1. Q&A: Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) - Thursday 27 Sept, 3-4pm

    Power of attorney (LPA) is a legal tool that gives another adult - often a carer or family member - the legal authority to make decisions on behalf of someone with dementia, if they become unable to themselves.

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Housework

Discussion in 'I have a partner with dementia' started by sarahsea, Sep 11, 2018.

  1. sarahsea

    sarahsea Registered User

    Dec 19, 2017
    38
    My husband was diagnosed with dementia a year ago at the age of 60. He hasn't worked for 8 years and has always been pretty lazy around the house, although he is capable of doing some tasks. He's ended up with just two jobs in the house, while I do everything else. He's supposed to empty the dishwasher every morning and once a fortnight put the recycling bags back in the cupboard. Is it a good idea for people with dementia to make some contribution to running a house if they're capable? I thought it was, but having to remind him again and again is getting me down and I think I might as well just do those tasks myself. Although his memory is poor, the issue is that he's rather be doing puzzles, watching TV or wandering about outside talking to strangers. He used to do a lot of our grocery shopping but was banned from our local supermarket and as he can't drive anymore, I now do the shopping as well. Am I being stupid or unfair in expecting him to contribute?
     
  2. Thethirdmrsc

    Thethirdmrsc Registered User

    Apr 4, 2018
    35
    Hi @sarahsea I sometimes give my OH tasks on the 2 days I work, but have to write them down now, but his limit is decreasing. I thought it was a good idea to get him interested and involved. This morning I asked him to take the dogs for a short walk while I hung the washing out, but he came back after a couple of minutes, as something happened and the dog ran away. Not sure if I can trust him now. I must do everything now, although he does wash up, but I often have to check the dishes. When the dogs lick the plate, he says it doesn’t need washing, and I don’t think he is joking!!!!
     
  3. karaokePete

    karaokePete Volunteer Host

    Jul 23, 2017
    2,692
    Male
    N Ireland
    You are not being stupid or unfair.

    I too have found that I have taken over almost all household chores but I let my wife contribute where she can both to relieve pressure on me and, more importantly, to let my wife maintain control of some things where she is still capable as that is important for the self esteem of a person with dementia. I would think that a total removal of things a person can control would cause problems if the frustration caused by that started to manifest itself in difficult behaviour.

    I have to remind my wife about most things as she too would otherwise sit doing puzzles. It’s not being selfish or lazy on their part as they just aren’t aware of what has to be done. Any previous characteristic is often amplified by dementia so I would think your husband would need reminders.

    I often have to supervise or even talk my wife through the simplest of tasks so the thought that it would be easier to do it myself is strong. However, I think the benefits of just sticking with it are great enough for me to persevere.
     
  4. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    10,464
    Female
    London
    I think you have to outweigh the benefits here - is it really worth all the hassle of reminding him just so he reluctantly does two tasks you might be able to do quicker and better yourself? I'm all for keeping PWDs occupied but only if they do it willingly at first reminder. Otherwise, is there really a point or would it better to accept the new status quo?
     
  5. sarahsea

    sarahsea Registered User

    Dec 19, 2017
    38
    Thanks for your reply. I've tried writing down the tasks, but he either doesn't look at it (stuck to the front of the fridge on a calendar) or if it's on a piece of paper, he loses it. He can find endless reasons why the task has to be delayed...got to go for a short walk, got to digest his breakfast, just got to finish this puzzle. So in the end, we're endlessly talking about the task instead of just doing it!! By the way, I don't let him take the dog for a walk as she's only 4 months old and I feel sure he'd come back without her!
     
  6. sarahsea

    sarahsea Registered User

    Dec 19, 2017
    38
    Thanks for your reply. I think I'm just clinging to the idea that I'm not an unpaid servant, although in reality, that's exactly what I am. It made me feel better to think that he was doing something, but he obviously hates it and I'm not sure it's worth the arguments. I realise there'll come a time when he can't contribute anything much, so it's sad to see him apparently choosing to do nothing now. I agree that it's important for people with dementia to have some control in their lives, but I think my husband exercises that control by finding ways in which he won't have to do things he doesn't want to . (If that makes sense?!) I'm not angry with him, I'm angry with the dementia. By the way - I just emptied the dishwasher, couldn't wait any longer as all the work surfaces in the kitchen were covered in dirty plates!
     
