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Old 05-01-2012, 06:41 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Arlington, KS, USA
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lynie1978 HB User
Early Onset of Alzheimer's and Domestic violence: Hobsonís Choice

My name is Lyn McLaurine. Iím a 52 year-old married woman with a 57 year-old husband who has Early Onset of Alzheimerís Disease, at an advanced stage. Even though I worked hard at keeping our family together, Bill was deep into his Marine Corps experience and his 14 yearsí experience in Corrections. He was heavily into control. He was often verbally and emotionally abusive of my son and me throughout our marriage. The Early Onset of Alzheimerís condition exasperated the dark side of learned behavior associated with being a Marine (thereís no such thing as an Ex-MarineÖ once a Marine, always a Marine) and the negativity associated with working in a prison environment.

This past December (Christmas Day to be exact) Bill In a short four-week period, he quickly escalated to violence and then to threatening my life with knives. I was scared to return to the home with my son, fearing we will be beaten or killed. My experience lead me to a nightmare experience where I learned firsthand how governments have cut back on mental health funding and are forcing families to treat violent mentally ill family members at risk to their own health and safety, sometimes under penalty of criminal sanctions. Iíve found it prevalent in my home state of Kansas and suspect it is prevalent nationwide.

With Christmas approaching, I decided to try to take my husband to see his aging parents, noting the changes and knowing this could be the last time I would be able to travel safely with Bill. I had him convinced, so I thought, that I would be ďescortingĒ us in the car since he was no longer to drive. Two weeks before we were to leave Bill began to refuse to take his medications for his condition. On Christmas Day Bill woke escalated, announcing he would be driving the car or taking his own car to Cincinnati to see his parents. I have no power of attorney to force him into care, but I was able to get him admitted to the Psychiatric Ward in the county facility. They discharged him three days later, one and a half days after they started him on a heavy psychotropic. The Psych unit contacted me, forcing me to take him home even though I was very verbose in indicating I was unable to care for him. The hospital refused to assist us in finding a place for him to be monitored until he was stable, indicated he was stable on the ward, and was told by the social worker on the ward that they did not want our bill to get too high, as we did not have insurance. It was his experience that most people in that scenario do not follow up with a medical plan because they cannot afford to. We made too much money to qualify for assistance on his Social Security Disability and my unemployment and part time online teaching. Those are our only sources of income at present. We had no other resources. I was repeatedly told I had to take him home and I would be provided a crisis plan that I would implement The police were to be called and he would be escorted to Horizons for an evaluation.

Bill was released. My mother stayed at our side for three days. On the third day she decided to go to her home to take a break. My friend arrived to cover for her while she was gone, again, because Bill continued to be on edge starting the day we brought him home from the hospital.

Within the first hour of my momís temporary departure, Bill began to show agitation towards me. This friend, Melany Ketchum, saw Bill begin to try to intimidate me, threaten me and push me, trying to get the car keys (heís not allowed to drive). She was horrified. She called the Reno County, KS Sheriffís Office to get help. The Sheriff arrived, and as per the crisis intervention plan provided by the hospital when I was forced to take Bill home, The Sheriff contacted the county mental health facility and the crisis center refused to see Bill for an assessment per the instructions of the physician that discharged us, indicating Bill was stable on the unit. The Sheriff indicated the Horizonís Psychiatrist called it a family matter.

Terrified to stay since the Sheriff was called and help was refused, I asked the Sheriff what my recourse was. The Sheriff indicated the only other option was to file a complaint. Bill would be taken in and transferred to a state facility for evaluation. The Sheriffís officer took my signed statement. In an afterthought he contacted his supervisor. His supervisor advised him not to follow through. The Sheriff refused to file my complaint or escort him to treatment at the county mental health facility. In fact, in following up I learned my statement was never filed with the sheriffís record office. Theyíve since refused to do legally required wellness checks or assist in any way.
During this time, to my knowledge my husband was never declared legally incompetent. Thus I did not pursue legal guardianship/conservator. I learned two weeks during this crisis period by accident that Bill has been determined to be incompetent during his stay at the county hospital by the providing psychiatrist that released him. I was not informed. I was also refused help in finding appropriate care for him.

No one, in all my attempts to get him and myself help discussed domestic violence with me or acknowledged that I was even a victim of domestic violence. I was made to feel like it was my fault that I couldnít control my husband and his violent behavior, if they even believed it existed. The county hospital forced me to take my abuser back, even calling the state on me. They refused to assist me in finding long term care for him, forcing me to take him home.

