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Annoying behavours

Dayperson

Registered User
Feb 18, 2015
277
Shropshire
I've accepted with dad that we can both see that mum is getting worse as she seems incapable of using her brain at times to think locically but she is really starting to annoy me and I wondered how other people cope with it. Should I just ignore what irritates me?

An example, a few days ago I washed my parents sheets and she went into the shower and I know she either didn't wash her hair or didn't wash it well as it looked worse than before and didn't smell clean. In the past I have been in the shower room with her and told her to wash her hair twice. Should I be concerned if she does not want to wash her hair at all? She will only shower when the bed sheets are changed, so once a fortnight. Also I know she's not washing the rest of the time or just using her hands because I don't wash any of her flannels anymore.

Then she is starting to use the house as a rubbish tip, she will not tidy up after herself. I craftily try to pick up things I know should be in the bin, rubbish, sweet wrappers etc, but should I be clearing up after her?

Then the final one was this morning we were due to go out and she wanted to go out in her grey long sleeved vest and short sleeve T-Shirt and I said she would look stupid and told her to put on a long sleeved T-Shirt. She also has a fungal foot infection and I read that wearing socks makes it worse, but again she refuses to not wear socks to help her feet.

Is this normal behaviour for people with dementia?
 

JayGun

Registered User
Jun 24, 2013
291
I've accepted with dad that we can both see that mum is getting worse as she seems incapable of using her brain at times to think locically but she is really starting to annoy me and I wondered how other people cope with it. Should I just ignore what irritates me?

An example, a few days ago I washed my parents sheets and she went into the shower and I know she either didn't wash her hair or didn't wash it well as it looked worse than before and didn't smell clean. In the past I have been in the shower room with her and told her to wash her hair twice. Should I be concerned if she does not want to wash her hair at all? She will only shower when the bed sheets are changed, so once a fortnight. Also I know she's not washing the rest of the time or just using her hands because I don't wash any of her flannels anymore.

Then she is starting to use the house as a rubbish tip, she will not tidy up after herself. I craftily try to pick up things I know should be in the bin, rubbish, sweet wrappers etc, but should I be clearing up after her?

Then the final one was this morning we were due to go out and she wanted to go out in her grey long sleeved vest and short sleeve T-Shirt and I said she would look stupid and told her to put on a long sleeved T-Shirt. She also has a fungal foot infection and I read that wearing socks makes it worse, but again she refuses to not wear socks to help her feet.

Is this normal behaviour for people with dementia?
The short answer? Yes. All of it. I had a terrible time getting my MIL to wear a proper coat in the wintertime and she kept putting on flimsy summer shoes with no tights even though it was freezing outside. Getting her to wash her hair at all usually means an enormous row. And logic went out the window many years ago. (It never was a very regular visitor to be honest.)

Maybe you have to remind yourself that she can't help it? I'm all right with all the annoying behaviour and weirdness. It's only the poo and the wee and the nastiness that presses my buttons.

As far as cleaning up after her, that's up to you lovely. We decided last year that we won't do MIL's gardening any more since it took up most of every weekend for the whole summer and my husband had no life outside of work, medical appointments and doing her garden. You may have to draw your own line.

I thought I'd draw the line at poo and wee but I can't just leave it there...!
 

Suzanna1969

Registered User
Mar 28, 2015
346
Essex
I've accepted with dad that we can both see that mum is getting worse as she seems incapable of using her brain at times to think locically but she is really starting to annoy me and I wondered how other people cope with it. Should I just ignore what irritates me?

An example, a few days ago I washed my parents sheets and she went into the shower and I know she either didn't wash her hair or didn't wash it well as it looked worse than before and didn't smell clean. In the past I have been in the shower room with her and told her to wash her hair twice. Should I be concerned if she does not want to wash her hair at all? She will only shower when the bed sheets are changed, so once a fortnight. Also I know she's not washing the rest of the time or just using her hands because I don't wash any of her flannels anymore.

Then she is starting to use the house as a rubbish tip, she will not tidy up after herself. I craftily try to pick up things I know should be in the bin, rubbish, sweet wrappers etc, but should I be clearing up after her?

Then the final one was this morning we were due to go out and she wanted to go out in her grey long sleeved vest and short sleeve T-Shirt and I said she would look stupid and told her to put on a long sleeved T-Shirt. She also has a fungal foot infection and I read that wearing socks makes it worse, but again she refuses to not wear socks to help her feet.

Is this normal behaviour for people with dementia?
Yes yes and yes.

