My husband and I look after my 89 year old father with Alzheimer's and care is become more and more demanding. How do I handle this?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 19, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My husband and I look after my father 89 who was diagnosed with ALZ 6 years ago. The last 3 months have been very intense- with my father becoming more and more demanding. I know find my husband is getting very short tempered with him and over the last few days there have been shouting and dissent between them. I have tried to talk this out with my husband and this morning he admitted that he finds watching me thrive on caring for my father very difficult to take. He said "There is nothing he can do to upset you, and all your waking hours are concerned with his caring. I want you back." I don't know how to handle this.

Expert Answers

A social worker and geriatric consultant who specializes in dementia care, Joyce Simard is based in Land O' Lakes, Florida, and in Prague. She is a well-known speaker and has written two books, one focusing on end-of-life care and the other, entitled The Magic Tape Recorder, explaining aging, memory loss, and how children can be helpers to their elders.

To begin with, bless you for trying your best to care for your father. What is happening is not unusual; your husband feels a bit neglected. Can you take your father to a day program so you have time without him? About getting someone to care for your father while you and your husband go on a date night? It seems as if your husband needs to see that he is also important. He said "I want you back" and you might ask him what that would be like. What does he miss? It also seems to me as if your husband does not understand Alzheimer's disease and could use some education. He should not be arguing with your father as he has a brain disease and he cannot think logically. He also may be living in another "time" and no one can pull him back! Could you both attend a support group? Call your local Alzheimer's Association to see what resources they have. When your husband does something helpful make sure you praise him!
And, take care of yourself. You cannot risk your own health; who would care for your father. So, do something good for yourself every day.
And, blessings to you"¦