Spouses with Alzheimers in moderate

I really am at my wits end. My husband is in moderate stage... he can dress, bathe, eat and is continent .. but he cannot manage life... its hard to put a finger on but best way to describe..he is still driving because he will not stop.. in our state we have no means or law to stop them. It seems no matter how dangerous the best you can do is have the Dr. send a letter to our DMV and they re-test.. if they pass or have good eyes they still drive..awful and I tried to tell him the car was broken down and in shop and he went balistic til it came back.... awful... but this non function.... is the hardest... and how to deal.. he can no longer use a microwave or do his meds or have a conversation... it is always turned to be about him.. and if I am doing anything he makes me stop to assist in whatever he has lost, telling him the date .. of which he never believes no matter what the calender says... etc.. i am going mad... he is on razadyne and seroquel... but awful does even begin to describe the reality or non reality that we live in... loosing a spouse is just the worst of this disease and living it 24/7/365 in taking away my will or desire to live... thanks for listening.... its just getting worse and worse...

Report post

35 replies. Join the discussion

Hi pontotocgirl, I am so sorry you are going through such a hard time. I went through the same scenarios with my Mom who has AD. Has your husband received a proper diagnosis from the doctor? Could he prescribe something mild for his mood/agitation? Do you have any family support you can turn to receive a break every now and then? Perhaps you can offer to drive with him every time he wants to go out? I am not sure I am being that helpful, but I know it is hard for you right now and you can come here to vent whenever you wish. Sometimes, the venting helps. Sending you a bug HUG !

Report post

your dh seems almost same stage as mine although mine cannot dress himself at all and guess I have blessed he so far has not bothered me about driving,I've been driving over 2 yrs now..he did say few days ago he was going to drive,,that nite when he went to sleep I exchanged his key for one I had made,it looks the same and will open door but won't start car one worry gone prayers are with u.. I say something and I am so wore out then tryIng to explain what I said till I think omg why did I open my mouth,,last nite dh was up ,,when I woke he had moved shoes all over house still got one lost,,ha. Do have burglar alarm to know if he opens door,,now we r up from about 3 till 5 ugh. Hugs

Report post

My husband was just evaluated by a social worker. She classified him as severe. He dresses himself, showers on his own, and fixes his own breakfast. He can't gather his thoughts to carry on a conversation, he suffers from OCD, he is always hiding things and not being able to find them. His paranoia is getting worse. His agressive agitation became so bad I didn't know what to do. I took him off his Seroquel completely and his agitation almost disappeared. I know it will come back, but his agitation seemed to increase with the Seroquel. His driver's license was suspended three years ago. He still is very angry about that and blames me for his losing it. I am ready to hire a caregiver to come in a couple days a week. It will give my husband someone new to "talk" to and relieve some of my worries. Living like this 24/7 is no life.

Report post

This sounds like my husband. He still drives. He gets lost. I try to either drive or go with him when he drives. He's so sure that he knows where he is going! He doesn't. If I have to run to the store I'll take his car keys with me. I've gotten a few nasty phone messages when he can't find his keys. He gets obsessed with things! We have a wood burning fireplace and he must light a fire every day and then he can't stay away from the fire! It is sooooooooo annoying. I could go on all day complaining about hi but I won't. Just want to let you know that we seem to be in the same boat!

Report post

I am new at this. But, really need to share with others who have the same issue I do. My husband has issues being corrrected or "advice". So, I have learned, to NOT do that. He has some problem with sleep, and some depression. Do you all communicate when things get tough??

Report post

Ponto & Csel: you might advise spouses that when/if accident occurs (hopefully not a line of kids awaiting school bus) you may have serious additional problems when, in litigation, it is discovered that Mod. Severe AD was present; such might even void insurance coverage since not fully disclosed to insurer. Few could survive that kind of naked liability exposure. Just a thought, but I'm not a lawyer. cpd

Report post

I asked my husbands neurologist to tell my husband to stop driving. He said "has he had accidents, does he drive into things, has he hit anything". I said that he didn't and the doctor told my husband he can still drive.

Report post

Sigh . . . . driving . . . . . I really lucked out on this one I'll tell you my story and perhaps it will be of some value.

Wife is 62 and moderate stage. She currently needs direction with all her ADLs and panics if she goes more than 2-3 minutes without seeing me. (I cant even use the bathroom myself)

She was driving exactly one year ago. She used to drive daily 1 mile from our house to the senior center for lunch then either to my parents house (a few hundred yards farther) or back home again. She never wanted (or tried) to go anywhere else but she did like the esteem of being able to drive. She was well known at the senior center and if she ever did not show up (or had any other problem) then I got a call at work.

BUT . . . . was she safe?????

To assess her skill EACH WEEK she drove to the store when we BOTH went shopping. She thought I was just letting her drive that day, but in reality I was testing her. We would both get into her car and I would tell her our destination. (one of three stores we would frequent) I then sat back and noted if she could navigate to that store and if she remembered what stop signs and red lights mean etc. I never went over two weeks without observing her driving skills. This went on for almost 3 years.

