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Why is it a challenge every morning ?


Registered User
Aug 23, 2006
:confused: Why is it such a challenge every morning to get dressed ? It is not really a question, more of a statement.
Having had breakfast, it goes something like this .........
me: "Would you like to wash and dress." with the award winning huge smile and grin, 'cos this is a pleasurable activity.
Susan: "Yes please"
me: "Ok shall we go upstairs. This way". Me with a sneeze
S: "You got a cold" ?
me: "No it's hayfever. Would you like to use the bidet, 'cos you went to the toilet this morning downstairs".
S: "What"
me: "Would you like to wash and then we can put your clothes on."
S: "No I don't want to wash." angry tone. Oh oh thinks me.
me: "Ok then you're quite clean would you like to dress"
S: "Yes please" with a tone that could cut concrete.
me: a sneeze
S: "Do you have a cold"
me: "No it's hayfever, I've had it 25 years. Shall we take your pyjama bottoms of."
S: "No"
m: "We have to if you want to put your nics and jeans on (still smiling). You do want to dress don't you"
S: "Yes. Why do we have to do this every time ?" ( how can they remember a fact like that but cannot remember where the cups are kept in a house they've lived in nearly 20 years)
me: "Ok lets slip your bottoms of," - ready to dodge a flying knee or foot because I can see the anger.
S: "I don't want to take them of. This gets on my f..... nerves."
me: "Don't swear, but we have to take the bottoms of to put the jeans on. They will not go over the top."
S: "Here you are alright take them." Again with that concrete tone
me: I sneeze
S: "You should a doctor with that cold."
me: "Yes I'll go next week. Can you help me a little here and lift your leg out"
S: "What ?"
me: "Please lift your foot so I can slide your bottoms of."
S: "Why."
me: "So we can put your jeans on." (same again for the other leg/foot) "Ok" (holding nics that have been warmed on the heater despite being
20 degrees outside and a little warmer inside) "can you put your foot thro here please." Done with reluctance. "Now the other foot." Success / joy 1 pair of nics on.
"Ok now the jeans. Please put your leg in here. Push a little. Please push a little. Ok I'll pull harder. Ok other leg. No not in that leg, this other one, that does not have a leg in it already."
Ok jeans hoisted and buttoned. Now for the technical stuff - bras - I used to be (in my younger days) a dab hand with the ol 1 hand quick flick and they're of, but to put them on that's another thing. "Put your arms thro here please." As I go to put hands/arms thro straps the hands/arms go lower, but you guessed it, I know, and lower the straps even quicker, and success (partial 'cos we still have a bit further to go) put your boobs in please while I hook up." Hooks not joining "Can you put your boobs in please."
S: "They're in."
me: "It doesn't feel like it."
S: "I know if my boobs are in or not." with that concrete tone.
me: "Ok." A big breathe and heave and hooks join up and then round the front to put boobs in cups.
me: t-shirt achieved without too much hassle. Socks. Now that's another issue. Back to hands and knees. "Lift your foot please."
S: "Why ."
me: "So I can take your bed socks of."
S: "These are ok."
me: "They are a bit thick if we put slippers or shoes on later."
S: A reluctant "Here you then take them." with that oh so sweet concrete tone.
m: scrunching up sock as for a 2 year old. "Can you push or hold your foot still while I push the sock on."
S: "I am." (she's not)
me: I achieve it in the end and the other foot is no different "Are they comfortable."
S: "Yes thank you." (yep that familiar tone)
Ok I got there in the end, and I know that one day I will be wishing for these days again just as many of you do.
but this is pretty much the same thing everyday. Days when the concrete tone is even harder and more angry I walk away for half hour then try again.
Very often this works. The task is no easier but the anger from Susan has gone. Never give up on the smile 'cos that helps.

We'll go strawberry picking later. Make some jam - yummy.


Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
I say to my mother come on you got to have a bath now , you got to get dress now,sometime she say no she does not want a bath , just a wash down .

I do not say "would you like" ( I know she going to say No ) " or would you like to do this "

It took my mother a long while to except my help .

The only why I could understand why she challenges me . is to put myself in my mother shoes if it was happening to me , knowing what a burden it would put someone under looking after me full time . I would be great full , but the disease would confuse me , not let me see it like that , so I would be very challenging , because I would also get paranoid as that can course anger in me .

