cyt has asked me to post what my husband's early signs were before I became aware that he might have Alzheimers. Perhaps the first and most memorable sign was when he decided to move our banking account to a new bank. This was not an unusual event as he was still working at a part time job and his boss told him to check this bank out. After joining this new bank he had a terrible time balancing the account and was there weekly for help.At this point I was still clueless. Then he lost his billfold twice. The third incident that sticks in my mind is he got lost going to our dentist where we had been patients for ten years. He also told me that people would blow their horns at him when he was driving. He was diagnosed with alzheimers by our doctor through an MRI that he had last year. We went south for vacation in October and he started out doing the driving. Well, when we hit the first four lane highway he kept driving in the middle of the two lanes(with horns blowing at him), scaring the heck out of me. As soon as we stopped for lunch, I took over and he did'nt drive again the rest of the trip. When we returned home, I got in touch with our daughters and told them the story and they came and got his car and sold it.
Not driving is what makes him the most angry especially with me but I told him we turned his license in (which is in progress). I hide the car keys when I'm home because if he got into any kind of accident what little we have would be completely wiped out.
I hope that this helps those just beginning to go through what I have seen so far. I wish that I had known about this site sooner. It's been most helpful.
My DH had many of the same issues as Carol's, losing things like his cell phone, wallet, money. He used to drive at least an hour or more to get to work each day as he was a salesman, and then drive all day for his job. He did had one minor fender bender on the way home one day with a semi and that pretty much clued me in that he was all done. That and a conversation I had overheard him have with his boss which he said and I quote, "Gary, you're just not thinking normally", and then proceeded to berate him. He obviously didn't know that I was on the phone at the time, but when Gary picked up his cell phone to continue our conversation, he knew. I told him right then that he was retired and to tell his boss he was done. He came home that night, safely thank God, and was retired. I also noticed prior to that he would only put $10 worth of gas in his car and would then have to put gas in his car daily to go to work. It puzzled me for a while until I realized that's the amount he could handle money wise. He couldn't figure out change so that's how he handled it. I had taken over all of our finances way before all of that, like the check book, investments etc. and that was nice because then I knew where everything was and in the end after he passed, I had a good handle of everything. I think the changes at the beginning were very subtle and men have a tendency to hide these things in part because they're in denial. I guess for me, because my DH was so young when these things started to happen, 50ish, I didn't realize it until he was probably a year or so into it all. Once he was finally diagnosed, I took him off the road and into retirement about 4-5 months later. There was no history in his family or any reason to even think dementia was the cause so to say the least, we were floored with the diagnosis. We believe, my family, that his case was what is called sporadic and that there is no hereditary factors involved. I miss him every day and he has come to me in my dreams already...and he's healthy.
Carol, your story is so familiar. Bank problems, driving problems. I was lucky my Mom gave up her car at age 91, shortly before I went to live with her, because of vision problems. Soon afterwards she was having problems going out for walks, as she did not know whether you cross the street on green or red. She also spent a lot of time with bank managers, asking questions about her account and listening to their suggestions of what to do with her money (not knowing it would all wind up in her nursing home!)
Remembering every detail about long ago events, but not knowing what day it is was another early symptom.
God bless you and all caregivers. I think Alzheimers is about the hardest disease to face when it is your loved one, although, on the other hand, the pateint is in no pain and after forgetting that he is impaired, he will be quite happy. So it isn't really 'worse than cancer' as I myself have called it ...
Reading these posts makes me think back to when I knew daddy was in trouble. It was when right after mom died, and he was all alone in Oregon, and he told me on the phone that he walked to the mailbox (half a block away) and forgot which house was his on the way home. He actually walked into someone else's house.
We moved him here to Denver shortly thereafter. And he was still driving, banking, shopping. Four short years ago. Oh, I got clues. Like when he forgot which car was his. Where he banked. When people would have to help him find his car in the parking lot. But I chalked it up to forgetfullness.
Now, four short years later, he does not know what day it is. What season. IF he has kids. Denies grandkids (he has 4, and 1 great grandchild). He has me shave him, and cannot get into the shower. I clip his nails and cut his hair. He knows how to use the washer, but not the dryer. Can't figure out the vacuum or the microwave. Is unable to do much besides eat and dress himself.
