Follow
Share

I am private caregiver, currently caring for 82 year old male suffering from dementia. This client will not go for walks, play any type of games. Only wants to read. I was asked to come in for only few hours so wife could get out. I do the laundry. In between loads i will sit and read. He has been very nasty to me saying doesnt need a babysitter and asked me to leave. I explained to him the laundry has to be done and he says his wife can do it. Last time I did leave, called the wife explained what happened, she was understanding. Now wife explained to me he gets upset when you sit and read, well not sure what else I am supposed to do? He is refusing to do any activities and I finish all the laundry? What do I do?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
I agree with midkid58; I am companion and now good friend with a lady in an AL facility, and we do all kinds of things she wants to do. Sometimes it's sitting out in the sun (or shade), organizing her drawers, clothes, or makeup, having coffee and goody in the dining room, walking the halls, changing out her winter to summer clothes and visa versa, writing letters; just small things mostly, but important to her. Must be something he would like to do - ask the wife, who really needs you to stay.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

P.S. As to any dementia he might have, reading can be a grounding method; it helps orient him to a period in time, or specific issues, and helps exercise the mental functions that still operate well.

My family has always read extensively; we still do. Dad might not remember what he ate for lunch (nor do I most of the time, if I even remember to eat), but ask him about starting the engines on a B-29 and away he goes! And I'll still be gardening in my mind even if ever do become unable to otherwise think.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

CTaking RM's suggestion a step further: Can you engage him in a teaching mode? E.g., ask his wife what period of English he taught? Was it English lit? Or English grammar? Or specific authors (I took a Shakespeare course in college). If he taught Shakespeare, you're really likely b/c his works are so complex and laden with innuendos and hidden meanings that a person could spend a lifetime and still not understand all his works.

Since he's a prolific reader, I suspect he taught lit rather than grammer. Do some research on your own, identify authors of various literary periods, read some, then ask for his advice on some aspect.

So much of classic literature deals with societal issues rather than just a narrative. Zero in on those issues and try to initiate a discussion with him, perhaps just starting off by asking what he might recommend.

Play to his ego, flatter him, and he might come around. That might make the conversations last longer.

Another way to initiate a conversation about specific literature is to read one of the classics, deliberately misinterpret some aspect, and ask his opinion. He might react contemptuously, but at least he'll react. And, if he's typical of many teachers, he'll want to correct any misinterpretation, and that could lead to a more lengthy conversation.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I did come up with an idea - but you would probably need to have your foot in the door with him - reception wise.

I’m dyslexic- so if I was in your situation AND I thought he’d be open to it - I’d ask some “student” like questions regarding things I never understood in school - some basic rules in sentence structure and the like. It might make him feel more comfortable if he thought he was resuming a “teaching” function. It might aid in him feeling useful as well.

Also - depending on what he taught- you could say something like - you have a high school age niece who needs some extra credit at school - what books does he recommend...

Lastly - someone mentioned crossword puzzles. Could you get a book of those - let him see you working on one - after a bit approach him with “I’m stumped. I need a eight letter word for...”. See if you can get him involved by way of him helping you rather than the other way around.

My father had a full time paid caregiver at one point- they would sit and talk - my father mainly doing the talking - of some of his adventures as a mountain climber. Anything he might enjoy telling you about?
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Oh, and I was also referred to as my client's "personal assistant". Just the wording of that made her feel more important, and as if she had a million things to do and needed someone to "organize" her life. I didn't wear my "uniform" I wore regular clothes, even "dressed up" a bit if I knew we were going to luncheon, even if I was just dropping her off. In NO WAY did she feel I was her "babysitter". I got her involved in as much as she possibly could do. Asked her opinion on a lot of things--treated her like my employer--I can see with a man feeling "demeaned" but use that phrase "personal assistant" and try some different tactics in the tone of your voice and how you speak to this man.

And, yep, I often did the family's ironing. My client WANTED to, and in her eyes, if I did it, then SHE did it.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

The only thing I can think of is to come up with some projects around the house.

I know you said they have a housekeeper- but what about some of those time consuming, tedious chores - things like cleaning tile grout or ironing? Things that take time but don’t take a lot of concentration so you’ll still be able to do the laundry and keep an eye on the man.

Ask the wife about it - make sure she’s okay with it - and maybe ask her to mention it to her hubby so he doesn’t think you’re snooping etc - but all kinds of this type of “busy work” comes to mind - mending hems and buttons, organizing kitchen drawers, ironing sheets and pillowcases - things that perhaps the housekeeper doesn’t do regularly- cleaning mini blinds etc.

It doesn’t sound like much fun - this type of busy work but at least it something to keep you from looking like a baby sitter in the mans eye. 
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Smile
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I think that what you are describing is fairly common for dementia. I would try to look busy, dust, sweep, walk around, ;-). You might also find out if there are any years he likes. Nothing makes my grumpy step dad happier than home made banana bread! If you can share favorites with him, he might look forward to your visits.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

When I worked in Elder Care, my client couldn't bear to see me not keeping busy--BUT there was only so much I needed to do in 4-6 hours. I learned to "act" very busy, I'd actually do this quick, brisk walk from room to room and take my time to do everything. Laundry, which normally would take me 2 hours from start to finish? I'd drag it out all day. Carrying only one small basket and making several trips. I'd make a huge production of changing her sheets and would often get her involved in some project--"A", let's clean that west closet. It's really getting crowded"--or getting her to help me bake cookies, then we'd run them to her friends. She read A LOT and I would usually try to at least skim a book she was reading (on my own time) and have that to discuss with her.

