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My DH is turning into a little old man.

(58 Posts)
moores Tue 09-Apr-19 21:58:35

We've been married nearly 48 years. Some of the years were turbulent when the children were small. He worked in a city environment, travelled a lot and probably drank too much. As the years passed and the children grew up he was made redundant and has been at home for many years. I left retirement until quite late, in fact less than two years ago.

Over the years he had trouble with his legs and was diagnosed with a condition which has deteriorated and means he tends to shuffle rather than walk (not PD). He's also had a recent fracture of his arm and had fallen a few times before this incident because of his feet/leg condition. This last time has really changed our life style, ie obviously he can't drive until the fracture has healed. Previously we had separate social lives which suited us both but now its as though we are stuck together. Don't get me wrong, I love him dearly but now he has suddenly turned into an old man who needs my help with dressing etc because of the fracture and his balance and I'm just so worried how the future is going to pan out. How do you distance yourself, ie stop asking him how he is and let him get on with it but still preserve "me". Gosh I hope I don't sound selfish because that isn't the case at all. I just wonder how its happened that we've suddenly become old.

I suppose what I worry about most is becoming a carer. Of course I'll do it but how do you cope. Oh dear, so sorry I've rambled.

EllanVannin Tue 09-Apr-19 22:09:52

The straight answer is that you'll have to cope, there's no alternative. I'm speaking from experience when in the past before the age of 50 and working full time I was also looking after my terminally ill husband.
It's no picnic but you have to do it. My husband died 5 years after diagnosis and I was only 54. I was back at work a couple of weeks later after I learned that widows pension was £55 a week !

tanith Tue 09-Apr-19 22:48:24

Also speaking from experience I have to agree with EllaVannin that you’ll cope. You love him and he’s going to need you and you’ll find the strength from somewhere.
I doubted I would be strong enough to nurse my terminally ill husband but with help I managed it. I’m now 70 and alone but I’m finding a new normal and you aren’t selfish to be worried it’s only natural. I hope he improve and things won’t seem so bleak.

Deedaa Tue 09-Apr-19 22:56:01

I know just what you mean moores my husband now bears little resemblance to the man I married and it does get depressing when the "good" days seem to get fewer and fewer. It's beginning to worry me that the doctor is beginning to make sympathetic comments now. I do try to make a bit of time for myself and I know my best friend is worse off than me and we prop each other up. It's just a strain always feeling that everything is my responsibility now.

agnurse Wed 10-Apr-19 00:51:03

We usually recommend TLC for caregivers:

Training in care techniques
Leave the care situation periodically
Care for yourself

You might see if there is a caregivers' organization in your area, or if there is a day support program or respite available for him.

Tuppnce Wed 10-Apr-19 05:06:01

Chin up, moores you will cope and will find you have hidden reserves you can draw on. You say “little old man” and unless I have misunderstood you are talking about his physical competence rather than mental? Those on GN with husbands with forms of dementia will know that there is much worse.
“Old” is not just to do with years, but with attitude - he can still be young at heart and so can you.
I too sacrificed a lot of independence during the latter years of my OH’s life, but there are still many things to enjoy both alone or even together - maybe with help.
You have to keep strong and guard against letting resentment creep in. Could have been the other way round!

craftyone Wed 10-Apr-19 06:18:17

It is all about the marriage vows. In sickness and in health. They too get anxious about being old and infirm but they bottle it up and internalise it and they change and don`t talk about it. We cope because we love them and we made that vow. We kept ours until death came and it parted us. Now that worry is gone and I go with the flow, on my own with the knowledge that I did my best and so did he

You can do it op, try not to look ahead, live in the moment

Beechnut Wed 10-Apr-19 07:31:00

I’m going to agree with craftyone on this post. I would never have considered myself his carer. I was his wife who cared and looked after him.

Buffybee Wed 10-Apr-19 07:49:20

I'm sorry that your husband has fractured his arm but of course this will heal and he will be able to drive again soon.
Regarding his shuffling gait because of the problems with his legs and the balance issue, have you heard of Nhs Balance Clinics, a sort of physiotherapy? They are in most areas and you can be referrrd by your GP.
They will help with his gait and balance which will lessen the risk of falls in the future.