Slowly, slowly, slowly but absolutely - he is leaving us. He told my 12 yr old today that it was "time to go to the river" and when my son did not respond (I always make stuff up when daddy is speaking in Alzheimer -- like, "Yep! Off to the River with Me!"), he got all mad at the boy because my son had zero idea what to say. Emotions are weird in the land of Alzheimers. Words are a puzzle. Toothbrushes are a mystery to my dad, and he thinks his dandruff may be fatal. For reals!
Hang in there. It ain't easy, as they say. But the moments of clarity ("Love you, daddy! Love you too, Debbie, he says) make it worth it.
Carol - thank you so much for your reply to me and also for the other folks who have helped so much. I have been out of touch this past week. Our 20 y/o daughter totalled her much loved Mustang, but didn't get a scratch on her! Prior to that I got food poisoning last weekend and then our computer died. It hasn't been a good week. Things are beginning to get back on track. My husband is being a total control freak and jerk about finding daughter a car. He's driving me crazy. I'm not sure what's wrong with him but I do know he has a memory problem and his personality has changed. This has been coming on for a few years now. He is now 60. We haven't had an MRI or anything else done because there for the longest he was so focused on his shoulder and hand and we spent a lot of time and money on that. Turns out it was a nerve and didn't need surgery. He worked himself into a frenzy over it and drove me crazy. His Dad does have dementia due to mini strokes so I've been around it. The hardest part is when they become someone else and you feel like you are living with a stranger. Please say a prayer for us as we are going through these hard times and I'll do the same. Thanks so much! C
Cyt, I am so sorry your daughter wrecked the Mustang (that was my first car) and hubby is driving you nuts because of it but so very glad that your daughter was not hurt. Things can be replaced. I will definitely keep you and your loved ones in my prayers. I wish that you find the answers you need and the energy and creativity to get through each day.
I've been reading all of these posts regarding Altzheimer's, symptoms., etc. and have a question for you with more knowledge than I....
My husband has been repeating himself frequently. He'll tell me something and repeat the same discussion a few minutes later....He is also obcessing over subjects he feels strongly about and won't stop haranguing about them.
When he drives now, he drives about 5 miles per hr under the speed limit and seems to be humming a tune.....so nerve wracking.....
He is 69, retired, plays golf and tennis daily and isn't having any difficulties with friends, etc. One thing I will tell you though, he is an alcoholic. Doesn't drink until 4:30 in the afternoon but literally passes out every evening by 7:00-7:30 and is absolutely fine in the morning.....On a few occasions in the past I've noticed he has what I think are "blackouts", like not remembering conversations from the night before and having no recollection of something important we've discussed a few weeks prior. I can't figure that one out. Up until now I've written it off as "old age"...we all foreget things sometimes.....
Does any of this sound like the beginning of Altzheimer's or some mental deterioriation due to the alcochol abuse? He's been a heavy drinker for the entire 38 yrs we've been married. Every day he drinks about 10-12 ozs of Vodka....some don't think this is a lot but it sure does affects him....
To both Stitcher and Cyt, my personal opinion is that both men should be evaluated. Talk to the doctor, Jim's test results were very enlightening. Also look at the Mayo clinic site online for help with various descriptions of Alzheimers. They are doing tremendous research in this field. I would assume that alcohol would exercerbate any memory condition. That can be checked out too. We all have a lot on our plates and I'll keep you both in my prayers.
Thank you, Carol.....I will definitely check out more information as it relates to my husband. Unfortunately, he is extremely arrogant and abusive as well. For me to suggest he seek medical help would be a disaster....In the meantime, I am vigilant and I try not to set him off. I also realize this behavior may not be for this particular discussion on Alzheimers, unless of course this is is what is going on....Are early Alzheimer's patients impatient and nasty?
