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Getting husband to accept we need a carer

SJP2020

New member
Oct 21, 2020
5
Hi,
This is my first post here but I have been reading talking point for awhile. My husband has dementia, he was diagnosed 2 years ago but in many ways you wouldn't know he has dementia, he is only 70 and fit and healthy. He has steadily got to rely on me more and more.
I have had no help but at the beginning of the year I had started looking at what help was available so I could have a break. I found a men's dementia group that met on a Monday and the Alzheimer's society found a fantastic volunteer who was a man in his 60s who was into football etc. We met him once and then Coronavirus started, the group was cancelled and the side by side cancelled before we were able to go to either. These don't look like they will restart again anytime soon.
Now I really want to employ somebody for a few hours a week to be a companion to my husband while I am able to go a have a break. I have had two care companies round but with the masks and uniforms they look too much like nurses and this put him off as he doesn't see there is anything wrong with him and doesn't want other people to know he has a carer. He also doesn't see why he needs it, he thinks he can cope on his own if I go out but he cant go anywhere on his own as he gets disorientated and he cant entertain himself so I cant have a relaxing break, it is normally just a quick rush to do what I need to do and then go home to see what has happened in the house (often looks like a poltergeist has visited!). He doesn't realise how much help he needs as I just do it. We are self funding and money is not the issue it is finding the right help he will accept.
I don't have any family or friends that can help, especially at the minute with the restrictions. I am looking for any ideas, thanks.
We are based in Cheshire, England.
 

Cat27

Volunteer Moderator
Feb 27, 2015
11,716
Merseyside
Welcome to TP @SJP2020
Could you introduce carers as cleaners? Say you need help?
Please keep posting as you’ll get lots of support here.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
398
On another thread that I can't find there was talk about "dementia companions". If you put this term into a search engine it throws up results. There seem to be local organisations in various places that provide companions.
 

marionq

Registered User
Apr 24, 2013
6,184
Scotland
What about the volunteer? Couldn’t you contact him to see if he would like the job or knows someone who would?
 

lollyc

Registered User
Sep 9, 2020
68
We are in South East. Our local Age UK offers "Personal Assistants", but I get the impression that this isn't a countrywide service. Worth looking to see if it's an option in your area. We also have a couple of local companies that offer these personal assistants. No uniforms, and you can match the person with your husband's interests. I know of someone who employed one to play tennis with her husband. He thought it was a friend, had no idea the man was paid! Google trawl to find something local to you - try "dementia personal assistants"
 

SJP2020

New member
Oct 21, 2020
5
What about the volunteer? Couldn’t you contact him to see if he would like the job or knows someone who would?
Unfortunately we had only had the initial intro from the Alzheimer's society and didn't have his contact details and the lady from the Alzheimer's society was furloughed. I might have another go at locating her or him though as that would ideal.
 

SJP2020

New member
Oct 21, 2020
5
We are in South East. Our local Age UK offers "Personal Assistants", but I get the impression that this isn't a countrywide service. Worth looking to see if it's an option in your area. We also have a couple of local companies that offer these personal assistants. No uniforms, and you can match the person with your husband's interests. I know of someone who employed one to play tennis with her husband. He thought it was a friend, had no idea the man was paid! Google trawl to find something local to you - try "dementia personal assistants"
Thanks I'll have a look. I had been involving him in the process as he is very aware of everything but I am thinking now I need to set this up myself first and meet them myself first.
 

Thethirdmrsc

Registered User
Apr 4, 2018
232
Hi @SJP2020 i am sorry I cannot offer any practical advice as I am in Scotland and we do have a different system, but it’s hard to accept that help is required. For me, we have carers 3 times a week to help my OH wash and dress in the morning, but after a few months, have worked out that he can manage himself, but I need the help more, and I am moving on to occasional respite. I have to harden myself to do these things, it is not easy, but I am the only one capable of making the decisions. It’s taken me almost 4yrs to reach my first carer breakdown, so take care of yourself, keep posting and looking.
 

lollyc

Registered User
Sep 9, 2020
68
Thanks I'll have a look. I had been involving him in the process as he is very aware of everything but I am thinking now I need to set this up myself first and meet them myself first.
Have you looked at things like Men in Sheds, or some of the elderly, rather than dementia, activities in your area? I appreciate options will be very limited at the moment, but worth looking into for the future. Many of these will be prepared to take him on, reorientate him when he goes a bit off track and generally keep an eye on him, as long as he doesn't wander, and can cope with toileting.

