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Ask Dr. Gott 6/27

Dementia leaves wife frustrated

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Posted: June 26, 2007 4:45 p.m.
Updated: July 11, 2007 5:00 a.m.
    DEAR DR. GOTT: My 70-year-old husband has always been a bit of an absent-minded professor, but he has gotten worse and is driving me and everybody else around him crazy. Every day he loses things that are important to him and blames everybody else. He leaves everything open and everything turned on. All day long he goes around complaining that he can't find his glasses. He has umpteen pairs scattered all over the house, but some are the "important" ones. He puts them down, can't remember where he left them and accuses me, the maid and his secretary of misplacing them. He forgets where he left his appointment book and his cell phone. He opens the cupboard and closet doors and leaves them open. He opens the freezer to get ice and leaves it open. He turns on the lights, TV and radio in every room in the house, walks out and leaves them all on. He leaves the gate open so the dogs get out into the street. He leaves the water running in the sink. If he warms soup up on the stove, he leaves the burner on. He leaves important papers outside on the patio and finds them scattered all over the yard or ruined from the sprinklers the next day. He has been known to get out of his car and leave the engine running. He walks around the house with his shoes untied and his pants unzipped. He forgets his credit card and his jacket in restaurants. When I try to point out to him specific incidents, he gets very defensive and tells me to quit nagging him. What am I to do? Is there a medication or cure for this condition?
    DEAR READER: Your husband appears to have developed a form of dementia that requires further testing to identify the cause. Alzheimer's disease would head my list, followed by vascular disease in the brain, Parkinson's disease, a thyroid deficiency or other neurological disorder. Work with your family physician to obtain a referral to a neurologist, who can pinpoint the basis of the dementia and recommend therapy.
    One option you will probably have to consider is assisted living in a safe, controlled environment where your husband can be supervised closely.
    To give you related information, I am sending you copies of my Health Reports "Parkinson's Disease" and "Alzheimer's Disease." Other readers who would like copies should send a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope and $2 for each report to Newsletter, PO Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title.

DEAR DR. GOTT: The soap-in-the-sheets cure for nightly leg cramps has worked splendidly for me for years. Now, all of a sudden, the leg cramps are back with a vengeance. Any ideas?
    DEAR READER: Yes. Try a fresh bar of soap.
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