Count yourself lucky your Mum will shower at all - Mine rarely does! She just splashes water on her face! The only times I manage to get her in the shower are when she either has a major meltdown about having to have a shower RIGHT NOW (in which case I have to drive the mercifully short distance to their bungalow as Dad has Vascular Parkinson's and help her) or if she has an 'accident' (only occasionally - for now anyway)

I wouldn't argue about footwear if it means she agrees to going out without a fuss. Does she go without covering up her feet at home? At least that will help with the infection (make sure you cover up your own feet as her condition is very infectious).

Regards the clearing up - well surely you don't want her home to be a refuse dump! But most of us end up having to do this sort of thing as a matter of course so as long as you don't feel odd about it you should just carry on.
 

Dayperson

Registered User
Feb 18, 2015
277
Shropshire
Thanks for the replies, I kind of thought I wasn't alone with what mum is going through at the moment. From my own ideas, I think washing sheets and clothes (I once caught mum washing her knickers in liquid soap) and medication is a must but the rest I will relax on.

I think dad is onside with me about the cleaning issue as he was annoyed with how the room was getting like a tip so he's started picking things up. I know it means a bit of controlling, but nothing would get done otherwise. We've had to downgrade to 2 ply toilet roll as she is now putting it all down the toilet at the rate of 1 - 2 rolls a day.

Mums been wearing socks with sandals and vests in the summer (multiple ones in winter) for a while now, she does not have the patience to be the slightest bit cold. Do I just accept she won't wear what she should do for the time of year and forget that people may think she looks weird?
 

JayGun

Registered User
Jun 24, 2013
291
Thanks for the replies, I kind of thought I wasn't alone with what mum is going through at the moment. From my own ideas, I think washing sheets and clothes (I once caught mum washing her knickers in liquid soap) and medication is a must but the rest I will relax on.

I think dad is onside with me about the cleaning issue as he was annoyed with how the room was getting like a tip so he's started picking things up. I know it means a bit of controlling, but nothing would get done otherwise. We've had to downgrade to 2 ply toilet roll as she is now putting it all down the toilet at the rate of 1 - 2 rolls a day.

Mums been wearing socks with sandals and vests in the summer (multiple ones in winter) for a while now, she does not have the patience to be the slightest bit cold. Do I just accept she won't wear what she should do for the time of year and forget that people may think she looks weird?
Yeah. Who cares what some random people might think? It's more important that she is comfortable and warm enough isn't it?
 

Dayperson

Registered User
Feb 18, 2015
277
Shropshire
Beate, thanks for that link, it's got me thinking about what she must be going through and how I can react to her. I know dad cares as well but he forgets and snaps and I've sometimes had to hold back my true thoughts and feelings. The cruel thing is she does not know how she is making dad and I ill because I am sure we both have high blood pressure, the doctor won't do anything to help and I am trapped for the next few months at least.
 

Bill Owen

Registered User
Feb 17, 2014
182
67
BRIDGEND
Yes

i've accepted with dad that we can both see that mum is getting worse as she seems incapable of using her brain at times to think locically but she is really starting to annoy me and i wondered how other people cope with it. Should i just ignore what irritates me?

An example, a few days ago i washed my parents sheets and she went into the shower and i know she either didn't wash her hair or didn't wash it well as it looked worse than before and didn't smell clean. In the past i have been in the shower room with her and told her to wash her hair twice. Should i be concerned if she does not want to wash her hair at all? She will only shower when the bed sheets are changed, so once a fortnight. Also i know she's not washing the rest of the time or just using her hands because i don't wash any of her flannels anymore.

Then she is starting to use the house as a rubbish tip, she will not tidy up after herself. I craftily try to pick up things i know should be in the bin, rubbish, sweet wrappers etc, but should i be clearing up after her?

Then the final one was this morning we were due to go out and she wanted to go out in her grey long sleeved vest and short sleeve t-shirt and i said she would look stupid and told her to put on a long sleeved t-shirt. She also has a fungal foot infection and i read that wearing socks makes it worse, but again she refuses to not wear socks to help her feet.

Is this normal behaviour for people with dementia?
you have to relise .sorry im dislix that mam brian is no longer what it use to be .it thinks diffrunt (confuss) im haveing the same problam. Just work with her tell her she looks nice in this or that .that looks nice on you mam . I look after my wife but a littel bit of help from you will make a difrunt.
 

LYN T

Registered User
Aug 30, 2012
6,960
Brixham Devon
I'm afraid that your Mum can't help it. Being irritated with her won't help-although I do know how irritating it can be. My OH used to tear up books-really expensive ones so I put them away and put cheap paper backs on the book shelves. The house still looked a tip (and I'm a bit of a tidy freak) but I realised I couldn't stop him so it was damage limitation time.

