MCI: looking for appropriate online couples counseling

Posted by sue47 @sue47, Oct 27, 2022

My husband has MCI but has trouble accepting the diagnosis. He thinks he's "just aging." He's retired, self-isolating, and leads a generally purposeless life. We will have to move in about 5 years or less to be closer to family. My husband needs counseling to convince him that he needs to use all the resources he now has to actively make decisions about how to handle his "stuff" (books, papers, clothing, etc.) so we can move. I'm stressed out by the additional burdens already placed on me by MCI; I already handle all the finances, meal planning, cooking, trip planning, contact with family and doctors, etc., and am working on an intensive second M.A., and looking forward to returning to my Ph.D. dissertation. We need online counseling (using insurance) but I'm not sure what type of counselor: geriatric psychiatrist? licensed social worker who has experience with problems of aging, retirement, MCI, etc. I'd welcome reading your suggestions. Thanks

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Has your husband been diagnosed? If so, when and what was the diagnosis? MCI can be the precursor to many different types dementia. Learning for you both is key and patience, love and self-care for you are critical. It’s obviously really tough to learn that you are losing yourself and everything that has been meaningful to you. Your husband may be deeply depressed.


Hi, my husband was diagnosed with MCI 8 years ago following neuropsych testing, ordered by his PCP. He was re-tested this past March, with the same tests and the data was clear as to his decline. He is now diagnosed with vascular dementia, with Alzheimer’s features. He STILL thinks nothing is wrong, just a little memory loss with aging.
I think it’s important to recognize that counseling probably won’t achieve the goals you’re hoping for- acknowledgement of the diagnosis and it’s impact, importance of cooperating with you to plan for the future. In my experience, “it ain’t happenin’ “🙃 Carolyn Hax says,”The enemy of contentment is the failure to accept your facts as facts and to keep hoping someone will hand you different facts.” I repeat that to myself regularly.
This is what I did: I set aside one hour (and only one) twice a week and attacked what I could do that didn’t involve his “stuff”, I imagined getting the house ready for sale. I started with the attic, then the house closets (linen, tablecloths, etc), then the kitchen cupboards and under the sink.
I followed the sorting advice articles give- divide the stuff to go to the trash (had lots of small appliance boxes in the attic), stuff to Goodwill (lots of Tupperware I never use , dish sets I never use, etc), stuff to the local PAWS shelter (old towels I never use), paperbacks I won’t read again.
I then (quietly) did his side of the closet and his bureau drawers of all the clothing he never wears (shirts, pants, suits, belts, old socks, old pairs of sneakers and dress shoes- left one of anything needed in case of a wedding or funeral). All off to Goodwill, he never noticed anything missing, I spread the hangers out in the closet. Then the coat closet, anything he never wears- jackets, coats, hats, gloves.
I then did my closet- which, of course, is harder. I probably did it three times- thinning out, will need to continue making decisions.
You don’t mention having adult children, but what I did about their stuff, still in the attic, was to bring what I could fit in the car every time we went to visit. Some things I sent texts with photos attached-“do you want this?” That helped a lot, they don’t want all that stuff either. We go to their houses at Christmas, so I offered my Christmas dish set pieces this year, gladly accepted by one, declined by the other.
Lastly, my husband has brittle diabetes and with the onward march of dementia, became extremely uncooperative with me as to accepting medications and food, such that he was hospitalized in February, he was transferred to assistive living and is in his best health in years with the structure of that environment and the non-participation of me in his care.
In our area, there are “pickers” who come around before trash collection and pick over what they can use, sell, etc. A friend helped me put stuff outside for bulk hauling, I watched for the pickers, ran out and talked to the first guy, got his contact information. He and his nephew came back three times to clean out the garage and the basement, we bartered for it to be free of charge for me, in exchange for all the stuff- lots of wood pieces, metal, lawnmowers, etc, etc He helped me assemble a group of tools I might need for small repairs.
I decided I did not want the hassle of a yard sale or listing the items online, but some people don’t mind all that.
Hope this is helpful, it takes a long time, but keeping your efforts to an hour at a time really keeps it manageable and not overwhelming- you go by the clock, not the task, and you do first what you can do that he won’t care about.

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