1. Expert Q&A: Benefits - Weds 23 October, 3-4pm

    Our next expert Q&A will be on the topic of benefits. It will be hosted by Lauren from our Knowledge Services team. She'll be answering your questions on Wednesday 23 October between 3-4pm.

    You can either post your question >here< or email them to us at talkingpoint@alzheimers.org.uk and we'll be happy to ask them on your behalf.

  1. MrsMoose

    MrsMoose Registered User

    Oct 1, 2014
    152
    Over the last twenty years or so, we have had regular Sunday lunches with my father in law. When he was less frail and forgetful there might be lunch at his flat - spaghetti and tomato sauce. (He wasn't much of a cook.)

    In more recent years it's always been lunch at our house. Every other Sunday. Very occasionally we've invited him on different days, because of other commitments. He's always been a bit suspicious Why not Sunday? And we've explained why not...

    His dementia diagnosis was six months ago. Our own domestic routines have changed and as my husband has retired there's a lot more flexibility on our side about when we can see him. As we are busy three Sundays in a row, we had invited him for lunch next Friday. (Apart from his carer and the other people in his sheltered the accommodation we are the only people he ever sees.)

    He refused to come to lunch on Friday, saying Sunday was the day he wanted to have lunch with us. If he couldn't come on Sunday, he didn't want to come at all.

    So should we leave it and not take him out and cook him a meal for the best part of a month, do you think? Or assume that in a week or so he'll have forgotten he said this?
     
  2. Spamar

    Spamar Registered User

    Oct 5, 2013
    6,972
    Suffolk
    I think he will have forgotten
     
  3. Kjn

    Kjn Registered User

    Jul 27, 2013
    5,835
    Is he very aware of what day is what? Could you say it's Sunday when it isn't ?
     
  4. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    11,713
    Female
    London
    Dementia patients like routine. If he's still aware of what day it is and it's so important to him, however irrational it might seem to you, then just give in.
     
  5. MrsMoose

    MrsMoose Registered User

    Oct 1, 2014
    152
    I think Sunday may be a different day for my father in law because it's a day when he has a different carer. But he's not religious and has never gone to Church on Sunday. Nor is the lunch he has with us always a traditional Sunday roast dinner. (We have fish sometimes or curried dishes. He like highly seasoned food.)

    My husband and I would like to vary the routine. Because I work every Saturday, it is sometimes good to have Sunday to go out for the day or to visit my own mother, who lives much further away.

    My husband has been to a lesser or greater extent looking after his father for over twenty years - since his mother died. My father in law's only other son is abroad and only visits the UK for a couple of times a year. Over the years my father in law's few surviving friends have died. Father-in-law is now 94.

    Perhaps the Sunday lunch thing is symbolic for all of us. My husband I would like to feel a little less trapped. Yes we are responsible for him, but we'd like to be able to move forward with our lives while continuing to care. Whereas he seems to be trying to say, 'I don't want there to be any kind of change. It has to be the same way that it has always been.'
     
  6. Kjn

    Kjn Registered User

    Jul 27, 2013
    5,835
    If you altered his carers could you manipulate his idea of when Sunday is ?

    We don't have Sunday's here...my mum always did Sunday lunches for family, they then lived abroad, family grew older, working commitments amongst, mil has a thing a about Sunday lunch out which can be a sandwich and a glass of wine.
    Sunday's have changed to other days available now,
     
  7. MrsMoose

    MrsMoose Registered User

    Oct 1, 2014
    152
    I don't think the idea of pretending another day is Sunday would work. Quite apart from not wanting to involve the carers' agency in games, at this stage my husband wouldn't feel good about even a relatively innocent deception. Also in my father-in law's sheltered accommodation a weekly menu is pinned up, there's a traditional roast dinner - a communal lunch is served to the residents - and quite a lot of people there do go out to church. Also though he's quite confused in some respects, I think he may be orientated in others, so probably does know what day it is. (I think he still gets and reads the Radio Times and can operate the TV remote - though only partially. He's not learned to use Freeview, though he has it, and just sticks to the terrestrial channels.)

    Not sure how this one will pan out.

    We may try inviting him again for a weekday. He might accept. Or he might refuse in which case we my try and say a bit more about why Sundays don't always work for us.

    He can stick with Sundays if he prefers, but then he'll perhaps see us a bit less frequently - which would be a shame as he seems to like sitting in our garden. (He won't go and sit in the very attractive gardens in his sheltered accommodation.) He also seems to appreciate the chance to eat different sorts of food with us.
     
  8. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    10,531
    Female
    South coast
    A difficult one Mrs Moose. I doubt that explaining things to him will help as logic is one of the first things to go. If hes anything like mum he will say at the end your explanations words to effect of - yes I understand all of that, but why cant I do it?
    People with dementia just hate change of any sort and the logic of - if I dont come on a different day they I wont come so often - will completely pass him by.
     
  9. MrsMoose

    MrsMoose Registered User

    Oct 1, 2014
    152
    Some days his mind is a bit clearer than others. But yes, an explanation might not really go in - and if it does, his ability to retain the conversation is very poor indeed.

    Another increasingly difficult thing about the lunches is that our house is full of steps. A step up to the front door. A kitchen step. A step to the downstairs loo. A step down from the kitchen to a utility area. A step from that area to outdoors. And physically he's getting really frail. So when he is with us for lunch, we have to be on the look out. Supervising him. Reminding him to use his stick. Worried that he'll fall.
     