EllanVannin Wed 10-Apr-19 07:54:32

Best way of putting it Craftyone.

Urmstongran Wed 10-Apr-19 08:59:40

I imagine this is tough for you. We are only human and although you love your husband I think you are feeling resentful against the cards you have been dealt. Yes, it could have gone the other way, with your husband helping you. But it didn’t and this is where you are. I can feel for you especially as you had entirely an independent social life from your husband and your wings have been truly clipped. Life isn’t fair.

I realise how, although y husband and myself are fit and healthy right now, life is a lottery and I do look at our situation and give thanks. I do realise how fortunate we are are and know that the coin can flip at any time.

Carolina55 Wed 10-Apr-19 09:53:54

So true Urmstongran! On another thread I’ve mentioned my husband’s health problems since his 50s which pretty much came out of the blue given his dedication to keeping fit and healthy eating.

I’m very mindful of the promises we made and am grateful that only one of us has problems so we muddle along - although he finds it more difficult than I do, to accept the restrictions on our lifestyle that ill health brings.

Annaram1 Wed 10-Apr-19 09:54:45

I do hope moores that your husbands arm heals soon and he can drive again, It is always a surprise to me that many elderly women did not learn to drive, Inability to drive means you are more or less confined to to the home, My mother learned to drive at the age of 58 after my dad died.

luluaugust Wed 10-Apr-19 09:56:40

Yes this is the scary thing, although things are alright this moment I am well aware from those around me that a spin of the wheel and everything could be wrong. I suppose it's another part of a long marriage. His arm will heal and you may find for a while things return to your "normal" if they do remember to make the most of it.

Shortlegs Wed 10-Apr-19 10:07:58

In sickness and in health?

icanhandthemback Wed 10-Apr-19 10:20:12

If this is a long term thing, you can usually get some respite care through your GP's surgery. Ours have big notices up telling you how to access it. Perhaps your children could visit so you could go out once in a while socially just to give you a bit of a break.
It is really hard to look after the other half especially if you are finding it a bit more of a struggle. However, before you put everything down to his falls being due to his shuffling, do make sure he gets checked out to make sure he hasn't got an imbalance of chemicals with his blood. Also, the Falls Team will come and review your living circumstances to see if they can help with Physio, walking appliances, handle bars around the house, etc. They are really helpful and your GP can refer you.
There is also a host of stuff on the internet on how to set your house up to avoid falls. Once your husband gets over his fractured arm, I should think fall prevention should be a big part of your living so that you both remain independent.
In the meantime, vent on here as much as you can!

Telly Wed 10-Apr-19 10:21:46

I can empathize, my DH has had deteriorating health for more than a decade. How do you cope? Well one day at a time. Making day to day life as easy as possible. Getting out by myself now and again and getting him out when he is able. I think perhaps the past problems you have had may be making you feel a tad resentful? You have been together all these years so I imagine that you will continue as a couple. So do something nice for yourself, spring is here and you may be able to enjoy the better weather, maybe meet up with a friend or a relative for a chat? Best wishes xx

allule Wed 10-Apr-19 10:23:57

The hard part is that you both grow older and less able. My husband needs more and more done for him, just as I become less able to do things. We are now needing help, which I am grateful to have, but a big loss of our independence.
As tuppence says, I am grateful that we can still enjoy each other's company, and reading, and television, even if confined largely to one room.

Tweedle24 Wed 10-Apr-19 10:28:02

I cared for my husband who had PD for many years, it just happens and, as others have said, there is no option. Most counties have a carers’ group that can give advice and support. Ask at your GP’s surgery for any support that is available. There might be respite care available for a few hours a week so that you can get out on your own,
I won’t suggest it is not hard but, you will manage.

