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Before his serious mental decline, my husband was smoking 2-3 cigarettes a day. Now that his dementia has become severe, I talked with his cardiologist about his smoking, not just in terms of the health issues, but for safety concerns. The doctor said that smoking is a battle, that at age 83, I should not take on. However, my husband is asking for cigarettes at least every half hour and insists each time that I have never given him any that day. I have tried giving him 3 in the morning, but when I do, he smokes them within an hour, then wants more, saying he's never had any and gets very agitated if I try to delay giving more. If I give him the pack, then he hides it and of course insists that I either stole it or never gave it to him. I truly understand that these are common behaviors, but I have COPD and use inhalers on a regular basis. He normally smokes out on our patio - we set up a heater for him. But lately he has been waiting until I leave the room and then lighting up. Last night after he was in bed, I smelled smoke and he was sitting on the side of the bed smoking. I was angry, yes, and I know I did not handle it well, but later, after he was asleep, I came in and retrieved the lighter and checked pockets, etc. for other cigarettes and lighters. Today has been a particularly obsessive day. I am asking for suggestions on how I can best at least control the safety issue. I currently have no way to control his behavior of if we are out of cigarettes, him walking out the door and heading for a store to buy more. I do keep about ten dollars in his wallet to help him feel that he at least has some spending money. Help!

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Would a nicitine patch help releive some of his addiction?
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If you get any kind of home support, the workers usually have occupational health and safety rules that allow them to refuse to work in a smoke-filled environment. Where I live, they have the right to ask that my mother not smoke for one hour before they get here, and not to smoke while they are here. That tamed my mom's smoking a lot.  (Edit:  my mom also has dementia, progressing rapidly.) 

This Tuesday we got a phone call reminding us ahead of time, because one of the workers had mentioned smokey air. So I put the cigarettes/ashtray on top of the fridge at the allotted time. Instead of giving them back to mom after home support was gone, I left them on top of the fridge and waited for her to ask for them. It's Friday and she hasn't yet. Sometimes she makes the motions - she acts like she's going to light something, or smoke something, but they are phantom movements. Eventually she stops.  At this point, it's the habit, not the nicotine. 

Even if you don't get home support, it's taken many steps to get to this place. Last summer I took the knobs off the stove and assigned her one lighter.  If she lost it, she had to get a light from me. This was the first fire safety rule. Then after finding some burn marks VERY near the bedroom curtains, the new rule became she had to smoke only in one spot, NOT the bedroom.  She couldn't remember or refused to comply, and kept taking her cigs and lighter to bed.  Last fall (I posted here about it when I joined AC) I had to attach the lighter to one spot with wire, to enforce the new rule. I regret that spot was in front of the TV, because that led to nauseating chain smoking in the living room. Otherwise, it contained the fire risk.

Two months ago I was ranting on here about the chain smoking. Three weeks ago I put my foot down about everything, including the smoking. I started doling out five cigarettes at a time, and said she could ask for more, but that I wasn't going to leave them all out. I reminded her that she would not be allowed to smoke at all inside a nursing home.  So, she rarely asked for extras, and then eventually didn't even finish the 5 in a 24-hour period. I'd cut it down to 3 by the time the fridge incident happened.  She's now 3 days smoke-free.

My mom can't get to the store on her own. You're going to have to take the money away and take control of his cigarette/fire access, if you want him to stop (or even if you want him to just stay smoking in one spot).  I really recommend doing it gradually - nicotine addiction and the habit/self-soothing action of smoking are difficult to give up when you're WILLING (it took me many tries) - but your mileage may vary. 

It's your lungs too, your cancer risk, and your right not to die in a preventable fire.  You are entitled to health and safety. 
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I don’t like to be a “doomsayer” as such, but two years ago last month, our neighbor’s house burned down due to the man’s careless smoking. As neighbors, we stood there helpless watching smoke pouring from their house and listening to them yelling for help. The man did not make it out alive. It was a horrific and traumatic experience that none of us who were there that awful day will ever forget.

Obesssing is a large part of Alzheimer’s disease. Your husband is playing you by hiding cigarettes and smoking when he knows he’s not supposed to. One doesn’t need to have dementia to fall asleep with a lit cigarette, though. Hubby used to smoke in bed and doze off until one day when he did, I kicked him so hard I left a bruise. He’s also burned through quilts and carpeting.

Talk to his doctor and share your concerns. Second hand smoke is said to be as deadly as if you, yourself were smoking. Continue to ration his cigarettes. Only give him one at a time then gradually stretch out the time between. If he says you haven’t given him any, save the butts and show them to him. Have alarms installed on your doors in case he does try to go out and make sure he doesn’t have access to car keys.

At some point, you may have to think about a skilled nursing facility or assisted living. Do you have children who could help you through this? If not, rely on his doctor or yours for advice. Good luck. I know how difficult a “battle” this is, but for your own health and safety, I beg to differ with his doctor, this is a battle you need to somehow win.
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How totally annoying, She1934. I hope other folks that have had similar issues have some good suggestions for you.

In the meantime, I definitely would test/replace the batteries in all the smoke alarms in the house and make sure you have a couple of fully charged fire extinguishers in the house stored in handy locations. Not to be alarmist -- actually, everyone should do this. But it would be good to get this important home safety aspect taken care of as well while you're working on the smoking issue. Best wishes to you and your hubby!
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Could you replace his cigarettes with one of the e-cigarettes that uses veg oil and flavoring and emits vapor? Overall, I would think they're safer and vapor then probably wouldn't bother you. Worth checking into.
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