As an FYI if any family member has concerns about someone's driving ability THEY should ride with them!
If the normal person does not feel comfortable riding with the AD person, then THAT PERSON needs to take steps to prevent the AD person from operating a motor vehicle! ASAP.

The normal person should be able to explain to the AD person (or anyone else) WHY they believe the AD person should no longer drive. If they have ridden along, they should be full of examples of why the AD person should stop driving.
There are huge esteem issues related to driving and if somebody ever said I cant drive just because they "dont think I am safe any more" and they can not cite any examples of my driving failures then yes I would be angry too!

Perhaps you can spend more time driving with him? They know they are failing and they are trying to remain human. They do suffer as they see their life slip away . . . . (until they again forget that they have lost their abilities . . . ) Perhaps you could compromise and he only drives with you in the car?

HOWEVER if you can cite specific examples of the loss of driving skills that you personally observed (ran a red light, doesn't know which side of the road to drive on, cant figure out a familiar route to a frequent location) and you bring these examples to an authority (MD or DMV) and they do not take action . . . ??? Then document your conversation and inform them that they WILL be subpoenaed to the law suit.
Citing examples of his driving failures while you are with him, might also allow you to be able to convince him to stop driving on his own. (wouldn't that be nice?)

In my case my wife got less comfortable driving after dark. (all her 'tests' with me were in the daylight) Then one night I was in the house and noticed she was 'gone'. I called and looked around and when I went outside she was getting into her car (keys in hand) and couldn't say where she was going to go. I stopped her and redirected her back into the house. (but she would not give up her keys)
A few minutes later I turned around and she was gone again! I went outside and 'poof' her car was gone!! I called my parents and she had made it to their house. (they live right near the senior center) I asked if she wanted to drive back home and she said that she could not, because it was dark. So, my dad borough her back home that night. We left her car at my parent's house for the next month. During that time she never asked to drive, and never recognized her car again. We finally brought her car back to our house to sell and with it sitting in the driveway she still had no recognition or association with it and never, ever tried to drive again. (thankfully!) No fighting, no arguing, she just quit driving "on her own".

In hindsight I think having/letting her continue driving as long as possible (as long as safe?) helped HER decide it was time to stop. Because I was testing her weekly I did feel she was safe during that time. I told myself that if I ever had to intervene in her driving during our weekly 'test' I would pull her keys immediately.

As a reminder to anyone in this situation if/when you pull a person's driving privilege their car MUST be sold/given away ASAP!
It is cruel and wrong to tell them they cant drive and then keep their car parked where they can see it.
That old 'outta sight - outta mind' thing is certainly true.

Report post

My mom drove till she was ninety one with no problems (that we know of) then one day a friend called me at work. My mom had been to the bank and hit a car backing out of the parking lot and had driven off without stopping. The car was bigger and sustained no damage but her back bumper was smashed in. When I went over to her house after work and asked her about it she had no recollection and denied hitting anything. Then my brother was recovering from a stroke and he stayed with her during the day while his wife was at work and wanted to get out of the house and ride around so he let my mom drive him. She scared him so bad driving that
Although recovering from a stroke and not cleared to go back driving he made her get out from under the wheel and drove them home! Then she pulled out in front of her house and a car was coming too fast and gently hit her. It scared her so bad that she stopped driving. On Her own, not too many months after that she started showing signs of severe dementia and we always thought maybe she would try to drve the car against but once she stopped driving and cooking she has never shown signs she wanted to do those things again.
Ing lot

Report post

Hi all. My husband thankfully stopped driving 18 mths ago. He is now mod - severe. Aged 57yrs. In Australia where we live once the MMSE score is below 20 it is illegal to drive. He would have no insurance. I can understand the frustration as he drives me nuts some days. I only wish I had time to myself. He cannot dress, shower, shave etc without supervision. My pet hate is that he must have his sunglasses with him day and night. He doesn't wear them inside but twirls them around all the time while holding them. He becomes almost frantic if he can't find them. I guess it is like a security blanket for him but so annoying.

Report post

Ditto the above replies.
Go with him as a passenger and note specific examples of why he cannot drive any more.
Take that evidence to the Motor Vehicles, his insurance agent and doctor. If they will not officially stop him driving, then suggest that they will be part of the law suit when he causes an accident.

Then go home and 'lose' the keys.
Park the car somewhere else until it can be sold.
Do not let him get his hands on any other car keys.
--------------------------------------------
Bad moods: Talk to the doctor about his medications. If one is known to cause anger then see if that one can be replaced with something else. See if the doctor will prescribe something to keep him calmer.

If there is ever even the hint that you are in danger, PROTECT YOURSELF.
This may mean calling 911, leaving the house, calling on a stronger friend or neighbor.
It may mean finding a facility that can handle him.

Report post

Hi there,
I understand exactly what you are going through and how you feel. I am going through the same thing with my husband. I have just found this site and already it is so helpful to find people who actually understand what it is like to live this way. Talking to my husbands many doctors is a complete waste of time and more depressing than anything else. I know there is nothing they can do but a little empathy would be nice.To complicate matters we have animals and are finacially in a distaster.
I don't want to go on and on about my situation but I just want to thank everybody out there who takes the time to write posts, it makes one feel a little less alone.
Hang in there and I hope your life gets easier.

