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Old 07-09-2012, 01:29 PM   #1
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Bewildered, heart broken, torn, angry, resentful - What to do with all these emotions

I have not posted in a while - still try to read when I can, but I am finding myself pulling away from everyone and everything. I am blessed to have my husband and two kids, still very close and for that I am truly grateful!

I am just having a hard time dealing with the fact that my FIL (with alzheimers) is not getting the care that he needs/deserves at home. He lives with my MIL, my hubby and I live upstairs. FIL's other children - most of them have buried his head in the sand and try to convince themselves and us that he "isnt bad enough yet" to be in a facility. MIL physically cant nor does she want to have any part in his daily care. There is only so much hubby and I can do. He is a stubborn man and seldom will do what we tell him he needs to do.

While he was in a rehab facility a few months back, after a couple weeks in the hospital...his strength and determination grew tremendously. Granted it was mostly because he wanted to get out of there, so he worked his butt off to get his strength back. But still, he was eating and exercising regularly...which of course makes you feel better. He HATED it there, and so did most of his kids - hated him being there. BUT they visited him almost daily while he was there. He was doing so well (physically) when they sent him home.

SInce he has been home for a few months, a couple of his kids (all live local) will make time once a week to spend an hour with him. A couple only see him if there is a family function, maybe once a month. And most dont even call on the phone at all. This past week he has not been eating any real meals, only an occasional donut or cinnamon roll. He has become very weak and sometimes cant get up off the couch by himself. Last night hubby noticed that the front of his pants were wet. He had been doing well as far as incontinence goes. He hasnt had a shower or bath in over a month! He cries all the time and says that he is dying. His sundowning is getting worse too!

While all of this breaks my heart to watch, I do what I can to help. I have always informed the other family members of his condition and episodes. Last night when he was really bad and breaking down, a part of me wanted to tell his kids to get their butts over to see him before its too late - but the other part of me wont and refused to call anyone. My husband did call one of his brothers (the favorite son) to fill him in. I am so angry and resentful that they all have their own little happy lives, and most have no desire to even know whats going on in their parents little world over here. Meanwhile I take care of them, but they get all the say in his care.

We can not move out - just not possible right now. We are stuck here, and I dont mind being here to help them. Im actually glad to be here for them. I just dont know how to get past all these negative emotions. I have always been the optimist but these past couple years, I have really become the pessimist and I hate it! The family used to be so close, and now nobody talks to one another except at family functions. Its so sad - so unfair, and weighing heavy on me.

Thanks for reading this far - I really just needed to get that out. I can only talk to my hubby about it, but he is really frustrated too...so we just commiserate together, but dont have any ideas to help ourselves.

Christine

 
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Old 07-09-2012, 02:28 PM   #2
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Re: Bewildered, heart broken, torn, angry, resentful - What to do with all these emot

Hey Chris - So sorry to hear of all that you're dealing with. It sounds like a tough situation to be sure, but it also sounds like your FIL definitely needs more care. Is there any possibility that you or hubby could get an outside caregiver involved? No shower or bath for a month isn't a good thing for anyone And the not eating, etc.

I'm sorry for all that you're going through. Feel free to vent anytime. This board saw me through so much with my stepdad's dementia. I know others will post too. Hang in there. None of this is easy and it sounds like you're trying to do your best in a tough situation.

 
Old 07-09-2012, 06:17 PM   #3
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Re: Bewildered, heart broken, torn, angry, resentful - What to do with all these emot

I remember you Christine and wondered how you were doing. It is difficult when you have the reponsibility and none of the authority. Yes, the others have their heads delightfully buried in the sand so they don't have to know what is going on. If they came by they would have to see... and who wants to see this? Yes, your FIL does deserve better care. No, your MIL should hot have to shoulder the care giving... or should you. The family is distant because of the big pink elephant in the room... your FIL's condition. While they run the other way it is you and hubby that have the burden on your shoulders. It's a great gig for the rest of the family... as long as they can get by with it. But it is what is it....

You have to know that you can not change how other people react and the choices they make. Holding resentment and anger towards them is like holding onto hot colds and expecting somebody else to get burned. It only hurts you. They do not have a care in the world as you sit and smolder because of their poor choices. What you have to do is decide that you are going to do this (if that is the choice you have made) without the cooperation or help from the family. At some point your FIL will end up back in the hospital/rehab.... it is obviously headed that way how. I would explain to the family that you can take care of MIL but FIL is beyond your capacity to deal with. Then get the hospital social worker involved. Let them be the heavy. If necessary you can call the department on aging social worker to investigate. They can tell the family that he needs to be in a care faility if that is their finding. But what I see is a crisit on the horizon. It will be an injury or medical situation that forces a repeat of before. Just hope at that point you and hubby can advocate for your FIL and say he is not capable of living where he is any longer.

