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LO does want to get dressed, shaved or shower
My husband has dementia.
At what stage I am not positive. He
had a wonderful memory and seldom made a list of things that he needed. He was
a person that was always busy, always repairing things and seldom just sat
unless it was quick afternoon nap and back into his hobby garage. All of his life he had enjoyed as a hobby
working on cars. For years he maintained
our 36 Buick and 28 Model A that he rallied with the Great Race, a cross
country rally for 2 weeks, for 28 years.
Then I began seeing his memory slipping; he would not
remember places or things that we did. These were not big important things,
locked keys in his car & lost his wallet….then our 59 year old son was
found dead of natural causes in his hobby garage, he was like his Dad always
busy and always fixing things; and he was his Dad’s best friend. The next day our government shut us all down
due to Covid-19. LO had three outings a week; lodge meeting on Monday night
with beers afterwards, tacos with buddies on Thursday and we went out to dinner
with friends every Saturday night.
Jumping ahead a few months ago, he sleeps late, eats
breakfast and goes sit in his chair where LO may read but probably just naps until time to
go to lunch at his favorite café. All
through the Covid shut down we have gone to that café for lunch, and he would
get upset if we only did takeout. After lunch back into his chair until the
news came on the TV and after dinner back into his chair where he slept/watched
TV until about 9 pm when he would go shower and sit and read/doze in the
bedroom chair until he went to bed. He has stopped even going into his hobby
garage. Looks confused if you ask him for anything in the garage.
Yes, we had him to a neurologist who really offered no
suggestions. The last appointment was
nearly a year ago and I honestly felt that the Covid-19 situation had caused
him depression. He did suggest that LO
have a brain MRI. LO was not happy to go
have this test but did have the MRI. The
results were posted on our medical record available on the computer but there
was never any response from the Neurologist.
Since I was not satisfied with our last visit to the neurologist, I have
not made another appointment. Yes, I do
need to find another doctor.
We have always had our own cars; when we went anywhere whomever
car, we took they drove. So, for the past nearly 2 years I have done all of the
driving. LO does not know that his driver's
license is suspended, thanks to the doctor reporting LO to the DMV. Plus, we
have loaned LO pickup to a grandson.
Over the years LO has always took a shower before going to
bed. Recent years he might skip a shower
here or there. Last couple of weeks LO
does not take a shower unless I virtually bug him and then he gets really upset
with me but showers. He says that he
showers every night, and it is me that cannot remember. Our daughter tried talking to him about that and
he told her that I have a memory problem and that I am the one that cannot
He had and tested to have Covid, probably Omicron last week
(we both had the Covid-19 over a year ago).
He lost his appetite and began to not do things like getting dressed. Once we were past the quarantine period, I did
take LO to lunch at favorite café but only once. Now LO does not want to go out to lunch, to
shave, to take a shower and to get dressed.
So, I really at a loss as to what I need to do. Instead of suggesting LO do these things do I
just try saying “let’s go shave or shower or get dressed”? I have been giving
him 2 choices regarding food choices.
Also, he is eating very little and says that he is full. So, I need some suggestions.
Hi glowworm. You need to be sure that all treatable causes of things that can look like dementia have been ruled out: thyroid, vitamin deficiencies, sleep apnea. Maybe your primary care person will know this, but I would want to be sure. If he does in fact have dementia, you may or may not want another neurology opinion as to whether any medication trials are worthwhile (but I wouldn't bet the farm on it). Otherwise, there may not be much you can do except to familiarize yourself with the processes and stages: look up Tam Cummings 7 stages of dementia. If he's refusing to shower, etc., that's usually a late stage development.
You will learn from being on this forum that it's generally not recommended to try to reason with him or persuade him; his brain damage prevents that from being effective and will only make you both mad and frustrated. You want to be sure that you have legal affairs like powers of attorney in place, and that you have planned financially if he might need memory care or nursing home care eventually: a certified elder law attorney can help with these things.
Welcome Glowworm- this forum is the best resource available, with free and thoughtful suggestions from caring folks who have learned from experience. We are all in this together.
Ditto to everything M1 said. I also wonder what exactly the Dr reported to the DMV that suspended your LOs license. That could provide you with needed information regarding his diagnosis. It seems like maybe another sign that this is later stage behavior (dementia or dementia-like anyway). The med pros don’t usually intervene like that unless there is something conclusive that maybe your state requires them to act on.
It is important to get financial and health power of attorney and other affairs in order — so you need to know what the reality is in order to do that. Also to maximize quality of life right now, for both of you.
Also welcome to the “allergic to good hygiene club”. My formerly immaculately groomed DH has made us charter members of the “no-bathing, no changing clothes without major efforts on my part” group. He won that battle. I have conceded that sponge baths, adult disposable wipes and no-rinse products are good enough.
One other thought: May I suggest you have him checked for a silent UTI (urinary tract infection). Sudden personality changes or escalation is sometimes the only telltale sign of a UTI in our PWD LOs. Worth searching these boards for “Silent UTI”. I didn’t understand how that worked until it happened to us. With no warning, Dr Jekyll dropped in and after trying everything else. I remembered what I’d seen here. We checked DH first with a home test strip (most reliable brand recommended since we could not get to a lab for a test with culture.)
He still gets them periodically despite having well-washed guy parts (that’s just my job several times daily now) and fresh incontinence briefs every 3-4 hours. Who knows why many of our LOs are susceptible while others are not. The good news though is that once treated with the appropriate antibiotic, DH is back to baseline in a day or two.
Good luck to you!
Depression should be ruled out as well. A neuropsychologist might be a better fit.
This is a helpful read: http://www.dementiacarestrategies.com/12_pt_Understanding_the_Dementia_Experience.pdf