July 2012

Problems with clothing.

Earlier this year our niece visited from England for 3 weeks. My wife needed some new underwear and pajamas so I asked Karen if she would take my wife and help her choose what she needed. They come home with the underwear and new pajamas. When it came time for wearing the new PJs my wife said she didn’t like them and would not wear them. The PJ bottoms became ‘lost’ and I only found them last week.

Last week I bought my wife some new pajamas.  She was with me and chose the pajamas, saying that she liked them. My wife goes to bed early, usually at about 9.00pm. The first night when the new pajamas were to be worn, when I came to bed later I found her in bed wearing the clothes she had worn all day, and the pajamas on the floor. I said nothing and got into bed alongside her as I have done for the last 46 years.

The next night she said that she didn’t like the new PJs and asked where had they come from. It happened again the next night, with her taking one and a half hours after saying she was getting ready for bed, before she actually got into bed. I checked on her 3 times to see how she was going. The last time I checked I found she had emptied one of my drawers of 3 sweaters and left them strewn across the bed, and she still hadn’t undressed and put on the new PJs. Eventually she donned the PJs and got into bed.

The next night she said she was going to bed as usual. I didn’t check on her at all. When I went to bed, she was wearing the PJ jacket, but also the jeans she had worn during the day. Her PJ bottoms were under her pillow.

The next night she went bed wearing the PJ bottoms and the jumper she had been wearing during the day.

Another problem with clothing is ensuring that she wears clean clothes, and that they are worn the right way round and not inside out. Also I have to ensure that she is wearing a pair of socks and not and pair of odd socks. I have lost count of how many times I have sorted her sock drawer into pairs after she has been in there and mixed them all up into single socks jumbled in the drawer.

Problems in the kitchen

For quite a while before and since her diagnosis my wife has been unable to prepare the simplest meal. For example, she would make a cup of tea for herself by boiling more than a litre of water in the kettle, and then adding a tea bag to the boiling water in the kettle.

Washing up has also become a problem. We had a system whereby my wife washed the dishes and I dried them and put them away. As her problems increased I would find that she had washed the dishes in cold water without the aid of washing up liquid. She also did not actually put the dirty dishes in the water, but wiped them with a dish cloth that had been dipped in the water. Another of her methods of washing up is to run the hot water, not put the plug in the sink, squirt some detergent into the water flow (which is immediately washed down the sink), and then hold the dishes under the running water and wipe with the dish cloth.

After washing up my wife always put the dishes away, but not in the right places. Cereal bowls would be put away on top of dinner plates, side plates on top of salad plates. Knives would put in with the forks, spoons with the knives. She has an aversion to large kitchen knives and would put them in another drawer anywhere else than where they should be.

Problems handing money

One particular day to day activity my wife has difficulty with is spending money and knowing how much change she should receive in a cash transaction. She could no longer remember her PIN for her credit and debit cards. Therefore I became the sole person with access to bank accounts, and also the person who did all the shopping and paid at the check out. This includes paying for any clothes that she needs (including underwear).

About labtad

Born in Halifax, West Yorkshire, England. Migrated to Australia in 1968 and now live in an outer South eastern suburb of Melbourne. Married since 1966 to my wife who was diagnosed with dementia in 2011. I am an imperfect follower of the Christian faith who believes that most things in life happen for a reason or purpose. The last 12 years, since my wife showed the first signs of having memory problems, have gradually taught me patience, compassion and some understanding of the situations that arise when a person Is living with dementia.
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