Mild Alz and working

Posted by clayton48 @clayton48, Jan 18, 2018

My husband is 70 and diagnosed 4 years ago. He has taken meds since his diagnosis and does well staying home while I work ( am younger than him). I worry that he does not stimulate his brain. He has always been an introvert but now has closed himself off from most people. I would like to see him find a part time job that would require him to have a regular routine but limited hours. Does anyone have a spouse with ALZ that works and if you do what type of employment? I can’t get him to get involved in any church or social functions, I thought working a minimal job might get him involved with other people and help with his depression. Any thoughts? or suggestions?

Hello @clayton48 it is nice to e-meet you here. I am sorry to read of your husband’s challenges with dementia. I am Scott and my mother-in-law suffered from dementia for over 10 years. I was also the primary caregiver for my wife for 14 years while she battled brain cancer and exhibited many symptoms of dementia during that time. I also worked for the Alzheimer’s Association for several years. I am glad you found Connect!

You raise many challenging and difficult issues regarding your husband. While I am not any kind of medical professional, I have seen often people with dementia begin to withdraw from much of the social milieu as these inputs become too overwhelming for them to manage. The other thing I have seen is that what our patients are able to manage (and often interested in managing) begins to diverge from what we, as caregivers, want for them or think is best for them. In my wife’s case I wished for her to have more social stimulation during her war. It took me a bit too long to realize I needed to ‘listen’ to her more and follow the lead to the result she was silently directing me towards. As any outside stimuli became overwhelming to her she withdrew to the ‘safety’ of what she wanted, which was what she saw as less stimulation in her life from outside (and often scary) sources. It was a hard lesson for me to learn.

I do not know if the same things are happening with your husband or not, but I relate her and my experiences in the hopes they might be of some help.

I send you strength, courage, and peace!

Liked by LynneB

Hello @clayton48 – I used to run an in home care agency and caregived for my father for two years. I can relate to your situation. I saw how helpless and withdrawn my Dad felt from his life as his disease progressed, when he could no longer do what he once loved. I have a few ideas to support you. Something that gave my Dad some meaning was to be around children. Perhaps getting involved in an elementary school’s reading program or a daycare center. I’m not certain about jobs to stimulate his brain but possibly volunteering in some capacity, giving back to others to create meaning. Perhaps the Human Society or a hospice. Connecting with children, via neighbors, school or with family always put a smi)e on my dad’s face. I have also caregived for another woman with dementia and I discovered she found meaning in painting large pieces of ceramics. She would spend so much time painting yellow/blonde hair on a cute ceramic piece that was of a young child holding two puppies. She would get lost in a meditative state while painting. Client ‘L’ and I gave this ceramic piece to her son for his birthday, which is something he now cherishes. A key component to get them engaged was to not ask if they wanted to paint or do an activity, I would just set it up in front of them and begin doing it alone. Then I’d just non-verbally hand her a paint brush – to join me. I also made sure the ceramic piece had large areas to paint, not small detailed ones. The activity brought such joy to her! Another thought, is connecting with small non-profits, to see if they need help with a bulk mailing or a type of repetitive job. We folded letters, sealed and stamped envelopes for a local non-profit. It’s something that can be done there or at home. Scrapbooking was also another joyful activity we shared together. There is a fabulous conversation game called My Gift of Grace / Hello. I purchased this game and wrote my Dad’s answers to the questions on the cards. After my dad passed, I gave the cards away to my family, just to remember the funny things he used to say. I certainly had to put my creative hat on to figure out ways to help people suffering from this horrifically, sad, and debilitating disease — to find meaning, as the disease dissolves who they once were. I AM honoring you and all the people who align with this disease and for all who read this post. It is not easy…. I AM sending you strength and some creative thoughts your way, PeacefulOne in Scottsdale, Az.

Liked by LynneB

Wonderful ideas. Thank you for sharing.

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