Wife Learns About Dementia Firsthand
"I began noticing something wasn't right in 2006," said 67-year-old Linda Buytendorp of Crawfordville, Florida, "but I was in denial and so was my husband. I told him he needed to see a doctor, but he said nothing was wrong and if I kept it up he was going to walk out and never come back."
What the Buytendorps were denying was husband Frans' out-of-character problems with confusion and memory. Before his retirement, Frans had been the regional president of a chemical company with 14 plants stretching from Boston to Miami. By 2006, he was having trouble understanding his bank statements.
"And he'd been an avid reader, sometimes two or three books a week," said Buytendorp. "Then I began noticing he'd read a book a while and have to start over because of forgetting what he'd read."
When the Buytendorps visited Linda's hospitalized mother in 2010, Frans became deeply confused, including not knowing where he was (Utah), why (to see his mother-in-law) or later that she had died. After returning to Florida, the Buytendorps soon discovered Frans had a form of dementia, probably Alzheimer's disease. Physicians can only diagnose Alzheimer's disease with 100 percent certainty postmortem.
Buytendorp had advice for family members of people exhibiting dementia symptoms. "First, they need to do whatever possible to get their loved ones to a doctor, but not just any doctor," she said. "They need to visit a memory disorders clinic. Our first experience was with a neurologist who didn't specialize in Alzheimer's. He only put my husband on medication, and didn't give us so much as a pamphlet about what would happen during the course of the disease."
So they visited a memory disorders clinic in Tallahassee. "It was there I learned how to care for (Frans) and go along with what he said," she said. "Sometimes, you have to fib to a dementia patient. For example, (74-year-old Frans) sometimes thinks our adult children are still teenagers and will want to know where they are. If I correct him, and say they're grown, he becomes confused. But if I say they are at swim practice and will be home at 9:30, he's all right."
She said learning to not correct her husband's memory has improved their marriage more than anything. Buytendorp also stressed the importance of education, and seeking knowledge from groups like Forget Me Not on Facebook.
Sponsored by Blue Valley Sod.
Daniel J. Vance is a licensed professional counselor and national certified counselor from Vernon Center, Minn. His weekly newspaper column Disabilities has been published in more than 260 newspapers.
Daniel J. Vance may be reached at www.danieljvance.com
Placer County News HeadlinesRenewable Energy Job Training for Local StudentsRoseville - More than 25 local students from Sierra College have now gained invaluable hands-on training for jobs in the fast growing field of renewable energy
Placer SPCA waiving Adoption Fees in DecemberRoseville, CA - The Placer SPCA is thrilled to announce that every animal adoption fee will be waived from December 1st through December 31st
New California Laws 2017 - Part 1Roseville, CA - New California laws for 2017. Part 1 includes racial mascots, immigration, tobacco, marijuana, search warrants, mental health and much more.
27th Annual Holiday Craft Fair in Roseville Roseville, CA - The 27th Annual Holiday Craft Fair in Roseville takes place this Saturday at Maidu Community Center.
Roseville Flash Crime Report: Mail Theft on the RiseRoseville, CA - The Roseville Police Department's public police activity report for the period covering November 15-28, 2016.
Football Championship West in Roseville and RocklinRoseville, CA - The Football University (FBU) National Championship West region games will take place on Dec. 2-5 in Roseville and Rocklin.
Local Businesses Warned About Potential ScamThe California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) is warning ABC licensees and the public of a possible scam in both Northern and Southern California involving persons
18th Annual Holiday Show and Sale in RocklinRocklin, CA - The Ridley Gallery at Sierra College Rocklin Campus is proud to announce our Eighteenth Annual Holiday Show and Sale
Volunteer for Elves for the ElderlySeniors First, a Placer County non-profit organization focused on providing programs and services for our area's elderly, is continuing their holiday gift program
Children's Christmas Faire in AuburnAUBURN - Santa is high in demand this season but will be stopping by the Children's Christmas Faire for free photo opportunities for 400 local children
Free Band Concert in Rocklin at Sierra CollegeRocklin, CA - The Sierra College Music Department is proud to present the 33rd Annual Sierra College District High School Honor Band Concert
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Tickets On SaleDisney announced that tickets for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will be available online starting Monday, November 28th