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    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTimeMar 21st 2020
    Hi Jan,
    You asked for advice on the March thread saying your husband was engaging in risky behavior. I’ve been having flashbacks and worrying about you, especially with this pandemic. You didn’t want to say what the risky behavior was so some of these tips may be irrelevant. But I thought I’d chime in just in case.

    Sounds like you need a geriatric psychiatrist. Might not be any near you and you may have to wait. It could be really worthwhile to find one. You don’t have to tell dh what kind of dr you’re taking him to. Write your concerns down so you don’t have to say that in front of dh. Don’t ask permission to go in with him to see dr. Just go with him as a matter of course. If he refuses to go tell him you are seeing the doctor and he needs to come with you.

    If that will be awhile ask your primary care dr to prescribe Haldol (I believe there’s a generic). Again, write your concerns down and ask questions about dosage - like if needed how many max can you give per day and can you mix it in ice cream or mashed potatoes or applesauce — something your dh won’t refuse.

    When my husband started adult day care they said he would get agitated and they wanted to have Haldol on hand. At first they gave one at lunch time, but fairly quickly they asked me to give one in the morning and they gave one at lunch time. They were surprised that he wasn’t sleepy with that dose. Nursing homes used to use this but can’t anymore because they were overmedicating. My primary care dr prescribed it for his Mom and it worked well at a relatively low dose.

    When my dh became dangerous behind the wheel I hid the keys in my purse. Surprisingly he never looked in there. When he would get mad at me he’d go out to his truck but couldn’t figure out how to start it. I really felt bad for him, but he wouldn’t ask me how to start it either. Fortunately he’d forget about it 15 minutes later.

    He never fooled with the stove. I was lucky I that he didn’t do stuff like that or wander. So if he became aggressive with me I could leave for awhile. Sometimes I parked down the street so I could keep an eye on the house. Usually he just went to bed. I had two friends in the neighborhood who said I could call any time day or night. I could have gone there or had them come over to try to help defuse the situation.

    If yours plays with the stove, some people resort to removing the knobs. Put in your purse or get a lock box.

    If it is power tools, you might want to get a neighbor to store something for you or get a lock box, or figure out how to put a padlock on a door.

    If it is a task that must be done and he is interfering and being counterproductive it sometimes worked for me to try to distract him. I’d say I forgot something and we should go inside and have lunch first. I’d set up NCIS dvds or western movies and he’d watch that and not miss me when I went outside to do the sprinkler repair or whatever. That’s harder if the task requires power tools. If he came out and started interfering again I’d stop and put the tools away and try another day.

    I had cards from my Office on Aging that explained he had Alzheimer’s and asked for patience. One side English, one in Spanish. That Spanish one came in handy when I hired people to remodel his bathroom. They took too long and dh drank too many beers and was becoming agitated and cursing at the men. One of them didn’t speak English and was getting offended. The card defused that and I was able to get dh outside and settled down. It was almost a disaster. It was supposed to be done in one day. In hindsight it might have been smarter to make them come back a second day, but I was also afraid he could get hurt if he couldn’t use that bathroom during the night. He wouldn’t have been able to figure out what to do if that door was closed. Also that was one event that made me switch to nonalcoholic beer.

    Call your Office on Aging and make an appointment with a Social Worker to ask how to handle dangerous behavior. They’ll have all the resources in your community.

    Call Adult Protective Services.

    If you want we can email. Let me know and I’ll put my address on my profile.
    • CommentAuthormyrtle*
    • CommentTimeMar 29th 2020
    Jan K, I hope you're holding up OK. We're thinking of you.
    • CommentAuthorJan K
    • CommentTimeApr 5th 2020
    Sorry it's taken me so long to respond to what people have written.

    We have been moving, which has been very stressful for both of us. DH's behavior escalated to the point that I was sleeping with the bedroom door locked and trying to keep sharp objects out of sight. I called DH's doctor, to see if there was some medication that would help calm him down. She was so concerned by what I told her that she asked for a wellness check by the police. However, by then we were mostly at the new place, so I never saw them.