Vent away Please don't isolate yourself. We are always here for you. You might want to find a local Alzhiemer's Association Support Group as well. You do need support and somebody that understands what you are going through!! Hang in there....

Love, deb

 
Old 07-10-2012, 05:13 AM   #4
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Re: Bewildered, heart broken, torn, angry, resentful - What to do with all these emot

So sorry that your FIL is in this state. I remember you mentioned that your MIL does not want to care for him. Well you cannot force brothers to come as you guys are in the house. Only your husband can do things to help his Dad.
You may want to give him the adult diaper/undergarment. The pull-up kind. You really have to help him personally when it comes to toileting.
Also he may have trouble to pick up the food - he probably is not at the stage of not wating to eat. He needs help to be fed. Maybe a spoon can help. Desserts are sweet and easy to eat. For meals, you need to help him. Do you and your husband watch him personally? Is there any part-time hired help? This does not mean he needs a nursing home now. He needs home care. You need to find him a personal caregiver to make sure he can bathe, eat, and go to the toilet properly. He won't wash his hands either unless he is told.
He also needs to be diagnosed so you know what stage he is in.
Alzheimer's care is not easy. He will decline. So you need to be prepared. No use to wait for brothers to act unless they can offer finanical help or are willing to take care of him.

Take care,
Nina

Last edited by ninamarc; 07-10-2012 at 05:59 AM.

 
Old 07-10-2012, 06:48 AM   #5
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Re: Bewildered, heart broken, torn, angry, resentful - What to do with all these emot

Christine, who has the health care power of attorney for your FIL? Is it Mom or your hubby... or another sibling... or is there not one? This can make a difference in what can be done.

Love, deb

 
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Old 07-10-2012, 07:20 AM   #6
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Re: Bewildered, heart broken, torn, angry, resentful - What to do with all these emot

Good Morning!

Deb, glad that you remember me, and so thoughtful of you to be wondering about how things are going. You are a huge help to so many on this board - your knowledge and caring does not go unnoticed!

I know in my head and have resolved to the fact that I can not change nor obsess over anyone elses actions, or lack thereof. I tell myself all the time, that I will do all that I can do to help Robs parents, and not worry about the others. And I do what I can to help - more than my share, which is honestly fine with me...I am a caregiver by nature, always have been. But I am only kidding myself if I say that I dont wish things were different and wish that I could have my OWN life too. My kids have just both moved out in the past year - so if I could bury MY head in the sand, as far as his parents go - I could be living the good life too! Sounds pretty selfish now that I see it on paper

I dont know how to stop feeling that way. I dont get the chance to go a day not worrying about them, like the others do....and some even weeks at a time.

Every week I take MIL to the hairdresser and to get groceries. Its like pulling teeth to get someone to stay with my FIL for those couple hours. And thats the ONLY time that she gets out of the house. My husband will do it, if hes not working, but otherwise I end up asking everyone and listening to their excuses as to why they cant. They are going to concerts, or picnics or whatever. MUST BE NICE!

How do I not feel bitter resentment towards them? I truly wish I could be happy that they are not witnessing the slow agonizing decline in their father, the way that I am. Its just hard that their are so many of them - Rob has 4 brothers and 2 sisters - why is it just us? We have told all of them numerous times that we need help and they always agree, but never follow through.

On top of all of this, I have my own health issues. I have fibromyalgia, anxiety disorder, migraines and in 3 weeks will be having a hysterectomy. I am only 44 years old - going on 100! I do not work, I collect social security disability. So, they all know that I am disabled, yet dont worry that maybe this is more than I can handle - AND I have told them that, more than once. But I guess as long as I keep doing it - they will keep allowing me to! DING DING! I look well, so I must feel well - dont I wish! Rob and I are making up a list of the things that they will all need to pitch in and do for their parents, while I am recovering for a few weeks...dr appts, blood work, groceries, etc. Cant wait to see how that goes!

NINA - I see that your FIL just passed away. I am very sorry for your loss. The fact that you are here responding to my (and others) posts while you are grieving is very much appreciated. I do hope that you and your hubby are taking care of yourselves, and that things are going as smoothly as can be expected.

