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My wife is up all night and smokes,but is a danger

Discussion in 'I have a partner with dementia' started by elmfields, Apr 24, 2015.

  1. elmfields

    elmfields Registered User

    Apr 24, 2015
    My wife is 76 years old, I am 65. She does not recognise night from day ,and so for the last week she has been getting up for breakfast at about midnight. She has smoked for 60 years and has the obsession of flicking the lighter for no apparent reason. She does not recognise which end of the cigarette to light, and subsequently I have to get up and monitor the situation all night which is very wearing. She sleeps during the day, and I have been advised to try and sleep when she sleeps. Today she has lit tissues and caught the tea towel alight. She has recently (last 3 days) been taking Memantine HydroChloride 5mg and later stepped up, and her condition appears to be getting worse each day. Any thoughts, she is addicted to cigarettes and any ban would lead to major difficulties.
  2. Miss Merlot

    Miss Merlot Registered User

    Oct 15, 2012
    Have you tried electronics...?

    I don't have dementia, but swear by them! :D

    You'd have to do the fiddly bits in terms of charging and topping up fluid, but - on the upside - unlikely to set fire to anything.
  3. Tin

    Tin Registered User

    May 18, 2014
    My mum smokes and I've never banned her, but after a few smouldering waste bins and burn marks on my carpets, I decided to hold on to mum's lighter and cigarettes. She now has to ask me and I do not leave her alone while she is smoking. The downside is that she is always asking me for one, especially when sundowning, but the upside is that I can now control how many she has. It did not take long for mum to get used to this, there was no option, it was just too dangerous.

    Last January when mum first moved in with me, apart from lighting up at all hours of the day and night, she had a strange ritual around her smoking, playing with the lighter, putting loads of tissues on the fire and lighting them, lighting/putting out the same cigarette over and over, cleaning the ashtray after every puff. I did try patches but did not help with her ritual. Electronic cigarettes were a waste of money for me, mum just could not understand them and she kept throwing them on the open fire.
  4. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    Exactly what Tin says, take control of the fags and the lighter it's too dangerous otherwise. If my wife wants a cigarette now she goes in the kitchen and stands next to her ashtray, somehow standing there seems to fulfil the need, either she gets bored and goes back into the living room or I go and give her a cigarette so she now smokes 5 or 6 a day. Forget the e-fags they may work for the addicted but for someone with little memory the gratification means they can get very overused quite quickly and they do contain nicotine.
  5. elmfields

    elmfields Registered User

    Apr 24, 2015
    Thank You, we have tried this but it is not the real thing in her eyes.
  6. elmfields

    elmfields Registered User

    Apr 24, 2015
    I had started to light her cigarettes with her agreement yesterday, but a 4.00am start this morning has seen her forget this agreement, and refuse all help. She has attempted to light 4,with no success, wrong ends, filters bitten off. I have to get up with her, more resentment, as if she succeeds finished cigarettes are stubbed out on any thing. We have strange rituals as well, constantly picking up more than one lighter and staring at them. Emptying full packets of cigarettes into a dirty ashtray and throwing the dirty unlit cigarettes away. Putting her fingers in the filthy ashtray and then constantly complaining of dirty nails. Lighted tissues and a lighted tea towel have been an issue in the last few days.
  7. Chuggalug

    Chuggalug Registered User

    Mar 24, 2014
    I wish I could get my hubby onto electronic ciggies for the very same reasons. Thank God, he does go to bed at night, but when he's up and about, he forgets how to use a match, and can't manage a lighter, except that he pushes the flicker switch against a wooden table to light it as his hands are so weak.

    The word nightmare comes to mind...wish I had a solution for you :(
  8. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    I think you are going to have to take the cigs/lighter/matches away so that she cant light up without you. This is so dangerous my hair is standing on end thinking about it.
  9. Tin

    Tin Registered User

    May 18, 2014
    Sorry elmfields, I should have mentioned that taking away the control from my mum was not easy and we had terrible problems mum accepting but I did persevere, also got rid of all big ashtrays and bought 2 small ones and one of those strange ashtrays with a push down that opens the base and all ash/ends fell through? from charity shop. The one and only time I was grateful for the dementia was that she did eventually get used to this, but it is hard and I know exactly how you are feeling.
  10. BR_ANA

    BR_ANA Registered User

    Jun 27, 2012
    I am thinking you need a fire alarm. Just in case of accident.

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