Stitcher - that sounds like my hubby too. He gets on a subject and beats a dead horse! Last night I finally told him he was driving me crazy. He's not smart anymore either. I can't reason with him at all. Sometimes I do feel like he is driving me crazy - I've always stayed because we have 2 kids (now in College, we had them when we were older) and because I didn't work. Now I feel stuck. I'm 55 and who wants to hire me? I do have skills but I don't think I could strike out on my own now as much as I would like to. I wish you the best and know it's not easy. Keep us posted. Many blessings, C
Yes, we have somewhat similar situations. My husband is beating certain subjects to death, always has. I too chose to stay in the marriage because of our son who I had at age 37.... at least now is he out of college and on his own. I am now now 66. I was also my husband's practice manager for 18 years so leaving was out of the question ... No excuse now except the financial mess we would be in. He retired early due to a severe hearing problem (he says). Personally I think he became lazy and self centered. It's interesting to look back and I can almost document the mental changes in him over the past 10 years.
Something set hubby off this evening and he went to bed stoned at 6:30. Madd as heck at me because his dinner wasn'r ready when he was hungry! We always eat at the same time and this was an hour before! I just don't know how much of this is alcohol related or dementia. My family Dr did warn me that alcohol can do this after such long exposure to it. Kind of scares me that if his mind is starting to deteriorate, what would stop him from becoming violent when he gets in one of his moods. Is this typical with Alzheimer's?
Are Alzheimer's and dementia considered the same disease?
Sorry you are going through this time of worry and fear.
Alzheimer's Disease is just one of the many kinds of Dementia. Some are caused by strokes, brain tumors, and other kinds of deterioration, others by old age. I have no knowledge of alcohol causation, but it might be happening.
Is there any chance your husband would go to an AA meeting? it doesn't seem likely to me -- and probably not if YOU suggest it.
I know exactly what it is like to avoid bringing up a certain subject because of the expected reaction. My mother had Dementia but was a meek and mild sort of patient. No, I am speaking about my Ex, who did not have AD but a type of personality disorder causing no tolerance for differences of opinion. He was always right and God help anyone who disagreed. I stayed with him until our youngest graduated from college. I was 61, went to live with my Mom and worked full time at a nursery school for 5 years.
You cannot believe the happiness once I had that pressure off my back. In spite of the fact that the first 5 years after leaving him were spent taking care of my Mom who was 91 and showing those signs of dementia, I was happier than ever before.
Now I live on my own (my Mom passed away at 99) and have never been happier in my life.
Certainly alcohol makes the situation worse. I wonder if you could get someone else to recommend a doctor's appointment? A trusted friend, a brother? he surely needs to be diagnosed. There are drugs that help in the very early stages. I am sure none of them can be tolerated along with alcohol.
At the very least you need counseling for yourself. There are meetings for family members of alcoholics, or see a private therapist. It took me 2 years of therapy (after both my marriage - 36 years -and my AD care - 5 years - were over) to get over the feelings I had of not having been good enough, of deserving the ill treatment, etc. It will take a lifetime before the nightmares end in which he is yelling at me or worse. He was physically abusive as well as verbally.
I pray God will bless you and you will find a place where you can be safe, and your husband will get the care he needs so desperately. Yes, he can become violent. Even sweet little old ladies with Alzheimer - ask people right here on this Board - have attacked their grandchildren.
Hi, you all have been so helpful with sharing your trials and tribulations. I personally think the abuse, you both have and had,mental and physical is the hardest thing to handle. Most of the time mine is mild and sweet. Have had a few spells of anger but they haven't lasted long and most of them involve driving the car. Mine too liked his beer and smokes and now he forgets about them and that's just as well for him and me. I am hoping to keep him at home if at all possible as one of my neighbors did until her husband died. We've been married 54 years and lost our oldest daughter two years ago to cancer. She also inherited the family addiction to alcohol so her passing only meant to me she was in a better place. We have two other daughters who have been a Godsend. The oldest one is taking her Dad this week to the beach for four days to give me a break while I go to work.
We all need all the help we can get. Thinking of you, Carol
I don't know where to start but I've just had a very long conversation with hubby's sister. Their parents were alcoholics as were mine.....I've learned from her that they did exhibit signs of mental deterioration, especially their Mom before she passed away from a "neurological" disease.