FIL has been diagnosed for going on 3 years now. I would put him at probably around stage 5-6.

He is not normally incontinent, but I am sure that will be coming soon and we do already have the Depends on hand. FIL (MIL, and Rob) do not want me to be the one to help with toileting and showering. He would never let me help at this point. Hubby has helped him to the toilet a couple times, but not without FIL putting up a fight. He is still very private and uncomfortable. Not to mention MIL does not want us to do that - she says we shouldnt have to, but yet she wont either. She thinks that we shouldnt "baby" him, and let him do things for himself. I know, I know - she absolutely doesnt get it - and never will. We have all explained it to her, and she just doesnt believe that it is what it is.

He can still eat with fork and spoon - just does not WANT to eat. He tells her not to cook anything for dinner, because he doesnt want anything - so she doesnt...and he doesnt eat. And then wonders why he isnt moving his bowels, and why he is so weak. I agree that it is probably getting more difficult for him to chew and swallow more and more, so he just says he isnt hungry. And he is afraid that if he eats, and hes not pooping that he will get more constipated. Pooping is the most important thing in his life right now! Its a vicious cycle.

Rob and I live in the upper half of the house, and MIL and FIL in the lower half. They have their own kitchen, bath, bdrms, etc. We try to allow them their privacy still, but are down there a few times through out the day - to bring meds, mail, do laundry, etc. They (nor we) can afford to have an aide come in, and his insurance will not cover it, unless he needs skilled nursing care, which unbelievably he doesnt. All of his vitals are under control, his heart is good, etc.

My MIL has been a little more caring and helpful than she was in the beginning but still - not anywhere near what he needs or deserves. Although I do not work - I do have other responsibilities and can not care for him 24/7. Rob is a self employed Mason, and is very busy this time of the year. So the majority of the caregiving falls to MIL. And she does the BARE minimum. Will not even tell him to change his clothes or shower. Before I took over his meds - she would not even remind him to take them. She has a lot of resentment and hatred towards him, that she can not let go of. She doesnt want to take care of him at all.

Again, I have gone on and on...just helps to explain things. Thank you guys so much for understanding and being the shoulders that I need to cry on. I promise I will try to get here and participate more often. Feels so good to do so!
Christine

 
Old 07-10-2012, 05:54 PM   #7
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Re: Bewildered, heart broken, torn, angry, resentful - What to do with all these emot

Yes, Christine it does help to vent and let it all out. You know you can here There is not back lash or tongue thrashing from us because we do get it!. Resentment is a bitter evil emotion to hold on to. It eats you up and does nothing to the person that set the fire in you. You have to allow yourself to let go. Not because they are right but because you do not need the burden any longer. It's not easy but for yourself, letting go as much as you can will be beneficial. No, it is not fair.... but you can't change what is... except to allow yourself to be free of the negativity that they have piled into your life. There are times I am sure you look around and fantasize about being like them... but you are not That is what sets you apart!

You said a mouth full when you said ....."But I guess as long as I keep doing it - they will keep allowing me to!"..... Exactly!! People treat is the way we allow them to treat us. Instead of asking for help just put out a schedule and give no room for excuses. I swear I would say... "I am sorry but your Father is more important than a pool party. You have to be there because I am NOT going to be there." ... big smile! If given options they will take the easy way out. You can even add that is they need to they can "Swap" with another sibling... but not you! Put the monkey on their back to find alternative plans if it doesn't suit them. There are 7 total... give them a day a each. At some time during that day they have to come spend a designated amount of time.... even if it is an hour. That way you have an hour of freedom each day.

I do remeber your MIL well and I am glad she is doing a little better with care. As you see resentment can fest until it creates bitterness. Getting her to understand the disease is another hurdle. Her big strong hubby who has always been in charges doesn't need to be help with anything? Keep working with her. Slowly but surely she might just get it. And you can even have her work on the other siblings that hour or two a day to get them to make alternative plans for FIL. You do know I am sure that you are not going to be able to keep FIL in this situation until the end. With the onset of wandering, falling, incontience... there will be problems that MIL and you can not handle. So start setting the stage for the next episode now.

Get hubby on board with the demands vs the request. Don't take no for an answer. They can spare an hour or two a week for their father! Rather than you feeling resentment... heap on a dose of guilt where it belongs

Hang in there... keep venting... and know we are here for support!!

