I'm really concerned that my husband's behavior isn't from normal decline that comes with age, what should I do?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
Dally asked...

Hello- I am new to this but need some guidance. I have been worried about my husband age 72 for some time. We just returned from Italy and a tour. It was a nightmare. He got lost in the Sistine Chapel-I found him standing at the front door very confused. He would follow other groups. He fell many times and got stuck in the revolving door at the hotel. He asked me what am I doing here? He would try to drink other people's glasses of wine at dinner. Thank God the group helped me keep track of himbut he insisted on walking behind me and would often fall back and get lost. The doctor said he has vascular degeneration, but then said that's part of aging. Well, I just know there is something else going on. On the bus, he would try to zip his jacket constantly touching the jacket until I asked him to stop. Ten minutes later he was ack at it over and over again. I don't know what to do. Is there anything I can do? His doctor just seems to want to blow it off. Tonight he tried to sit in the chair but nearly hit the floor where there was no chair. If anyone out there has any thoughts, please share. Thanks Dar

Expert Answers

Joanne Koenig Coste is a nationally recognized expert on Alzheimer's care and an outspoken advocate for patient and family care. She is the author of Learning to Speak Alzheimer's. Also, she currently is in private practice as an Alzheimer's family therapist. Ms. Koenig Coste also serves as President of Alzheimer Consulting Associates, implementing state-of-the-art Alzheimer care throughout the United States.

Get a new doctor! The symptoms your husband is demonstrating are not usually associated with natural aging but are commensurate with a dementia such as Alzheimer's (AD), Pick's, Lewybody disease, Frontotemporal Lobe or a Vascular dementia. As a caregiver, life will be much more rewarding (for both of you) if you knew what was causing the signs of this dementia. Early diagnosis allows the caregiver to deal more effectively with such areas as social, behavioral, physical, spiritual, and altered communication. Appropriate interventions can only be established when the family knows which diagnosis is causing the changes in a loved one's behavior. There may also be medical reasons why he is having so many difficulties and these causes can often mimic a disease like Alzheimer's. However, if diagnosed early enough these non-dementing processes may be treated or even reversed. Again another physician may not be so willing to suggest 'normal mental decline' is causing the problems. The behavior issues you describe must be very difficult for you to live with and caring for you is an important part of this scenario. Do find a dementia-friendly neurologist in your area and have a complete neuro-workup performed; your local chapter of the Alzheimer's Association and other professional outreach groups can help you find a good one and they will be there to support you through this probable journey. Be well.