Difficulties of caring for dementia.

I am a 74 year old male with multiple health problems. I care for a 77 year old woman with increasingly severe memory loss. She is convinced I am having an 'affair' and systematically steal money from her, as well as cosmetics and clothes given to this supposed woman. As well as keeping me virtually destitute, controlling my pension, etc, other monies of mine or insurance payouts and so on go directly into her account. Her mood changes from gentle affection (rare) to a vile abusive and foul-mouth screaming with threats of terrible violence. She is the widow of a violent and abusive marriage and turns on me in a frightening way. There is an endless catalogue of my failings. I have never worked, she says. I have an Honours Degree in fine Art, and am a qualified teacher, have been a senior lecturer at university level and am a published author and artist. My profile and work can be accessed on Google.

I am in despair as I can no longer cope with constantly being screamed at for infidelity and theft. I have suffered a cardiac arrest, have ischaemic heart disease, and also take multiple medication. I am responsible for ordering and administering her medication.

I have nowhere to go, no relatives or friends now, and am being driven in the direction of too many tablets and complete and absolute despair.

10 Replies

  • What is your relationship to this woman? You haven't said whether you are related to her or are a paid caregiver or ??? If you are a professional caregiver, you should know that her unwarranted accusations are signs of dementia. No one can drive you in the direction you mention unless you let them do so.

  • We have been together for twenty years and I am an unpaid Carer. Watching the deterioration of so one close to you is lie watching them die. If only I could surmount the trust/theft/infidelity issues. They have a total texture of reality and will watch a television programm three or four times without appearing to realise she has just seen it. Certainly, threats of police and insults to my family or upbringing are of course irrelevant. However, frequent use of my gym spray to alleviate angina is not much of a mental help. I have kept my equilibrium so far but am weakening. So tired I had a bad fall on concrete last week. I cannot abandon this woman yet it seems I must.

    Her condition should be renamed 'dilemma '.

    Thanks so much for your considered reply.

    Kind regards.


  • Bearsden, Scotland, U.K. G61 1LJ

    Thanks. Edward.

  • Welcome to the community, and thanks for sharing your situation. Can I ask where (country, state or province) you are? Will be helpful in directing to local resources. All the best.

  • Bearsden, Scotland, U.K. G61 1LJ

    Thanks, Edward.

  • Edward,

    Start here: alzscot.org/services_and_su...

    Alzheimer Scotland will have local dementia specialists to talk with. The behaviors you describe are unfortunately common in some people with Alzheimer's, and a local dementia specialist should be able to provide some ideas and support.

  • Edward - my heart aches hearing your story - being a caregiver in dementialand is so draining. Both emotionally and physically. What I found most important, yet didnt do enough of was to ask for help! As Christian said, reach out to the local alzheimers community. They can find someone to help you and give yourself a break! Self care is so important for you. As caregivers, we put our own needs last, and yet if we arent strong enoug to help, we all fall down. Outdoors, freshair can be the best escape from the realities, breath deep, exhale 3 times (there is some magic in that number) and then remind yourself that you have done nothing wrong - her mind is a world of its own, where confusion and untruths may exsist.

    When you return inside, practice the game of distraction. What would you like for dinner? Look at that beautiful bird out the window. ignoring the acusations - similar to distracting a 5 yr old. It works most of the time. Sometimes reasoning is not an option, distraction becomes your best friend.

    Many blessings for the kindness you share. Each morning, ask youself, what am I going to do for myself today? It may be a cup of tea and a biscuit, it may be a longer shower, a walk to the mailbox in the rain. Remember to take care of yourself, seek help for both of you! Its OKAY!

  • Faith. Thank you so much for taking the time to send me your wonderful letter. I feel so alone and begin to doubt my own sanity. Am I to blame in some way? There was a crisis a few days ago and Mary, bless her, had some fantastic tale about my sending a man with a key and a knife to our home while I wS out walking the dogs. This is also connected with my supposed 'mistress', a lady who came to the house once selling Avon cosmetics months and months ago.

    Of course I said this was not possible but was given the ultimatum that unless I admitted sending this guy or arranging to send him to our home she would leave.

    I am afraid that I simply could not go that far and she left, took her handbags and the dogs, and was picked up by one of the twin girls, Niamh, for whom I have been the only papa they have ever know. As her mum was on holiday, returning that day, the poor girl (18) was distraught that Nana at 77 was parting from her own Papa. Mary is now with her daughter, quite close to here. Although it as caused a lot of internecine trouble Mary has been seen by a doctor and may get some help now.

    Yes, she has made my life a living hell, but she is ill! Only I know the full extent of the delusions and the verbal and physical abuse directed at me. I miss her but am afraid to start the same dreadful thing again. I hope that her daughter will see how advanced the memory loss and rages are. So I feel respite, grief, hope that she might at last be medicated or one thing. I think her family have not realised, perhaps not wanted to know a little, how dire things are and have been. I have felt so alone and you are quite right that I should have reached to Alzheimer's people or other careers before.

    Thank you for caring and letting me know your thoughts and gentle advice.

    Kindest regards.


  • You're welcome Edward, Im smiling as i write this, mom thought I took her jewelry to London and left it there. We took it away so she wouldnt loose it, as she kept taking if off in ramdom places at the Assited living home. Last I heard, I had to fly back to London and stay there until the shop opened and get her rings back! ANd dont come back without them! Meanwhile, they were safe in the safe deposit box.

    Take the time you need enjoy it and let the family be aware. Denial is very common for all of us facing this head on!

    Do something for Papa this week!

    Warm Regards,


  • Dear Faith,

    I will. It feels selfish but a little down time and no conflict is a blessing. Thanks again for your kind concer at a time when I feel so helpless. Take care over there in the great US of A.

    Nice have a contact in the 'normal' world.

    With every good wish,


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