Love, deb

 
Old 07-10-2012, 07:15 PM   #8
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Re: Bewildered, heart broken, torn, angry, resentful - What to do with all these emot

Deb, you are so right! The resentment is eating me up, and holding me down - while they are still enjoying their own lives. Doesnt change a thing, does it?! Just gives them more control over me, by my own doing! I am going to really work on letting go of as much as I can. I have already googled ways to work at letting go of resentment. I am making it my mission, that before my surgery, I will have worked on this - one day at a time, and I am hopeful that I can go into my surgery without those ugly feelings, or let them go - along with my uterus! LOL

Rob and I have already made up a calendar with all of their appointments and such and a place for them to sign up. There is a great-nieces birthday party this weekend (at our house, because we have a nice pool), and we are going to tell them that all of the spots need to be filled before everyone leaves. And if they sign up for something, and cant do it then THEY need to find someone else who can or reschedule for when they can. I have also told my MIL that some of them may be more likely to help out if SHE asks them to, rather than me always asking them. They have no problem telling me no, but maybe they would feel more guilty telling her no?

I better go - I have some work to do - need to learn how to let go of a boatload of resentment! Thank you all!

Christine

 
Old 07-10-2012, 07:28 PM   #9
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Re: Bewildered, heart broken, torn, angry, resentful - What to do with all these emot

I would fille out the calendar and tell them if it doesn't suit them then fix it with their siblings... you are OUT!! I would put at the top... "I, as your Mom, need your help with these dates!" She might be right that she will get more response than you as a SIL. Guilt them if that works But don't expect them to volunteer... assign them a day and let them work it out if it doesn't work for them!

Getting a handle on the resentment will be the best thing you have ever done for yourself... keep working on it!!!

Love, deb

 
Old 07-11-2012, 06:04 AM   #10
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Re: Bewildered, heart broken, torn, angry, resentful - What to do with all these emot

As a guy who needs to coordinate everyone's efforts all the time, I second Deb's suggestion. If I want to talk to someone, I never leave it open ended. I always start by stating a time slot.

I like the calendar idea, Christine. However, you fill out the chore list. Before they leave the party, they can swap their jobs with someone else. If not, the task is theirs.

Since I am a relatively newcomer, I don't have your FIL and MIL's history as to why MIL has so much anger towards him. I am assuming there is no resolving this? Is there a chance that MIL is also going a little softer upstairs? This has always been one of my biggest personal fears, to be incapacitated but have the companionship and at the mercy of someone harboring resentment and anger towards me. Maybe it's a good thing that FIL may be at a stage where he doesn't feel that anymore.

 
Old 07-11-2012, 06:43 AM   #11
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Re: Bewildered, heart broken, torn, angry, resentful - What to do with all these emot

Thank you Chris. We are getting better. It is a long goodbye - it is not like we were totally shocked although a little surprised by the timing. My late FIL had been quite sick since April when he had started to need to be fed.

Luau, sometimes the spouses do have problem with each other. Esp. when the spouse has dementia. It is hard for older couple. If the wife was not well-treated by the husband or didn't like whatever was in the marriage, she would get more resentful that she has to care for an invalid husband. And if she is sick and has her own health issue, it is even worse. So at times the spouse at old age would have a hard time to do so, usually the adult kids come in to help. Sometimes the couple even has to separate - one goes to the adult kid's home, and the other one goes to another home or stay in the same place.
Dementia is a terrible thing that ruins family relationships. What is sad is that the caregivers where my late FIL was all said he was very nice and thanked them for their help. But he refused our help with anger and he forgot his elder son. It was good for the hired caregivers, but bad for family, sadly to say. One reason is that he is used to the hired help and also he tended to pamper himself in front of us and didn't want to follow what we said. He still had that fatherly authority with us... Not 2 faces, but it is how his mind worked.

Regards,
Nina

Last edited by ninamarc; 07-11-2012 at 06:45 AM.

 
Old 07-12-2012, 08:46 AM   #12
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Re: Bewildered, heart broken, torn, angry, resentful - What to do with all these emot

I am still working on letting go of a lot. It isnt easy, but I have felt some of the weight lift. Still more work to do!