I would say good few years or so , it got easer , could be because the disease progressed more or mum just accepted my help .

I learn not to give mum to may chooses when getting dress as she get to confused get frustrated with herself and take it out on me , that go also with food
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Registered User
Aug 23, 2006
I take your point Maggie. and a good point it is, but I am cautious that it may sound like a command to Susan and then she will say no and get angry and tell me not to tell her what to do and she can do it herself. Also in another post you said not to use the "you" word too much more "us / we" which is good. I guess it is a play it by ear and see how the cared one responds.
cris hugs


Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
Cris, have you tried the slightly different approach of instead of "would you like" offering 2 choices both of which are acceptable? Something along the lines of "would you rather wash first or brush your teeth first?" I realise that won't help with the getting the legs into the jeans sort of problems, but it might help put her in the right frame of mind. I expect you have though, so every sympathy from me. "jollying" my mother along works sometimes, but mostly it seems to tick her off even more (a la, "I'm not a child") so I have found that straight-forward instructions work best, but everyone's different.



Registered User
Feb 20, 2006
North West England
You made me smile today....


Your posting really made me smile....

I have the same problem ALL day long, NOT just in getting dressed.

JUST endless negotiating, and being so careful how I word things ... so as 'not to upset', or God Forbid.... my words be taken the wrong way.

I'm sing-songy, happy-happy ... come on.... yeyy lets get you ready....
Inside 'I'm thinking', please please lets have a good day and get dressed in relative peace.

I'm carefull at sounding like I am not asking questions ... all the time.

It's SOOO draining the way I have to do the most simple of tasks.
We have to stop and have LOTS of little breaks in getting dressed, while I have to think fast at my negotiating skills....

Our new problem is that he has a new leg brace and EVERY day he gets up he has forgotten he has begun to wear it.. so it is a TOTAL surprise to see it sat there.

"What the f is that?" "Where did that come from?"

Strange thing though, the other night when taking the brace off, he was looking for the 'other one', and wanted to know what I HAD DONE WITH IT....
and where I had put it.
I guess it makes 'sort of' sence, as he has 2 legs and guess in his head he should have 2 braces.

Take care.

You are not alone chris.



Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
SW Scotland
jenniferpa said:
Cris, have you tried the slightly different approach of instead of "would you like" offering 2 choices both of which are acceptable? Something along the lines of "would you rather wash first or brush your teeth first?"
Choice does not work at all with John, it just 'makes confusion doubly confused!'.
But then, John's problem is lack of comprehension, not lack of co-operation.

Getting him to put his second leg in his trousers is a huge problem -- even when I touch the bare leg, he still lifts the other one!

It doesn't get any easier, does it!


Registered User
Sep 27, 2006

A care worker looked at my husband at the day centre and said to me, "You're making a rod for your own back". I looked at husband's lace up shoes, trousers with hook, button and zip, belt, shirt and jumper and understood what she meant. I bought slip on shoes and got rid of the belt - two less articles of clothing to deal with each morning! It took me a long time to find where I could buy men's trousers with an elasticated waist which meant trousers could be pulled on and off (not track suit bottoms which I hate!) I had a fresh look at what clothing is essential fror warmth and comfort. Could mum do without the bra do you think? Would a pull on dress help at all?
I find the getting washed/dressed at each end of the day one of the 'flashpoints' and anything I can think of which will minimise MY stress I feel is a little victory for me.

XX TinaT


Registered User
Aug 23, 2006
Thank you all for posting. I tried to make it light hearted, and i know everyone has similar problems.
Tina, my wife is 59 and going braless is not to bad but I do her make-up and hair
and she looks reasonably smart and to omit the bra, i'd rather not
skye. i have the same issue. pick a leg any leg and you get the other one
daisyG yep all down to negotiation and a big SMILE
jenniferPA. different approaches on different days and its a case of having a feel for the moment.

thanks each

Kate P

Registered User
Jul 6, 2007

Can I just applaud you for your patience, perserverance and the fact that you're still going as far as to put your wife's make up on when your days must obviously be so difficult and full already.

I have been astounded by the care, consideration and patience of everyone on TP and to be honest it inspires me to try harder and to try and find ways to help my dad look after my mum more even in these early stages - you have all mentioned problems that it hadn't occured to me were coming. There is no way my dad will be able to manage make up without some instruction!;)

I would definitly recommend a front fastening bra - you should find it much easier.

