He won’t bathe or put on clean clothes even when going out somewhere. Recently took his guns out of his house and dr says he should not be driving. He is angry at me. Understandably. Won't admit for anything that he needs help at all. Can’t cook a meal, extremely messy but says a little dirt won’t hurt anybody.

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One of the challenges of dementia is its subtleties. You are still interacting with your "pre-dementia" father because your relationship is so ingrained over decades. There is cognitive dissonance when he behaves in irrational ways: we tell ourselves he is stubborn, lazy, controlling, in denial. What he is, is in dementia. His brain is broken and is continuing to break. We can't see it like a cut or bruise or a broken arm. It's in increments and changes come and we can't see it until we experience it through an interaction or observable behavior. Daily I have to remind myself not to argue with my mom when she's having a confused thought. Yesterday she was going to the grocery store to buy dinner fixings and she said she didn't know if she could get the meat (chicken) because it might not be in season. !! So, people with dementia can not only NOT learn new things or follow new routines, they are actively losing what was existing in their minds.

Teepa Snow has some very good videos on dementia on YouTube. I really recommend watching a few so that you don't burn energy unnecessarily struggling with your father and his dementia. There are enough challenges already. May you gain wisdom and peace in your heart.
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All pretty much in line with dementia. It is hard and frustrating, but if you can avoid arguing with him, it will lower your BP! You can't argue with dementia, or rather you can't win the argument.

My mother, even in the early stages, was adamant that she was "fine, independent and could cook." Answer was none of the above, but it was pointless trying to convince her otherwise. Her response to being forgetful? I'm old, I'm entitled to forget sometimes. Problem is it wasn't sometimes!

Driving is a HUGE issue. Others will argue with us and say it's their car and their decision. Yes, it is their care, but it should NOT be their decision. My response to others who chastise those of us who take the car away is that I would rather deal with any legal issues about taking and selling the car (all money received went into her account for her care/use) than all the repercussions of dealing with an accident where she or others could get injured or killed.

While some (few) might accept a doctor telling them not to drive or letters from the DMV, most either don't believe it or forget it and will attempt to drive anyway. YB did all the talking (I was there) and took her key. She looked like a 5yo who had been caught in the cookie jar. On the way out, I told him I think she has another key, and suggested he disable the car. He pulled the battery cable. That might work for many, but too often men are car-monkeys and can figure that out. The very next day, who gets the nasty call demanding the key back? Me. I told her I never touched it and she asked who did then. I replied you're so smart, you figure it out and hung up. Rude, but she was SO nasty about it I couldn't help it! Day 2, another nasty call, demanding I get down there right away and fix whatever I did to her car. So, despite dementia, she managed to locate that other key and attempted to go drive! While there are so many skills lacking, it can be perplexing how they manage what they often do!

The best thing you can do about driving is move the car to a place he can't find it (selling it is even better, if you have POA.) If not, then you need to disable it somehow, either use The Club or have a kill switch installed. Hiding his keys might work for a while, but never underestimate what someone with dementia is capable of! You may have to disable your own car(s) if you live with him. If he snags your keys, he will be off like a rocket!

Others have made suggestions about bathing, here and in other threads. I didn't have to deal with that myself, but it was clear my mother was wearing the same clothes multiple times (we had cameras at the door and I would see her in the same ones, once 6 days in a row! Given that she had enough clothes to open a store, this was definitely out of character.) Once when OB was visiting, he pointed out food stains on her clothes. She looked at them and laughed!

Assumption is you are living with him. Does he change into night wear? If so, after he's asleep, take the clothes away and leave clean ones out for him. No discussion, just put them out.

If all else fails, perhaps trying some medication can help. Some anti-anxiety meds can make a person a little more compliant. But again, approach it as a choice he makes, not a demand. Although they are not children, sometimes we have to use similar tactics to get them to make the decisions.

Hard as it is, try not to let his anger get under your skin. Unless this is how he was before, it is just how the dementia is affecting him. Avoid confrontations. Provide him with choices rather than presenting a wall that he will try to knock down! He is right - a little dirt won't hurt anyone, but messes will need to be cleaned up. I wouldn't count on him doing it, so just take a deep breath and clean up.

It sounds like there are at least 2 of you living with him. Even with 2, this will become more and more difficult to manage and you will need help. Now is the time to do some research, to find out what is available.
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"Wont admit for ANYthing that he needs help at all"

He just won't know.
His ability to reason he needs any help or needs to wash will probably fluctuate. Flicker off & on like a faulty lightglobe.

Arguing, trying to reason with him will probably just infuriate you both.

Is he living alone? Supervision will become necessary sooner, later or maybe now?

Lack of proper food & fluid intake causes problems: dehydration, dizziness, & falls. Diminishing kitchen skills can cause accidents: leaving the stove on, misuse of microwave oven, burns. Leaving taps running, heater on high, doors unlocked, it goes on.

Sorry if this sounds scary. Despite their anger, sometimes you have to make unpopular choices.
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The answer to your question is really only important as far as it relates to your father’s safety, comfort, and overall welfare.