My MIL has not been happy in her marriage from very early on, when she learned of FIL's infidelity. But, with 7 kids and a very catholic upbringing, she felt stuck. Unfortunately, now that FIL has no filter, she is learning more and more about things that he did back then, and the bitterness is just building. She is not the type to show him any inkling of caring about him at all. She barely speaks to him and thinks that he is putting on a big act for attention. She hates when people "cater to him" and he thinks that everybody "spoils her". So its a constant battle. There is no changing her mind...she does care about him, as the father of her kids (which there are a couple that he claims are not his, LOL) but she hates everything about him. Like I said though, she is coming around some - still far from what you would hope for though

I appreciate the input regarding the calendar, but I cant just fill it in for them, seems to harsh (i know, thats what they need). However, we will stand firm that ALL of the events need to be accounted for, before anyone leaves here! If not, THEN we will assign.

Luau, I was reading about your wife Lucy, and wondering how things are going now?

Christine

 
Old 07-12-2012, 09:41 AM   #13
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Re: Bewildered, heart broken, torn, angry, resentful - What to do with all these emot

Christine, I do remember your MIL's angst with your FIL from before and to be honest... I can't blame her one bit for being bitter. Especially in the past there were not may options other than to stay. But it is an example of letting that bitter resentfulness define your life. At this point it is probably not going to change. My question is, knowing all this, why would the siblings insist that she be the one that cares for your FIL. Knowing MIL"s feelings and what she has been through with him, why not release her from her prison???? Her freedom of this failed marriage, even at this point, would be a blessing to her.

You are right that with the lack of social filter a dementia patients will tell you more than you want to know. I have seen several that become fixated on their own demons or demons that others have inflicted on them. We have one poor lady that is tormented constantly because her spouse cheated on her with her sister. The rants of profanity directed at them both is painful to hear... even though this happened decades ago and they are both dead. In another case a daughter learned of the physical and emotional abuse her father inflicted on her mother. She was kept in the dark until her Mom's dementia brought it to the forefront. Dementia drags so many skeletons out of the closet to deal with. In your MIL's case she knew but doesn't need it splashed in her face now.... and then be expected to take care of him with love and compassion. That alone, in my mind, is a good reason to make other arrangements for FIL!!!

I actually expected you to say ....."but I cant just fill it in for them, seems to harsh (i know, thats what they need)."..... That is what got you where you are They can do it to you but you can't do it to them. I am in much the same boat but there are times that I have to fill in the blanks for them. Most days you just go along doing what you do and letting them do what they do.. But there are times when you have to step up and do the nasty! You have a situation now that you can not do it. Let them know that. If they step up well and good. If not then make it imperative that they do by letting them know that you will not be there to do it. Then fill in the blanks, leave it in their hands, and walk off. Do not allow them the comfort of your back up. No, it is not easy but this time you don't have a choice. So put a steel rod in the back and make your demands. Be aware that this is not only good for you... it is good for them as well. It may just be the time when the blinders of denial fall back a little and they see what is going on. Good luck!

Love, deb

 
Old 07-12-2012, 10:54 AM   #14
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Re: Bewildered, heart broken, torn, angry, resentful - What to do with all these emot

Christine, it is not harsh to put down a task next to everyone's names and then give them the option to rearrange if they need to. It is how you present it to the group. Just say you are going to make it easy for them. You will probably find that most are okay with their assigned slot, and the fact that you give them the option to change makes them feel like they have control. YOu will find that in any group, getting people to volunteer is much easier if you give them good starting positions. In your case, you simply suggested the tasks that they may be best at.

Lucy is home and recovering from the leg. Thanks for asking. I have scheduled her for follow-up neuropsych, ortho, and finally with the primary for the next couple of weeks, not to mention physical therapy. Not much to report right now. Memory issues and confusion are still there, but all the pain killers have made her much less combative, which is a good thing for household peace. I will be posting an update in a week or so.

 
Old 07-12-2012, 02:15 PM   #15
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Re: Bewildered, heart broken, torn, angry, resentful - What to do with all these emot

Christine and Gabriel:

Your postings reminded me of something very painful. At one point during DH's disease, I discovered something that he had hidden from me that I felt was very signficant. I was in knots, but I couldn't yell at him or question why he had kept this information hidden since he was no longer able to explain it to me. At the time, we were participating in a research study. I broke down with the person conducting the study and disclosed that I had found out something very upsetting. The person conducting the study told me that this happens frequently with Alzheimers. As the patient loses control of his or her life, that person's "secrets" come out. Sometimes the family discovers a gambling problem, a prior marriage or an affair, hidden bank accounts, etc. It's another side effect of the disease that the social or personal barriers that allow someone to hide things or maintain privacy are knocked down. You never know what might come out.

 
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