Since Dad came to live with us I've always helped him with his showers. I make sure that I hold a towel around him - as much for his benefit as for mine - as I help him step over the tub. I back off and close the curtain as soon as he's in there. After he's through (I can tell when he starts fiddling with the faucets, making it too hot and then too cold then yelling out a few choice curse words), I come back with the towel to escort him out. I help him dress (with the ever-present towel draped around his lap) and he's fine.
For the last month or so, Dad has been very reluctant to let me help him with his showers. Instead, he will let Robert help him. If I try to get him to the bathroom he balks at me. "Lady, you're gonna' get your hands slapped if you don't stop trying to pull me out of this chair!"
Robert believes that in this new stage of Alzheimer's, Dad gets more embarrassed than he used to, preferring a male to assist him with his toiletries. I'm alright with that as long as he's comfortable. And Robert (what a trooper!) is always ready to help out.
Yesterday I made a nice fire in the burn pit by the patio and I invited Dad to sit outside with me. He refused. He wouldn't walk the 8 steps out the patio door to his chair. And he didn't budge although I pleaded with him. He finally got tired of my asking and said, "Grow up and act your age, Lady!", in a grouchy voice. I checked on him later on and saw that he had walked more than 30 steps to his bedroom and was sitting in his easy chair.
I have to say that Alzheimer's is a weird disease. Dad is different from one hour, day, or week to the next. I don't quite know what to make of it.
It's not all bad, though. Dad's still sweet and caring and confused. He always says 'thank you' and 'you're welcome'. If we're walking through a door he always lets me go first. He still jokes. The main difference now is the shyness and the way he withdraws sometimes.
I'll keep working on him. I'll keep making suggestions for things we can do together and sometimes he will go for it and sometimes he won't; but at least I'll try. I'm not giving up on this man.
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