Ask Amy: Suspicion of dementia creates anxiety

FresnoOctober 15, 2013 

Dear Amy: I am worried about my husband, "Norman." We have been married for 30 years, and I have always enjoyed his company, despite having to adjust to his anxiety disorder.

He is smart, funny and supportive, and we enjoy doing things together.

He's 10 years older than me and has been retired for quite a while. I am a freelancer with an active career.

Over the last four years, he has been exhibiting signs of incipient dementia, and his hearing is deteriorating. I've begged him to discuss this with his doctor, but he will not do it.

He becomes defensive, angry and brushes it off. I've tried to find ways to accommodate both his hearing loss and his memory lapses, but I am worried about both conditions.

I've seen these symptoms evolve in both his mother and my mother, and those symptoms are unfolding with him at precisely the same age when they struck our parents.

For his benefit and for mine, I'd like to begin addressing his conditions, but I can't do it without his cooperation. What should I do?

— Worried

Dear Worried: Your husband may not have Alzheimer's disease, but you can research some of the warning signs for Alzheimer's and dementia on the Alzheimer's Association's helpful website: You can also talk with a counselor on the association's 24-hour help line: (800) 272-3900.

You should contact your husband's physician to share your concerns and ask that he be tested. Doctors understand this complicated personal issue — they also know that earlier detection leads to early treatment with a potentially better outcome.

Dear Amy: Your advice to "Unappreciated" that she email the company owner and copy HR regarding an ignored evaluation form might have a more negative than positive result.

Having been on both sides of the desk in this email-heavy world, I've found communications in person are more appreciated. A pleasant "by the way" approach with this owner, under the guise of saying hello or reporting on a project might be less pushy and do far more relationship-building. Emails have no tone of voice, a mistake I've personally made.

Never call the owner on the carpet and copy someone else while doing it.

— X-HR/current team builder


Dear Team Builder: Fantastic feedback. Thank you!


You can contact Amy Dickinson via email at, follow her on Twitter @askingamy or "like" her on Facebook.

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