Would like to hear other people's suggestions about how to deal with problems they have come across while caring for somone with dementia. My MIL has lived with us for over two years now and her Alzheimer's is progressing. It seems like hygiene is a hot topic for people with dementia. My MIL has a habit of taking off her Depend in the bedroom and then will squeeze it in a ball and hide it someone in her room or closet. It does not matter we put a trash can with a sign right in her room. I was afraid our carpeting would not take many more steam cleanings (thank you to our son for the wonderful Christmas gift of a steamer - has been a lifesaver). Finally, I figured out that she will not take off her pjs if she cannot put her robe on so every night, I put her robe in her bathroom and simple, bold signs in the bathroom. She had starting getting up at 6 or 7 and jumping right in the shower (yes, I am grateful she still showers), but since I often will work until 2 or 3 in the morning, the 6 or 7 was not giving me much sleep. We bought a clock that sticks to the bathroom mirror and I have a sign next to it that boldly says "Do not take a shower until after 9 (or 8 - depending on when we need to be up) - so please GO BACK TO SLEEP." The last part was important as she would just go back in her room and get dressed. I also put a sign right on the shower curtain she has to open that says "GO BACK TO SLEEP". Also, since she had started wearing 2 pairs of underwear UNDER her Depends which defeats the purpose and she ended up throwing at least 40 pairs away (I am not exaggerating), the sign in her drawer says - no more underpants - just wear Depend. Believe it or not, these signs do help. Of course nothing works all the time - but even half the time is better than none.
Something I would love to hear ideas about is tissues, or as my husband calls them snot rags. My MIL keeps at least 6 in each pocket and we catch her wiping the table, the mirror, the sink, etc. with them. Of course, I wipe everything down with Clorox wipes constantly, but any ideas how to curb that habit would be greatly appreciated.
Another suggestion her physical therapist gave us was to have "inside shoes" for her. Our family has always taken off their shoes in the house, but house slippers no not give elderly people the stability they need so we bought a sturdy pair of shoes that she wears only in the house. Of couse, we go round and round at times when we are going out as she insists she has her shoes on, but other times, she gladly switches to her outside shoes. It is amazing that she truly does appear to have better stability when walking in the house.
Looking forward to hearing others ideas and suggestions for problems they encounter every day.