Sign of Dementia?

jannieDecember 8, 2012

My hubby has a triple whammy- Multiple Sclerosis, "Alzhymer's-Like" dementia and seizures. All three checked out with a great Neurologist, controlled with meds as much as possible. He's currently mostly bedridden. He watches TV probably 18 hours a day. He sees those infomercials and goes crazy "I must get those pots and pans.. knife sharpener...coin set..." Most times he forgets but tries to call their phone numbers and occasionally gets through. The operator usually realizes he's not "all there" because he doesn't know his credit card number or just seems strange. Hubby will call out to me "Take down this number. I want that knife set. (or whatever...) I placate him, say I'll call and order the knives later, then he forgets about it. If he asks, I tell him "They are out of stock right now. Sorry". But it's heartbreaking and annoying for me to "intercept" him. Does anyone else deal with this? I sometims find him at 2 am, TV on, reaching for the phone. Again I lie "It's the middle of the night. No one is there to answer you. Hang up the phone."The next morning he has no memory of it.

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CA Kate

A few years ago I found DH ordering a fantastic newly designed hedge trimmer, credit card in hand. Now this might not sound so bad accept he's not the gardener and has never trimmed a hedge in his life.... if we even had a hedge to trim. This was a first but sent all the red flags flying. Now he wants to go to restaurants/ fast food places that he's seen on TV but don't even exist in our town, and he gets upset when we don't go there.

Can you limit his access to the phone? And his credit cards?

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 12:44PM
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I can't limit the phone but I can put his cards away. By the way, my DH has no use for any of the things he wants to order. He never cooks, so he will never use those specially coated pots and pans, or fancy knife sharpener. Yeah, mine sees ads for restaurants and says "Where is a Red Lobster around here?" I tell him "I don't know." He must think I'm stupid.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 2:16PM
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CA Kate

DH gets quite upset when I don't know where he wants me to go, that's when my iPhone's Internet helps. Once he wanted something soooo bad at Arby's After finding an Arby's and ordering the desired food he found it disgusting. Come to think of it, I haven't had a repeat since. ;-)

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 2:40PM
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You're both doing what you have to do given the circumstances. When you say there isn't a local Red Lobster to visit, you're not fibbing. You're re-directing. You are getting their minds off of their momentary obsession. This is something you have to accept and not feel guilty about. It sounds like neither man can be reasoned with and they don't understand cause & effect. Unfortunately, it's part of the illness. The best thing you can do is keep re-directing. You are not demeaning them, but, rather, protecting their dignity. You're protecting them from embarrassment and scam artists who knowingly take advantage of the infirm. You're also protecting your financial assets.

I know it's hard. We want so much to have reasoned conversations with our suffering loved ones. But we have to accept the reality of the situation. It demands a different relationship dynamic.

Take care.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 10:43PM
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Years ago we lived with my Grandma who was also showing signs of dementia. She got caught up with a lot of charities and was constantly sending out checks to fight cancer, lung disease, support orphans, etc. I think she finally went broke. I know the elderly are often the victims of scams. With mental problems like this, I can see why. They want to help others, their kindness and altruism remain even if their short-term memory does not function. Last night my husband and I reminisced about the time he proposed to me. A wonderful thing. The wonderful guy I married is still in there.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 8:46AM
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