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How to handle DH's negativity
Trish F
Posted: Wednesday, February 26, 2020 11:58 AM
Joined: 12/18/2019
Posts: 12


I'm still learning how to navigate this horrible this horrible process. I've seen loneliness discussed (yes, I feel that daily), but am wondering how to handle my DH's negativity.  He was diagnosed late last year with memory/cognitive issues - doc is still not giving this an exact name but seems like dementia pretty well covers it.

Good days are embraced, but the negativity can be overwhelming to me and I don't know how to handle it.  I work full time (luckily from home) but I still have to bring my A game when working.  I'm looking into retiring at the end of this year/early next so I can focus on DH more. Maybe even find a place we can volunteer together - because I know he's bored.

He's still able to get out and run an errand or two, but no longer wants to do that.  Even when I make a suggestion of things to do around our apartment, he doesn't want to do.  He seems to want to complain rather than contribute (even simple tasks). 

This is one of DH negative days, so I'm just hiding out in my office.

Thank you for listening!

 

 


Marie58
Posted: Wednesday, February 26, 2020 12:31 PM
Joined: 12/31/2018
Posts: 382


Trish, welcome to the forum. You found a great place to be to help you navigate this disease.

Could he be depressed? My DH was put on an anti-depressant early on. In the early stages he was frustrated by things he couldn't do anymore. I was amazed at what he couldn't do that I thought were simple things. Your DH may not actually be able to do some of the things you're referring to, and his response is negativity. Besides the anti-depressant I found it helpful to do things together. I wouldn't say, 'let me help you', or 'let me do it'. Instead I'd say, 'let's do this together.' Small difference, but I think it showed him he could still do things.


Rescue mom
Posted: Wednesday, February 26, 2020 12:33 PM
Joined: 10/12/2018
Posts: 1474


I am so sorry—but you will find a lot of help and support here as you go down this road.

That said, I don’t know what to advise on the negativity. My DH got the Alzheimer’s Dx in midstage, although symptoms were evident to me earlier. He could perform so well for very short encounters nobody wanted to believe it. But I digress..

DH also complained about being bored, but he could not focus on anything more than a minute or two, and anything that involved more than one step was simply beyond him. For example, “put away the laundry” he could not think through or do that. But if I handed him a shirt and hanger, and said, “put shirt on hanger”, he could do that. Then I had to point him to closet rack. Or “set the table”— not gonna happen. “Put this plate right here” and point, he could do. “Take your meds”—no. “Take the pills in the dish by the sink” —ok. Etc. 

I later learned that is typical Alzheimer’s, and even has a name: the loss of “executive function,” or being able to think through all the steps needed to do things, steps that you and I do automatically. He would never ever admit he could not do or remember, he would just ignore or walk away from it. Maybe your DH is truly unable to do what you’re asking, even though he can do some other things. They lose different abilities at different times.

If you are working, that kind of direction may not be do-able. But, are you sure he is still capable of doing some of the things you mention to him? They can be very good at hiding some of their losses....the trick is finding things they can still do, and that they are willing to do. 

Folding towels or simple things, worked for my DH, so did sorting coins. But it can’t be too complicated, or have many steps. But I luckily escaped the negativity, my DH would just leave Or ignore things that that did not “suit” him.


Trish F
Posted: Wednesday, February 26, 2020 1:38 PM
Joined: 12/18/2019
Posts: 12


The feedback given is very much appreciated!  To this point, depression has been ruled out but I'm keeping that in mind.

I have broken down tasks into steps and I'm thinking about your posts, that DH my just be overwhelmed with anything that we can't do together and I will need to adapt.

Sadly, I know things will get harder as we progress through this disease.

It helps me knowing I can reach out to people in this group who understand.  My family tries, but this is a difficult journey to understand.

Thank you!

 

 


Trish F
Posted: Wednesday, February 26, 2020 1:39 PM
Joined: 12/18/2019
Posts: 12


Thank you for all the feedback!
Iris L.
Posted: Wednesday, February 26, 2020 1:50 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 16406


Rescue mom wrote:

 

    he could not focus on anything more than a minute or two, and anything that involved more than one step was simply beyond him. For example, “put away the laundry” he could not think through or do that. But if I handed him a shirt and hanger, and said, “put shirt on hanger”, he could do that. Then I had to point him to closet rack. Or “set the table”— not gonna happen. “Put this plate right here” and point, he could do. “Take your meds”—no. “Take the pills in the dish by the sink” —ok. Etc. 

