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Old 01-17-2015, 08:23 AM   #1
Miss Muppet
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New at this game

My husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer's 3 years ago. There's no need to describe how we first noticed it but it has progressed more in the last 6 months or so. He has chosen to not share it with friends although at this point they all know as the changes in him are undeniable. Recently I was made aware of the fact that an acquaintance asked a friend how long he has been sick. She denied knowing anything about him having it and joked that at his age everyone forgets. I am now faced with the dilemma of letting him know that his efforts to conceal his condition are not working or keeping this to myself. He is very proud and intelligent and ashamed he has it. But to continue this charade in light of the fact that obviously it's no secret any more could cause him more embarrassment. I almost shared this with him last night after he said that he felt that this far he had everyone fooled but then kept silent because I didn't want to cause him pain. I know we must admit it soon but can't decide if he'll be more angry that I didn't let him know sooner as he'll think I let him look foolish or let him keep playing the game and do it on his own terms as he wants. Any ideas?

Last edited by Miss Muppet; 01-17-2015 at 08:27 AM. Reason: auto correct failed me

 
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Old 01-17-2015, 10:07 AM   #2
lenvegas
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Re: New at this game

Hi, I can understand how you feel wanting to tell him but my opinion is that you should not tell him and let him hold on to his dignity until it reaches the point that he may become a danger to himself or others. It would be at this point I would be very gentle and make him aware of the reality of his situation for the sake of his personal safety.

 
Old 01-17-2015, 10:15 AM   #3
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Re: New at this game

Also, there are many Alzheimers support groups all over the country that help spouses and caregivers. You would find the answers to many of your questions within these groups...

 
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Miss Muppet (01-18-2015)
Old 01-17-2015, 11:14 AM   #4
Titchou
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Re: New at this game

There is also an Alzheimer's board here. The people there have a lot of experience and can offer you some good advice.

 
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Miss Muppet (01-18-2015)
Old 01-17-2015, 09:05 PM   #5
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Re: New at this game

Miss Muppet, knowing exactly the right thing to do is difficult in the best of situations. As for me, it would depend on how much your husband comprehends, understands, and retains. He set the path he wanted to take early in the disease. Is it still a well thought out rational choice or just the status quo for him now? If you tried to explain the current situation, would he comprehend what you are saying and understand? If you told him today, what you have discovered, will he remember the content and meaning of the conversation tomorrow? How will he react and feel about himself if he knew?

If he has difficulty comprehending what you say to him, this would be a very difficult subject to explain. If he has trouble reasoning, it would be difficult for him to understand the ramifications. If he has trouble remembering, it would have to be done repeatedly. Is he so determined to keep it a secret that the information would be devastating? In there is the answer to your question.

My Mom denied her Alzheimer's. It was her worst fear come true because she cared for her Mom with Alzheimer's. She never did admit to anyone, including family, that there was anything wrong. Eventually we reached the same situation you are in now. It was obvious enough to be noticed and recognized by family and most of her good friends. I never did confront Mom with this information. Her ability to understand verbal conversation and the rational thought process to decipher what was being said was damaged to the point that just the explanation of the situation would have been very difficult. She also had trouble remembering so it would have had to be done repeatedly which was honestly not fair to her. Beyond that her fear of the disease would have made this information devastating. Mom didn't want to know.

My Dad on the other hand had more reasoning ability. His Vascular Dementia left his logic in tact. I could explain this topic to him and he got it. He had no fear of what was happening to him so he was ok with it. We just had to do it repeatedly because his short term memory was greatly impaired. Yet it never upset him and each time he would come to the same conclusion... that it was alright.

If your Dad's ability to understand what is going on around him, if he comprehends conversations and remembers them well enough that he could pick up on somebody else knowing, and if he understands that he does have dementia, you might try at least once to let him know, in a gentle way, that others are noticing the change. Otherwise, I would just let it be what it is. My bet is, that if his cognitive level has decline to the point that other notice, he is beyond comprehending, understanding, and remembering.

Love, deb

 
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Old 01-17-2015, 10:16 PM   #6
Miss Muppet
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Re: New at this game

I have read all the responses to my first posting and thank all of you sincerely. All responses carried the same theme - to let my husband continue to believe that no one is the wiser and not to tell him that the cat is out of the bag. I really do appreciate your input and shall allow him to think that no one knows he has Alzheimer's until he is ready, if ever, to share that.

 
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