Feb 24, 2015

6 Tips For Men – An Alzheimer's Support Group for Men

I answered question like this one: When is it time for the wives to go to an assisted living, memory care or nursing home?

When is it time for the wives to go to an assisted living, memory care or nursing home?

Two weeks ago I spoke at a men’s only Alzheimer’s and related dementia support group.

Of the 18 men there, only one was not a spouse of a woman with Alzheimer’s. He was a son with a father who had a dementia. All men were in their 70’s and 80’s.

My topic was

“When is it time?”

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By Carole Larkin
Alzheimer's Reading Room

What are the main reasons wives end up in assisted living, memory care or in nursing homes?
  1. Aggression/agitation against the spouse
  2. Incontinence issues overwhelming the spouse
  3. The spouse in the hospital or dead.
The men nodded their heads in agreement. One said, yes, I had a stroke last year. (But his wife was still in the home. However, I’m going to assess her and give recommendations to him next week.)

When is it time for the wives to go to an assisted living, memory care or nursing home?
  1. When you've lost your temper and yelled at her 3 times a day, every day.
  2. When you yourself are sick, whether its headaches, nausea or much worse, every day.
  3. When your children comment on how awful you look. (Children tell the truth to you, others don’t. After all, you can’t really divorce your children.)
I started off telling them that I recognized how much more difficult it is for them to caregive their wives, than it is for wives to caregive their husbands. None of them went to “Girl’s school”.

That was a secret school just for girls that takes place after regular school. While the boys were playing sports or taking apart cars or something, the girls were learning things like how to cook or what side of the sheets is the one to put right side up, and most importantly how to caregive (spouses, children, parents, etc).

So the men started off behind the 8 ball, so to speak.

Not only were they not taught the basics of caregiving, they never had much practice at it through the years. More difficult still was their general lack of knowledge of what to look for in regards to the loss of abilities for self care.

 Most men haven’t watched their wives bathe or go to the toilet, as those are very, very private things to do. Not only that, but the husband wife relationship is such that most men don’t even want to watch their wives bathe or toilet. (It ruins the “mystery” between the sexes.)

Given that situation, how could men know if their wives could not any longer carry out those functions, which impact the woman’s health so greatly? The answer is, they can’t and they don’t!

The end result of their lack of knowledge of those functions is, more infections, urinary tract and otherwise. Not recognizing the signs of infection, urinary tract and otherwise in those who can’t communicate what is wrong leads to more severe illness and hospitalizations, sometimes even death.

More Articles by Carole Larkin
  1. How the Loss of Memory Works in Alzheimer’s Disease, and How Understanding This Could Help You
  2. 10 Tips for Communicating with an Alzheimer's Patient
  3. Dementia Patients in the Emergency Room - Think UTI First
  4. How to Get An Alzheimer's Patient to Take a Bath
  5. Avoiding the Urinary Tract Infection
Trauma exists for one and all. Oh yes, dressing in the same clothes day after day, or sleeping in them day after day is part of this as well. Infections come from dirty clothing, especially underwear.
    I then gave them the ballpark cost of daycare, home care, assisted living, memory care assisted living, residential care homes and nursing homes (ascending from cheapest to most expensive).

    You know what? 5 of the 18 are now my clients.

    To a man, all 5 want me to help them find housing for their wives. The group leader tells me that 4 of the 5 were way overdue for this move, and he’s very glad that I came and talked with them.

    Carole Larkin
    Carole Larkin MA, CMC, CAEd, DCP, QDCS, EICS is an expert in Alzheimer’s and related Dementia care. She is a Certified Geriatric Care Manager who specializes in helping families with Alzheimer’s and related dementia issues. Carole can consults with families via telephone nationwide on problems related to dementia. Her company, ThirdAge Services LLC, is located in Dallas, TX.

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