Any advice on looking after someone with dementia?(6 Posts)
My husbands grandpa has the early stages of dementia which is slowly geting worse. He lives just along the road from my inlaws and it is MIL who does the bulk of the caring for him,nothing major but cooking his evening meals, that sort of thing. He still lives alone in his own home.
My inlaws are going on holiday on Saturday for 2 weeks and we are moving into their house to do everything she would normally do (along with dog sitting lol). Husband spoke to his mum tonight and her dad has started wondering at night,not too far thankfully but has been knocking on the neighbours doors to visit them at 1am,thinking its 1pm, and is getting really confused with times etc.
I'm happy to be helping out,my inlaws deserve the break but I know how stressed his mum is about leaving and to 'complicate' matters I'm 33 weeks pregnant with our first baby so now caring for him is getting more challenging she's stressing about me as well.
Neither me or my husband have any experience with this sort of thing so I was wondering if there's any tips people have to try and make it a bit easier on all involved.
I move in to look after my Dad for 3 days once a month to give my Mum a break. He's not too difficult to look after, really - but he has yet to start wandering the streets.
I imagine that there are locks on the doors to prevent DH's grandpa from going walkabout, but keeping the keys nearby in case of a fire?
The things I would concentrate on are his medication - when, when and how many. I get a bit stressed about this as my father has heart and kidney problems, too.
I would also be prepared to listen to him. MY DF loves chatting to me; he gets bored of my Mum (they are together 24/7, so not surprising), and I will sit and listen for hours. Often not much makes sense, and I have to piece things together, but we get there eventually.
Take him out with you to walk the dog if you can - I go for a 20 min walk with Dad every day. We go out for a pub lunch. We cook biscuits together and made peanut brittle last time - his favourite. I get him to read the recipe, measure the ingredients and basically do most of the work. ~It sounds lazy, but the more he gets to do, the better.
However, dementia comes in all shapes and sizes, and what I'm suggesting my not be appropriate - just treat him gently whatever you do.
Oh, and just get MIL to make loads of lists about the time of certain things, medications ( as I mentioned above) and anything else she thinks is important. (How to use the Sky remote in my case!) Also her landline and mobile number.
Promise her you will call if there's a problem. She's only getting stressed because she's worried about leaving him - its natural. Its important that she has a break.
Be gentle on yourself, too. I find it fun to spend time with Dad, but am pretty exhausted when I get home. I hope DH will put in some time to help you out.
Thanks for the tips, while walking the dog with him not practical (dog hates him for some reason) things like baking, which I was planning on doing anyway, are a great idea. Spoken to mil again tonight and her sister is going to be moving in while they are away to hopefully to stop him going out at night which makes it easier as well,she's a nurse too so has plenty of experience in this sort of thing too.
As for hubby helping out luckily its not something I need to worry about, he has taken holidays from work so will be about the whole time and I start my maternity leave on Monday so don't need to worry about my work either.
I'm sure it will be fine but the development him wandering at night really worried me last night so glad my aunty-in-law is going to help out.
If he's wandering at night it might be worth getting an assessment from your local Assistive Technology team as he might be eligible for some sensor equipment. for example, a mat in the hallway that will sound an alarm if anyone walks on it between 11pm and 7am. There is quite a lot of technology which can support peopke in staying safe particularly in the early stages of dementia. good luck .
Might be worth looking at a charity called Vitalise. At the moment they are offering up to 80% funded breaks for disabled people and their carers. Maybe worth looking into? www.vitalise.org.uk
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