    The move was put on hold while I took DH to see his doctor. She tested him for a UTI and ran a lot of labs, just to make sure it wasn't something besides dementia. Then she prescribed trazodone. (I wanted to ask her how in the world I was supposed to get a suspicious, belligerent person to take an unfamiliar drug. I was amazed that I was able to get him to the doctor's office without it turning into a major battle.)

    The doctor slipped into the exam room to talk to me while the nurse took DH out for tests. After her exam, she told him that she had to have me come with her for a couple of minutes so she could get all our new address information (which, of course, I had already done at the front office). At that visit, I joined another club I never wanted to join--the club of wives being advised to have their phone on them at all times, and to call the police (global pandemic or not) if things got worse. She made me promise several times that I would actually make that call if I needed to. (A small note here: when I called the local police/fire number to register DH as a person with dementia, I found out that our new address is so new that the local emergency responders have no map for where we live. The person I talked to said that I could still call 911 if I needed to, but that I would have to give directions for how to get to our new home. That's certainly not reassuring when you are in this situation. They are now manually entering our address into their system, which takes a couple of weeks.)

    This week I start my 18th year of caregiving. (No, that number is not a typo.) I am so burned out that even my clothes are singed. I find that I have absolutely no resources left to deal with this additional problem. More to the point, I find that I have no desire to deal with it. The last weeks of ugly, ugly behavior escalating to threats really changed my feelings toward DH. At this point, it doesn't help to tell myself that it's just the disease talking. All those ugly words are coming out of my husband's mouth. It's still abuse. It still hurts. It's still a risk to have him here with me. And yet, here I am, with placement now barely even a distant possibility until the current health crisis has passed.

    I see in the news that people are having trouble being cooped up with their family without all the usual social and entertainment options. I'd like to see them deal with spending 24 hours a day with a spouse who rarely can say an entire sentence that makes sense, one who gets angry over just about anything, and one who goes around behind you all day long hiding things or leaving things in the middle of the floor to trip over. I honestly don't think that marriage vows include dealing with something like this. But I don't know what else to do except slog through it day after day, and hope for some light at the end of the tunnel.
    • CommentAuthorCarolVT
    • CommentTimeApr 5th 2020
    Hugs, Jan K. So sorry it has come to this.
    • CommentAuthorCharlotte
    • CommentTimeApr 5th 2020
    Jan, sorry it has come this far. Yes, you are way past burnout. Are you able to get him to take the trazadone? It will make him sleep - how long will be the question. It was originally used as an antidepressant so maybe it will help with his behavior some. That would sure be a blessing. Do not hesitate to call the doctor is it doesn't help.

    I like the suggestion above to call Adult Protective Services unless the doctor had other suggestions. Sounds like if you called the police that would get him in for psych evaluation, then you could refuse to take him home demanding placement.

    I know - I still do not like 'it is the disease not the person'. That does not help when it has been years and you are exhausted.

    I can believe 18 years since my FIL went about 25 years. My MIL was exhausted which is why she dropped dead of a sudden heart attack. She refused help which was her biggest problem. He lived another 9 years.
    • CommentAuthorRSA*
    • CommentTimeApr 6th 2020
    I'm so sorry, Jan K. It sounds so long, 18 years, not so much the sheer length of time but appreciating that you've been a caregiver throughout. My wife's journey was half that, and her last four years were in assisted living. I don't know how I would be dealing with COVID-19 if she were still alive. You must be a very strong person.

    I've had similar thoughts when I hear complaints about being cooped up. But it's hard to convey the life of a caregiver to people who have never had similar responsibilities or constraints. You have my best thoughts and wishes.
    • CommentAuthormyrtle*
    • CommentTimeApr 9th 2020
    Jan K, 18 years? How are you still standing? I'm glad to hear that you're making progress with your safety plan.

    I also don't pay too much attention to people who moan and groan about having to stay at home.