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Motivating my father

DavidHanwell

New member
Sep 18, 2021
1
0
My father has early dementia. He is forgetful but still independent and able to deal with most things in life, albeit his memory is definitely deteriorating. He admits to being depressed. When I recently said he didn’t have dementia - there is nothing wrong with him. I have read that denial is common. I am not sure whethe it is the gnorance or denial in his case.

We want to keep him physically and mentally as active as possible. To make him feel better about himself and to maybe slow down his decline. We want him to see friends, play golf, do art and write his autobiography. When he does any of these things he comes back tired but very happy. They are good for him.

But unless pushed he won’t do anything. He will just sit and watch the TV. And when my mother nags him to do things he is stubborn. He admitted to me that the more he is nagged the less he dies! It is exhausting for my mother to be on his case and I don’t think it is good for anyone.

Does anyone have any advice for how to motivate him and get him more active?
 

kindred

Registered User
Apr 8, 2018
2,770
0
My father has early dementia. He is forgetful but still independent and able to deal with most things in life, albeit his memory is definitely deteriorating. He admits to being depressed. When I recently said he didn’t have dementia - there is nothing wrong with him. I have read that denial is common. I am not sure whethe it is the gnorance or denial in his case.

We want to keep him physically and mentally as active as possible. To make him feel better about himself and to maybe slow down his decline. We want him to see friends, play golf, do art and write his autobiography. When he does any of these things he comes back tired but very happy. They are good for him.

But unless pushed he won’t do anything. He will just sit and watch the TV. And when my mother nags him to do things he is stubborn. He admitted to me that the more he is nagged the less he dies! It is exhausting for my mother to be on his case and I don’t think it is good for anyone.

Does anyone have any advice for how to motivate him and get him more active?
You sound a lovely family. Sadly, loss of proactivity and initiative is a common part of early dementia. I volunteer in a nursing home specialising in dementia. I hear this a lot from families. possibly have an activity of the day, just one, say playing golf, and get him and everything ready. Assume it has already been agreed that that is what is going to happen
You will all expend so much energy trying to persuade!
All good wishes to you, kindred.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
16,076
0
South coast
Unfortunately, dementia robs you of the ability to make decisions and plan how to do them. I would just go ahead and organise things that he would like and take him.

As the dementia progresses he will find things harder to do, so be careful not to overstretch him, which will leave him discouraged.
 

Violet Jane

Registered User
Aug 23, 2021
393
0
Yes, I think that apathy is one of the earliest signs of dementia, which is why dementia can be confused with depression. I don't think that your Dad is going to change. It's natural to want to plan lovely days and special treats for your relative because you know that the window for these things is closing but you may find that your relative doesn't appreciative the effort you've gone to / quickly tires / shows little interest, all of which can be disappointing or upsetting. It's best not to be too ambitious and then the stakes are not as high and you won't feel disappointed if things don't go as well as planned. Having said all that, I did take my mother on two short breaks, one to where she had grown up (Northern Ireland), shortly after she was diagnosed with dementia. It was pretty stressful but I'm glad I did it but I didn't attempt it again (she lived for another seven years, four in a care home).
 

Jacs321

Registered User
Jun 12, 2017
23
0
Hi

I found this stage particularly frustrating with my mum, desperately feeling if i could motivate and keep her stimulated it would stave off the inevitable and I got really upset that she couldn't or wouldn't try or comply. I'd arrange something, keep reminding her and she'd agree to go and then refuse when it came to the day. Absolutely, stimulation is important, and you are all trying so hard but apathy goes with the territory and is beyond their control. accepting that takes the pressure off you all. Sometimes just watching tv is enough as the effort when they know they can no longer participate as before is too much especially keeping up with the mutli tasking of social interaction or trawling the memory and skills which are declining. When you break down all the components of what seems like a simple activity into cognitive, physical, emotional and communication that we take for granted until something like this, you begin to understand the effort involved and why its easier for them not to. Depression is I understand common but we often overlook other things like pain, not everything is the disease, so i found it helpful to consider why this may also impact her motivation and adjust to that where i could. Take each day as it comes, plan where you can but be prepared to change the plans at short notice. With mum, if it was a good day we went for it, if a bad day we did what she was up for and just enjoyed the time together. If he likes golf but maybe can't or wont go out could you set up indoor or garden putting for example or maybe some golf videos which he can watch and chat about? Maybe consider his interests and grade them so you have a range of options depending on how he is and can respond accordingly? Good luck x
 

KTM65

New member
Jun 5, 2021
2
0
All of these posts are so helpful. My OH has days of extreme tiredness and will get wound up if I so much as breathe a word re activities. But then I learn he has had made plans to do things by himself and had done them.
Flexibility from my role as carer is definitely necessary. Sometimes cant help but to be concerned with the OHs choice to be less sharing about his plans.
 

Thethirdmrsc

Registered User
Apr 4, 2018
504
0
My OH had his own garage business, and after he retired, and was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, his son gave him jobs to do around the garage, but he never completed them, he would walk home and forget. We got him a tool box, with spanner’s to clean, but he didn’t have the interest. We just walked with our dog, as there was nothing I could motivate him and interest him with. Sad.