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    • CommentAuthorlolitak
    • CommentTimeApr 5th 2019
     
    This is my first time on your site` I was advised to connect with others who may be experiencing what I am. Right now my husband is in the early to moderate stages as he has been going through changes for the last few years, especially his personality( which is very snippy and impatient and downright rude) and his memory which has taken a drastic down turn two years ago after a heat stroke. His problems really began from birth when soon after he contracted bacterial meningitis and lost 40% of his brain function. I learned this will lead to early dementia in time. He is now 70 and has the basic concepts and maturity of a 8-12 year old. I have had to take over the business of the family, especially the financial end. Right now, our biggest issue is driving. He is angry that the VA has warned that driving is not a good idea and feels they and other doctors are calling him stupid. He argues he knows how to drive and can fly his RC planes just fine so there is nothing wrong with his mental capacities. My problem is that we live in such a remote area that there are no services that will come all the way out here to take him places while I am at work or otherwise. I don't want him to be a prisoner to the house and forgo his few activities just because he can't find a way to get there! He needs to stay active and social or he will become worse and more depressed! He is already becoming very difficult to live with!
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      CommentAuthorCharlotte
    • CommentTimeApr 5th 2019
     
    Welcome to a place no one wants to be. I assume he has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease or is it just general dementia?

    As for the driving issue - this can be a nightmare for many. When you are isolate, out in the country like you are and your are working it creates more roadblocks. If he thinks he can drive, then have him take the drivers test. That is no guarantee because many are in the moderate stages, have no good judgement ability but still drive fine. My husband's neuro told me he could only drive with me, not alone. He was fine with that, then one day he said 'I can't do this anymore'. I was lucky he gave it up without problems. Where you are working, the only option I see is your coming home to take him for a ride. I assume RC means remote control planes. I don't see a problem with that unless he is flying them into homes or people.

    What kind of business do you have? Do you have to keep working or can you cut your hours? You said he is 70 but not your age - are you much younger than him?

    Is there adult day services (care) in town that you could drop him off at when you go into work? I encourage you to get in touch with the geriatric evaluation team at the VA. They should help you get a care plan in place and connect up with help, maybe having a veteran come spend time with your husband a couple times a week and go do things he likes to do.

    You will have to face that at some point tough decisions will have to be made. Do you put him in day services, placement, quit working to stay home with him, etc. I do hope you have all the legal paperwork in place.
    • CommentAuthormyrtle*
    • CommentTimeApr 5th 2019
     
    Hi lolitak, Welcome to the website. Although every one of us is in different circumstances, we all understand what you're going through. My husband suffered from Alzheimer's for 10 years after he was diagnosed and it was the hardest thing I ever went through.

    My general advice to you is to create a plan for how you're going to manage this because if you don't take control of the situation, it will take control of you. As for specific advice, I would echo what Charlotte said about taking advantage of whatever services the VA can give you. Their help was a lifesaver to me. IMO, one of your biggest challenges is your remote location. Some of the members on this site also live far from services and I'm hoping they will chime in.
  1.  
    Stopping them from driving is one of the biggest problems. My husband's neurologist contacted the state (New York) and had Dept. of Motor Vehicles come out and test his driving. I took him to the test driving location, and when they got in the car with him and started talking to him, they didn't even let him drive. They politely asked to see his driver's license, and then very tactfully wouldn't give it back. Told him he could not drive "for now", but if "anything changed in the future" they of course would be glad to come out and re-evaluate. Since it was an official person, and not me telling him that, he went along with it. Of course back at home he forgot that he didn't have a license and wasn't supposed to be driving, so took the car out while I was at work, being "helpful" and picking up milk and bread. I was stupid not to have taken the car keys away, but of course after the "milk and bread" episode, I did sneak away the car keys. Maybe your state does something like that?

    As hard as it is on him to be isolated and not able to drive, you don't want him killing himself or somebody else. Also you could be legally liable if you let him drive and he gets in an accident.
    • CommentAuthorpaulc
    • CommentTimeApr 6th 2019
     
    In addition to the problems above, his driving can be a huge legal liability for you. When a doctor suggests he stop driving they are really yelling “Don’t drive.” Does your state allow the doctor to report your husband to the DMV? You don’t want to be the bad guy and take away the license, you want to blame someone else.

    If your husband has a dementia diagnosis and if the insurance company is not aware of it, then if your husband is in an accident, even a minor one where it isn’t his fault, your family can be sued for every penny you have and insurance can refuse to cover it. I suggest contacting your insurance company ASAP and provide your husband’s diagnosis and ask if they cover him. If they say yes demand a letter from an insurance company lawyer. You need documentation that can stand up in court, someone telling you it is OK over the phone isn’t sufficent.

    Please see an eldercare attorney. They can help with a strategy to retain your wealth if he gets to the point where he needs a nursing home. Also make sure that you have up to date Power of Attorney, Durable Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney and wills. You need to do this for both of you since you don’t want your husband to be your POA.

    Keeping him social and active is good for him and you. Suggestion for adult day care is good. Some people in very rural areas do move, partly for the reasons you mention but also because upkeep of the property becomes overwhelming for one spouse.

    Whatever you do, it is probably easier for your husband to adjust to changes now than later.
  2.  
    If you can financially afford to buy a different (not necessarily new) car, that can be a big help too. The patient doesn't recognize the car and with the electronics in some of the later model cars, he might not be able to figure out how to even start it.
    • CommentAuthorlolitak
    • CommentTimeApr 6th 2019
     
    Yes, he was diagnosed with Alzheimers recently. He is also a veteran. We did have HomeInstead come out three days a week, but the girl who came can not do it any more so they are setting up another person to come out. I am also looking into a day care facility as well. The biggest issue I have is getting him to and from there since my job travels all over the area. It would be much easier if I had one location to go every day and had the same hours at work. I may only be able to start out once a week til I can solve the transportation issue. I can't give up my job or even cut back the hours. There is not that much coming in from my work or pensions from Karl's employment, social security, etc. I am ten years younger so I can't draw social security myself. The VA has set us up with an elder lawyer free of charge to handle the legal issues. This is definately a One Day at a Time situation!