Dementia and manners

My husband and I live with his dad who has dementia… how much do we have to let go as far as manners? All of it? Do caveman like eating habits have to be permitted?- he IS physically capable of eating ‘right’. What about what he says? There’s times that (oh… wow… this is going to sound rotten of me) I think he’s faking it… He’ll say something that is mean and hurtfull and then when it’s obvious that he’s been insulting he’ll sit there and just giggle and giggle and point his finger at you and say it again. It also hurts me to see how much my husband is hurt when his dad is mean… say ‘get thick skin’ all you like, it still hurts when your dad tells you all the time that you’re stupid or lazy. What can be said to siblings to get them to help out more? I get the feeling of ‘whew! glad it’s not us’ They seem to think that popping in for a cup of coffee is enough. They all ‘have plans’ can’t cook him dinner or sit with him for a saturday afternoon so we can have a day off to ourselves…


Hope I didn’t sound mean and ungratefull… just needed to vent
I don’t regret that we are caring for him… a nursing home just wouldn’t be right… his place is in his home for as long as we can manage his care.

Take it from me, two years ago we buried my mother who suffered from Alzheimers disease. We opted to keep her living with us rather than institutionalizing her. She battled her disease for 7 long years. Our immediate family was the only caregiver available, because my only sibling lives out of state. So the responsibility lay with us. Caregivers need to take care of themselves as well. One of the things we chose to do, was recruit information on adult daycare. She went when she could attend twice weekly, we took advantage of those hours to rest ourselves, or do errands etc…We did have to develop a thicker skin when it came to comments that would come out that were hurtful. Look into this online website or local support groups for caregivers of those who suffer from dementia. You need as much care as they do, otherwise you will suffer from symptoms of burnout…which you are close to whether you recognize it or not. These support groups also will give you lots of helpful tips…try it!
God bless you for your care and love of your parent

A lot of stuff goes out the window with dementia, and it’s hard sometimes to believe what’s going on, especially if you remember the person before.

My great grandmother is under the care of my grandparents, for similar reasons. Grandpa is an only child, so he and my grandmother are the only ones she has to look after her. She says some really odd things about people, not always polite. Fortunately, she has not developed an irritable personality, and is sweet-natured most of the time, but she has lost some sense of tact and social propriety. She is difficult to care for, because she does not believe anything is wrong with her. In some ways, it is a blessing for her, anyway, because if she were conscious of her state, she would be mortified. She was always a neat and proper kind of person before she became ill. She does drive people pretty batty sometimes, even though she’s not deliberately insulting. She is to the point now where it is nearly impossible to have any kind of real conversation. I really admire my grandparents’ patience with her, though. They always treat her with as much dignity and love as possible.

You are certainly not alone in your frustration.

My grandmother has Alzheimer’s and has been living with my parents for a year now. Before the wedding (in May) I was living there as well, and it is so hard on everyone…I was her primary caregiver about 4 days a week up until a couple of months ago and it was THE MOST emotionally draining thing ever.

It’s so hard to remember when she says something extremely rude or mean that she may not know what she’s saying (although…her basic personality was never that nice anyways so…who knows). My parents are bending over backwards to care for her 24/7…giving up their home, free time, everything, while my uncles do NOTHING to help. And she complains that she hates living with us, that my one uncle is her “favorite”, etc. She randomely hates girls/women and only likes boys…she was more concerned about my sister’s boyfriend being at Thanksgiving than my sister being there.

I don’t really have great advice to give, except to offer it all up and recognize that because you and your husband are doing the most selfless thing in caring for your FIL, you are racking up the graces. :slight_smile: We can suffer now…or we can suffer later in Purgatory. At the end of the day, you have to just laugh it off and find ways to amuse yourself. My grandmother watches the same ridiculous Meg Ryan/Jennifer Lopez movies over and over and over again…drives you nuts, so my mom, sister and I amuse ourselves by working lines from these movies into our conversations with each other. You do what you gotta do.

What do the professionals (doctors, therapists, etc.)in his/your life say? What I mean is, we don’t know the specifics of his disease history, and a professional who is familiar with him & his disease progression might be able to give you some sound, practical advice tailored especially to him, as well as you & your needs.

Having said that, can you find a support group, or an online resource dealing especially with his condition?

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