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Woman thought husband's early onset dementia symptoms were signs of an affair

Emma Ruscoe thought her husband, Simon, was having an affair after he became withdrawn but he actually had early onset dementia. (Emma Ruscoe/SWNS)
Emma Ruscoe thought her husband, Simon, was having an affair after he became withdrawn but he actually had early onset dementia. (Emma Ruscoe/SWNS)

A woman who thought her husband might be having an affair after he became withdrawn, discovered he actually had early-onset dementia.

Emma Ruscoe, 55, an administrator from Solihull, West Midlands, started noticing subtle signs that there was something wrong with her husband, Simon, 58.

She says her husband stopped wanting to go out with friends and seemed distant - to the point she thought he was having an affair.

He started taking wrong turns when they went on familiar journeys and after a holiday to Cephalonia, Greece, in August 2016, Emma says Simon also became argumentative and started forgetting conversations.

Read more: Dementia signs and symptoms as Julie Goodyear diagnosed with the condition, Yahoo Life UK, 7-min read

Emma says Simon became argumentative and started forgetting conversations. (Emma Ruscoe/SWNS)
Emma says Simon became argumentative and started forgetting conversations. (Emma Ruscoe/SWNS)
Emma said her husband stopped wanting to go out with friends and he was withdrawing himself from her, pictured with the couple's two sons. (Emma Ruscoe/SWNS)
Emma said her husband stopped wanting to go out with friends and he was withdrawing himself from her, pictured with the couple's two sons. (Emma Ruscoe/SWNS)

Emma took him to the GP who referred him to a memory clinic, but it proved tricky getting Simon to an appointment.

The couple returned to the doctors in March 2018 and Simon was once again referred to a memory clinic.

He was seen in June 2018, but received a letter saying he did not have dementia. However, his condition continued to deteriorate and he was diagnosed with dementia in January 2020.

"I noticed a change in his behaviour at the end of 2015," Emma explains. "Simon stopped wanting to go out with friends, he didn't want to go out and socialise. He became very reserved, and I noticed he was withdrawing more and more to the point I thought he might be having an affair.

"So when he received the diagnosis, I felt a sense of relief. I knew something was wrong, but though I was battling to get to the bottom of it, nobody believed there was anything wrong with him."

"I can't fault my GP as they did refer us to the memory clinic," she adds. "But, I think they should also be sign-posting people to the Alzheimer's Society as well," Emma explains. "We would have gotten so much advice and support. But once I got the diagnosis, I knew what I was dealing with."

The family are now "adapting" to life following Simon's diagnosis. "It's gone from asking him to cut the lawn 12 months ago to now him not being able to do anything on his own," Emma shares.

"What makes it easy with Simon is that he is a lovely person, and the dementia has not changed that.

"I read about Fiona Phillips, and she has the right philosophy, you have to carry on as much as you can."

Read more: Alzheimer's disease explained as Fiona Phillips, 62, reveals ‘heartbreaking’ diagnosis, Yahoo Life UK, 4-min read

The family are now adapting to life following Simon's dementia diagnosis. (Emma Ruscoe/SWNS)
The family are now adapting to life following Simon's dementia diagnosis. (Emma Ruscoe/SWNS)

Emma said she hopes that Simon will continue to be cared for at home but admits she doesn't know what the future holds.

"Reading the prognosis, he probably will go into a home, but we will fight that every step of the way - I would prefer him to be at home," she says. "I have two boys that live at home, my mum lives down the road and she helps out when she can.

"I am looking for a personal assistant to give us a break and give Simon some independence."

She says watching your loved one deteriorate is a "living grief".

"We have been together for 31 years, so watching the person, I have grown up with disappear is heartbreaking. On bad days it feels like my heart is being ripped out but on good days I think I am lucky that he is still here. He is my soul mate - the love of my life and he always will be."

Additional reporting SWNS.