The signs are all here - In the past year hubby has almost burned our summer home down when a fire in the woodstove got out of hand when he was “passed out” on the sofa. The house filled with dangerous smoke filled carbon monoxide. It was a miracle he didn't die from smoke inhalation. A few months later, I was away, he made chicken wings for dinner and "forgot" to put them in the garbage afterwards. Our dog ate them! Luckily she they didn't perforate her gut...He's had two episodes of "wetting" himself while sleeping in the past year. The last episode just 2 nights ago. (He tried to "hide" the laundry but could not hide the dark wet stain on the leather sofa. It stinks...)
A close friend was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, we discussed the eventual outcome, surgery, etc. Three weeks later when she passed away, he was devastated to learn the news. He had NO recollection of our conversation regarding her diagnosis, surgery, etc, 3 weeks prior to her death. And this was a very close friend....Again, all of these "mental lapses" have happened when he has been drinking.
After spending half the morning on the phone with hubby's sister I know she finally "gets it". Her brother has a serious problem whether it is alcohol related or the early stages of dementia/Alzheimer's....I have also decided that my anxiety level is the highest in 38 years and at my age I deserve better, even if it means being alone. I know I have to do something. I can't do this anymore and remain a sane individual. I also know that suggesting that my husband seek medical intervention or evaluation for his drinking problems and or potential mental decline won't work. He flatly won't go. Hasn't had a complete physical or consulted a Dr. in 20 years and then only for an insurance exam. And get this, he is a retired veterinarian! He knows better. Or perhaps, he knows what a complete work-up would show.
I am only hoping to keep it together long enough to make some plans. We have a home in Fla and I am going back ASAP. As luck would have it, I just had surgery on my foot and haven't even had the stitches out. I am in a surgical shoe and cannot drive for another 3-4 weeks. Bad timing
I will probably chicken out of having any verbal discussion with him before I leave but I have a lot of time to construct a letter explaining my feelings, disappointments, frustration and concern for him. I don't want to be in the same state with him when he learns of my decision. I don't trust him.
Some of you may feel as though I may be abandoning him when he may need me, but not knowing what the cause of the anger and abusive behavior is from, I feel justified at this point in time. I am tired and yes, I am sad. Little things happen here and there but basically he is functioning at 100% during the day....I am inclined to think this is all alcohol related and until proven otherwise, I choose not to live with this anymore...
I am trying to educate myself about the various forms of mental decline, dementia, Alzheimer's etc. There is a fine line between these diagnoses and only medical intervention will bring out the true reason for what is happening here. I can only do so much.
It's wonderful, today, to be able to communicate and share experiences here unanimously. Thank you, all….. (I hope I haven’t strayed too far off the topic of this original thread. Moderator, please let me know)
I have to admire your strength Stitcher. No, you do not deserve to be abused and you have to take care of yourself first. The drinking does put a different prespective on your situation. You are definitely seeing mental deterioration and as long as the drinking continues and he refuses medical help there is no way of knowing where that deterioration is coming from. Perhaps you stepping out and taking control of your life will be the catalyst that is needed for something to change with him.... whether it be by his own doing or the intervention of others. He definitely needs help but you may not be the one that is best suited to give it to him. You know in your heart what is best for you.... and for him. At least his sister now understands and you have an allie. I hope your foot heals quickly and wish you well. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers...
Stitcher, you go gal! I think deb is right on the money and maybe by you doing this will light something under him. Alzheimers and dementia are one thing but what you are dealing with is something that none of us should have to cope with because really it's his problem not yours.
Put your sun glasses on and join me in FL. I'll warn you, it's hot!:
WOW - you gals have given me a real boost. I agree, Deb, that I am probably NOT the person to suggest a medical work-up. He is too defensive to begin with.
Up until now I have said "it is what it is" nothing is going to change until and unless something drastic happens. One day something will precipitate a situation that will get someone's attention. He has friends he plays golf with who are retired physicians and they are aware of his heavy drinking. One did call one night and rearranged their tee time for the next day. Hubby clearly forgot it and caused quite a stir at the golf club when he didn't show up. I hinted that perhaps evening wasn't the best time to talk with him and they all agreed. Why don't these guys just come out and say something? Is it the male ego? I may talk with one of them and see if he is noticing anything new in hubby's behavior and aks if he would be comfortable opening a discussion.
