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Hanging in there and pretending everything is fine?


Question: The man I have lived with for 26 years has progressive dementia. For about six years he has accused my daughters of stealing and creating chaos by disturbing his stuff. None of this is true. I believe he is giving money and possessions to people to buy loyalty. He is very smart and convincing. We own our home together. I am 81 He is 92. I am trying to hang in there by pretending all is ok, as I know he needs me to be here. It’s very stressful. I don't want this to ruin my health.

Dr. Amy: Two of the biggest challenges, right after dealing with the sadness that comes from watching a loved one wrestle with this terrible disease, are dealing with the irrational and sometimes annoying behavior that dementia can cause, and safeguarding your health and wellbeing while balancing competing demands on your time. It’s a lot to manage. Sometimes, it can feel like it’s too much. Your partner is so lucky that you are so devoted and can see how much he needs you!

His suspicions about your daughter and his giving things away may very well stem from cognitive impairment. Are you able to meet your daughter somewhere away from your home? That would remove one problem . And while you don’t mention it, I wonder if your partner’s giving away money and possessions might cause you financial hardship down the road. If you are concerned, I encourage you to speak with a financial professional, such as an estate lawyer or an elder care lawyer.

I say this to everyone who is caring for a loved one: managing your stress is essential. Meditation, gentle yoga, prayer, exercise, and volunteer work are just a few of the ways to take some time for yourself, relieve stress, and remain positive.

Home Instead recently released, Confidence to Care: A Resource for Family Caregivers, which contains a wealth of information that can help you understand, manage and even alleviate some dementia-related behavioral symptoms. It also has some great advice on how to care for yourself while caring for others. You might find this new resource helpful. 

I send you strength!


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