BATHROOM BATTLES

Life at home was becoming more of a daily challenge for me.  Alan was still high energy, but required help washing and dressing, and was starting to become incontinent.  He still looked fine; anyone who met him for less than 5 minutes would think what a amiable guy, after that his pretense was over and he was exhausted.  He could always crack a joke and make people laugh.  During this time I soon figured out that to keep the stress level as low as possible for us both,  Alan needed a daily routine.  When you think of everything you do just in the bathroom,  for a person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, simple normal personal hygiene becomes overwhelming.  I had already installed suction grab bars in the bathroom, but found that I had to give him cues – “lift your leg”, “put your foot down”, “sit down”, “here’s the soap” and so on.  I did my best to keep him and myself calm, even when he would grab the shower handle and spray water all over the floor, or use foul language calling me a slut, a  whore or worse  and push me back against the vanity, sometimes he became very aggressive, particularly when I tried to wash his genitals.  I always made sure the bathroom was nice and warm, and even warmed the towels, and I did my best to distract him by singing, or dancing or just trying to make him laugh.   Other times it would turn into a sexual act which I found would definitely distract him, but above all would  comfort and calm him.  We had both always enjoyed a very satisfying sexual relationship and on a very basic human level, even with Alzheimers he continued to enjoy it.  Sometimes, the showering became so combative I realized it was only escalating  the situation, and I just had to walk away and try again an hour or so later.  I quickly realized that it was my reactions, behavior or body language that he was reacting to, and I was the one that had to change my attitude and my behavior – but let me tell you that is way easier said than done!      #AlanManningArt