My husband is 86 and has shown dementia symptoms for 5 years, and I am the sole caregiver. He is in total denial and refuses to discuss it. We have had 2 doctors diagnose it, but he claims they have never told him.
Qu 1: If I try to assist him he often pushes me away saying that he does not want to be treated like a child. He gets angry at me when I offer help. But when it comes to hygiene, I am concerned. He does not clean his dentures properly or daily. He does not change his underwear daily, and often wears his socks to bed for 2 or 3 days, which makes his feet itchy and sore. He does not cut his toe nails and they have wrapped over his toes. He does not clean his bottom well in the shower. He almost never washes his hands. He leaves soap on his hair at the end of the shower, which now has his scalp flaking. Occasionally he will let me help, Fortunately I have convinced him to let me handle his medications. So how do I get him to let me help with daily hygiene without raising his anger and resentment?
Qu 2: He used to be an engineering director (20 years ago) and felt like a responsible useful person. When he retired because he was laid off and could not find anyone to rehire him at age 65. So I had him do plumbing and carpentry and yard projects around the house which saved us alot of money. Now he can not do any of that. The last time he tried to mow the lawn, it was done in a strange zig-zag pattern of small mowed sections and not mowed sections. He complains that he feels useless, but when I try to get him to go to the Sr center, he says NO. He does not read any longer the books he used to enjoy. He wanted to have a cell phone like mine, so I bought one. I tried 3 or 4 times to teach him how to use it, but he could not remember the steps to even turn it on. About 5 years ago he discovered sweepstakes, and then he could do them, but he was giving too much money. We had a conversation and I showed him the money he was losing, so I got him to agree to only 1 dollar cash to each entry. Now it is the only thing he wants to do, and he is back to more than a dollar . I am trying to find SOMETHING for him to do to occupy his time. He thinks it is his way to earn money for us, but he has never won, although he has convinced himself that he has won many times. I take him for a walk every day that is not raining, but he only walks about 4 very slow blocks total. I try to get him to throw a ball for the dog, but he gives up after the dog has brought it back and he has to pick it up again. He used to load the dishwasher, and I used to unload and put away. But one day I found things all over inside the dishwasher, so I am now doing both load and unload. I have tried to get him to help me in the garden, but he does not understand my directions, and has difficulty getting up and down. He loves to take pictures on our short walks. He used to off-load the pictures from the camera to the computer, then work on the computer to create photo albums that we could share with the family, but he can not figure out any of how to do that any longer. I am out of ideas of things to occupy him. Help me find something to occupy him, without me having to be right by his side all the time.
Qu 3: He wants to eat sweets all the day long. I tell him that "lunch will be soon" but that only works for a short time. If I am out working on the garden he finds cookies, or crackers, or cereal or ice-cream or bread with jam to munch on. I have to keep the pounds off that he worked hard to lose, to keep his back from hurting. I make 3 nutritious meals for us and they each have something sweet, but he insists on more sweets. I have tried hiding the cookies and crackers but then he finds the others.
Qu 4: He is furious that he can not drive now. He blames me for this. The DMV refused to let him have a drivers license when we moved here. He insists that he can get a license in our former state if I would help him. I try to change the subject. Now what?