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How to deal with a partner who fights every suggestion to make his situation better

Discussion in 'I have a partner with dementia' started by Reluctant carer, Jun 30, 2016.

  1. Reluctant carer

    Reluctant carer Registered User

    Jun 30, 2016
    This is my first ever post in an online forum so forgive me if I cover too much stuff. I'll try to limit this to the main issue in the title. My husband was always lazy and selfish (not just my opinion) so it is no surprise that he won't help himself now he has dementia, and nor will he help me who has to deal with the fallout. Firstly he forgets that he forgets and I wonder how others in my situation deal with that. Do you keep reminding them or let it go? Sometimes he needs to know that he is wrong because perhaps he insists that an appointment is on a different day or time than it actually is. advice for carers seem to suggest you try to give them jobs to maintain independence. My efforts to do this for are construed as nagging. It drives me mad the constant trail of destruction wherever he has been - food, dirty cups, plates etc, soiled clothes put back in drawers etc. he won't do anything to help himself even things he can. I find it hard not to get frustrated and he picks up in that of course. I don't think having dementia bothers him, even his occasional fecal incontinence doesn't seem to cause him that much concern - I find this the very worse thing about the whole situation, I can't face seeing people who have witnessed one of these episodes I am so ashamed - even though there was nothing I could have done to prevent it.
    Well that's probably enough for one post! Perhaps I just needed to vent some frustration. But love to hear from others who have partners who won't help and don't fit the image often presented of a dementia patient who is themselves upset by their condition and wants help. My husband needs help but definitely doesn't want it and resists everything.
  2. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Hello RC and welcome to Talking Point.

    It is, unfortunately very, very common for people with dementia not to understand that there is anything wrong with them. It is best not to keep reminding them as they are unlikely to agree that they have dementia and it will just upset them. The best way of dealing with them is to just let everything pass - you cannot get them to enter reality, you have to enter their world.
    Re the appointments - its probably best to just not tell him about the appointments until just before you go, then he cant get upset about them. It also sounds like he needs a referral to the continence clinic, but I have no experience with that. I expect that someone else will be able to advise you about it.

    Do have a look around - you are among friends here who understand what it is like
  3. caqqufa

    caqqufa Registered User

    Jun 4, 2016
    I feel your frustration/annoyance/anger. My hubby used to help out a lot, he doesn't do a thing now and complains of boredom; so if your husband never ever helped, you cannot possibly expect him to start now! You need to be realistic about the condition and accept that it is you who needs to accept, make changes and work along with the illness. I learnt that although they might feel that things are not the same, they don't really know what is wrong with them. One thing I learnt for sure is: don't argue, don't correct and don't suggest. Because they don't do anything wrong. So yes, let go. You won't get anywhere trying to prove your point. At first I used to get upset and get into arguments about the forgetting, which usually ended up in a row. Now, I just say: 'sorry I thought I had already told you' and repeat as often as necessary.( I calm myself with yoga breathing when the same question is asked for the umpteenth time). I also try to, discretely, keep an open eye as to where he's putting stuff. It's tiring but try and be a step ahead. I have since cut down on a lot of time searching for stuff. We haven't come to the incontinence stage yet, so have nothing to offer on that score. Do keep in touch with and explore this TP site, I have found it extremely helpful - reading of other's experience shows how many of us are in the same boat and helps to understand the condition and what to expect and in many cases, how to deal with situations as they arise. HUGS :))
  4. Scarlett123

    Scarlett123 Registered User

    Apr 30, 2013
    Hi reluctantcarer, and a warm welcome from me to Talking Point. :) Unfortunately, there are so many aspects to consider, when the Person Who Was, becomes the Person Who Is, and I know how hard and frustrating it can be.

    I can only speak from my own experience, but I wasted an awful lot of time correcting my husband, in the mistaken belief that this was helping him. Eventually, I found the adage "just go with the flow" worked best, and I saved both of us a lot of time and stress, by agreeing, but not always using actual words.

    Sometimes I just murmured and that worked quite well, but, in John's case, my eventual expectations were that he was about as capable as a toddler. I wouldn't expect a toddler to remember that they'd forgotten things, or be troubled that they'd pooed in their pants, but I would expect them to throw a tantrum, or argue.