As for washing hair-do you think she no longer knows what to do? I know I could run a bath for my OH and he would try to get in with his clothes on-and that was long before he refused to shower/bath. He would wear multiple layers of clothes and underclothes on top of his trousers-he had forgotten what order to get dressed. I had to take charge-but at no time did I want him to know that he was dressing incorrectly.It was easier to hand him the clothes in the appropriate order.

I'm afraid a degree of acceptance is needed as to what a Dementia sufferer can or cannot do.

Take care

Lyn T
 

Dayperson

Registered User
Feb 18, 2015
277
Shropshire
Mum really surprised me today, she must have got fed up of dad and I saying she needed to wash her hair that she actually had a shower without any fuss or assistance. I say shower, I think it was just washing her hair with her standing outside the shower as the mat had not been touched.

It's odd how behaviour is erratic and unpredictable because she wouldn't have a shower when I washed her sheets but she did today (I am skeptical whether it's as good a shower than I would have had). At least it got me a chance to wash her clothes out as dad tells me she's been wearing her bra and T-Shirt in bed and won't take them off.

I suppose I won't get many of these surprising days now as she will be getting worse. Her memory can't be too bad because she remembered I said she needed to wash her hair, but she is getting the periods of memory blankness and hallucinations.
 

Miss Merlot

Registered User
Oct 15, 2012
3,260
You say you've "accepted" that your mum has dementia, but from your post it sounds like you are still expecting rational, logical, consistent behaviour from her - which is everything dementia is not!

I say this not as a criticism at all, but only cause your post reminds me so much of my husband's attitude to his MIL - we are several years down the dementia road, and still he is quite quick to get irate with her, still admonishing her at times (thankfully rarer than they used to be) for irrational behaviour or endlessly forgetting things. He is a great son and very actively involved in MIL's care, but subconsciously, he still can't seem to get his head round that her dementia is not a "problem to be fixed" rather a "situation to be managed", and that his mum isn't willfully doing this on purpose.

I absolutely get that it's screamingly frustrating at times - for me, for him, for you. But it's like trying to fight a brick wall - this disease harder than you are and you'll inevitably come of worse by even trying to win against it.

I'm not saying to not take on this illness - but the end goals change.

Making your mum as safe, happier and looked after as she can be is the only victory, not trying to make her fit the mould of the mum she used to be. It's outside of her ability to ever achieve, and it's only going to get worse.

I've personally found some "peace" in not expecting anything of MIL more than she is able to give, and knowing even then that is subject to often rapid change. It makes it easier for me to just "go with the flow" and occasionally be pleasantly surprised when sometimes does learn / do / say something sensible!

There are some good threads here on compassionate communication - might be worth a look?
 
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chelsea girl

Registered User
Jan 25, 2015
139
annoying behaviour

I try and rationalise things with my mum, shes had Alzheimer's since 2008. I think im trying to get my old mum back, its hard to accept shes gone and wont come back!! Mum always refused to wash her hair, saying she'd just done it or it didnt need it! Eventually it came down to my oh doing it for her bless him. Its hard to remember they cant help the way they are!
 

Linbrusco

Registered User
Mar 4, 2013
1,606
Auckland...... New Zealand
My Mum with Alzheimers has no issues with showering or bathing ( sometimes twice in a day) but rarely washes her hair and it smells, but according to her she has and does.
I take her every 4 weeks to get her hair washed, cut and blowwaved which she enjoys.

The one thing I have learnt in this dementia journey( now 3 yrs) it is ever changing.
What Mum may or may not remember, doesn't mean to say that she will or won't remember the exact same thing later that day, the next day , or next week.

I helped her sort out her wardrobe yesterday, as ahe is starting to wear the same clothes over and over, which wouldn't be so much of an issue if I knew they were getting washed.
The trouble is that Mum does not hang clothes up properly on coat hangers but rather folds them over one another and will have say 5 tops folded over one coat hnager so she cant see what clothes she still has as they are hidden under each other.
Found some lovely tops for Mum that hopefully she will wear, and I think evry other day I will have to go in her wardrobe and rehang things.

I also persuaded her for me to wash all her jackets and knitted things as my washing machine is so much bigger and it would save her so much time :). ( you have to be a bit creative in what you tell Mum )

On the other hand Dad with cognitive impairment wouldn't let me touch his side of the wardrobe with a barge pole let alone agree to me washing any of his knitted jumpers.
 

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
16,328
66
Toronto, Canada
I take her every 4 weeks to get her hair washed, cut and blowwaved which she enjoys.
I did a variation on this when Mum was still mobile. They have a hairdressing salon in the nursing home she's in and I would have her there once a week just to have her hair washed and blowdried. The staff washed her hair once a week also so we managed to get this done, as Mum saw it as something she used to do and not something she was being told to do.