He has heart failure, diabetes, and dementia.
She has multiple morbidities of her own. She has a history of abandonment (not picking him up after a respite stay – staff finally drive him home).
He has no short term memory (but he “can remember back to when he was in diapers”) and makes multiple calls home. Sometimes he’s accusatory, sometimes he just sounds desperate. Sometimes all he wants to do is say “I love you.”
She can’t take it anymore. Now, he gets one or two calls a day.
He is on hospice, but he’s not really that close to dying (damn those uncertain trajectories!)
Sometimes he thinks she’s dead. Sometimes he thinks (rightly so?) that she’s abandoned him. “After 67 years, I’ll never see her again.”
He was on a high dose of pych meds for his "behavior" at home. He's been being weaned down.
Sometimes he gets angry, sometimes he just sobs.
But give him some attention: a back rub, some comforting words a milkshake made specially for him, and often you can distract him from his pains, physical and mental.
At least for a while.