In the meantime, I am outlining a plan. I've been at this juncture before but I have to step up to the bat and put my big girl panties on and just deal with it head on.. Our son is noticing things as well and agrees with my stand. He has no sympathy if it is truly alcohol related. If it's not, then the guilt will push me overboard I think....On a lighter note, I pay our long term care insurance policy the day it comes in just in case we'll ever need it
Alcoholism isn't new to me. My parents, brother and sister have been affected with this disease. My brother died from it at age 57. My sister has been sober for many years but no one suffered from any mental decline from it. With this in mind, I would like to have him tested for Alzheimer's. What a waste if it's the booze. I plan to talk with my Dr. again and she if she has any suggestions on signs I should look for. Are there any "home tests" available? Maybe I could sneak in a few quick questions. I assume observation is key, however.
My posts have been exhausting and long and for that I appologize. I will definitely keep you all posted on what's happening here on my end. Please know I apprecaite all your good wishes and look forward to listening to all of your issues.
Love and peace to all.
PS Carol, You are in Orange Park. Our winter home is south of you in Port Orange. Introduced to the area when our son went to Embry-Riddle. LOVE the sunshine, not the 90 degree weather and afternoon tunderstorms..NE PA mountains is home in the summer....
Stitcher, you may want to do an online search on Alcohol Dementia. There is a Mini Mental State Examination "MMSE" that is online (online search again) that can give you a rough idea of the cognitive function. It's an eleven question test with a total score of 30. I just tells you if there is cognitive impairment. Not what it is coming from. From what I have read the similarities between ALZ and Alcohol Dementia makes it hard to determine which he has.... even for a physician. No matter what it ends up being you can bet it was accelerated by the alcohol so don't ever beat youself up about what you must do for yourself.
Often friends are hesitant to bring up difficult issues..... such as the drinking and related problems..... even ALZ. After Mom was diagnosed her friends explained what they had noticed. I wish they had been up front before not after ::sigh:: I would definitely try talking to one of his physician friends to see if he would be willing to approach your hubby. Perhaps if he knew that you were aware of the problem he would be willing to approach your hubby. Dealing with this problem as much as you have you know that a person has to want to get help before they accept help. That usually comes when they are so far down there is no way but up. That's the drastic that you are looking for.
I do wish you luck and do keep in touch. No post is too long when it takes a while to explain what is going on. Sometimes just typing it out is helpful. I have had a few long winded post in my time here..... many of us have so no apologies needed Just keep typing.....
Stitcher - I think you are doing the absolute right thing for you. I don't know how you stayed as long as you did! You deserve a medal and my hat goes off to you. You are a better person that I am. I couldn't tolerate it if my husband drank. I, like you, I believe, had our son at the age of 37. He is 18 now and off to college this year. Our daughter is 20 and goes away too. We will be empty nesters and I am not looking forward to it. If I didn't have this computer I would go crazy. It keeps me so much company. Plus, I like to enter sweepstakes, it's a hobby of mine, and I do win from time to time. I still have my elderly FIL and my Mom to take to the store and visit with. I do have a part-time job but nothing that would pay the bills. I just pray my hubby can keep working so we will have his insurance. I wish you the best, and all the rest of you who are struggling each day with this horrible disease. I try to take one day at a time and put my trust in the Lord but sometimes I feel as if I'm hanging on by a thread. This hasn't been a good week for us as hubby was so stressed out over the car deal (daughter totalled Mustang). Thank goodness we did find her a car today and she is happy and out driving! My hubby calmed down so much it was a big hugh sigh of relief! I have found that he must be kept on an even keel and not get stressed out too much or Watch Out! Sometimes I wonder if he is having silent strokes. I just don't know and right now don't have the energy to care. Take care all and have a good night. Maybe tomorrow will be a better day for all of us. I just feel like I can't take another hit right now. Life just gets to be too much at times. This has been one of them. I think I'll go and relax - kids should be home soon. C