Reacting When My Wife Has Alzheimer’s

Mike HennesseyOP-EDLeave a Comment

Dateline Dayton — Some time ago I shared with you that my wife Pauline had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She has been on medication ever since.

I question whether it is helping. 

We are told the caregiver does not recognize the benefits of the medication.

Nevertheless my feeling stands.

I recognize no medication today will bring a cure.

We were told its purpose is to stall the progression. That is what I’m challenging. 

Pauline’s problems appear to increase each day.

Last week after our daughter and granddaughter left, she asked me who those people were, and how they were related. 

That was the first time she has asked that question. 

Then she wanted to write down the information.

I had to spell Heather’s name for her as well as “daughter” and “granddaughter.” 

It was a tough night for me.

I deal fairly well with the same continual questions:

  • Where are we going?
  • What are we doing?

They are frequently repeated during both of these occasions. 

What I don’t handle well is “you didn’t tell me that.”

I know I did. On some occasions, I even have backup.

Please don’t get me wrong.

I am not complaining.

I consider myself lucky. 

First I have family around to help.

Second, Pauline is able to care for herself, while I am at work or away. 

On days I do not work and am going somewhere, I will leave her a note. I tell her where I will be, when I will be home and my phone number

As I told you previously, Pauline gave up driving with no problem. She was not interested in renewing her driver’s license.  We participate in a support group, and driving is a major problem for many of the members, especially men.

Another reason to be grateful:

Pauline is alert. Other participants are in a kind of daze.

Interestingly, Pauline never has mentioned the word Alzheimer’s. 

All she ever says is, “I can’t remember anything.”  She never questions why she is going to the Alzheimer meetings. Most times, she attends enthusiastically.

Mr. Hennessey may be contacted at

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