I am not new to this. We have been dealing with loads of issues with my husband’s vascular dementia. At this point in my husband’s life, I can’t seem to get him to go anywhere. He always wants to just stay home. He gets angry over everything. Like I said, we are not new to it all, but new things are happening. I guess I just need to know how others cope with it and stay strong and not feel hurt in front of him. I know this is not my husband, really – he is the kindest man ever – just now not always.

No matter how long you deal with a form of dementia, it never seems to get easier. Changes take place daily and you just never know what to expect when you wake up in the morning. Your loved ones change into a person you no longer recognize and yet, your love for them remains. Everyone deals with these changes and the heartbreak of witnessing the changes differently. I would like to open your question up for our readers to help with. For me, having good friends to confide in helped tremendously. Exercising when I could helped. Reading and listening to music could be a good distraction if I was able to find the time. Some keep journals, some meditate, do yoga, watch TV, play with a pet, clean house, keep life as “normal” as possible, keep a regular schedule…the list can go on and on. So, readers…what have you done to cope with changes in your loved one? How do you hide your sadness and despair?

15 thoughts on “My husband’s changing…how do I cope and stay strong?

  • JBoyd

    Hi!! First, bless your heart, I’m in the same situation…in fact it sounded like I wrote this! I’m 72, he’s 76..we have been married for 54 years! He is obsessed with the news and gets mad if I ask to change it, etc… yesterday, he couldn’t “bring up”(as he calls it) who our 3 kids married or the grandkids names or who they belonged to!!!! To answer your question, I spend an enormous time outside, praying, and continuously thinking of my blessings! Don’t get me wrong, I get mad, frustrated, tired, and emotional… over the last several years I try to curb and hide those feelings because it just makes things worse.. everything is a struggle and it’s eaisier (for me)to ignore his outbursts.. if we are going somewhere I just tell him as calmly as possible to get ready we need to go somewhere… sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t!! Same with eating, he won’t come to the table, always says he’s not hungry, can’t decide what he wants to eat.. my solution now is just fix what I like when I want it AND make him a plate and have it on the table, right now, that works.. tomorrow is another day!! He is by far not ready for a nursing home, etc., but we are getting ready to move into our son’s home.. we live in a very remote area in west Texas and I need help, relief, and support.. he is fighting it tooth and nail, even though I have repeatedly discussed it with him, but I just, again, ignore what he says..politely!!!! It’s a struggle each day and each day is different… and it doesn’t get better.. I am learning ( through a long process) I HAVE to take care of me in order to take the best care possible of him… always, prayers for us all who are dealing with this horrific and devastating disease?

  • Karen Juncker

    My condolences. The “emotional divorce” is the next step. It is slowly separating yourself from who you two were to who you are now. You go from being married to your best friend, lover, confidante to being a caregiver to a good man who shared your past. He deserves to be cared for in a loving manner.

    The relationship you shared is over. Relationships are two way streets, flowing to and from partner to partner. You are on a one way street now. You must start seeing yourself in this manner. It slowly eases the pain you feel each time you look at him.

    Sorry, but the advice to “keep things as normal as possible” is crap. There is no normal. As he progresses in his disease, your life is on call every second. Keeping him safe, comfortable and clean takes all your time, energy and many times money.

    A support group in person and at least weekly is a life saver, literally. To share your feeling and trials with others who are doing the same is life affirming and good for your own health. In this group, you do not have to hide your sadness and despair. You are free to vent the anger and disappointments in a safe, confidential, and loving environment with other going through the same thing.

    I have walked this walk and it is not easy or pretty, contrary to advertisements seen on TV or magazines. However, there is life after this journey ends. Just remember to be as nice to yourself as possible, forgive yourself often and do the best you can under the circumstances.

    • Olga

      What you said is right on the money!! Through my tears I acknowledge these facts as I am going through this now. God bless you all for your emotional and moral strength!

    • Lisa Doncaster

      Help! My husband is 61 and was a Family Physician for around 29 years . I’m a hospice nurse with a history of nursing home work for 22 years.
      I have taken care of lots of Dementia patients but taking care of my husband is different.
      Like I said my husband is 61 and I’m 57.
      My husband started forgetting the usual things like losing his keys, wallet,etc last year. We thought it was depression and went to the doctor. Doctor started him on depression meds and he seemed to be doing fine. A couple of months later in July he had a total meltdown with hallucinations and total anger. We went back to the doctor. Cat scan was clear so we went to a Neurologist . Got an MRI Nov 7 the same day my husband turned in a resignation and said he could no longer see patients. Boy did our world ever change. We are lucky and are able to afford Cobra and also got severance pay for a bit. After severance ended we starting getting long term disability and last month was approved for SSI.
      My dilemma is my husband has recently decided he isn’t going to take his medicine anymore because it does him no good.
      He is becoming very hateful and seems to constantly think bad thoughts. He remembers the things he gets mad about but forgets everything else. They haven’t diagnosed him but he has decline in the Frontal temporal Lobes.
      Just because he looks and acts fairly normal my kids sometimes thinks it isn’t the dementia but him being mean and a butt head. How do I make them understand it isn’t my husband it’s the disease.
      I live in a small town where they’re aren’t any support groups. My only out is my work . My husband goes with me everywhere else. I really wish I could get the whole family on the same page.

