Perhaps I am in denial, but he seems to do ok. He works four hrs/day on computer doing graphics as recreation, he is able to fix dinner.
His big problem is short term memory, esp taking meds even though we have the meds in pill boxes. Last night he tested his blood sugar but forgot to take the IM Lantus. These go together and he told me he took the Lantus but it turns out he did not. I have to go behind him to make sure he takes his meds. He is 74 so is this normal aging brain?
He knows his memory is not right, and it frustrates him terribly. He gets angry. So is this normal aging? We have neighbor in early eighties and she seems to remember a lot more than my husband.
Is this normal aging? Oh he is on aricept and namenda.
Sorry, no. Not normal aging. If he is on Aricept and Namenda he has already been diagnosed with Dementia of one or another type. My mother was normal for her age until age 92 - able to remember many things I had forgotten, able to do almost anything. THEN she got dementia and lost her short term memory, and later lost just about every skill ever learned, even how to eat.
I hope your husband has a slow moving form of Dementia, which may not cause a lot of stress for both of you. However it is a good idea for you to have POA over both medical and financial matters before he may start doing bizarre things.
Good luck, and come back here to share with others who have done the same thing whenever you need to vent or share a problem or a solution. I received a lot of help from these wonderful people..
Last edited by Martha H; 12-05-2008 at 04:14 PM.
I agree with Martha.... that is not normal aging. You stated that he knows there is something wrong with his memory. In the beginning they do realize it. Evidently the doctor picked up on it also because he is on Namenda and Aricept. I also hope it is a slow progression.
I bet he has done computer graphics for a long time. Remember that with most dementia the short term memory is the first to go so something they have done for ages will be preserved for a while. Mom continued to use the computer for a couple of years after she realized that there was something wrong with her memory.
Ability to take meds and handle money seem to be a couple of early signs. Actually it was Mom giving Dad a medication overdose that triggererd her diagnosis. Before that the drug store notified me that mom and dad were either taking too much of not enough of a medication and twice Mom made major mistakes in which med she should take. Yes, his medication administration should be closely monitored by you, especially since he is diabetic.
He gets angry and frustrated because he can't figure out what's wrong with his brain. He can not understand why he is not processing information correctly and not remembering things. His world is slowly turning upside down and he has no explination for it. Even if you tell him it is dementia, he will probably deny it and tell you he is just fine. He is sure that it is the world around him that has gone crazy. If the anger gets out of control there are medications that will help him and not zonk him out.
Please make sure you have a durable POA for him, medical directive or medical POA and living will, your name is on all accounts, and you are on his hippa so you can talk to his doctor. These may not seem important now but they will be.
You might want to talk to his doctor discuss what he found that lead him to prescribe the namenda and aricept. You might want to get a geriatric neurologist to make a difinitive diagnosis. It might help you to know exactly where you are.
Sorry you needed us but glad you found us. Drag up a tall drink, grab a towel and hang around a while. It's a great place to vent, learn from other's experiences, and talk to those that are/or have been where you are
Aricept and Namenda are the two major drugs that are used for AZ. So no, it isn't normal aging....and you already knew that but were hoping against hope that it wasn't...We all have been in your shoes in one way or another. I lost both parents within 5 weeks to one form or another of this horrid disease.
Your hubby's inability to remember that he has not taken his drugs is a HUGE red flag that is is sliding down the hill. You will need to be following behind him all the time now to make sure that he get his meds. You will soon find that he forgets to bathe on a regular basis, simple things that he has always done will become difficult or he will say that he has done them when you know that he hasn't. He may forget how to operate the remote for the tv or the phone. Cell phones may be come impossible, hearing aids difficult to either use or find.....
I'm sorry that you had to find us, but it's a good group that you have found. Check on the top of the board on the stickies for signs of AZ and the stages. You should be able to find wehre your hubby is at from that list....you are in our prayers....and welcome.
Yes, fortunately we both did POA and health directives in past yr because of my health. I am so glad we did those because I don't think I have the strength now as I am facing major surgery in January.