I've been to state, federal and local agencies and not one of them can help us either because our meager income is a hair too high or they are not willing to provide information. None of them even told me, as a domestic violence victim, how to get help or even a temporary protective order. Only a family friend who had been through Department of Justice domestic violence training recognized it and helped me get help. One agency, the V.A. Hospital in Wichita, took my situation seriously and advised me to not return home, that he would try to lure me back to do me harm. Iíve followed their advice.

During this time I received a letter that I was to be investigated to be charged with a felony for not taking care of a dependent adult by the District Attorney. The District Attorneyís office became involved when I refused to go home to my abuser. Although I had arranged on neighbors to check on him, made sure he had groceries and people to provide meals each day and laid out his medicine for him. The D.A. continues to threaten to send me, a domestic violence victim, back to my abuser under penalty of a felony charge. Charges are likely to be filed any day.

Throughout all of this, I have tried to obtain a list of facilities in Kansas that will take violent Alzheimerís patients, but no one, at the state, county or even mental hospital level, will provide a list to me. Even the state mental hospital wonít take such patients. We make just a hair too much for the V.A. to assist us.

One of the many failures in the system available to individuals with mental deficiencies is the government cutbacks experienced here in Kansas. Kansans are not alone. Are Governors and the state legislature realizing the after affects that these cutbacks have abdicated on providing adequate and basic mental health facilities? Where is justice when criminal laws and sanctions on terrified family members whose loved ones strike out against them with violence, to imprison us in abuse and endanger our health and lives, all to save the state money? A family friend told me that the state has given me a Hobsonís Choice Ė return to my abuser or go to jail. No one, he explained, should be forced to do herself injury under penalty of criminal law.

What Iíve learned is that Iím not alone. Whether from a stranger at the SRS office telling me that she is going through the same situation or learning of the abysmal, antiquated definition of domestic violence that the Sheriffís office and D.A.ís office use in this county that everyone in the county seems to acknowledge, women are being forced back into the hands of their abusers. Equally troubling is that violent Alzheimerís patients are left without adequate care when family members are unable to care for them and canít afford to put them in expensive nursing homes, or even find lists of such homes that provide such care.

I suspect that this problem is nationwide. I would like to help publicize this issue. Please help us help all the other spouses out there suffering in silence, not sure what to do, not sure where to turn and facing abuse at the hands of a loved one who is mentally ill.

The following user gives a hug of support to lynie1978:
ninamarc (05-02-2012)
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Old 05-04-2012, 09:42 AM   #2
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Re: Early Onset of Alzheimer's and Domestic violence: Hobsonís Choice

Lyn, I am sorry that you have/had a hard time with your husband. What about now? Is he at home with you?
Have you tried to apply for medicaid?

It is hard to handle someone who is psychotic. I am sorry he was not under control. It is sad. It is true that the community tends to feel sorry for the demented person and the support for the family is limited. Do continue to ask for help. Maybe you can call Alzheimer's Association for help.
Often for older patients, the spouses cannot care for the person and the adult kids help out. Some adult kids move the parent to be near them. Many people are lucky that they can control the person or they have the resources to help such person while protecting themselves.
You are right, it has to do with his military experience. The personality is still in play but his mind is more delusional and he gets sicker.

If you can get free help for legal aid, maybe you can ask what you can do. You cannot leave him alone as he is a patient but you have to protect yourself as well. I feel so sorry that this happened.

Some tips: The patient will get worse with early onset AD. Once he stops walking/talking and has eating issue, you may feel less threatened. Also never argue with the patient although he has been abusive to you in the marriage. Arguing only hurts yourself. Try to distract him and etc. Could you find any friends or relatives (instead of your Mom) to watch over him sometimes? It sounded like your Mom helped until she left and he got upset once. Or you can try the marriage consultant for any help. There are shelters for abused wives but you also need to find someone to be with him.

Take care,

Last edited by ninamarc; 05-04-2012 at 10:08 AM.

Old 05-04-2012, 01:51 PM   #3
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Re: Early Onset of Alzheimer's and Domestic violence: Hobsonís Choice

You definitely need legal assistance! Have you tried the University of Kansas school of law to see if they have an elder clinic? Is there an Alzheimers' Association in your region, who can walk you through your rights and how to get treatment for your husband?

I didn't understand your comment about not being eligible for VA assistance due to financial reasons. While you may have a copayment, they should not be denying your husband medical care. The VA has a lot of resources even on the national level that you need to research, until they tell you how to get him admitted to a VA hospital.

