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He seems to be able to tolerate only 2-5 minutes of a video, can't sit thru a whole TV show. He takes a few bites of his lunch and has to leave the room, comes back 10-20 minutes later to eat more. Is very impatient, can't wait for me to help him. He can't tolerate haircuts, grooming if it takes too long. Trying to do things fast enough to get them done before he wants to leave is driving me nuts.

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Thanks for all the comments and suggestions. I am now having a companion come in twice a week so I can get out for some recreation, exercise and shopping. The physical support groups in my area are at the wrong times r locations for me so I appreciate this forum that can be read when I go through my email.
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I have found that Fry's, which is a huge warehouse electronics store, has an amazing selection of DVD's of old tv shows. I like to buy those because of the lack of commercials to zip through. However, some of them are not close captioned, if you like that feature.
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Somehow when he's with other people, he can focus longer than when he's just with me. At my son's house he can sit through a whole show. Here at home, he's limited to about 3-5 minutes. Youtube has kept us going with Mr. Bean, Carol Burnett, Jack Benny and fawlty towers. I try to stick around while he's watching and skip the ads for him. I think I'll try MASH and maybe Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, and but his favorite is still Mr. Bean.
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Not fun. Dad has advancing dementia with a really short attention span. Keeping him on task is a rough proposition. booper37, like with your husband, Dad will take a few bites and take off to do something else. Sometimes I have to remind him that dinner is still on the table, it really looks good and I'm gonna eat it if he doesn't. Or something.

I'll admit this microscopic attention span can be useful. If he comes up with some dementia-driven idea I'll tell him we'll attack it tomorrow. Please remind me then.

Bottom line: Having a sense of humor keeps me sane while caregiving. Hate to have to go there, but it helps if Joe Thespian comes out, too. I often have to call on some serious acting skills when dealing with dementia.
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Television with commercial interruptions was just too confusing for my husband. We had pretty good success with travel videos and nature videos -- no plot to follow and lots of lush photography. Also videos of old tv shows. Even if he didn't remember a specific episode the characters and situations were familiar. MASH was good. Hogan's Heroes was perfect.

Visits to places we walked through were good, like the children's museum and the plant conservatory. We could go at his pace and move on when he'd had enough of one exhibit.

His barber understood the situation. Fortunately they hit on bowling as a common interest and something they could always talk about, as a kind of distraction.

My husband's dementia journey lasted ten years. There were aspects of it along the way that drove me nuts, but we worked through them and made the journey together. You don't have to be perfect to be an awesome care partner!
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If his symptoms are driving "you nuts" perhaps you would do better with him in a facility. Having dementia is no walk in the park for the person, nor their caregiver. If you feel you cannot tolerate his behaviors, then he is better served with someone who will treat him appropriately. Not everyone is cut out to be a dementia caregiver, so relax and review, review, review with him. That is the best you can do.
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Booper37, Have the same problem - which I believe is the advancing dementia. I do believe it is important - like geewhiz says for both you and him to keep a schedule. What I did was to work thru the issues, for his haircuts I would call the shop just before taking him so he would get both immediate and quick haircut and I would have them shave him at the same time, one less chore for me. They were very understanding and took care of him very quickly. As he became less interested in television and or movies, I found that it was just because he could not follow them anymore, Old familiar movies - in our case the western channel was easy as most of them were movies he had seen many times before - and game shows seemed to hold his attention longer. Also a CD player with familiar music (county music what was he used to listen to while driving) so I got a bunch of CD's from artists he listened to back then, again being familiar with them seems to help. I do not have the issue with food as he is a pretty good eater, but perhaps you could make meals more adaptable to be eaten over a period of time, cheese and meat cubes with crackers and fruit for lunch, cereal bars for breakfast etc and let him eat at his own pace. Making things easier for him will make things easier for you as well, good luck caring for a spouse with dementia is very difficult and can be so frustrating my heart goes out to you.
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My Mom was an advid reader. Not anymore. She blames her glasses. Check up was fine, no change. I was told its the dementia not her eyes that cause seeing problems. She will watch TV but gets commercials mixed up with the shows. Has a hard time following the story.
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My mom likes to watch America's Funniest Videos, game shows and animal shows. Nothing with a story. Her focus is the worst in the early evenings as she worries about her deceased husband among other things. We usually need to give her a tranquilizer with dinner. Good luck and make sure you take time for YOU.
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What you describe seems to go beyond your husband simply having a shorter attention span. Perhaps excessive agitation and/or anxiety is a factor.

Yes, adapt to his changing capabilities. And you also might want to describe these symptoms to his doctor and see if a medication could help.

Blessings for a resolution to this and the other challenges on this path.
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My experience also saw dementia folks unable to follow videos, etc. You might try SHORT comedy sitcoms. I love lucy, shows for example. But just one at a time, no marathons. Another option I observed was a music video with Old time music and it had the words on the bottom of the screen in large letters for sing a long. Reader's Digest Large Print magazines --- short stories. Think about the food being served --- Easy to eat? Colorful? Try for a 'scheduled' routine. It won't be easy at first, but will pay off big time as things progress. You may even get a white board and write the schedule on it and follow along. Put a clock next to the white board. 8 am wash, bathe, shave. 9 am Breakfast. 9:30 TV show 10 am Juice. 10:30 walk. 11 am folding clothes... etc. You can make the scheule around your 'to do' list and he can get in the habit of following things. Dementia patients without a routine start to wander or sleep or get into trouble. Hope this helps.
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This happened with my mom and I believe it was/is all memory related. It started with books. I would bring her books that were right up her alley, and she was not the least bit interested. Then it started with films. Again, I would be so pleased to bring her something that I knew she would love. She would say," Well I left the room and when I cam e back I didn't know what was going on." And that was four years ago...

So, there you are. She does enjoy the news now. She watches CNN and reads the paper. Anything short. It is frustrating but AmazingSusan is right: just go with it and you will be more at ease.
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Forget about your schedule, and go with his flow. It makes it much easier on everybody.
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Have you discussed this behavior with his doctor? What is the timeline of when you started to notice the very short attention span and is it associated with any irritability and or aggression? I am wondering if there are any medications that might help.
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We deal with this too. Mom is better with other people than with me sometimes. For instance, while I cut my husband's hair and could easily cut hers, I take her to the beauty shop because she won't criticize and complain as much, and yes they are faster than I am. Win win.

Sometimes I just tell her to calm down and wait a minute. I promise her a treat when we're done. TV is a bust - she can't follow plots at all anymore. She used to love Shirley Temple movies, but now she just will watch it if I sit there too because she thinks it's on for me.

I don't have any real advice for you, but I sympathize because we're in the same boat. I think it's just a new phase of the dementia.
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