The surgery will be two hrs away and I don't think my husband should drive me, or pick me up. Driving is so important to people. It is our independence and I hate to tell him that I cannot allow him to drive me. We have no children and no relatives close by so I will hire a person to take me. Am I correct? When do we know when a person should not drive?
Yes, it is a good idea to have someone else drive you.
If you feel unsafe with someone, it is time not to ride with him any more, and to tell him why. If he insists on driving and has a couple of fender benders, it is time to confide in the local motor vehicle bureau and have his license revoked. Some people disable the car and tell him it is broken, going to be fixed "later". This works when his dementia is far enough along so that he doesn't think about it every day. Some people let him keep a set of car keys but the car is moved out of his reach, some men seem happy just knowing they have the keys.
If his dementia is not yet so bad that you feel unsafe with him, maybe he can still drive short distances, but the day can come quite suddenly when he forgets what traffic signs mean. My Mom got confused, as a pedestrian, which color light meant go and which one meant stop! A person with dementia can also get lost, both on foot and in a car.
I wish you good results with your upcoming operation. Take care of that first, and then you can concentrate on helping your husband. Perhaps both of you would feel better in an assisted living apartment, where things like medications are done for you, and you can eat meals there without having to cook (but can cook if you wish), etc. Many older couples do this even if they are in perfect health, just to get away from huge lawns to mow, snow to shovel, etc. But you can start working on that after you are well again!
The doctor where Mom was diagnosed told me that when I questioned her ability to drive...... it was time for her to stop. I agree and think Mom drove for 9 months too long. The neighbor's that live across the street told me that Mom backed out of the drive without looking. All those that lived around her knew to watch out for her. Just zoomed down the driveway in reverse and out into the street. She got out of the car, couldn't find the keys when she got in the house, because the car was still running in the drive. She backed over a yard statue and had no memory of doing it. That was the last straw. What if that had been a child instead a statue? You truly don't want it to get to that point. If you have reservations about him driving.... then don't let him drive.
My Dad has not driven on over 5 years but he still carries the keys in his pocket. That is enough to satisfy him.Mom or one of us girls would always offer to drive. We arranged for his friends to pick him up for meetings. We just made sure somebody else drove. The lost of Mom's driving privilages was part of what percipitated their move to AL. Mom was, is, and will always be more difficult than Dad. I does represent a loss of freedom and independence and is probably the hardest thing we had to deal with besides the actually move to AL.
So I do believe you are on the right track. Have somebody else take you and if he wants to visit somebody should bring him as well.
The fact that you are questioning if he should drive is answer enough. No, he hsouldn't be driving you. It sounds as if he is unstable enough that it wouldn't be good for him to be driving you home from the hospital when you are not 100% in good health and then he is not sure of himself. You could have a terrible accident. You don't want to live with the what-ifs. And you can't expect people to look out for hi,. Eventually strangers will come down your street and not know that he isn't to be trusted when he drives. It is far better to stop him driving now, before you have an accident, than after, or when someone has ben hurt.
While you are in the hospital, you will need to find someone who will come and stay with your hubby so that he isn't alone all the time. It would be wise to make sure that he has someone around to check in on him and to make sure that he has meals and takes his meds-but I am assuming that you are staying in the hospital overnight-areyou? You need have all of this lined up before you go also...
Good luck with the surgery. Get well and heal fast.....we will have you in our prayers....
gothope...such a beautiful username you have chosen!
Each of us have come here with hope...what we have found is helpful information, friendly shoulders, a place to vent, and sometimes...exactly what we're so desperately not wanting to hear and accept.
I'm so sad each time someone new arrives and realizes how much their lives will be changing....but still glad they found this forum.
Sometimes, the posts are right to the point...sometimes they are difficult to read...sometimes funny...and sometimes.................you'll realize the one who is posting has found that by sharing their own personal story lets them heal just a bit.
Any dementia (Alzheimer's is only one of many) is just so darn challenging......to both the victim...and those who love them. You've received some excellent advice already, and there is nothing I can add, but my welcome.
Come back often, share your feelings...and know you are not facing this alone................Pam
My wife was on Aricept and Namenda, and I couldn't tell that they helped at all. Maybe she was just too far down the road anyway.