  7. sarahsea

    sarahsea Registered User

    Dec 19, 2017
    38
    I think you've hit the nail on the head. I can empty the dishwasher in a few minutes, or end up constantly reminding my husband and having pointless conversations about when he will be free to do that task. Before dementia he would always have to be reminded to do anything in the house and he's no different now, except he has memory loss added to the mix. I think you're right, it's not worth the effort and I should just get on with it myself.
     
  8. karaokePete

    karaokePete Volunteer Host

    Jul 23, 2017
    2,692
    Male
    N Ireland
    It's a tough one to call and I understand what you are saying as I often end up doing things after a couple of reminders, just to get them done. However, if it's something that can wait I let it wait for her.

    I think it depends on the overall characteristics of the person with dementia. My wife was both depressed and anxious before I met her and dementia complicated those issues, as is common with dementia. In my case I will always try to involve my wife as I strongly believe that it isn't a good thing for self esteem, loss of control issues etc., to take over 100%.

    I nag my wife to do lots of things, like exercise etc., that her dementia induced apathy makes her reluctant to do. I think that will keep us both at a level where we can still get enjoyment from life for as long as possible. That said, it's a guessing game as I'm not aware of any rule book, just best practice as I see it.
     
  9. kindred

    kindred Registered User

    Apr 8, 2018
    1,376
    I got to the stage of pretending my OH was doing something just by being in the house, the custodian of the house ... in practice, of course, he was wrecking the house one way or another, but I couldn't see any other way round it but to praise him for his custodianship. At least he seemed to like this. I know, all sympathy, I know ... Kindred.
     
  10. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    6,956
    Female
    South coast
    My OH does very little around the house and would just sit on his android all day. I do remind him to do one or two things, but he is beginning to have difficulty working out how to do them. I think that a lot of the reluctance to do things is because they arnt really sure how to do them anymore, so its easier to just defer the task.

    Im afraid that whatever you do dementia will mean that abilities will decline. There is a balance between encouraging them to continue doing what they are capable of and getting them to do things that they are finding too difficult and causing anxiety. And its not always easy to tell the difference.
     
  11. Cazzita

    Cazzita Registered User

    May 12, 2018
    238
    We were discussing this tonight as mum is very reluctant to do anything at all. So today she cooked her own lunch - a bacon and egg sandwich - which was great. She was keen to do this and proud of herself. However, the mess made all over the cooker and worktops, well she wasn't in the least interested in cleaning that! She kept making excuses but she did eventually give it a go and I think she felt very pleased with herself!
    Like you all say, it's the dementia. Mum would rather sit down all day, watch tv, do puzzles and eat cake. Not necessarily in that order :)
     
  12. AliceA

    AliceA Registered User

    May 27, 2016
    379
    Things change from day to day. So the balance changes too. I try to keep him enabled, he can still cope with the dishwasher, I do have to ask whether it is empty or not. Sometimes the answer is, just going to do it. A prompt is needed. Just as it is for drinking, although he can make drinks. The washing machine is now a mystery. When I am cooking I do ask for some veg to be prepared, or a bit of washing up but we are doing it side by side. I do it to keep him moving. I think it works as a joint venture.
    Sometimes, in fact, many times it would be quicker to do it myself.
    I do have to be diligent as something is started but forgotten if distracted.
    I have induction hobs, a cloth on the top will not burn.
    Not that he cooks anything now. One never knows if an idea is sparked.
    I try to make him feel still part of things and thank him. He will happily admit to forgetting things and I agree I do too. I think holding on to dignity but humour gets us through. He can be stubborn and determined so how I approach helps a lot. Easier when rested than when I am not!
     
  13. AliceA

    AliceA Registered User

    May 27, 2016
    379
    Wise works again, it is often a puzzle.
     
  14. margherita

    margherita Registered User

    May 30, 2017
    2,194
    Female
    Italy, Milan and Acqui Terme
    One of the reasons why I can't leave my husband on his own for more than few hours is that I am worried about him not being able to manage our three dogs.
    I have also decided to buy them gps collars, so that I can find them if he doesn't close the gate to the garden and they get out
     
  15. WA123

    WA123 Registered User

    Jan 20, 2018
    22
    My husband used to do most things around the house but gradually became unable to work the washing machine, unable to get ingredients together to cook a meal etc. I went through a phase of thinking he was doing it on purpose but then he was diagnosed with dementia and I thought it was probably a symptom of that especially as it was so unlike the old him. I have now got to the point where, if he does something that's great but as long as he is happy and relaxed (the two things which make my life easier) then I'm ok with it. I've also found that the more relaxed I am about everything the more capable he is. I saw this a few days ago and thought it might be useful as it explains a lot. http://www.dementia-by-day.com/post/176805379100/initiating-tasks
     
  16. sarahsea

    sarahsea Registered User

    Dec 19, 2017
    38
    Thank you for the link, makes interesting reading. I think that explains why my husband is unable to do a number of tasks. The big one is that he's not been able to fix his computer for over 2 years (he was a computer scientist), despite saying that it's fairly simple, he's never done it. I don't think he gains anything from doing the tasks I've asked him to do and it creates a lot of stress for both of us, so I've decided just to do it myself. It's not that he's incapable of doing those things, but he is choosing not to because he doesn't want to. Poor memory plays a part, but he's quite creative in giving reasons why he has to do it "later", but later never arrives. I do sometimes ask him to walk into town to buy things and he'll always do that because it involves going out and the opportunity to talk to lots of people. So I think he's making a choice here and I'm choosing to reduce the stress, by just doing stuff myself.
     
  17. WA123

    WA123 Registered User

    Jan 20, 2018
    22
    I think that there's a very fine line between then not doing things because they don't want to and because they either can't or don't know how to get started. Like you I find it easier to reduce stress in our house wherever possible as I find that we can both function better when I do. I also think that if I change my expectations (ie if I don't expect things to be done I'm not disappointed or cross when they don't) then I feel better all round. However I've just made an exciting discovery! I've suggested a couple of times over the last week that weeding needs doing in the garden and nothing has happened. This morning I've taken my husband out to look and pointed to the worst patch and asked if he could just remove a few of them. As I've been specific he seems to be more confident over what needs to happen and has instantly set to. Not sure how much he'll get done but focusing on a very small thing seems to have done the trick and within 5 minutes of me asking he's out there doing it.
     
  18. Midow

    Midow Registered User

    Jun 13, 2017
    25
    Wales
    My husband can now do very little but will peel potatoes if I hand him the peeler. My favourite task is handing him the sweeping brush and ask him to brush the patio and path. He doesn't pick up the sweepings but at least he's out from under my feet for a while.
     
  19. Joyful

    Joyful New member

    Aug 26, 2018
    5
    My husband is always asking to help but by the time I have explained what I would like him to do I could have done it myself. We don't have a dishwasher so I wash up and he dries. He also takes the dog out first thing on a particular route which for some reason he remembers. Anywhere else I have to go with him. I find if you do a job with him like making the bed going shopping (he pushes the trolley) he feels like he's useful. You are lucky that your husband likes doing puzzles mine won't attempt them and he used to do them all the time and if he watches tv he actually feels like he is involved personally with whatever is on and sometimes gets a bit scared. It is hard sometimes not to feel "put upon" but keep strong.
     
  20. Myrtalis1851

    Myrtalis1851 Registered User

    Apr 10, 2017
    1
    My husband does very little around the house now, he doesn't even do puzzles, just sits or sleeps, he makes his own breakfast, as I am disabled, so he is up before me.
    He takes the view that I can do it,so why should he.
    Last Saturday ,my daughter took me to a fabric sale,when we returned home the garage doors were open and ladders moved.
    He had a man call at the house to " do the window frames" , and paid him £330.
    This was the first time I had this type of problem.
    I was able to cancel the cheque,, apparently there were a number of men in the area that day, going from door to door.
    I have hidden cheque book and debit card from him.
    It is difficult to know where to draw the line, but I do feel like a big controller and it's not an easy feeling
     

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