It's my father-in-law and he needs help walking, and that is when it usually happens. I am the husband of the daughter of an Alzheimer's male. My wife is not able to mentally deal with aiding in her father’s care, so I am stepping up to the plate. He still lives at his home with his wife who cannot care for him alone and refuses to put him where he can get the proper care. All the siblings are taking turns with his nightly routine.
He is barely mobile. He can move from room to room with the aid of a walker, and two others to help steady him. His legs are losing strength, due to sitting on the couch all day. But up until a few years ago he was still chopping wood, so his upper body is strong as an ox. He is no longer continent, and needs to have personal hygiene of that type. He is no longer aware of who we are, but can at least recognize that we are familiar.
At this stage, here is the problem as I see it: At times, while moving him from the morning bathroom/shower routine, he will suddenly and without warning become violent as we try to steer him into the bedroom to get him dressed. He lashes out and pushes with his (as stated before) very strong arms.
So we are caught between the need to keep him safe from falling and getting injured, while at the same time, trying not to get injured ourselves in the process. It’s almost impossible to restrain him (whether or not that’s good idea, I don’t know).
So far, these bouts are very brief in duration, and are over in a matter of moments. We finally get him to sit on the side of the bed, sitting next to him and talking calmly, so he can get his breath and calm down. This seems to work—so far.
But as general guidance, what is the best way to handle the rage “in the moment?” Should we let him fall, or allow ourselves to take a blow? I’m not sure, but that may be the thing that is needed for his wife to think more clearly about priorities. At the same time, I don’t want to feel manipulative, using him to make the point. I think maybe the wife is in denial, and can’t see the situation for what it is. All the siblings and I are not professionals, and have not been trained in these skills.
I am now learning about this horrible disease, and don’t know a lot. But it seems that at some level in his mind or brain, he does know we are trying to help. In the night time routine, after getting his diaper changed and his pajamas on, I’ll sit next to him on the side of his bed listening to Vaughn Monroe, one of his favorite singers. During this time I talk to him, as if I were talking to a child, but not talking down to him. We don’t get complicated, just simple things. I frequently tell him that we are all praying for him to get better, that we know he doesn’t like being in this condition. He surprised me when I was leaving after getting him tucked in, he said “Pray for me.” Now realize his speech is mostly mumbling at this stage, and it is getting more and more difficult to understand him. But this statement was clear as a bell. Whether the prayer is working, or he had a lucid moment or what, I don’t know. But it was a real thrill to hear it.
Any advice anyone has will be greatly appreciated.