How to calm my wife's agitation who has early-onset dementia?


My wife age 60 has early-onset dementia and her father died 4 months ago. She says "I'm so mad at my dad, why doesn't he call me?" While cognizant of the death at the time she has now forgotten and seems to have regressed to a 6 year old when asking about her Dad. I answer her saying I'm sorry your Dad didn't call, then she she gets more upset and cries. I struggle how to answer her. Also my wife resists and cries during shower time with home care support. My wife loves babies and kids - would it help to get her a baby doll she can shower in the hope to calm her agitation; something else to focus on?

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freqflyer - Thanks!
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Sunnygirl1 - I'm not present for showers. The bath aide tells me my wife refuses and has high anxiety each time. Being cold, undressing & having the aide see her naked all play into her anxiety. Last week the aide told me my wife locked herself in the shower room three times for about 15mins each time & on the third time let the aide in.

Thanks for the doll tips! Maybe one with the lips closed might be OK. I normally go along with the moment & say your soothe and comfort tips but in that moment I forgot! Thanks for the reminder :-)

Yes, it's VERY painful & heart wrenching & shocking & such a sad sad loss when we got the AD diagnosis 7+ yrs ago. Equally shocking and sad was seeing her friends and some close family that live nearby stop calling & stop visiting :-(( I'm finding that's a common thread in society too...ignoring people with AD & other dementia's so they and their Caregivers end up falling through the cracks. Worldwide, I think societies haven't caught up to the ever growing number of people with Younger Onset Dementia let alone the people who care for them. What's been your experience?
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micalost - Thank you for your kind & heartfelt hug :-)) Not sure about giving a card... I now realize that the best way for me to answer her question is to say "I don't know" & then validate her emotion
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It must be very painful seeing this with your wife. While this condition is horrible at any age, it's particularly shocking when it occurs in a young person. My cousin was 62 when she was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia. Her progression was fast too.

I would try to soothe and comfort her in any way possible. Reminding her of sad things won't help, because she won't likely be able to process it, her emotions are not under her control and she will likely forget the information. So, I try to say whatever works in the moment to make her happy. If she asks why a loved one hasn't called, I'd make up something that might have made sense long ago, such as they are on vacation in a cabin and there's no phone there. Or, they are traveling on the road and there aren't many phone boothes. She may have forgotten about cell phones. I might ask someone else to send her cards from the missed loved one signing as they would have, saying they are away on business or a long vacation. Something that would assure her they are fine and thinking of her.

I'd also discuss meds with her doctor. My cousin had severe anxiety and depression. She was very obsessive and stayed worried over small things. Medication worked miracles for her and made her much more content, without making her sedated.

My cousin loves her dolls and they bring so much happiness to her, but, I have read that some patients get obsessed with the doll and fret over not being able to feed the baby properly or other care worries. There's not much you can do about that though.

Showers are tough, but, if you have a bath aid for her, I'd let the bath aid take over and you leave while this happens. Sometimes, LO's tend to show more resistance to care or act out more if there family member is present. That's been my experience. The professionals normally know how to handle the matter and having a spouse overseeing them make hinder them.  Oh, also, playing music during the bath, often helps relax the person.  I might suggest that to the bath aid, in a nice way and see if they will try it. 
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First , I need to give you a (((HUG)))
i cannot fathom what you are going through...
yes most definitely get a baby doll that can get wet.
My mom thought dolls were childish till she got Alz. then she loved them.
Can you send her a card "from him" ?
(sorry I havent called you, I wilI as soon as i can. love you very much, papa)
I have done this, sent mom childrens valentines and birthday cards for little girls.
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Caged, I am pushing your post back up to the front of the list. Hopefully someone who has experience with this will give you an answer :)
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