Tweedle24 Wed 10-Apr-19 10:32:11

I forgot to mention that most conditions have charities which, not only carry out research but, also provide support. If your husband’s condition fits into this category, it is well worth exploring

Sielha Wed 10-Apr-19 10:40:44

I really feel for you and am in a similar situation. It is hard to watch your ‘big, strong’ husband start to become more dependent on you until you feel more like a carer than a wife. I too feel awful sometimes when I feel sorry for myself but it is hard to deal with this role reversal. As others have said, get out the house, do things for yourself when you can, meet friends for coffee or, as I do, volunteer for charity for a few hours a week. I work in an Oxfam shop one afternoon a week and it’s therapeutic chatting to the customers! Good luck and don’t be too hard on yourself, you’re only human but you will cope x

Badenkate Wed 10-Apr-19 10:43:21

I am sorry about your husband moores but could I just ask you to think about it from his point of view? I can give you some idea how he feels. Up to 2 years ago I was reasonably fit and healthy. My husband and I enjoyed walking with the dogs, going on (shortish) walking holidays, planning trips. Then I developed permanent atrial fibrillation - which to those of you that don't know is an irregular heartbeat. Although this isn't life threatening if treated properly, it is life changing in so far as I get tired fairly quickly and am limited to what I can do every day.
My husband is marvellous, but I feel so useless and that I have spoilt our plans. I know we do less because of me and there are times I think he would be better off on his own or with someone else. It is horrible to feel a burden on someone else, no matter how much they love you.
I've never said this before to anyone except my husband, and I never shall again - but please do try to understand how your 'caree' feels, however thankful they are and appreciate what you do for them

Oldandverygrey Wed 10-Apr-19 11:26:48

I am my husbands carer, well wife first, caring second. We take each day as it comes, and I feel so blessed to have him here with me, good days and bad days.

VIOLETTE Wed 10-Apr-19 11:27:01

I feel for you ….its ok for people to say you married him, take it on the chin ...but much harder in practice ! My husband (86 I am 71) was always much more active than me ...still climbing on the roof, DIY, full of life until PD, dementia and cancer struck ! Of course I said I would care for him (no help from anyone) BUT this year it became too much ...his personality changed mostly with the dementia and he became aggressive and demanding. He fell frequently at night as he refused to use the walking aids given to him by the doctor ….so since I could not lift him, I had to call the ambulance every time. He was kept in hospital the last time he fell with severely bruised ribs. The hospital, psychiatrist, and physio said he was not safe any longer to stay at home with only me (I have a lot of medical problems too ...but I don't dwell on them, whereas he was constantly calling me, sending me on errands to buy yet more cream for his head, his pain, his this that and the other, asking me to take him to the hospital, call the doctor, etc etc. Most of the time it was only attention seeking, and as soon as our lovely doctor came to visit him at home he was better *nothing wrong with him,,,just attention seeking. Often I forgot to do my insulin level check or injection because I was dealing with him. In the end, my doctor was adamant...if he stays at home YOU will die (ha ha ...just to explain, I have an odd heart complaint from which, my cardiologist informs me, 'You can drop dead at any time' ….smile ….but what can you do !!! SO he has had to go into a care home is a lovely place with caring staff (we live inFrance) BUT it is costing me 3,500 euros a month ...and he STILL demands attention by phone, I visit every day (40km round trip) before I go I phone to see if he wants anything …, he says....I get there,...Oh, he says, I want some more shower gel, razor stuff, etc etc (the home provides all these things),,,,,,and the other day it was biscuits ….so off I went to the supermarket and bought all this stuff and took it straight back …………….then he has forgotten something else …….he just loves to have me running back and forth …..I often forget my own medical appts because of his demands ………………..this is NOT something I would wish on is my hope that I will be fit enough to go off to Dignitas for £12,000 if I have ANYTHING left ...I would hate to be a burden on someone who would begin to resent it ………….that is MY choice ! c'est la

Meriel Wed 10-Apr-19 11:54:20

I was really interested to read this post and the replies as I am in a similar situation. About two years ago, my DH had major open heart surgery. It was touch and go at the time but he did recover. However he went from being a very active man to an old man almost (it seemed) overnight. He also shuffles when he walks (very slowly) and won't go out without me, it takes ages to get anywhere and when we do he wants to sit down immediately. It's costing a fortune in cups of tea in cafes! His brain certainly is not what it was either and he forgets things almost as soon as I tell him something. He is quite happy to sit and watch tv all day. Someone earlier said that getting old is in the mind and I do agree. He says that, at almost 80, he is old. I am 77 and feel quite young! Apart from a gammy knee!