My wife forgetting: Diagnosed with MCI
She has been diagnosed with M C I for 18 months. More and more lately she will ask if we ate anything today. She very rarely cooks now and if i don’t schedule and make meals she goes without. I am trying best to stay up with everything, but its getting tough. Just need to “unload” and ask for ideas to be able to keep up. Lots more going on also.
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My wife was diagnosed with MCI in 2011 and with Alzheimer's disease in 2012. I remember in 2011 when she was going to make an apple pie, she put the apple mixture into the pie pan before she put the pie crust into the pan. As time went on I became the main food preparer, food shopper, launderer, etc. My good fortune was that I was retired and in good health so it's not difficult for me and I enjoy most of it.
I found many things that were of great help to me. Mostly it was educating myself about all the available resources that were available locally and taking full advantage of them. A local Aging and Long term Care office (a state office that may be like one in your community too) was of great help in informing me of in home care support that is available, mental health counseling, neurologist and other services, day care facilities, etc. They assigned a case worker who helped me for years after I started. One valuable thing was they arranged a course called Powerful Tools for Caregiving. It focuses on taking good care of your loved one while also emphasizing the importance of taking good care of yourself. It's important for your care for your wife that you take good care of your physical, mental, social, and spiritual health.
Another important resource for me was/is a men's only support group for caregivers. We meet once a month for lunch and have a moderator and about 10-20 men that get together to share our experiences. They often gave me many useful suggestions to dealing with my frequent new caregiver challenges that kept coming along. It seems to me that there is often something new that comes up and it was helpful to me to have suggestions for problem solving and managing the new situation
The Aging and Long Term Care case worker also arranged for me to get in contact with a counselor to help me with managing my stress, grieving, anxiety, etc. In my particular case this counselor's focus was helping military veterans and we established a good relationship. I look forward to our monthly sessions and it is at no cost to me.
Of course I have family and friends that are very helpful too. My daughter is her mom's secondary care-giver and has been of great help. Our next door neighbor for 40 years is a caring person who often visits with my wife while I do errands or go to appointments. At a caregiver class I took, one of the ideas that came up was "Many relatives and friends really would like to help and in some cases it's not a rhetorical statement when they say 'I'd really like to help if there's anything I can do.' Anticipate this so that when they ask, be ready with an answer. "Could you visit with my wife while I do errands?" "Prepare a meal for us once in a while." "Could you transport her to ….?"
I also got great help from paid caregivers that come it twice a week from 9 to noon. They could give my wife a shampoo and shower and do some light housekeeping. (For caregivers at a lower income level, the Aging and Long Term Care office could arrange for this at no cost to the caregiver.) Our favorite caregiver became almost a member of the family and really loves my wife. It freed me up for errands, appointments, yardwork, etc.
I and others will have other ideas for you to consider as time goes on. Some of the ideas may fit your situation well. Good for you for letting us know of your situation. As a positive note, realize that there will be many moments of joy for you and your wife in the future.
my wife has been having memory issues since 2012 when she had to retire. However, the best thing about her issues are that they are progressing slowly. She was diagnosed in 2014, where the PHD wanted to put her on medication immediately. Because of the side effects of the medication, she said no (I agreed with her). She saw a neurologist a couple of months ago, where she went through all the tests to rule out everything else and he said her issues are due to mild cognitive impairment (MCI). The main recommendation I can give you is keep your verbal communications between you two open. My wife can't remember what we did yesterday but she has no problem asking me what we did yesterday. At night, we sometimes talk about what we did during the day and she may not remember everything but with hints, I will challenge her to remember. She may not remember everything but she tries and feels good when she does remember somethings.
Sometimes she will stand in the middle of the kitchen and wonder why she is there or where the utensils are. It's sometimes a challenge to find items after she empties the dishwasher but I take it as a game and she is challenging me. You cannot get upset with ANYTHING she does because she is not doing it on purpose.
Instead of you doing everything, how about you work as a team with you directing the team. Have her set the table, make a part of the meal, get the drinks, etc. Whenever my wife uses the stove (gas), she knows she must put on the fan, so I know the stove is on. my wife has left a stove burner on and I made sure she knows how dangerous it is. I know in the not to distant future, I will be the only one who uses the stove. I'm not mad or upset, it just going to be another stage in our lives together (51 years so far). I guess, my only recommendation is for the two of you to keep talking about her condition but in a non-critical manner. and keep reaching out to this forum as a sounding board and a release.
It is also important to complete your estate planning. We also completed our prepaid funeral arrangements even though we do not anticipate using the funeral arrangements for many years.
@fwentz and @tunared You’ve both given such good advice! Keep up the good work! I know it’s difficult becoming a caregiver, but it’s so valuable and loving for the patient. My husband had to become my caretaker in 2017 and still does a lot today. He loves finding new recipes, going to the grocery, and cooking good meals. I thank you for all you do.
thanks to all responders, @fwentz and @tunared and @becsbuddy. I appreciate the feedback and advice. I will be making more time to participate in the group as time goes on. Thanks again everyone.
@jimmars51, I wanted to check in to see how you and your wife are doing. How are you handling the holidays this year?
Your post is very encouraging. My wife has been diagnosed as having Alzheimer's.
Thanks for sharing your experiences and comments. Your post is very helpful and encouraging.
I would be all about a men's caregiver support group. We live in Charlotte NC and not aware of anything.
@marvkw You might try senior services in your area or the Agency on Aging. They should be able to point you in the right direction. In my town, there are senior centers also, that have lots of information. Hope this helps a little
anyone hear of a good explanation for "sun downer's"? I've been seeing it more frequently and I'm curious why it happens? I'm thinking it's because she gets tired easier than myself. I remember my mother-in-law also going through "sun downer's" when she lived with us.