I later learned that is typical Alzheimer’s, and even has a name: the loss of “executive function,” or being able to think through all the steps needed to do things, steps that you and I do automatically. 

 

 

 

Rescue mom, this is a great description of impaired executive functions.  PWDs in advanced stages can do only one step.  No multitasking.

 
Iris L.

Battlebuddy
Posted: Wednesday, February 26, 2020 7:02 PM
Joined: 12/10/2019
Posts: 76


   Also Apathy is a real symptom that LOs experience. They just don’t care whether they do anything or not. Many folks are content to just sit around doing nothing or watching TV. This particular symptom was very hard for me to accept because I’m a doer, project person. There is always something you can find to do! Come On.

   Perhaps your husband is experiencing this .

 


LadyTexan
Posted: Wednesday, February 26, 2020 7:57 PM
Joined: 12/21/2018
Posts: 523


My DH was frequently ultra-negative. Much of the time he blamed me for all that was wrong. It was exhausting.

DH had plenty of reasons to be negative. His brain was NOT working like it used to and his life was disrupted on so many levels:

  • he was robbed of his ability to make a living, 
  • he was robbed of his ability to drive a car, 
  • he was bombarded with Doctor's appointments and tests, 
  • he could not contribute to the household financially, 
  • we were suddenly financially rattled with an unknown future,
  • we sold our home that he lived in for 20 years, to move to a smaller apartment in a city he hates, 

I read about validation and tried to apply some of the validation methods. I learned to respond instead or react to his whining. I learned to hold my tongue and take a deep breath. I learned to say the serenity prayer. I learned to vent on this forum.

I couldn't stop DH's negativity but I could change how I reacted to it. Its incredibly hard, and an ongoing opportunity for growth for me.  As hard as it is, I try not to take it personally. I remind myself that his unhappiness is not my fault. 


Trish F
Posted: Thursday, February 27, 2020 9:56 AM
Joined: 12/18/2019
Posts: 12


Everyone who responded has given me new insights to consider and opened my eyes.  I never considered apathy as part of this process and the other information is so helpful.

Aside from gaining knowledge and perspective, I feel less alone - still lonely, but I'm part of a caring community.

All of this feedback is very much appreciated!


SuzD
Posted: Thursday, February 27, 2020 10:22 AM
Joined: 3/26/2018
Posts: 85


Trisha, I’m a believer in the power of music.  Whenever my DH gets agitated I turn off the TV and switch to soothing music.  He really seems to respond well to Kenny G music.  I’m personally sick of hearing it, but it works well.. so here I am listening to Kenny G again this morning.  Good luck
Trish F
Posted: Thursday, February 27, 2020 10:49 AM
Joined: 12/18/2019
Posts: 12


Music is definitely part of our lives --- thank you for the reminder!
HSW
Posted: Thursday, February 27, 2020 12:17 PM
Joined: 10/10/2018
Posts: 57


I have found there is also a limit to how much DH will do which include the reasons in other posts but also because of his confusion over who I am and our home.  Sometimes he thinks I work for him, that our home is a business or a school. He thinks he should be paid for any task he does or that I should be reported to management because I didn't do something he thought should be done. 

Some tasks he has always done he still does but with support. For instance 

Going to the post office. I drive, I go inside, he opens the box, he removes the mail, he does a cursory check of what came in, he hands the mail to me, he closes the box, I check if ours and stand in line for packages. I ask if he has his keys. I recently started telling him our box number.

Going to  the dump, I drive, he takes the bags out, I take the recycling, give him the trash, and point him to the correct bin. He gets frustrated when corrected, will go sit in the truck


Trish F
Posted: Thursday, February 27, 2020 1:58 PM
Joined: 12/18/2019
Posts: 12


I'm slowly learning ways to work with what is going in our our world - thankfully, I get so many ideas and feedback from this group.  I'm learning to slow down and accept he is changing and I need to adapt.  I am doing my best to include him and allow him to be involved as much or as little as he wants to be.  

Like you said, we just dropped things off at Goodwill.  He helped load the car (although he spent a lot of time worrying if everything would fit in the car - it did, easily) and I helped him think through getting things to fit.  I think it made him feel good knowing he could participate.  He helped unload the items and again, he was able to help.

I so appreciated all the feedback I'm getting and I need to learn not to hesitate to share my questions and frustrations with the kind people in the group.  I come away feeling better and less frustrated.

A big THANK YOU to all!  You make a difference to me!