How to help dementia patient understand waiting and time....Tried all the things used on children to no avail. Advice?

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My hubby, with dementia, gets up at 3 am and dresses to go out. He fusses at me from then on to hurry up and get dressed and get ready to leave. This is no matter when his doctor or other appt is scheduled. We often leave home by 4 am and spend the day waiting in the doctor's parking lot for a 3:30 pm appt. If I "spring" the appt on him when it's time to get ready to leave he refuses to go because I didn't tell him about it the day before! I've tried showing him on the clock, setting an alarm for time to get ready, x number of hours before time to leave ---- everything I can think of. He is just like his mother in this --I also took care of her in her later years.

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I completely emphasize with you! This am Mom had a cardiologist appointment. At 4 am she was up getting ready, turning lights on and off, slamming doors, etc. She went down stairs at 6 am. I finally got out of bed at 6:30 for the 8:30 appointment. She was barking at me before I even had a cup of coffee. UGH! Having said that, I don't tell her about appointments until I have to. I wanted to make sure she showered, etc., last night so I told her after dinner because it was an early morning appointment. Some days she doesn't even come down for breakfast until 10:00 which gives me some free time but then lunch time is thrown off. Makes it hard to have a schedule. As so many have said, thank God for this site! Though I don't have the freedom to sign in and comment very often, I do read as often as time allows. I miss you all and am grateful for you. Deep Breaths, everyone! Bee
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my husband with ALZ was the same way, it lasted about 6 months and now he also doesn't even look at the calendar, nor knows what day or year it is. I learned the hard way of telling him anything in advance. when he goes to sleep I write on his dry erase board in the bathroom to shower etc, your clothes are in here & what time we need to leave. But meds at night should keep him asleep until 8-9 am you really need that time to get your mind in order. this life is really tough, I thank God everyday for helping me find this site, just to be able to converse to others in my mind thought. Stay in touch
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I agree with Ladee. Stop telling him about any appointments at all. Just treat it like a normal day. A few hours before the appointment (if he isn't washed and dressed yet), let him know you are taking him to the doctor. If he is already washed and dressed, you can shorten the advance notice. My 92 y/o Uncle who's mind is still sharp, badgers me over every appointment same as your husband - but fortunately I don't live with him. So he can get himself ready as early as he wants to, and I tell him "I'll pick you up at ___ o'clock", enough in advance depending on distance and traffic. He's always ready and waiting. I hope this works for you - you need your sleep and I'm sure you don't appreciate sitting around in a parking lot all day just to appease your husband's irrational expectations. If that doesn't work then maybe a mild ant-anxiety drug would help as others suggested. I like the idea of the Tylenol PM also - I'm going to suggest that to the doctor in my Mom's NH - she refuses to go to bed until midnight or later! That's the beauty of this formum - you always pick up good ideas even when you aren't looking for them.
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I'm sorry you're having this problem. Does your husband also follow doctors orders well too? If he does, you might try telling him that you have received instructions from the doctor that you can't leave the house until 3 p.m. (for a 4 p.m. appointment) or something like that. It won't help with him getting up at 3 a.m., but at least you're not sitting in the parking lot. Good luck!!
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JennyM, I understand your frustration and the problem. We dealt with this with my mother a few months ago.I think the anxiety meds might help. Mom is taking 20 mg Celexa now which seems to have some good effect on her behavior. We give Mom tylenol for arthritis because she has bad reactions to different meds. Since we can give her the tylenol, we were advised we could use PM version at night - which makes her sleep through the night. Prior to the PM tylenol she was up all hours of the night and so were we!
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It sounds like he could use some anxiety meds...I've stopped putting appts on my Moms calendar and never give her the cards...she recently went on lexapro and it seems to be helping.
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Sorry you are having to get up that early, but trying to 'convince' him of anything is long gone.... those parts of his brain can no longer figure those things out... I am sorry, but I know this would be exhausting, but is there some way you can redirect him, then possible go out for an early breakfast, THEN go to the Dr.... ??? We have to become very creative when dealing with Alz.... to figure out ways to keep them distracted... some times it works, sometimes it doesn't....

One suggestion... don't tell him about the appt...get him up and ready, tell him ya'll are going for an early breakfast.... then take him to the Dr.... you can even get breakfast if you want..... the hardest thing for us to do is not jump to every demand or delusion they have..... I hope others share their thoughts on this.... we can never have to many choices to fall back on.... hugs to you...
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JennyM, if you refuse to leave early what type of behavior do you get from him? Is there anyway to redirect him with something else until it's time to leave or at least closer to the time you leave?
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This is a very difficult question to answer. I'm guessing that some AD patients are more fixated on time than others. My Mom got to a point where she no longer wrote any appointments down on any calendars in the house. Dad went through a period where he stood in front of the calendar every time he walked by it, or went to it purposely, and just stared at the appointments. When he knew he had an appointment coming up he got anxious and agitated at least two weeks ahead of time. It was unbearable --- When is my appointment? Shouldn't you call them to make sure I still have an appointment? Have they sent a reminder yet? How long til my next appointment? The night prior to the appointment he wouldn't sleep. He'd get up at 3 or 4 AM just as your husband does. Then after his shower, dressing, etc. he'd sit on pins and needles, wandering, wandering, wandering until it was time to go! He was still doing that at this time last year. Now...he could care less. He never looks at the calendar. He doesn't know or care what time it is, though sometimes he'll ask what day it is and then argue that what you tell him isn't true! He doesn't care whether he sees the doctor or not. When we get him in the car and start backing out of the driveway he'll ask "are we almost there?" He keeps that up off and on all the way. He thinks we can get across town in 30 seconds. Hopefully this is something that will pass as far as your husband is concerned also.
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Maybe you could arrange for an ambulette to take him to his doctor appts - then someone would be able to help you get him out of the house. You could explain he has dementia to the driver. It's too bad house calls are a thing of the past.
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