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Is this dementia?

(10 Posts)
ganmaj Sun 22-Sep-19 18:04:05

I’m so sorry this is long winded.
My (now ex) partner and I have been together 20 years. W He lives in the country and I live in my home in London. He used to visit me but for the last 10 years I’ve always gone to him( (train and taxi fare)

Last Feb without contacting me for 3 weeks , a neighbour rang- he was hospitalised with COPD. I cared for him in his second cottage where I stay when Im there- I’m not talking Grand here. It’s a 2 down one up and needs much doing to it. Because I had Central Heating put in and it has no stairs to loo or shower I thought he was best off in ‘my’ Cottage. For weeks I rearranged the whole place to make him comfortable. in a proper bed downstairs with a view over the little patch of garden at the back. He was bedridden for 4 of the 5 months I looked after him.
I have had a brain injury so I was pushed beyond my limits. But slowly he recovered, and is now ‘alright’
When I returned for the first time after my caring, I was met with aggression and contempt for everything I said. I was told I would have to pay for the electricity used for kettle and shower. ( I pay the LX and water bill)
He complained about the money he’d spent on the people who came to cook lunch- saying it was to help me- but he couldn’t get up for 4 months.
I refurbished this 2nd cottage of his, spending my life savings.
He pays the council tax and the buildings insurance. I was so shocked by his onslaught about money- not a word of thanks for the 5 months caring. He kept making unpleasant remarks about providing me with a ‘holiday home’. I haven’t been going there much lately after caring for him , because I didn’t enjoy being there. He used to make me laugh , but suddenly he sees me as an enemy.
For 10 years now we have gone nowhere together. I shop for food alone- he can’t help carry it any more because he has a hernia that’s displaced his bladder and he’s got prostate trouble- he said he would have it operated but hasn’t. I did my absolute best looking after him for 5 months, so I was winded at his attack’s on me. Is this old age- he’s 85 I’m 74
Or is this radical change in his attitude to me signifying something more serious?

M0nica Sun 22-Sep-19 19:08:30

I think what is happening here is far to complex to reach a decision as to whether your partner has dementia or not.

It could be a reaction to finding himself suddenly so incapacitated and so dependent on you, he may be having intimations of his own mortality and be frightened and trying to bolster his own self esteem, he could be beginning to show a decline in his mental stability.

There is only one way of finding out and that is to get him to see a doctor for a full checkup, mental as well as physical.

Hetty58 Sun 22-Sep-19 19:48:15

ganmaj, your 'ex partner' doesn't sound 'ex' enough to me. Apart from your caring duties, how long ago did you actually live together as a couple (if you did)?

It seems as if you still feel responsible for his wellbeing yet you live largely separate lives. Your own health and age (sorry) make caring a very tough job for you.

His hostility is probably sparked by his own decline in health and feeling helpless, perhaps afraid. It often translates into anger towards a partner. Don't take it to heart.

Look after yourself now, though. Continue to be company for him if you wish but if he needs care again I would involve the local social services and/or get him to pay for carers!

Hithere Mon 23-Sep-19 12:28:56

Are you sure he is really an ex?

I think you are sending very confusing signals.
Why did you spend your life savings in his cottage?

Witzend Mon 23-Sep-19 12:44:34

It does sound more like a bad case of selfish self-
centredness to me - not so uncommon in old people, esp. if they have health problems. A friend's dh became something like this, terribly selfish with no consideration for anyone else, especially his wife - he'd always been mean with money too.

However, re dementia, I can only describe the early symptoms - pretty classic, with my FiL and my mother. FIL started neglecting personal hygiene - would fail to shave and wear grubby clothes - all unheard of before. He would also go shopping for e.g. sausages when there were half a dozen packs in the fridge already.

He also started thinking neighbours or other people had stolen things he'd mislaid or hidden.
Repeating himself was another.

My mother's early symptoms were similar, but the thing that finally convinced me - very early on - was when she phoned her bank about something - she'd always been very clued up with money - and could not remember, the instant she'd put the phone down, what they'd said.

As is often said, all cases of dementia are different, but all the above are classic and very common early symptoms.

BlueBelle Mon 23-Sep-19 13:02:57

Look at your opening sentence my now ex partner and I have been together 20 years this makes it sound as if you are still together surely you would have said my now ex partner and I WERE together for 20 years if you were finished
I have no understanding of why you would use your life savings to refurbish someone’s house who hasn’t even visited you for ten years, were you thinking you d live in it with him I may have read it wrongly but it doesn t sound as if you’ve ever lived together
Perhaps he s resentful of the changes you made to his cottage Did he ask you to spend your money? what did you see in your mind s eye thar the outcome would be did you want to relocate ?
I think at 85 and fairly unwell with multiple health problems he hasn’t time or energy to be a lover or even a friend especially as he never seems to have been for the last 10 years
I d give up trying and hope he might leave you the cottage in his will that’s about as good as it gets I think

annodomini Mon 23-Sep-19 13:24:42

You have no obligation to tend this man who has taken much from but, by the sound of it, given little to you.
If he is your ex, why are you fussing round him? In my opinion, you are and have been trying too hard. Why? Just, why?

Tedber Mon 23-Sep-19 14:10:48 having difficulty understanding this also. Was he your 'ex' in February? or is that something you have decided on recently. To what extent was your relationship?

He has two cottages? and you stayed in one when you visited? Did he stay in that one with you? Or did you have a more friends only relationship? (I know lots of questions but all kind of relevant)

Why did you need to remodel his 'second' cottage? What was wrong with his own house?

Part of me is thinking maybe you furnished the second cottage so you could live there eventually maybe? Perhaps he thinks this also? Which could be a huge reason why he is seemingly being 'nasty' now?

I mean think about it! It is puzzling why anyone would spend their own savings like this for someone that they are not married to or apparently not in a committed relationship either.

Don't wish to offend but I don't think we are getting the whole picture here.

alchemilla Thu 26-Sep-19 13:42:25

Hi OP - commiserations. It must have been horrible for you. To me it sounds either like a frightened man aware of his own mortality and lashing out the nearest person, or indeed the problems of a disintegrating personality which could be some form of dementia.

However you aren't clear about your relationship nor much else. He has two cottages in the country, one of which you consider yours or at least the place you stayed with him? and another you've done up for him using your savings?

Are you in his will? does he have DC? who has health and financial Powers of Attorney? Is there time to set one up or will he be diagnosed as mentally incompetent? I would be as concerned about how you are off financially - do you have receipts of the life time savings you spent on the cottage? Who looks after him when you aren't around?

ganmaj Mon 30-Sep-19 13:23:57

Thank you all for wading through my jumbled post. The break up happened just 2 weeks before I posted so it was very present. I also have a brain injury and when I’m upset I get muddled.
It was a committed relationship. We were faithful for 20 years. I had to keep my home on in London as my self employment is London based. It was easy to spend my life’s savings as he said I could live there rent free which I did for 20 years. I had to make it habitable as it was riddled with damp and no windows closed properly.
We’re both unconventional people and it was an arrangement that gave us closeness when we wanted it and solitude when we needed it.
The money isn’t the issue. Not that I’m rich. But I did have 20 years of an occasional escape to the country.

I am getting over the shock of his complete change of attitude towards me, slowly rebuilding a life of my own, taking better care of myself.
I have moved all evidence of him out of sight in my home.
And am considering getting a little dog for company.
Thank you again all those who were able to put themselves in my shoes and not criticise. It was really comforting to read your understanding and support. Best,