dee,

    although my mum has had AD for must be 11 years now, when I read about other peoples experiences I think I was blessed in a way. Mum loved to cook and suddenly from one day to the next she stopped, it was as if something inside her told her she wasnt safe to do it. So I havent really experienced what you are going through, so I cant give any advice. I still feel like a novice at all of this. I find the advice you get from TP is invaluable and if they arent sure, the words of encouragement and sympathy a godsend.

    I can only say that you sound as if you are going to be just fine through this terrible illness, you are adopting the right attitude and although you will have days were you feel you cant go on you will get through them. And you have to have a laugh sometimes, I have had some fantastic laughs with my mum over things she has said or done, it does her the world of good and I know that one day I will cherish those memories.

    Good luck


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