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I am at my wit’s end with this one. Maybe some of you have faced the same issue, and can offer suggestions. My husband does not have the mental or physical capacity to work. But neither is he so far down on the cognition scale that he is an appropriate candidate for Daycare. Which leaves him with very little to do during the day.  

He still drives locally, and enjoys doing the grocery shopping; he empties the dishwasher; folds the clothes; and makes the salad. Occasionally, he goes out to lunch with a friend. The rest of the time he sits in front of the TV in the den. That hardly qualifies as mental stimulation and socialization, both of which he requires. He does read the newspapers and watch countless news shows, as well as reading news articles on his laptop (He requires all of that repetition in order to remember the news). He also works on his coin collection every few days – all solitary activities while closeted in his office or the den, always with the TV on.

We moved to Florida to get away from the cold, ice, and snow. The weather this time of year is spectacular. I was out on my patio at 9 AM this morning – it was 74 degrees; bright sunshine. He hardly ever takes advantage of of the fabulous weather. When he is not on an errand or at a doctor’s appointment, he sits in the house. I have to coax him to come out and have lunch on the patio, or sit and talk with me, or take the newspapers out there. If the sun is too hot, we have a huge umbrella in the middle of the patio table.

We DO NOT live in an “Over 55” development, so we don’t have daily activities, but the pool guard told me there are a group of retired men who get together at the pool every morning to swim. Nice idea, but for Sid to be at the pool at 8:30, he would have to get up at 6 – it is very slow going for him.

My cousin suggested buying a bicycle, so he could ride around the neighborhood, getting some fresh air. If he gets clearance from his multitude of doctors, he is considering that idea.

This is a man who was a salesman his whole life – he thrived on interaction with people. I fully realize that his conversational skills are not what they were, and his ability to understand and follow complex conversations is severely limited, but to maintain the cognition and social skills that he does still possess, he needs to nurture them, which cannot be accomplished by a solitary existence and mindless TV addiction.

Due to all of the jobs I have to juggle- managing his physical and mental health care and all that involves – record keeping of all medical issues, medications, doctor visits, financial issues, writing his lists, explaining information to him, - as well as making all of the phone calls; troubleshooting; managing the bills and finances; tutoring; writing, cooking, and laundry, I cannot spend my day doing activities with him. Or should I say “coaxing” him into doing activities.

He does belong to a Men’s Club in our religious community that meets one night a month. Hardly enough activity there.

It has been suggested by social workers that he spend a few days at an AD Daycare facility volunteering. It would get him out of the house and mingling with people. However, that brings up another issue, and probably another Blog topic – Is it a good idea for someone in the earlier/mid stages of AD to be constantly exposed to those in the later, more incapacitating stages?  I would think that would bring on major depression rather than the mental stimulation and socialization he was seeking.

So I am stumped. A question for the Message Boards –Not Ready for Daycare, but can't work - What to do all day?

Feedback to joan@thealzheimerspouse.com