As I read your posting, my reaction was that you're being bullied and being given incomplete information. If he was deemed to be legally incompetent, it doesn't make sense that he would have been released until his legal standing was resolved. Is there someone who can stand with you during these battles until the situation is resolved? You may need a second pair of ears. Take notes, and make them go slow until you're sure you understand everything.

My reaction was that you need a lawyer asap, to deal with the DA and to explain that your husband has not been abandoned.

You may also want that lawyer to write to the hospital, the doctor, and everyone else who is insisting that you live with your husband despite his violence to tell them that (1) they have been advised of the likeihood of dangerous behavior, (2) their treatment and premature release of him before he was stabilized (as evidenced by continued violent behavior) was negligent; and (3) that you, your son (and/or your estate, as the case may be), will hold them legally responsible for any injuries whether to your husband or to anyone else in the family, resulting from such negligence and refusals to provide continued treatment. Your point would be to establish a record that injury to your husband or to you was forseeable from their refusal to continue care until he was either stabilized or could be placed in a safe environment. You should also request copies of all of the medical records.

Your story reminded me of something that occurred when my Mom was hospitalized about 20 years ago. My Dad stopped going to the hospital - not because he didn't care about Mom, but because the hospital put enormous pressure on him to take her home, even though he was recovering from a heart attack and she was bed-ridden and terminally ill. They threatened to call an ambulance to take her to the house. Their point was that the hospital was not a nursing home, and they had done all they could for her so she had to leave. My Dad told them on the phone that there was no one in the house to care for her and if she died it would be their fault. The hospital tried to give him phone numbers for health care aides and said her care was no longer their problem. They told him that he was abandoning her, and he told them that they were going to kill him with stress. It was awful. Another family member intervened to negotiate a nursing home placement that was satisfactory to everyone, but it was a very tense few days.

Hug. You will get through this.

Last edited by Beginning; 05-04-2012 at 01:53 PM.

Old 05-06-2012, 02:36 PM   #4
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Arlington, KS, USA
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lynie1978 HB User
Re: Early Onset of Alzheimer's and Domestic violence: Hobsonís Choice

Thanks, folks. Yes, I did try all the obvious supports- local and federal Alzheimer's agency, Dept of Aging, and so forth. Early Onset is a totally different "situation" with very little to no accessible supports.

Old 05-06-2012, 03:56 PM   #5
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Re: Early Onset of Alzheimer's and Domestic violence: Hobsonís Choice


Don't give up. I've reached out for information and help many times through the years with my early onset husband, and at times I had to be extremely persistent until I reached someone who could help.

I found one person at our local AD Association who had experience with early onset cases (she actually told me that they're seeing more and more of those cases, so it's becoming a bigger part of their support). I found one person in our local Dept. of Aging who was willing to give me a lot of good suggestions. Our family doctor was a great resource for trying medications and reaching out to other specialists. I agree that it's tougher with early onset cases, but don't give up. You just need to find the right people who are willing to listen and help!

It's been awhile since anyone has mentioned it, so I also suggest that you get copies of Alzheimers for Dummies and the 36 Hour Caregiver. Both were helpful books and you can find used copies on Amazon. You have to keep in mind that they may not reflect the most current information, but they're still very good. The national Alzheimers' Association also has a free quarterly magazine that I have found useful on occasion over the years.

Last edited by Beginning; 05-06-2012 at 03:59 PM.

Old 05-06-2012, 04:33 PM   #6
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Arlington, KS, USA
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lynie1978 HB User
Re: Early Onset of Alzheimer's and Domestic violence: Hobsonís Choice

I have found a fabulous attorney who has helped me wade through the legalities. My husband is safe and in a nursing home after a six week nightmare of events. Life goes on, and we are healing. It is so important to me to get the word out so others don't have to go through what I went through. I want to be a part of the solution.

Old 05-06-2012, 06:17 PM   #7
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Re: Early Onset of Alzheimer's and Domestic violence: Hobsonís Choice

Great news! I relied on a good attorney pretty heavily too, when we were getting DH admitted into a NH. It was a huge relief to be able to call on the lawyer when necessary, and to know that DH was getting the care that he needed.

There may still be ups & downs (for ex., my husband was sent to a psych hospital to have his medicines adjusted because of angry behavior), but at least our spouses are in the hands of professionals now. I doubt that there's anything that our spouses can do that the nursing home won't have already experienced with other Alzheimer's patients.

I hope you can get some rest now, and start to recover from the stress of the last few weeks.

Last edited by Beginning; 05-06-2012 at 06:21 PM.

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