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Wife doesn't recognize me
wislndixie
Posted: Saturday, February 4, 2012 3:08 PM
Joined: 12/1/2011
Posts: 9


For the last 7 days, my wife doesn't recognize me and thinks I'm her Father. He passed away 15 years ago. She also thinks her Mother, who is deceased should be home. She gets very agitated and agressive when she wants to know when her husband and mother will be home. I keep trying to divert her attention but it doesn't work. She insists I call them and tell them to get home asap or she's going to go out looking for them. When she tried leaving last night I had to restrain her for a bit and she got a fork and tried to attack me with it claiming as her Father I should be helping her find her husband and Mother. I was minutes away from either calling the police calling the paramedics and have her taken to the ER. I finally gave her another Trazadone and she went to sleep, but I know it will all start over again this evening. Any suggestions?
JAB
Posted: Saturday, February 4, 2012 6:06 PM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 740


Yeah.  Give them a call when she wants you to.  Dial your own number, or your cell phone, or the weather or the time.  Have a chat.  Ask what they're doing, and how long they think they'll be.  Then tell her what "they said".  Think about what would be the most reasonable explanation.  Did you often work late, or stop by the gym on your way home, or for a quick beer with the guys?  Then that's what her husband said when you called him.  Maybe he had car trouble, or he missed his bus.  Maybe her mother often went shopping, perhaps even a weekend getaway with girlfriends from time to time, or a visit to a relative in another city.  That might be where her mother is this time.  Try to figure out whatever would make sense to your wife in her new reality.

 

If she wants to go out looking for them, take her for a drive to "help" her look.

 

Do not -- not, not, not -- try to restrain her.  As you found out, that can backfire.  Maybe try installing deadbolts on the door, but if she's bound and determined to leave, let her.  Carry a fully-charged cell phone with you at all times, so you can follow her and call 911 for help if it's needed.  Explain that you're dealing with a dementia patient who can be violent.  You may need to have her taken to a good geripsych facility to have her meds adjusted if non-drug interventions aren't effective.

 

If this is consistently happening in the evening, it may be "sundowning".  There are ideas for coping with sundowning at:
http://www.alzcompend.info/?p=268 


If you cannot figure out non-drug methods for resolving the behavioral issues and want to try something outside-the-box, we've been talking about a possible treatment for insomnia and agitation that you could discuss with the doctor:
http://www.alzconnected.org/discussion.aspx?g=posts&t=2147484386
Prazosin has a good safety profile, is inexpensive, the underlying science appears sound, and it's in clinical trials for Alzheimer's patients.
 

This post has been edited by the ALZConnected Moderator on February 14th, 2012. 

 


wislndixie
Posted: Sunday, February 5, 2012 9:30 PM
Joined: 12/1/2011
Posts: 9


Thank you for your wonderful suggestions JAB. Unfortunately, I was never able to try them out as I had to call 911 today. They have taken her to a geriatric alz unit. I feel so sad now, my emotions went from agony from the screaming and yelling to crying when I looked at the woman I no longer seem to know...
lurk
Posted: Monday, February 6, 2012 11:26 AM
Joined: 12/3/2011
Posts: 652


Oh, wisIndixie, I am so sorry.  How often our worst crises pass because something else comes along.  This is a big one for you.  I hope and pray that you can get past your grief, pull up all of your strength and think clearly to get through this and whatever is coming.  Please keep us posted as you are able.  I'll be thinking of you and checking in for updates.
cathyjm
Posted: Monday, February 6, 2012 6:11 PM
Joined: 12/2/2011
Posts: 160


I'm sorry -- sounds traumatic for both of you. Things can still turn out very well though. Be sure the psych unit checks her out carefully for a UTI. And don't be afraid to visit her there. Often the posted visiting hours are disregarded once the staff realizes you're a help and not a hindrance. If she still thinks you're her father, this will give you a chance to practice ways to respond, in a situation where you have plenty of backup.

One extra piece of advice -- if she becomes agitated in the unit, try "talking her down" even if the unit staff are ready to give her an injection to calm her. Again, you can view this as a "safe practice area" -- with good backup -- but I found that staff can sometimes be a little trigger-happy when it comes to jumping in to "save" the situation.

Naomi Feil's books and DVDs would be a good resource for you right now.

Best wishes -- I've been there and it was hard -- and it got much better later.
wislndixie
Posted: Monday, February 6, 2012 9:56 PM
Joined: 12/1/2011
Posts: 9


Thank you all so much for your advice, prayers and help. I went to visit her today for the first time since she was admitted yesterday. She immediately recognized me as her husband but was fit to be tied. She accused me of putting her there to "get rid" of her and was so angry that I had her admitted. When I asked her if she remembered thinking I was her Father, she totally denied it and called me a liar..It's totally reversed now. She knows who I am but has to idea or remembers calling me her Father.The staff suggested I leave since being there was causing her so much anger and anxiety. They've told me to wait a couple of days and give her new meds a chance to work and then come back to visit. I will call tomorrow to check on her and find out what meds she is on..Thank you all again..

Mike


lurk
Posted: Tuesday, February 7, 2012 12:19 PM
Joined: 12/3/2011
Posts: 652


At least you have someone to give you direction, and you can have time to rejuvenate in between visits if you are able to do so.  Try to be able to do so.
JAB
Posted: Tuesday, February 7, 2012 5:56 PM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 740


Oh, Mike, that must have been so terribly upsetting.  But as cathyjm said, it may turn out for the best.  We've had many members, both here and on the Caregiver forum, whose loved ones did very well once their meds were properly adjusted.  And cathyjm found ways to work with her partner -- using Naomi Feil's advice, and bright light therapy, etc -- so that her partner could come back off the meds.

 

((((hugs))))