You’ve taken his guns, and if the doctor says that he’s not capable of driving safely, and you have responsibility for him (POA?), you need to remove his car.

If he won’t bathe or change his clothes, you will have to inform him that he’s smells (if he does), and people who like/love him can’t tolerate his odor, so he won’t be included as part of family activities or other social events. His choice- .

He is, and will continue to be angry with you, but if your most important responsibility is caring for him, you have to take the anger (and the outbursts) in stride.

No matter what else he is still able to do, vascular dementia is impacting on EVERY ACTIVITY he undertakes. Your supervision won’t be pleasant or comfortable for either of you, but you’ll have to do what your conscience dictates.

Most of us encounter this kind of situation somewhere in caring for someone with dementia. Be sure to establish a sense of healthy balance between caring for him and caring for yourself and other family members who love you and depend upon you.
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Does he live with you? My SIL lived with my MIL and required ER care. In comes social services because MIl stunk, nails long and dirty, hair a mess. As she spilled out how MIl won't ...... Social services let it be known if you are caring for someone in your home it is your responsibility or you can be charged with elderly neglect. So there you have it. They did not charge her as MIL ultimately died after being admitted, however, she was scared to death-dealing with a strong-minded mother who could have caused her to go to jail. I've shared this story with many a caregiver. I remind my own Mother. If you don't stay clean and fight me then you are more than I can handle and arrangements will have to be made to move her to a nursing home and I have POA. She has no problem keeping clean.
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CammyR May 2021
I appreciate this answer you gave. My mom is almost 97 and still lives in her condo. I’m down there 3-4 times a day doing meals etc. I’ve told her the same thing as she is stubborn as well and thinks she has no problems and won’t accept help from outsiders. It does the trick to remind her where she will be going if she can’t be more amenable. So far so good.
I am so sorry you are in the middle of this. I had to convince myself that my dad’s safety (and safety of others while driving!), nutrition, medication management and my sanity were the most important things during this very stressful time. My dad had Lewy Body Dementia and his reasoning skills fluctuated. The reasoning fluctuations were so unpredictable! I decided his general safety was what mattered. What that ends up being might look different for you, but I moved him to an caring assisted living facility. I wish you the very best of getting him help.
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You can call your local DMV and report to them he is unable to drive safely anymore

You have to tell him he stinks like a skunk and needs to bathe. Do it at a scheduled basis. You have to set limits.

Your doctor can prescribe psychotropic medications, but the flipside are side effects including worsening balance and higher risk for falls.
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gaknitter May 2021
Calling local DMV will not help! I was in that situation and they didn't offer any help at all. Told me to download a form to fill out have signed by physician, and send to main DMV office of our state. They also told me they could not guarantee that I would remain anonymous. Great! Fortunately we had sold his car with mechanical issues and while he planned to purchase another that never happened. He talked about it daily but never specifically asked any one to take him to car lot. So I waited him out and when his license was due for renewal he abruptly decided on way to DDS office that he would just ask for a state ID. And that was that. It is unconscionable to me that they would have renewed his license with nothing but but eye/reading test, even after I told them that he had dementia, declared incompetent, and obviously impaired enough that he would be a danger to himself and others on the road.

My husband also neglects hygiene and we have arguments about showering. And he wears diapers 24/7 for urine incontinence. What you describe is all part and package of dementia. Try and locate a support group in your area.
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Your dad is regressing. You or someone you employ will need to help him get bathed and dressed before going out now. He is not going to admit to anything because his mind is not the same as it was. In some ways you are dealing with a child and you would not allow a child to drive - the doctor is right. You would not want a child having access to firearms either. Dont argue with him or try to make him admit to the changes hes going through because he isnt able to comprehend what his mind is going through. Enjoy each day with him, dementia and all. People with dementia are still a joy to be around. I work with people who have it. They can be a handful and you will most likely need help but take the rest of your time with your dad a day at a time and hold on to something good each day.
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When my Papa had the same issues, he had a younger (than him) buddy willing to help. I gave him two choices for a shower: me or his friend - of course he took his male friend. Maybe put it to him that way - give him two options and put your foot down (maybe you or an aide). My Papa was as bullheaded as they come, that was the only way to get through. That way he still thought he had some control, even though he really didn’t.

As far as his clothes, any time he took them off, I gathered them up and put them in the car for laundry day - oops sorry Papa!
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All of that is normal and predictable, especially for his age and diagnoses.
He’s 89!
He is going to be grizzly and stubborn.
One day you might be too.
How many elderly humans”, go out,” smiling with joy and gratitude?
Play nostalgic music, and try a sponge bath in between actual showers.
My step father (decades ago) punched me, as I tried to help with a shower, so I get it.
They can’t help these awful symptoms, so try to remember that.
Its not personal it’s a disease.
Get someone in between to help you out, because not doing that, will suck the life out of you-
“Remember, we’re all just walking each other home.” 💜😇☮️
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