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(5 Posts)
CharlieandLolaCat Thu 20-Apr-17 22:51:47

Wondering if anyone can help at all.

My mum has dementia and lives at home with my dad. She has been steadily declining for a few years and one of her symptoms seems to be that she is constantly cold. As a result she wears several (slightly random) layers. The problem is that she goes up to bed before my dad and he goes up when he's finished downstairs (he does all the cleaning up etc) and by the time he gets upstairs he says she's squirrelled away her clothes. This means the following day she puts the same stuff on. Every day.

We (my sisters and I) have tried to talk to him about it and it seems to be the one thing he can't seem to get his head around. I get where he's coming from to some extent, they have gone through a complete role reversal and I understand it must be hard but equally he needs to deal with it. However, I am also wondering if there is any point in my saying something to my mum (as kindly as I can - although I am struggling to think of a way that doesn't just sound brutal). I am worried that I will just upset her and that she won't really then remember why she is upset. One of her other symptoms is paranoia that we're talking about her, not helped that she often can't keep track of the conversation and I worry that this will feed that.

Having written all this down I realise I am asking an impossible question as no two people would react the same way to the conversation and no two people with dementia are the same, I suppose I am just worried that it is another step in the journey. That said, if anyone does have any suggestions I'd be really grateful.

PurpleWithRed Thu 20-Apr-17 22:57:49

What's the actual problem here? She's wearing the same dirty clothes every day? Can he lay out clean clothes for her to wear in the morning when he goes to bed? Does she ever shower or bathe? Can he nick her dirty clothes then and swop them?

CharlieandLolaCat Fri 21-Apr-17 09:04:26

Thank you Purple.

She is still showering but then puts the same clothes back on. Dad seems to have a mental block about this and just doesn't seem to be able to get her clothes from her before she has put them away (and she isn't putting them anywhere logical) and then she seems to get up and ready while he's still faffing around.

I wonder actually if we should instead work with mum to sort out 7 outfits that she can wear for the week and that might give her a bit more structure.

Sorry, as I say, not really sure what I'm asking but writing it down has really helped me to think it through.

Sunnymorning20 Fri 21-Apr-17 09:14:11

Hello, I have experience of this as MIL has alzheimers. She is in care now (5.5 years) so is very well down the road but we had this issue with her and as she lived alone there was no-one to stop her wearing the same clothes every day.

What we did was seriously thin her clothes right down. Only have in the wardrobe the bare minimum of clothing she needed to wear (this was a woman that had 3 double wardrobes of clothes to choose from). We grouped them into days as you suggested and for a while this worked as she took the days out and wore them. It wasn't always plain sailing as some days she'd hide the dirty things away and we would have to hunt for them in order for them to be washed.

I think you are going to have to try and get your dad on board with this as the intervention needs to be as she's undressing at night and the clothes need to be removed then.

Unfortunately though as with this blasted disease nothing worked for long and she simply forgot that the next days clothes were ready in the wardrobe. At this point she was starting to get carers in a few times a day as we were all working and they would come early and sort fresh clothes out each day. It needs another person to manage the situation i'm afraid. Good luck, its an awful disease. I can recommend the forums on the Talking Point Alzheimers website, so many people who are going through the same thing.

CharlieandLolaCat Fri 21-Apr-17 09:17:45

Thanks Sunny, she does have a lot of clothes and wears literally only 4-5 tops (mostly at the same time) and 1 or 2 pairs of trousers. Thinning it out might help.

Dad does need to take responsibility my sisters and I all work full time and simply can't do it.

You're right, it's a terrible disease and I just hate what it's doing to her.

I will check out Talking Point as well, thank you.

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