  10. Lindy50

    Lindy50 Registered User

    Dec 11, 2013
    5,302
    Cotswolds
    I do sympathise with this problem, Mrs Moose :)

    For many years, Fridays and Sundays were 'our days' when I always saw mum, no matter how much we also saw her the rest of the week. But hubby and I are now retired (me not really out of choice, but still...) and our daughters have left home and have their own lives. Our lives now have hardly any need of regular routine, and we all want to be able to respond to social invitations, join groups etc. And of course, go on holiday!

    Factor in mum's needs, though.....they have changed in the opposite direction....her life is built around routine, and she needs regular daily visits and constant support in daily living.

    It's a recipe for disaster, really! I gave up on trying to change our lunch days, I'm afraid, when mum seemed to find it more distressing than pleasurable. I now mostly stick to taking in special cakes or fruit to eat with her at her place, and she only comes to us at Christmas, Easter, birthdays and the like. Even then, she can't wait to get back home to her own 'safe place'.

    I'm sorry, I've gone on a bit :eek: Just wanted to sympathise, really, and hope you get something sorted soon that suits you all, as far as possible :)

    Lindy xx
     
  11. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    4,296
    SW London
    I think you should think of your own needs and wishes, as well as his. The sad fact is, many people with dementia become quite unable to consider anyone's needs or wishes but their own.
    I know it's hard, but I think I would say to him in a calm and matter of fact manner, I'm sorry dad, but we really can't make Sunday, but you are very welcome to come on Friday.' And if he chooses not to, so be it. Depending on his short term memory, he may forget quite quickly, but if he doesn't, or if he sulks, try to ignore it. (Easier said than done, I know)

    All the advice we read so often implies that everything must always revolve around the person with dementia, and everyone else's needs and wishes must automatically come second. I think this heaps a lot of unnecessary guilt on family carers who are made to feel selfish or unreasonable when they want a bit of time off or just to suit their own wishes now and then.
     
  12. Miss shiraz

    Miss shiraz Registered User

    Dec 24, 2014
    82
    Midlands
    #12 Miss shiraz, Jul 13, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2015
    Whilst they like routine then i can understand that you feel trapped, especially when there are other things arranged for Sundays. Perhaps this is a good break and then go back to Sunday but every other Sunday? Re: the next few weeks, could you prepare him a nice dinner that he can heat up as an alternative, maybe give it him if you do get too see/eat with him on the Friday. I'm not suggesting a nice Sunday lunch but may placate him.
    its hard as they like routine and you still need to live your life as best you can (speaking from experience here!).
    Are there any siblings (yours or his) that can also have him on a Sunday... share the responsibility?
    i agree with Witzend, could have been writing abt my MIL.... and it seems to get worse as they progress with this awful illness.
     
  13. MrsMoose

    MrsMoose Registered User

    Oct 1, 2014
    152
    Thanks for the comments everyone. Really helpful.

    In the short term, I think this is what we'll do. We've pencilled in a Saturday in just under a fortnight when my husband is in - I'd be coming back from work in the early afternoon. We'll ask him for lunch then. He may refuse, in which case it'll be the next free Sunday (the first one in August). Or he may have forgotten and accept.

    Though he'll always thank me for his lunch - I get thanked even when my husband has cooked, because you must always thank the 'lady of the house' - there are definitely ways in which he's becoming a bit more demanding.

    We'll normally have a dessert or cake for afternoon tea before he goes. There have been one or two recent family birthdays, so there has been home-made birthday cake. There have also been occasions when I'd use old bread to make bread and butter pudding. At other times there have been shop pastries. Last time he was here I'd gone out and bought a lemon tart - it was the 'premium range' kind - which tastes very good.

    But when I offered him a slice, he answered quite rudely that he only liked home-made desserts. My husband and I were quite taken aback, and assured him that the tart would taste very good. So he did accept a slice.

    However, I'm hoping this doesn't get repeated. No point saying that I'm not always prepared to do a baking session before he comes. Maybe just give him his cup of tea next time, while the rest of us eat our pastries - and say, he's free to change his mind.
     
  14. Miss shiraz

    Miss shiraz Registered User

    Dec 24, 2014
    82
    Midlands
    My MIL slated my Christmas lunch in front of my family.., meat was tough, veg undercooked, gravy made with meat juices which she doesn't like, can't eat xmas pud as she's diabetic. .. i could have cried after spending hours in kitchen. Years later she was diagnosed with dementia. I'm more prepared now and prob thicker skinned, but she doesn't know what to say most of the time now, just stuffs her face! As my lovely mum used to say - like it or leave it!:D
     
  15. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    4,296
    SW London
    To my mother, ANY veg was undercooked unless it was almost boiled to a mush. I particularly had to make sure not to do cauliflower cheese - one of OH's favourites - when she was visiting.
     
  16. Long-Suffering

    Long-Suffering Registered User

    Jul 6, 2015
    426
    I wouldn't worry about it too much, Mrs Moose. If he doesn't want to come round on a weekday and can't understand why you want him to do that, then there's nothing you can do. If you want to ask him again, do so, but don't fret if he says no again. It's his choice.

    LS
     

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