However, the driving issue really scares me. I was always concerned that if she had an accident, (and I already knew about her diagnosis) I could be held liable for it - letting a know dementia patient drive. So I made the doctor tell her she could no longer drive. Took the blame off me. She only asked for the keys a couple of times after that. I just told her the doctor said she couldn't drive anymore. Needless to say, I slept a lot better after that.
how are you holding up honey? I hope you and your daughter are able to have a quality relationship that is less stressful -- but is there anytimes that having a kid is less stressful???? (lol)
I know that you are feeling pulled and what you wrote is good. Driving is a privledge not a right and when the person has an accident you would be held liable.
Here I go with my stories again. But live and learn from us folks. I've had a unique life that keeps on getting stranger by the minute. Okay here's the true story:
My mother was still driving on her long-term memory around (so I thought) only our town (2 miles wide). I saw the damage to the vehicle one day and asked her what happened. She replied that she came out of a neighborhood store and found the car like that.
Mother apparently had a hit and run!!! and her plate was turned into the cops. But the cops weren't from our town because I found out mother was driving all over creation and not staying within our town limits. Anyway she intercepted a letter sent to the house where it requested her presence down at police headquarters. She had to show them her license and registration so the person could file a damage report and get their car fixed.
Sister found out either by finding the 'letter' or mother telling her about going to the police and Sister came over and got me! -- for those that don't know -- I'm the 'bad' seed, while sister is the 'good' seed. Anyway, I screamed in mother's face, told her how she could've lost the house right out from under all of us, how she's lucky it was just a side mirror she hit and not someone and I immediately proceeded to go into her purse, and took her keys, right there on the spot. No doctor, no motor vehicle, just me!. I mean if I was not the darling daughter anyway, what the heck was I worried about? It also was the fact that her insurance went up to $4000/hr for one car for that one accident! because it was a hit-and-run
I gave my son my car and I started driving Mom's car that was transferred under our insurance. She was not happy!, and Sister was a little unhappy because now she had to drive mother when mother wanted to go out. I said tough!, mother can't drive any longer. Everyone has to face the fact and get on with life.
My mother always lied to me and telling me that she found the car damaged that day only to learn 3 weeks later the cops were looking for her, really put me over the edge. The only good thing was when my kids saw my reaction, it scared them so much, they now tell me about every little incident with their cars, They don't hide a thing!
KenBob, I hope this finds you doing well. And to all others out there; IBake, DGabriel, Lil Deb, Petal, etc. May God Bless Us All.
Gothope - I've told my story about my husband's driving a few times, but not recently...so here goes. When he was diagnosed with early onset AD, one of the neurologists immediately reported the diagnosis to our State's DOT. His license was pulled, since he was deemed to be impaired. Frankly, we couldn't understand it at the time. He had been driving for over 30 years, and I thought he was a great driver (certainly better than our 16 yr old was!). We thought that he should be able to continue driving until later in the disease when his memory or driving were going to be more impaired.
I did research and found out that we could appeal the fact that his license had been revoked to a medical board that advises the State's DOT (unfortunately, I only found one case in which an appeal was reported in law journals - and in that case, it was held that driving was a privilege not a right and that the medical board had absolute discretion to recommend suspension of a license).
DH decided to try to appeal the cancellation of his license. He was newly diagnosed and functioning at a very high level. At the time, he was just having some trouble finding words (although I look back and see other symptoms too, such as the fact that his closet and desk were becoming cluttered and he was becoming undecisive).
We learned that most doctors will not overrule a recommendation of another doctor for a license suspension, due to potential liability. DH found a rehabilitation hospital that did driving examinations for people who needed medical clearances, whether for seizure disorders, fainting, AD, etc.
We made an appointment for DH to go through their examination. It wasn't covered by insurance, and cost a few hundred dollars.
