Is it possible to reason with a Dementia patient? - AgingCare.com

Is it possible to reason with a Dementia patient?

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My father in law is driving us crazy with his god awful habits. He has a lot of phlegm
that he coughs up on a daily basis and he spits it out in anything he can find. We've given him Kleenex, Handkerchiefs, and he refuses to use them. He usually tries for a trash can he has in the living room, but always misses and it ends up on the floor. He's ruined the carpet because we don't always find it in time and it's very disgusting to clean up when we do find it. My husband seems to think it's impossible to teach him any different. Some input on this would be greatly appreciated.
If you can teach an animal not to pee in the house, why can't you teach an 89 year old man not to spit on the floor? Or does one have to put up with this disgusting behavior?

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Thank you all for your input.
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It MIGHT be easier and less wear-and-tear on you for you to accommodate his habit, than to try to re-train him. Put a throw rug under his waste basket in the living room -- something easily tossed into the washer when he misses. Have a few of them so there is always a clean one waiting.

My husband had the need to remove the phlegm from his mouth at the end, when he was mostly in bed. I bought a plastic bowl and lined it with a plastic bag, to make him a portable spittoon. He also used it to dispose of his tissues. When he got out of bed to sit for a while the lined bowl went with him. I offered this to him as a convenience to him. I never scolded or made him feel bad about his need to spit -- this was just one of his symptoms I could help him deal with.

Also, be sure that his doctor knows about the constant phlegm. There may be a way to reduce this. It is worth discussing.

It may or may not be possible to break this distressing habit. It depends on where FIL is in the dementia progression.

Good luck!
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you might keep the trash can beside where he spends a lot of time sitting. you can reason with dementia on their better days. he may accept a new routine if you make it obvious and easy for him.
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This is a difficult situation. It may depend on how advanced the dementia is and whether this was something he did before the dementia. You may have to put all your time and energy into breaking this habit by being there constantly to catch it before he doest it. Good luck. !
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