Thinking of you both.



Registered User
Aug 23, 2006
Hi Kate P.
I posted in a light-hearted vein, as you know it is not just me with patience there are thousands of others, and many tackle even more difficult tasks. I guess mine are to come.
Yes I had forgotten about "front-loaders" as I used to call them. I will try to get some to see if it is any easier.
Make-up ! Susan is 59 and still appreciates a little, so I have learnt to apply a little eye shadow, eye-brow stick line - Susan foolishly shaved her eye-brows when she was young and they never grew properly after that - and lip-stick. No rougeey stuff, but a little moisturizer at night. Eye shadow is also a little harder to remove so I apply on special occasions. But when finished she likes to look in the mirror and is always pleased. So a little task well worth the result. Be there for your dad, I am sure you will. My daughter comes once a week and washes / cuts Susan's hair and some other tasks I hate, like clipping nails, I even hate doing my own. Brings my out in a cold sweat. My daughters help I really appreciate. Some things Susan will do with our daughters willingly but is difficult with me.
best wishes to you all
cris :)

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Dear cris,

Light hearted vein or not, I have so much respect for male carers.

I know this is a sexist statement, and would hate to be thought of as patonizing, but even in today`s age, the majority of women are still conditioned to nurture and run the home.

The men on this site are superb, and should know it.


Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
SW Scotland
I'll second that!

I'm so impressed by the make-up. I thought I was doing well with shaving John, but make-up...........respect!:D


Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
Cris: re removing eye-makeup - have you tried eye-makeup removing pads? Presaturated little pads: they make removing eyemakeup a doddle AND no chance of stinging.



Registered User
Jul 9, 2007
Rochester - Kent
Cris...your thread made me giggle and sad in so many ways....and also amazed and how well you are coping.

My Nan has Alzhiemers and lives with my Parents..My sister looks after my Nan during the week and I help out where I can but have a demanding 2 year old. However recently I was looking after my Nan as my sister was in hosptial for an Op.

Although my Nan can dress herself. she is starting to need help...we have a constant battle over the bathroom....she doesn't like water anymore..like a child. Although she has an obsession with cleaning her teeth!?!

Baby wipes are a good cleaning technique..Especially for Makeup too!! I use them self! :)


Registered User
Aug 23, 2006
:eek: :eek: :eek: GrannieG you're making us men blush. All alz carers deserve a round of applause, and my heart really goes out to young mums with children. I know that there are a few that visit this site. Also really to people that have it and are raising awareness, Ken springs to mind although there are others.
Also the moderators of this site who do a brilliant job.
Tina. yes I already have velcro shoes and no belt jeans. Front loaders I will look out for.
Princess. I'll try baby wipes. At the moment I use oil of ulay and a cotton wool ball. Not too bad but does not always remove everything, and I don't like to press too hard for fear of getting a knee in my groin. Your mum may change her views on water in a few weeks time. We did go through that phase. Glad it made you giggle. I did go to the doctors and said I may be depressed, he said I wasn't - just tired. I thought that's good, so if I end it all it's not 'cos I'm depressed. that cheered me up, so I'm still here:)
Jennifer. that's another one to try. they all sound good.
Maggie I will check out that site x
thanks to the ladies.


Registered User
Jun 6, 2007
Hi Cris,
I have actually found the whole of this post very uplifting. I just wish I had your patience. Sadly it's not part of my nature but I am getting much better as snapping etc. only stresses me.
I've tried doing away with belts but John then spends all day asking where his belt is, opening draws, cupboards etc. So I put it on with a smile :)
Now when I feel like getting cross I'll think of you.



Registered User
Aug 23, 2006
Have to laugh Andrex puppy dog

:D Jackie1. I was going to start a new post with this but decided to add it here
Susan downstairs me showering upstairs. I heard a big bang. Hurried up. Went down and Susan sitting there like the angel she is :rolleyes: and as i look around there is the end of the toilet roll along the seatee, along carpet, under doors leading back to the loo holder on the wall. Hanging on just to the cardboard tube. Oh the bang i think was the toilet seat cover dropping.
Just like the Andrex puppy dogs. I spent a little while :rolleyes: rewinding it while susan watched me.

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