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Interview 06

Age at interview: 87
Age at diagnosis: 80
Brief Outline: Husband cared for at home. On medication two years. Attended day centre but went into a home after his wife had a mild stroke. Rapid deterioration in spite of good care. Wife now visits him once a week but he doesn't recognise her or their daughter.
Background: Wife caring for her husband who was an academic psychologist. Diagnosed in 1995. one child.

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Trying to accept that her husband's hostile behaviour towards her was a symptom of his illness.

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Trying to accept that her husband's hostile behaviour towards her was a symptom of his illness.

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Well, one of the hard things to take, I mean I knew he was ill so I didn't take it badly, but he'd say, 'Well, its my money.' Well, he'd never been like that in his life. It was always our money, you know. But he'd often say that to me, 'Its my money and its my house.' I think you can't, when you realise that it is an illness. 

It was the same when he used to get into a rage, I knew it wasn't him. I don't say, I mean there may have been one or two occasions when I was losing my temper a little bit, when he was really awkward at night, you know. You can only take so much and when he was saying something nasty, it was only afterwards that I'd think, "Oh well, that wasn't him, don't feel upset about that". But it's a natural thing in a way. You just crack up in that way. I tried not to, because, I realised, I say, all the time it was in my mind, well its an illness and you've got to accept that, its not him. He would never have raised his voice to me at all. He was the most amiable of chaps.'

 

Her husband used to see her as 'the little woman', now she had to take charge of things.

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Her husband used to see her as 'the little woman', now she had to take charge of things.

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It was getting very, very difficult for me because he was his own man, he wouldn't take… I was 'the little woman', you know, he wouldn't take anything from me, telling him what to do, which was difficult.

And difficult things like money, because obviously he used to take some money from the bank and then he would give me some money for my house-keeping, although I had a cheque book, but he would give me some money for my house-keeping.  But after a while I was worried about what was happening to this money because I would find £10 notes all over the place and so eventually he did get to the point when he realised perhaps I should go to the bank. I think he felt embarrassed going up to the counter and so I used to take the money and give him just a little bit of it. But at that time he didn't understand much about money. He got worse and eventually instead of giving him a couple of £10 notes, I would give him a couple of £5 notes, it wasn't quite so much to lose.  

There were all sorts of little things like that, it was very hard when you've lived with somebody who is so intelligent and then realising that they don't even know what a £10 note is, it is very hard. But he did begin to get very, very irritable and he just didn't understand.  

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