My husband who has young onset dementia, aged 57, had a difficult Christmas. We spent the time, as we normally do, visiting close family; however his discomfort at being out of his home environment was evident. A close family member has now suggested to me that he should avoid being outside of the home environment as much as possible to minimise his anxiety. She's also suggested that he needs ongoing supervision and assistance with washing and dressing, and suggested that I get extra help in to do this.
We currently have around 15 hours of care per week - much of this is companionship support as I work full time, and we needed someone to come in during the day and do activities with my husband to help him keep engaged and occupied. He goes to a volunteer placement once a week, again, with support from a carer, and we also have a volunteer who comes in and they play table tennis together. My husband is physically very active and loves being outdoors, especially walking and cycling.
We've recently started having a carer coming in at lunchtimes to ensure he gets a hot meal. I'm reluctant to engage further support as I don't really feel he needs it at present. He can get washed and dressed himself, mostly without any prompting from me, but sometimes with minimal prompting. He did struggle with this when we were away over xmas because he was in an unfamiliar environment, and we also noticed that he was struggling with things like getting his sweater on the right way round. I fear that if I put more support in in this area it will lead to some sort of 'prescribed withdrawal' whereby he will become increasingly unable to do these things for himself because he doesn't have to.
She also mentioned about him struggling with toilets when we were out and about. He did have some difficulty with this, but being pragmatic about it, it didn't lead to any 'accidents' and surely it's better for him to be able to go out and about and for us to manage this risk as much as we can rather than trying to keep him at home. I want him to be able to live as fulfilling a life as possible, for as long as possible, with plenty of stimulation, which means continuing to visit family and friends and going to (and staying in) unfamiliar places. I recognise that he may not always be comfortable with the level of stimulation, but I do feel that it has to be better for him to be slightly challenged than for us just to give up on him. I'd prefer for us to try and find pragmatic solutions and live with the risks rather than totally wrapping him up in cotton wool. Am I being unrealistic?