Report post

I am sorry to hear about your struggles. It seems each of us has some things we deal with that are like the others, but some that are strictly your personal plight. I will say that I have rarely heard that Seroquel is a good choice for Alzheimer's or dementia patients. It almost always gets reported by caregivers as causing or increasing anger and agitation. So the first thing I would do is see if you can get the doctor to change his meds to something that will calm him rather than agitate him. Perhaps trazadone or citalopram? or some other anti depressant or maybe something that is specifically for Alzheimer's, if that is his diagnosis. I do understand your frustration. I go through much the same thing at times, especially when GT just looks at me with that really blank stare and doesn't seem to want to comprehend what I am asking him to do. I know it is the disease, but sometimes I lose it anyway. But it does help to try to find a positive once in awhile. Every once in awhile, GT will show through in some small way, and I remember that he really is in there somewhere, and would communicate if he could. So I put him to bed and pour myself a nice, quiet glass of wine before I try to retire. Notice I said "try" because sometimes that doesn't happen when I would like. Oh well, maybe I can sleep sometime tomorrow. Good luck and God bless. This is a strange and sometimes horrible journey we are on, but occasionally, a light comes through if you keep your eyes open.

Report post

This site does help sooooo much to be able to rant and know their are other unfortunate people out there that do understand. I would not wish our plight on my worst enemy. Unless you live with the day to day frustrations family members and friends do not understand what it is like. It made me laugh when we saw our specialist and he told me I had a good alzheimer's patient. I know he could be a lot worse and there are glimmers of that coming through but I do not feel that any patient suffering from this disease is a good one. One day at a time is all we can do and pray that it will be a good one. My thoughts are with all you wonderful carers.

Report post

csel: hopefully the neurologist would be the witness for the defense if you were trying to persuade 12 other empaneled citizens. It's not about whether the driver can 'get away with it' or occasionally get lost it's about the cognitive ability, judgment, proper perception of distance and speed. In Mod Severe AD these are all suspect unless rigorously and specifically tested. . . or perhaps the AD is more Mild. Some good suggestions on transitioning and monitoring are given in this discussion by others. The way I was able to make the transition was simply to pre-empt the AD spouse. " I'm going for groceries, why don't you come along. . . etc". cpd

Report post

Your story strongly reminds me of my own, with one major exception. Our Neuropsychiatrist has been a huge help. When he diagnosed him 4 yrs ago he started him on aricept then quickly added namenda. He also gave him a low dose of trazadone to help him sleep better.that has helped a lot. But now I am seeing much more confusion coupled with an obsession about certain things. Reasoning is impossible. I would suggest you see a different doctor. If you attend a support group as for referrals. There are other meds out there and finding what works is an individual thing usually involving trial & error. I also highly recommend The Alzheimer's Reading Room web site. It contains lots of helpful information for caregivers. Probably the most helpful advice I've gotten is this: when dealing with someone with dementia the only person who can change is you. That is what makes this disease so difficult to cope with. Keep sharing here where we truly understand and continue to search for strategies that will work for you. This is probably the hardest thing we've ever had to do.

Report post

I was told that if a AD driver were to be involved in an accident (regardless of who was at fault) the insurance company would refuse to pay any claims. Also, if the AD driver were at fault, a lawsuit could potentially result in financial disaster for them and their family. You may want to check with an elder care attorney in your area.

Report post

well now my story takes a really different spin... yesterday my husband got in his car and drove off ... we found him about 17 hours later over a 100 miles aways, confused, out of gas and walking down a highway in 40 degree weather.. a deputy sheriff had found him after we did a missing persons report and BOL ... I am sick and now we are taking the car.. but he is already asking for the keys and where it is... he remembers nothing... I am so sad about this but the disease is progressing rapidly now and its my job to make sure he is safe and sound... I will have his dr tell him he can no longer drive... I am so blessed he was found safe... and recovered...

Report post

My husband was missing for 5 hours one day. This is so bad. I am also telling the doctor that this has to end.

Report post

Csel.. our first experience with this was about a year ago and he went to play golf and never made it and he did not find his way home for 6 hours.. this was way out of line and way tooo scary.. had it not been for prayers I am not sure how this would have ended.. I am so thankful to a wonderful God for finding him and bringing him home.. we will work on this now... Hugs....

Report post

This discussion is closed to replies. We close all discussions after 90 days.

If there's something you'd like to discuss, click below to start a new discussion.

Things you can do

Support AFA

Help the Alzheimer's Foundation of America reach its goals and support people like yourself by making a donation today.

Donate to the Alzheimer's Foundation of America

Discussion topics

Links and resources from AFA

Community leaders

Disclaimer

Information found on the Alzheimer's Foundation of America Support Community should not be considered a replacement for consultation with a qualified healthcare professional. Any views or opinions expressed on this site are not necessarily those of AFA.