Strategy for dealing with noncooperation and refusing assistance.

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Does anyone have any good strategies for helping someone with Alzheimer’s who needs help and but is incapable of accepting help? For a time, mom was cooperative. Now however she demands to do it herself. The problem is that hygiene and other things are suffering. Inadequate tooth brushing led to cavities and really bad gums. Getting dressed is not successful, leading to backwards or inside out clothing, missing underwear, etc. Just trying to kindly start her off, by prepping toothbrush is a problem. Starting her off with shirts, shorts, etc. in the right directions and allowing her to go the rest of the way devolves into angry interaction that sometimes leads to her throwing punches and shoving. I don’t want her mouth to totally fall into ruin or to end up wearing shorts around her shoulders (has happened), but it is hard to help when she becomes violent. Is there a way to help, or do you just have to let them fall into disrepair? I don’t want to be perceived as negligent, but I also don’t want to experience her throwing her arms wildly in punches every other day.

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  • Posted

    You have my sympathy as I have a wife with dementia. Many of the problems I am going to mention would apply to carers looking after others with different medical conditions. Once it has been diagnosed, your whole life changes. The person you are caring for becomes 'someone else'. You become public enemy number one and you have to suffer regular criticism sarcasm inuendoes belittling in front of others etc. I know this is the illness and not the person I knew before. You can no longer got to the cinema, theatre restaurants and social events. Your life has changed. Other persons only see the situation for maybe a few hours. Only those who have to tolerate it 24/7 really know the pressures. I could go on but will not.

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    Hi Benjamin. I feel for you and I understand your worry. Of course, you should not let your mother "fall into disrepair". From my experience, and from what I've read around the web, you have to be patient, take your time and make them feel involved. So whether it's you looking after her or a carer, you should always aim to ask for their opinion on what they want to do i.e. what clothes they want to wear, what to eat etc. It does seem foolish to say, but in a way treat them as kids, i.e. if they brush their teeth, they get to go on a walk or have a treat. Things like these... It's a lot of work and it takes a lot of patience. "Their feelings and preferences must also be taken into account. " Here are some useful links:

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