Although he had early onset dementia, I believed my spouse was cheating.


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

A woman who thought her husband was having an affair after he had withdrawn discovered that he actually had early onset dementia.

Emma Ruscoe, 55, from Solihull, West Midlands, began to notice subtle signs that something was wrong with her husband, Simon, 58.

Emma said her husband stopped going out with friends and he was withdrawing from her – to the point where she thought he was having an affair.

Emma, ??an administrator, said: ‘I noticed a change in his behavior in late 2015.

?Simon didn’t want to go out with friends anymore, he didn’t want to go out and socialize.

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

“He became very reserved and I noticed he became more and more withdrawn to the point where I thought he was having an affair.”

In late 2015, Emma noticed Simon taking the wrong turn when they went on familiar rides.

After a family holiday to Kefalonia, Greece, in August 2016, with their two sons – Alex, now 26, and Oliver, now 21, Emma noticed other changes in her husband.

The mother of two said Simon became very argumentative and would forget conversations that had just been had.

Emma took him to her GP, who then referred him to a memory clinic, but it was difficult to get Simon to an appointment.

Emma went back to the doctor in March 2018 and was again referred to a memory clinic.

Simon was seen in June 2018 and received a letter saying he did not have dementia.

Emma said: ‘When we got back from holiday we went to see our GP.

After a family holiday to Kefalonia, Greece, in August 2016, with their two sons - Alex, now 26, and Oliver, now 21, Emma noticed other changes in her husband.  In the photo: the Ruscoe family

After a family holiday to Kefalonia, Greece, in August 2016, with their two sons – Alex, now 26, and Oliver, now 21, Emma noticed other changes in her husband. In the photo: the Ruscoe family

The mother of two said Simon became very argumentative and would forget conversations that had just been had

The mother of two said Simon became very argumentative and would forget conversations that had just been had

?Simon was referred to a memory clinic, but he was constantly missing appointments.

?After two years of struggle, we went back to the doctor in March 2018 because he still didn’t seem well.

?We got an appointment at the memory clinic in June 2018, we were fobbed off.

?There were no tests, we spoke to a psychologist and he told us that Simon was stressed.

“We got a letter saying my husband didn’t have dementia.”

Concerned about Simon’s deteriorating behaviour, Emma went back to the GP and was again referred to the memory clinic.

The pair went to a few appointments where Simon was assessed and in January 2020 he was diagnosed with early stage dementia.

Emma said: ‘When he was diagnosed, I felt relieved.

?I knew something was wrong and I fought for so long ? no one believed there was anything wrong with him.

Concerned about Simon's deteriorating behaviour, Emma went back to the GP and was again referred to the memory clinic where she was diagnosed with early onset dementia in 2020.

Concerned about Simon’s deteriorating behaviour, Emma went back to the GP and was again referred to the memory clinic where she was diagnosed with early onset dementia in 2020.

‘I can’t blame my GP, who did refer us to the memory clinic, but I think they should also refer people to the Alzheimer’s Society.

?We would have received so much advice and support. I felt a huge sense of relief, from my point of view I knew something was wrong with him.

“It was nice to get an answer after fighting for so long, once I got the diagnosis I knew what I was dealing with.”

Shortly after Simon received his diagnosis, the UK went into lockdown and Emma said it was ‘difficult’ to care for her husband, but they adapted.

She said: ‘From my point of view, the lockdown has been difficult. He was in the mild stage of the disease.

Emma said it is heartbreaking to see the person she grew up with 'disappear'.  In the photo: the family at Christmas time

Emma said it is heartbreaking to see the person she grew up with ‘disappear’. In the photo: the family at Christmas time

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

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

?But what lockdown meant to me was that I could work from home so I could let Simon do his own personal care.

?We have to get behind him, but he’s going it alone.

‘It’s gone from asking him to mow the lawn 12 months ago to now that he can’t do anything on his own.

‘What makes it easy with Simon is that he is a sweet person and the dementia has not changed that.

“I’ve read about Fiona Phillips, and she has the right philosophy, you have to keep going as much as possible.”

Emma said she hopes Simon continues to be cared for at home, but admits she doesn’t know what the future holds.

What is Early Dementia?

Early or young onset dementia (YOD) is defined as dementia diagnosed under the age of 65.

The most common early symptoms of dementia are:

  • Amnesia
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Finding it difficult to perform familiar daily tasks, such as getting confused about the right change when shopping
  • Difficulty following a conversation or finding the right word
  • Being confused about time and place
  • Mood swings

According to a NHS blog: “Unlike late-onset dementia, where the most common causes are Alzheimer’s disease, vascular or mixed dementia, YOD is more often due to rare causes, unusual presentations of the common dementias and genetic causes.”

Because of these rarer causes, the NHS says it can be more difficult to diagnose YOD, adding that there is often a delay in diagnosis.

After the diagnosis, there should be a care plan outlining what kind of care you and the people who care for you will need.

Source: GGZ

She said: ‘When I read the prognosis he will probably go to a home, but we will fight that every step of the way – I’d rather he was home.

‘I have two boys who live at home, my mother lives down the street and she helps where she can.

?I’m looking for a personal assistant to give us a break and give Simon some independence.

?It’s a living grief ? you see that person deteriorating. We’ve been together for 31 years.

?It is heartbreaking to see the person I grew up with disappear.

?On bad days it feels like my heart is being ripped out, but on good days I think I’m lucky he’s still here.

“He is my soul mate – the love of my life and always will be.”

n