My husband has vascular dementia and I no longer have much of a life while he gets respect and all his needs met. Advice? - AgingCare.com

My husband has vascular dementia and I no longer have much of a life while he gets respect and all his needs met. Advice?

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Alzheimer's communication chart says don't argue, reason with, demand. I'm frustrated and confused. My husband knows enough to treat everyone else with respect but me. It's always been this way. He leans on my arm struggling to walk with his cane yet when we went to his psychologist this week he got up quickly out of his chair & walked steady & quickly into his office. The doctor said, " look at you!" He's 24/7 care at home. Yet I'm not to question his contradicting behavior.?

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I encourage my charge to do things for herself, I don't let her hang on me or get out of the chair without prompts as to the correct way to do it.. she gets angry... sorry, this will sound harsh, but better her than me..... and she also puts on a show for the ST and PT...... the physical therapist told me last week my eyes were going to get stuck in the top of my head for rolling my eyes.....lol...... professionals know this is an act and of course if they cooperate in their office, they are going to praise them,makes that visit go faster......I walk away, I go outside, I get busy doing something... partly to work off my frustration... but as others have said, somehow, someway, you have to find some time for yourself...he is going to be who he is... he isn't going to change, but you can, change your way of handling him.... he may get upset, but he will get over it, eventually, and if not.... then you still get a few moments to regroup... please take care of yourself... we all understand, and like the others... a huge hug for you....
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First, no leaning on your arm when he's using his cane. Your body isn't made to support someone that way. Not only will you hurt yourself, but if he starts to go down, you could BOTH go down. Make no mistake! YOU are your #1 priority. Without you in great shape, physically AND mentally, the whole equation falls apart. BUY A GAIT BELT. Cheap. Safe.

I'd want him to do all that he could do by himself. I do understand that he puts on a show in the doctor's office, though. The general advice you get re ALZ/dementia is just that, general one-size-fits-all. Well, we all know that one size doesn't fit all. Use your judgement in trying to get him to be more self-sufficient. Cajole, manipulate, lavish praise . . . Much as you would a child.

Your goal should be to get him as independent as he can be. And ANOTHER goal should be cultivating your own solo social life. Regular lunch dates with family and friends...a senior water aerobics morning...a two-hour weekly outing to the library...follow your bliss.

Can't leave him alone? Hire caregivers. In our area, a professional thru a service who will help him to the bathroom, give him lunch, play cards with him, visit runs $25 an hour. You can't afford NOT to spend that for your own wellbeing.

I wish you well. When we're taking care of a senior spouse or parent, most often we're old too. Now dactyl how we planned on spending our golden years. !!
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It is so easy to get upset with the people we care for, even when the "book" tells us not to. I think this is because our emotional selves don't read. So our logical selves end up making us sweeten our responses to the situations. The problem is that we end up with growing resentment inside. We can end up feeling like a grisly bear inside while we're acting like a teddy bear outside. I guess it is a caregiver's own version of showtiming.

Babalou's suggestion of leaving the room is excellent. I do that a lot with my mother. I also have some mental tricks I use, like shooting myself with my finger pistol -- not loaded, so no harm done, but for some reason it relieves the stress. Other people may have other suggestions to get rid of the stress, since you can't leave him unattended for long.

You do need to see about getting someone to come in for a day or two a week so you can get out by yourself. I don't know what I would do if I couldn't get out. Probably go crazy, since I'm terrible at sitting and waiting.

I join blannie in giving you a big group hug. From your name, I know that you pray that your husband will be kinder to you. His kindness would make it so much easier.
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Mary, you seem to say that he's never given you respect. And that he's always show respect to others. This is not going to change with dementia, sadly.

During your respite, do YOU get to see a psychologist or counselor? Some here would recommend using a behavioral approach, i.e., walk out of the room when he's rude. As to the hanging on you issue, I would not allow that, out of self preservation. If he needs to hang on to something while using a cane, he needs to be evaluated by a physical therapist for a walker or rollator.

I don't know if any of this helps, but hugs to you! And watch Teepa Snow ' s videos, even better than a chart or book.
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I don't have great answers for you, I just wanted to give you a big virtual hug. Your husband is "show timing" and it can be aggravating. My mom does that at the doctor's too. To hear her, nothing is ever wrong with her. Putting on a show for others is common with people with dementia. They show their real selves when they're home alone with you.

One idea, could you videotape your husband in his "normal" state at home and show it to the doctor? I'm sure you'll get some good ideas from the folks on here.

I just salute you and the hard, hard work you're doing for your husband. He's lucky to have you, whether he can realize that or not or shows you any appreciation. Hugs...
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