The test results were a huge shock to both of us. He missed some basic street signs in the written portion. When tested for peripheral vision and reaction time, his results were very poor. He was able to handle the car fine, but his brain was already damaged enough so that its reactions to stimulus were already abnormal. For ex., if a kid on a bike rode into the path of his car at the same time that someone honked a horn or a light changed, his reactions were delayed and impaired. His judgment on some of the questions about what to do in the event of certain situations also showed abnormalities. The results of the hospital's tests showed that he was no longer a safe driver even though he was only at the early stage of the disease.
Most people don't go to the lengths that we went to, to try to keep someone driving. In our case, DH was still in his 50s, and we had no experience with AD in our families. Having the tests was an eye-opener. Most people point out that AD patients start to have little accidents, that roads can become unfamiliar to them, or that the liablity for a family is signficantly increased if an AD patient is permitted to drive and gets into an accident. Based on the info that we got, I think all of those things are absolutely true.
I'd like to also point out that it may be easier to get a patient in the habit of NOT driving at an early stage of the disease. Taking keys away and getting them used to being a passenger is a lot easier when they understand the reason, then later in the disease when they may be unable to fully understand why they can't drive anymore. .
Wow beginning.... I wish there was something in my state to compare with the license revocation in your state or the driving testing facility. Dad was told early in his dementia not to drive by his doctor. When the girls were home we always drove. We had told Mom not to let him drive (before her ALZ showed up) but we found out that she was letting him drive anyway. Four years after the doctor told him to stop driving his driver's license was to expire. I suggested letting them lapse and just taking him back for a state identification card. They are very similar to the driving license but do not include driving privilages and are for identification only. Instead.... my sister had his license renewed. All he had to do was take an eye test, sign his name, and identify a few signs visually. He STILL has a valid Driver's license.
For two years after that, when Mom was hidding her ALZ under the umbrella of depression and caregiver stress, Mom frequently let Dad drive. Mom drove a year longer than she should have only because I couldn't get her GP to agree that it needed to be done and some of the sisters didn't understand the need. I would count bumps on the van and report the new ones every time I went home. We didn't live close enough to control their usage of the van if it was at the house.... and Dad went balistic if it was not at the house. That was the main reasons Mom and Dad ended up in AL. When Mom's priviledges were finally taken, and Dad was no longer willing (and definitely not able) to drive, that lead to her melt down, the altercation with the caregiver, and off they went to AL...... with the van far far away!!
It turned out to be the pivital issue for Mom. The loss of independence and control that driving gave her was more than she could handle. To this day we get snippy comments..... I can't go get what I want or I could do that but you don't think I can drive or I can't go anywhere by myself. It is still very much a sour point with her.
We were forced into this process by the neurologist who reported him to the DOT. At the time, we thought he was a real jerk (he didn't tell us that he was going to do it). When we got the test results, we realized that he actually was being helpful even though his communication skills left a lot to be desired. I'm sure we would have argued with him if he did try to tell us, and he just wanted to avoid an argument.
Interestingly, there was recently a series in the paper about early onset AD. The featured patient still is driving for meals on wheels...although his AD sounds simiiar to DH's AD in the early years. I guess his neurologist or family physician has a different approach to AD than the neurologist we visited.
I know that patients don't want to give up their driving, but based on the info that we got I am amazed at the patients' physicians' lack of responsibility and the patients' families' wishful thinking. Can you imagine the liability if an AD patient injures someone due to impaired judgment or reaction times, when the plaintiffs' lawyers find out that the patient was allowed to continue to drive by the doctor and family members? Not to mention the guilt if someone is hurt or killed...of course, there are countless impaired drivers on the road already. Drivers can be impaired for many reasons, like a teenager who texts while driving or a driver who has arthritis and can't get to a brake pedal quickly. I'm overly sensitive to the risks of impaired drivers after DH had those tests.
I'd bet that your state does have this process, but that the physicians and DOT aren't enforcing it. In our case, I later discovered that a patient with a seizure disorder had blacked out in a car and killed someone a few months before DH was diagnosed. The Governor had sent a letter to all physicians in the state reminding them of their liability for not reporting patients whose ability to drive was impaired. Our neurologist had taken that letter to heart. Based on the article about the early onset AD patient who is still driving, I'd say it's time for another reminder letter.