    Of course, with a toddler you know that This Too Shall Pass, and anyway, they're cute, but the acceptance, for me, worked far better than a struggle. Please ask anything you want to, and you'll find that they're loads of wonderful folk here on TP, who are going through/have gone through similar things to yourself.
  5. Lawson58

    Lawson58 Registered User

    Gosh, it would be so easy to have arguments every day with OH but over the years I have learned that when I want to get him to do anything I keep my voice in a very conversational tone and I know that this helps to keep his aggravation down. It is just an everyday voice and he tends to respond accordingly. If I show annoyance or frustration then he will react badly, a problem I don't really need.

    I have also mastered an entire range of noncommittal 'hmmmmmms' that allow me to tune out when he is in a major rambling mood, telling me things I've heard numerous times before or voicing his opinion about various things.

    It is not always easy to do and I stuff up sometimes but it is better than what it was.
  6. Whiskey

    Whiskey Registered User

    Jul 1, 2016
    How do you get a diagnosis?

    I am new to this, forgive me. I have been associated with dementia in the past, but not within my own home and workplace, It seems I cannot get any help or say family support until my partner acknowledges there is something wrong. He is all of a muddle, yet blames me for everything, while putting more and more work over to me.
  7. Izzy

    Izzy Volunteer Moderator

    Aug 31, 2003
    I'm sorry I just noticed you had posted here. I replied on your own thread -

  8. teetoe

    teetoe Registered User

    Mar 10, 2016
    NSW, Australia
    Hi RC and welcome.
    Firstly I have almost the same situation as you apart from the incontinence, and think I know how you feel. My OH has been diagnosed mainly with FTD - do you know what your husband's diagnosis is? FTD does affect their behaviour, often making it very hard for partners. Things have got somewhat better now I've worked out how to take a softer line, and keep my insistence for things that really matter. Re appointments, now I write them on a whiteboard. I tell him about them once, more for my own sake, and then not long before they are due. Often he kicks up resistance to keeping to the appointments (which are for him) but I just keep explaining that we can't cancel.

    At times when he is in a mood and I know there is a recipe for trouble brewing, I put on music that he likes and soon he is singing along to it. It defuses the situation.

    When he won't take his medication - pain relief which makes him feel better! - I just say lightly "Oh fine, we'll throw them away, it's only money", and then he decides to take them. The main thing is that I don't get upset and angry back at him, as in the end we have a miserable time, and he can't remember what it was about while I am still stewing. I keep saying to myself "He is now a child" - as Scarlett says, I just mumble or say "Oh OK" to everything, and it is soon forgotten. Or if I am finding it too hard, I make an excuse to go down the shop for something.

    I know it is hard for my OH to have more than one thing in his brain, so it is better if I leave him a note if I want him to do something - Go to the pharmacist and pick up your next lot of pills - etc. Then I leave it on the counter. If I ask him to do it he will say No as his mind is on something.

    Re the stuff left everywhere, yes it is most annoying. I make a point of praising him if he does something "Oh thanks for clearing up the kitchen bench, that looks much better!" and he looks pleased and says things like "Well you know I do everything!". In the end it doesn't matter. We are surviving and learning to manage this darned disease. Keep posting, we can help each other. Wishing you strength, and sending hugs ...
  9. Reluctant carer

    Reluctant carer Registered User

    Jun 30, 2016
    Thank you

    Thanks to all who took the time to respond. Just knowing there are people out there who will listen is a great help in itself. My children do know what I am going through but they have their own busy lives and the best help I get from them is to spend time with them not talking about their father's health . And yes, of course, you are all right. Fighting this is not going to improve my life nor his. I'll work on it.
  10. Scarlett123

    Scarlett123 Registered User

    Apr 30, 2013
    That's what Talking Point is all about, giving advice through experience, swapping strategies, and hoping to make things a wee bit easier. Hope the advice about "murmurings" and "umms" works. ;)
  11. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
  12. teetoe

    teetoe Registered User

    Mar 10, 2016
    NSW, Australia
  13. elizabeth hc

    elizabeth hc Registered User

    Oct 31, 2012
    Thanks for that link, it is very useful and I shall try and put it into practise. Guide lines and reminders of how to respond are always useful.

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