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Friend suffering from dementia turns to me
Posted: Friday, April 12, 2019 7:11 PM
Joined: 11/20/2016
Posts: 18

My wife and I have friends with whom we've traveled and visited monthly for well over 20 years. They have been good friends to us and we love them very much. 

The woman in this couple has dementia (I don't have enough info to judge what kind) and I can see that it is tearing them apart. He is extremely smart, and remembers the date when he got is drivers license, as well as the temperature that day (he's 72). He has better memory than anyone I know. And she's falling apart. Between them I see condescension and eye rolling going both directions.

Now she's turned to me for advice, and I have to say I'm stumped. I have my own issues here (my wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer's several years ago). I have no idea how to respond to our friend. 
Which way can I send this troubled woman for help? She does NOT want to believe she has Alzheimer's, but whatever she does have it is becoming very obvious as she's losing more ability every day. 

Posted: Friday, April 12, 2019 7:25 PM
Joined: 5/16/2017
Posts: 372

Iwould tell her she must see a doctor because there are physiological 

things that can cause her symptoms.  She needs to be assessed + that

might get her to see a dr....tell the Husband the same thing.

Posted: Friday, April 12, 2019 9:46 PM
Joined: 4/1/2014
Posts: 4783

As a friend you can only advise and as the other poster said-both the husband and wife must face reality that there could be a memory issue and to seek medical confirmation so the wife AND husband can get the help they need now and in the future. The wife could have something treatable, but if not, she can have many more years of good times with intervention and support-and the husband can also enjoy his life with her-but he needs to be supportive and helpful. He needs to be told this and hopefully as a friend you can find the best way to tell him. Call the Alz Hotline and ask for materials to hand over to the couple. Good luck!
Posted: Friday, April 12, 2019 10:00 PM
Joined: 11/20/2016
Posts: 18

I should have said she did get assessed and although she tells me it is not that bad, he tells me the dr. told her to stop driving immediately. Which she did not bother to hear or recall. 

But I like the idea of responding to her that she needs to get her husband and herself back to the doctor she already saw and get some help there. I don't really WANT to be giving her advice - it isn't my core competency. 

Iris L.
Posted: Saturday, April 13, 2019 12:26 AM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 15997

She did not hear or recall because she has anosognosia, which can be a characteristic of the dementias.  She is unaware of having dementia.  He will have to learn work-arounds and coping strategies. 

Iris L.

Posted: Saturday, April 13, 2019 7:06 AM
Joined: 11/20/2016
Posts: 18

I see very clearly that the majority of the issue is on his side. He's rolling his eyes when he should be recognizing what he heard is the disease. Unfortunately, I doubt he's willing to become a real caregiver, which puts them in jeopardy. They are both retired, and thus have way more time together than ever before. He's lost all compassion for her. I know from conversations with him that he feels trapped into keeping the marriage going. It's all so foreign to me, because I've been caregiving for my wife for a number of years now, and I feel we're in the groove. 


Greg G
Posted: Saturday, April 13, 2019 9:56 AM
Joined: 2/8/2017
Posts: 889

Hey benttop,

It sounds like you are getting trapped in between a rock and a hard place.  Do the best you can not to get too wrapped in their situation.   "Exit.......stage left!"

Emphasize the importance of diagnosis to Mr. Husband.  As Tess and terei mentioned, it could be something that is totally curable.  And that would make their life WAY easier than if dementia is actually setting in.  

Good luck and best wishes, Greg

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