My husband is living in an Alzheimer’s disease home. He tells me that he thinks we should get a divorce because I don't come and see him, and that he doesn't know what I am doing all day. He is very angry with me. I see my husband every two days because he lives at the home, which is one hour away from our house. I remind him about the days that I will be back to visit, but he can't remember or understand this. He tells me that I have been gone one week. He thinks I have boyfriends and all kinds of crazy things that don't fit my personality. He has been married before, and I wonder if he knows which wife I am. I truly don't know how to handle this situation that seems to be getting worse every day.
Because of the nature of the disease, Alzheimer's patients often can suffer from paranoia or suspicions that people are cheating on or stealing from them. You will have to provide continual calm reassurance that you love your husband, visit him as frequently as possible, and have no plans to see other men or act uncharacteristically. Your husband clearly does not have a good perception of time. Therefore, when you say that you will be back in two days, you might as well say two weeks or two months, because this is what it probably feels like to him. He probably feels anxious when you are not there, which is likely the cause of his behavior to you. For example, when he feels anxious, he may lash out at you verbally. Give him a calendar with the days you are planning on visiting clearly marked. Ask a member of the staff to help him to mark off the calendar on the days you are not there. This might help to reduce some of his anxiety. Continually reassure your husband that he is loved, cared for and appreciated no matter what. And remember that it is not him saying the hurtful things, it is the disease.
Posted 17 Jun 2011
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