ESR: Yes, the support group was very helpful and we made friends with whom we could socialize. Bernie and I had a very compatible, supportive and loving marriage ---lots of common interests while still maintaining our own separate interests, genuine admiration and respect for each other, agreement on child rearing and great pride in family, collaboration on family and professional projects, enjoyment of travel. We had times of needing to work things out, but we had those tools in hand, so were able to manage the rough spots.
So, now he is really getting annoying with his constant questions, my feeling his greater dependence on me and his no longer being the person I married. I had to take more and more responsibility and guide him. Having worked in a program for individuals with special needs, I had some strategies available for breaking tasks down and simplifying the environment more to his comfort level. But it was very taxing and at times I found myself getting very irritated and taking it out on him. Then, the guilt set in. He is not doing this on purpose. He has always been very thoughtful and helpful to me. Why am I yelling at him?
The support group helped a lot as we all shared similar feelings and consoled ourselves that we are only human.
An example will illustrate this: We continued to have lots of company as always. He had always been helpful in preparation and cleaning up. But now, if I said to him to make the salad (which he could do in times past), I had to put out one ingredient at a time and tell him exactly what to do. One day, I gave him the cucumbers to peel. He was fastidious about keeping a compost pile for his garden. So, the next thing I knew, the cucumbers were prepared and put in the compost. Another example: he wanted to know the guest list. I would tell him and then after the umpteenth time I would write it out. He refused to read the list and continued to ask.
I would try to remind myself that he could not help it.
Another example: We took many walks. When we came in and took off our coats, perhaps had a snack, he wanted to go for a walk. I tried setting up videos about baseball (which he used to enjoy) and he would last very briefly --maybe a little longer if I sat with him.
This raised a major problem for me as I was still trying to carry on some of my interests in addition to the responsibility of his care and the house.
Physically, he still had lots of energy and was in good shape.