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A common problem that speeds Alzheimer’s decline, and how to avoid it
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Normally when an older person loses mental capacity and has no kin or POA, the social workers initiate a petition for guardianship. As her friend and neighbor, you can certainly put what you know in writing and keep providing it to the involved clinicians and others. They also technically are allowed to divulge some information to you. My husband is only 67 but is frequently ill. He has asthma and gets numerous chest infections.
He often becomes disoriented and delirious. This has happened since he was in his fifties. He makes it clear I should not talk to his doctor and would be angry if I did. Our life then slips back into some kind of normality for a few months but I live in dread of the next episode , which I know will occur. How could I deal with this in the home setting or who could I get help from?
It sounds like he does not get hospitalized for these. He is a clinician and he has a doctor, but sounds like the doctor is unaware of the delirium. First of all, I would say it sounds unusual to me that a person aged 50ss would become delirious during an illness that is not severe enough to require hospitalization.
This may or may not mean that he has an underlying condition affecting his brain.
Now about what you can do. It sounds like the communication between you is difficult — at least when it comes to this topic. Plus this topic brings up anxiety for you too. Another issue for you to consider: have you noticed any other changes to his behavior, memory, or thinking, that might be cause for concern? If so, he certainly needs evaluation, but this also means it might be even more difficult to communicate with him and negotiate a way forward.
Probably the best way to approach this would be to get someone to help you discuss the issue. A good couples therapist could be very helpful, and is trained to help couples negotiate these issues. Alternatively, you could see if someone else in the family or in your circle might be able to help.
You can also potentially decide to override your husband, and you can inform his doctor of the issue. And yet another option would be to call for help when he is delirious. Also good to frame your suggestions as ways for him to meet his goals, such as staying in good health for as long as possible. Try to avoid or be very careful in bringing up possibilities that generate a lot of fear. Consider a mindfulness or meditation practice. Consider counseling or therapy for yourself, so that you can better cope with the dread that the situation is currently creating for you.
Make sure you get enough sleep and exercise. Try to take care of yourself and keep doing what you can. My mother is She called me about 6 weeks ago and asked if she could come visit me because she needed to get away. My father had passed away 2 years prior and his birthday was approaching.
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