My husband is 94 and has dementia at the stage of repeating himself and getting mixed up easily. Any advice on redirecting and calming him?


Hi Everyone, I am new here. He knows what he is doing when he does it and does not like to be helped unless he realizes he needs it. That is good but not when he is mixed up or clearly making a mistake that needs safe direction so I intervene but his anger and stubbornness take such increased patience to deal with and it is exhausting being his caregiver, companion and wife as many of you also experience. Any advice on redirecting and calming him when he is angry or convinced he knows best (like I took my pills when he did not as the day's pill case is full or I drank water when he hasn't had any for hours etc) or whatever the issue is he either resents me or appreciates me or tells me I'm crazy... He gets very irritated/jealous if I give others attention so I rarely talk on the phone or only have brief conversations with our part time companion caregiver or our friends when we see them together which is so embarrassing and limiting and despressing for me. My husband is a brilliant self- absorbed man and artist and is 30/31 years older than I am, as I married my art teacher and we are together 40 years so there are many dynamics in play. I realize I have passively let him dominate our relationship and I did not understand boundaries so he is used to having his way. He is a good man but emotionally spoiled and high strung. Watching him lose his many skills and short term memory is heartbreaking but he lives to perform and is still physically active (tho slow of course) and as his memory has recently declined further and new tasks are not easy for him to do on his own he now needs more direction and oversight which can be easy or not. I cannot imagine him accepting step by step instructions from me graciously long term but when I was sick last week I literally had to tell him to take the can of soup... go to the drawer by the sink and get the can opener...He hesitated at the drawer as did not recognize the larger can opener so I described it and then he got it...He struggled to open it and then I told him to get the small pan in the dish rack etc...It was a real eye-opener as a month ago he made soup on his own(pop top can) ...We can discuss art and poetry and interesting topics and then he can not remember what simple things are called or what he ate so hard to judge where we are. He clearly knows what he wants in the moment but then can be swayed or forgets so things often feel unstable. I do not wish to make his choices for him unless he asks me to or clearly is struggling or needs a safe intervention and our part-time caregiver makes me feel like I am not forceful enough with him but he doesn't get angry or frustrated with her like he does with me. Sorry to ramble. Do I use LO for loved one or what abbreviation for Husband. Thanks for listening. My admiration, living kindness go out to all of you who deal with so much because you truly want your loved ones to have the best care and quality of life possible and you give so much of yourselves to do so. I am grateful that my husband can manage physically and still enjoys many pleasures tho wishes he were able to do more as we all do. He is also stubborn about bathing and changing clothes so I accept and do my best with that struggle as well. So much resistance over little things but what can one do? Thank you for listening. Good wishes to you all. LaLa



Thank you...I will look up Teepa and Naomi...The washing together does work sometimes but he is a stubborn one...Thank you and hope your Mom, Dad and you are all managing well ...Appreciate your help...
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Reply to Lala17

I think you will just have to experiment with ways to work around getting him to cooperate. For example, when my mom was at about the point your husband is, my step dad would encourage my mom to shower with him. It was so nice. As time went on, that no longer worked and I had to intervene more.
I would suggest you look up Teepa Snow and Naomi Feil. They have great techniques for dealing with the behaviors associated with dementia. You can watch videos and read about validation, bathing, etc.
Come back here often to get help or just read what others are going through... The answers they receive may help you.
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Reply to Grammyteacher

Bumping up
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Reply to JoAnn29