Caring for Dementia Patients

April 16, 2014
older couple

My understanding of the reality faced by caregivers came in an unexpected fashion during a routine office visit by one of my diabetic patients.  Seeing him and his wife was always a pleasure since they were both so bright and cheerful.  His diabetes was easily managed, but one day asking a routine question, “Is there anything else going on that I need to know about?,” triggered something. Both started to tear up, and it took quite a bit of probing before the story slowly came out.  The patient’s behavior had changed; he would get up in the middle of the night, find her purse, empty it out, and then place the purse in the freezer.  This had been going on for six months.  Lately, he had also started to accuse her of having an affair, and the confrontations led to him becoming verbally abusive.