      • Juanita Chester

        My husband was diagnosed in 2017. Started with taking keys, accusing me of taking the money, etc.
        He is now not able to do anything on his own. I never saw this coming. Sometimes he’s aggressive, but nothing I haven’t been able to handle.
        I had a family meeting with the children and explained the changes that will be coming. So far they’ve been receptive. They help when they can. He seems to recognize the grandchildren, but not ours.
        I enjoy baking, so I do that to relieve stress. My Pastor and church family is very supportive. Pray a lot! ??

  • Linda Bode

    I kept a strict schedule –
    Exercised & for him to exercise with me – light weights -told friends
    Stories about things he did & they’d help me see the humor in it .

  • Mary

    I have to start by saying I have observed that changes are a daily or at best weekly part of this disease. My husband too is well into dementia – younger onset to be precise. I have spent so much of my time trying to solve issues that constantly crop up but have found that usually if we wait a day or a week, the issue resolves itself and we move onto something else. Remember it’s not him, it’s the disease. Love him, enjoy spending time together no matter where he decides he needs to be. His home is a safe place in this confusing world.

  • Pamela Campbell

    You have to realize that no matter what you do you can never turn them back to who you would like them to be. It is very stressful and you remain full of fear and sadness for them but take it one day at a time. Try not to let what they say hurt you because it is not them. As long as you are doing what you know is best for their safety you are doing all you can do even if they get angry with you. Having said all this I am not as good at it as I make it sound. I am struggling but working hard to practice what I am saying.

  • George Gottfried

    Have his close friend over to visit,to play any card games and to encourage him to go out with him to eat, To go to a movie or to go to a culture event.usually a long time friend can get him out of the house and hopefully his return home should brighten his mood and be able to share with you.

  • David Riebau

    I talk to a friend. Family is too busy. I get so nervous and don’t sleep. I try to do what is right but even her doctor is lost. I wish someone would give me a break from it but I guess I have to play the cards I am dealt. My wife is perfect, except for the ALZ. She gets so angry with me and sleeps more than is awake. She answers me but never actually discusses anything. It’s lonely without her interacting with me. You are not alone.

  • Daisy Jimenez-Godfrey

    My Husband is 79yrs. old and is at the beginning of Dementia. We are both retired and I thought these years would be the best of our lives.
    I’m so scared I really don’t want to have to take care of him in that state
    but I have no choice. Any suggestions would be welcomed.

  • Angry Wife

    Having read the comments on this site, it’s obvious that there really is no help for wives who are forced to care for their demented, abusive husbands. You have to “take care of yourself” in between those moments that are a living hell, seem endless, and that every day punch you in the face with the knowledge that the dreams you had for retirement are shattered. You are forced to realize that you worked hard all your life to end up miserable, alone, tired, and disgusted. Your husband’s children will go into denial, his friends won’t want to see him anymore, and you don’t want to invite your friends to the house because you’re ashamed of what your demented husband says and does. He is no longer your lover or your friend, but a ridiculous fool who demands everything and can give nothing. It’s suicidally depressing. And no one really cares…but if you have enough money, maybe you can pay to put your “beloved” into a facility. There really is no “help for Alzheimer’s families.” There’s lots of advice. But no real help. And, yes, even if he doesn’t outlive you, your life is over.

  • victoria tracy

    Well I am new on here looking for people in the same boat as me, but I have not found anyone in my situation yet. Here I go my husband was diagnosed with dementia in august 2021 and a tumor on his lung which is cancer beginning of stage 3 anyway thats ok I have excepted that. My problem is my husband periodically accuses me of cheating on him with and old friend of hours he gets in this mood 1 a week and is real nasty verbal abuse and some times he throws thing at me I had to get the crisis team in august cause I was so scared of him. Now I realize I lost the husband I loved for 55 years but need help in how to deal with this mood when he gets like that he wont eat, drink or take his pills He tell me to get out and go with the guy boy oh boy I am going to be 77 this year never did I picture my last years of marriage would be like thi. I have 3 children and they are always there for me but I do not want to upset them anymore now I need to chaat with people in my shoes. I did not give any advice but felt my situation would make yours not that bad. May God Bless all Of Us.

  • Susan Severn

    Hi All of you in the same situation as me ,My Husband was diagnosed in 2019 with Vascular Dementia he is 78years old and I am 73years .He has changed a lot he is very moody,we never go anywhere together,he forgets everything I have to repeat and repeat everything ,but he blames me for everything.He swears All the time which he would never do before this happened.He moans about everything and everybody which gets me down.He doesn’t shower often at all if I say anything he says I will do it in his time so how can I force him?I a Very lonely

  • Earthgrammy

    Reading these comments makes me realize I’m not alone. My husband is in a memory care facility where he gets excellent care and treats everyone nicely. But to me, he calls it a prison and he is so angry with me for not taking him out of there to come back home. Because he’s threatened to escape multiple times, I’m not able to take him out for lunch or to the park anymore, but I try to bring treats and a homemade meal once a week to bring a little joy to him. Lately he’s become so bitter and angry, I feel our marriage is crumbling. I called today to say I was coming over and he just said, “Don’t bother.” This is heartbreaking. Does it EVER get easier?

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