I was VERY aware that I was there 50% for my client and 50% for the daughter and her family with whom she lived.

She had Parkinson's and was very slow to move, so there was that--we did run a lot of unnecessary errands, but this was what gave her a sense of purpose, which is what everyone needs.

Weirdly enough, she also LOVED it when I sang. So, I sang a lot, when we drove places and when I was working and she was resting. It was actually, a very dear relationship--although quite exhausting.

Ask the wife if there are more things you can do to stay busy. 4 hours can feel like 10 when you're just twiddling your thumbs.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Could he help you with crossword puzzles or maybe a real puzzle with pieces? Tell him you're writing a book and you'd like to hear about his experiences as an English teacher. Take notes on what he says. I wonder if he'd like some kind of videos of lectures or PBS shows? I know he doesn't like TV, but that's probably regular network TV. Can you get him talking about his teaching career? If none of that works, I'd go to another part of the house for most of the time, once the laundry is done and just check on him periodically (and unobtrusively).

Your "real" client is his poor wife - as long as you keep her happy, you're doing your job. He's not going to like whatever you do in all likelihood. Just letting her get away is such a blessing to her.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I answered on your other thread but it was taken down for some reason. Anyway....
I'm in agreement with heydeb, I think your main duty is to give the wife some respite and if that involves nothing more than sitting unobtrusively out of his sight then that is what you should do.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

He sounds to me like a typical dementia patient. Try watching Teepa Snow videos. She has lots of great ideas to help with the issues you are having.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

iI had a situation similar to yours. The husband just didn't want anyone in their home, anyway I did all my chores and afterword would sit in the kitchen to read or crochet. Every so often I would check to see that he was doing ok, I'd take him a snack. Are you just there to make sure he's safe? If so just keep an eye on him and don't take it personnally he'd be grouchy with anyone who came to sit with him. My advice just stay out of his hair, obviously he doesn't want a buddy and remember you are ther to earn a paycheck and make sure your client is safe,
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

wanting to add additional day I am also a bit weary of that.. they pay very well, I guess he will just have to get used to the fact that I am there.. the family is aware and agrees that mom needs to get out and he needs to corporate.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

@sendhelp unfortunately his only hobbies are reading books. we do discuss them but only lasts for little bit. I am just at a loss, i have never had a client who just wants to sit all day which is fine makes him happy. Changing the linens and laundry is all i am asked to do, they are well off and the house is immaculate and small. I make his lunch i guess just stretch how long takes me to the laundry..... I feel bad for the wife he is very nasty to her so dont blame her for wanting to get out thats why im trying to work this out
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

What you are describing sounds just like the first few uncomfortable weeks helping my uncle. Asked daily, do you want me to change your sheets? No......
One day, he said yes, okay. After that, there was no end to the work that needed to be done.
Suggest you ask for a budget ahead of time, help him plant some herbs in a pot while he is outdoors.
Organize a tool box.
Organize a fishing tackle box.
Bring some batteries to replace fire alarms, do a safety check.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I did talk to the wife, she said he was given some medication to calm him down. She said he doesnt like when i am sitting as he feels he is being babysat. I explained to her i sit with him and talk but that only goes so far, and he doesnt want to do anything else so i try to leave him alone to his reading while i finish the laundry which usually only 3 loads and I am there for 4 hours... He doesn't eat dinner until she comes home I have offered to start dinner but she said they usually just have a sandwich since they go out in the morning. I feel i may have to end the position but also feel bad for the wife as she needs some time to herself.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

He is retired english teacher he has shelves of books, thats why i brought a book to read thinking we could sit read together.. i feel i am stuck as well and wife wants to add another day.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

BTW, it's best not to post the same post twice; it splits up the answers and responders don't have the benefit of seeing what someone else wrote.

Almost duplicate post:
https://www.agingcare.com/questions/My-client-is-82-suffering-from-dementia-refuses-any-activity-and-asks-me-to-leave-432500.htm
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

He will not go out, I do the dishes and make him sandwich when he wants one, they sometimes for for breakfast before i get there. They have no animals. we do sit outside when weather has been nice. Unfortunately if you ask him if he would like anything its usually a beer so i try to stay away from that, as he is alcoholic. Dont get me wrong on my short days he is just fine, or he sleeps. Its the longer days. I have also cleaned the floors. They do have housekeeper and house is very clean. He doesnt like tv. Just trying to keep myself busy for 4 hours to not upset him.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

What does he read? Can you have a discussion with him about those topics, especially if they're intelligent ones? If he's just reading Playboy or some garbage, that's a different story.

But, frankly, I think this man is never going to cooperate. He doesn't want somebody and he'll let you know.

You're in a tough spot; there's no interaction, the wife doesn't want you to read, he doesn't want you to do laundry, so what are you supposed to do?

I'd shift part of this issue to the wife and ask HER what she wants done. Protect yourself.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

duplicated post.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Fix him a snack.
Do up some interim dishes.
Open the curtains for some light.
Take him to the library to get more books.
Take the dog outside, bring in the cat.
Empty the trash.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter