How can my Dad help himself more?

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by samson3, Dec 9, 2019.

  1. samson3

    samson3 New member

    Dec 9, 2019
    Hi everyone.

    Just looking for some initial direction please.
    My Dad has dementia, he is early stage, so i feel now is the time to try and slow down the inevitable if possible.

    My Dad has always been a loner - No close friends, always wanted to just be in my Mum's company and do nothing else.....although he has always been great at chatting to people.
    After retirement he didn't bother with hobbies, just looks at his computer, fiddles, watches tv.
    He has always been perfectly happy and laid back.

    To his detriment it now causes issues as the lack of responsibility and activity means dementia seems to be catching him up quick.

    My question: Would getting him to go for a 20 minute walk a day help his cognitive function?
    Or any other activity that i can introduce him to?
    Baring in mind that he isn't keen on social activities.

    Thanks for any input you have....all comments are welcome :)
  2. Stone Steps

    Stone Steps New member

    Dec 9, 2019
    Hi there I have same problem with my mam?....just joined this forum probably through panic
    She has just moved in with me this weekend, it was a bad weekend....
    Any advice would be appreciated
  3. suprrr_k

    suprrr_k Registered User

    Nov 29, 2019
    20 minute walks are great! Exercise is apparently really good for dementia, I've heard swimming is really good if he likes that sort of thing. There's all sorts of small hobbies you can do if he's willing. Even just playing board games together, keeping his brain working. Not sure what your dad likes, my dad was a musician so would play guitar all the time but since his Alzheimer's has gotten worse he hasn't wanted to play anymore.

    It's all about finding what he's interested in, but staying indoors and not doing anything makes the decline much faster because the brain stagnates. It's the same for anyone really. Talk to him about his interests. Exercise is a definite yes. :) Don't worry too much about making some giant hobby for him if you can't. Just keep him active.
  4. samson3

    samson3 New member

    Dec 9, 2019

    Thanks suprrr_k for your kind reply.
    That's what i wanted to hear :) that walking will give him stimulus and it can be engaging.
    Hobbies are an issue with him.....he is a one-off really, always happy but through not doing much - I have a tough job on my hands here ;) but i'll have a chat with him as he still has the ability to help himself more.
    Thanks also for confirming the thought i had about his brain stagnating through lack of's becoming evident as he couldn't find the Post Office last week and then forgot his way he drove to the petrol station to fill up the car and didn't have money on him.

    All the best to you and your Dad, sounds like you are doing a sterling job for him.
  5. Kay111

    Kay111 Registered User

    Sep 19, 2019
    Hi @samson3 - that sounds exactly like how my dad was. Not interested in knowing anyone else, just happy to be with my mum. She also made all the decisions. He didn't have any hobbies really. I genuinely think that contributed to his early onset dementia.

    If you can get him doing regular exercise that would be incredibly helpful. Dad never did any and I wish we'd pushed him a bit harder on that in the early stages. The healthier he is physically then the better (I know, stating the obvious! :) But the decline in dad's cognitive ability since losing his mobility has been marked). So good for you for being proactive. I wish we'd done more. I did find that if he saw me exercising he would want to join in, rather than us just suggesting he did it himself.

    I would say also in our case mum was very eager to jump in and help dad - obviously she loves him and just wants to help - but we now wonder if she jumped in too early. For example he was eating slowly, but eating by himself. Mum started feeding him and he never went back to feeding himself. Sometimes even if it takes a bit longer to get stuff done, the challenge is still getting the little grey cells going (obviously if it's not dangerous or if they're not getting frustrated/upset).

    Hope that helps and good luck!
  6. Pete1

    Pete1 Registered User

    Jul 16, 2019
    Hi @samson3, going for a walk once or twice a day would certainly be beneficial without a doubt as it sounds as though your Dad is mobile and doesn't have any physical impairments. Is he able to undertake tasks such as gardening, decorating etc. it might be worth getting him involved in projects of this nature i.e. see that he is helping you and other members of the family. Perhaps if he is interested in using the computer looking into the family tree. Obviously not all suggestions will work for your Dad but one or two might. Its great that he has your support.
  7. Lawson58

    Lawson58 Registered User

    Not everyone wants to have a dog but I think our pets have been wonderful for my husband. His heart condition prevents him from taking the dog on long walks but he does occasionally go out with her for a ten minute stroll.

    Do you have a friend or neighbour who might be happy to 'lend' you a dog for the purpose?

    I know that my husband is quite happy to opt out and let me do everything but that's because he has a bit of a lazy streak. I make no effort to make his bed and he still puts a load through the washing machine and cooks simple meals. Of course, when he has been really ill, things were different but while he can still go out and enjoy himself, I let him do most things for himself.
  8. Sirena

    Sirena Registered User

    Feb 27, 2018
    I am not sure it will help slow down his dementia, my mother was always quite active and went out for a walk every day - she didn't drive so she had to walk to the shops, and she often went to the park too. She was also very sociable. I don't think it slowed her dementia (after 18 months of care at home, she moved to a care home) but obviously it's impossible to say.

    But going outdoors and taking some exercise may lift his mood, and it will help to keep him mobile, which is all to the good. So if he starts walking and it likes it, brilliant - encourage it.

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