It took me over a year to find all the groups that Mum attended, but it made a huge difference to my sanity! Prior to lockdown she was going to 4 weekday sessions with lunch, run by Mind, Age UK and a local community group (not dementia specific) and twice a month I went with her to 2 other activities. Try as many things as possible, as not everything will suit him. We had a couple of failures: daycentre - "nice enough, but can only take so much bingo & jigsaws.", big charity run singing - "wheels on the bus. I'm not 4!" Fair enough. We did, in fact, find a singing group that she did like. These have enabled Mum to have the social contact she craved, and given me some "free" time to stop being the carer.
 

SJP2020

New member
Oct 21, 2020
5
Have you looked at things like Men in Sheds, or some of the elderly, rather than dementia, activities in your area? I appreciate options will be very limited at the moment, but worth looking into for the future. Many of these will be prepared to take him on, reorientate him when he goes a bit off track and generally keep an eye on him, as long as he doesn't wander, and can cope with toileting.

It took me over a year to find all the groups that Mum attended, but it made a huge difference to my sanity! Prior to lockdown she was going to 4 weekday sessions with lunch, run by Mind, Age UK and a local community group (not dementia specific) and twice a month I went with her to 2 other activities. Try as many things as possible, as not everything will suit him. We had a couple of failures: daycentre - "nice enough, but can only take so much bingo & jigsaws.", big charity run singing - "wheels on the bus. I'm not 4!" Fair enough. We did, in fact, find a singing group that she did like. These have enabled Mum to have the social contact she craved, and given me some "free" time to stop being the carer.
Thank you for taking the time to send this message, good idea I will widen my search and not just concentrate on the dementia groups only.
 

LadyA

Registered User
Oct 19, 2009
13,643
Ireland
My husband was a keen gardener, but as our garden runs to almost an acre, it really was too much for him. I introduced a "gardener" initially, to, as I put it, "do the heavy work, the mowing and digging, so you can concentrate on choosing and planting. As an added incentive (for non gardening weather), the man I hired was a keen chess player. My husband loved chess, but I don't play. As time passed and my husband's needs became more complex, they spent more time indoors, fixing snacks, playing increasingly simplified versions of chess and the carer would read excerpts from newspapers and magazines aloud.

The idea of a "cleaner" is a good one too, and can work well, especially if, the first several times the carer/cleaner comes, you stay there too. Offer a cup of tea as "we're having one anyway". After a couple of times like this, you could maybe suggest the carer makes tea: I'd love a cup of tea! Would you mind making it, while I just pop to the loo/hang up the laundry, etc. . Once your husband is used to the carer coming and pottering around, you could say "I'm just popping to the shop. I'll be back in a minute or two." It's all about creating that hideous phrase "a new normal"!
 

SJP2020

New member
Oct 21, 2020
5
My husband was a keen gardener, but as our garden runs to almost an acre, it really was too much for him. I introduced a "gardener" initially, to, as I put it, "do the heavy work, the mowing and digging, so you can concentrate on choosing and planting. As an added incentive (for non gardening weather), the man I hired was a keen chess player. My husband loved chess, but I don't play. As time passed and my husband's needs became more complex, they spent more time indoors, fixing snacks, playing increasingly simplified versions of chess and the carer would read excerpts from newspapers and magazines aloud.

The idea of a "cleaner" is a good one too, and can work well, especially if, the first several times the carer/cleaner comes, you stay there too. Offer a cup of tea as "we're having one anyway". After a couple of times like this, you could maybe suggest the carer makes tea: I'd love a cup of tea! Would you mind making it, while I just pop to the loo/hang up the laundry, etc. . Once your husband is used to the carer coming and pottering around, you could say "I'm just popping to the shop. I'll be back in a minute or two." It's all about creating that hideous phrase "a new normal"!
Thank you. I think this is going to be the best way in. I have mentioned today that it is myself that needs the help and somebody to do some ironing etc would be a good idea and he seemed quite happy with this. Thank you for the other suggestion re the gardener it would be great if I could find a guy to spend time with him also so will see if I can find someone who would do this. Really pleased I posted on here now and thank you for sending through your message.