At times, he is back with his dry sense of humor and realistic perspective on life, then quickly he is gone again, melting back into confusion and even paranoia. A dementia sufferer (DS) loses himself in stages, unpredictable stages with no set length or intensity. After a bad day, when you must do almost everything from tying his shoes to answering his phone, you may think he is gone for good. The next day he wakes up with a song in his heart and good memories from long ago.
It often happens on the bad days that you must do a lot in order for him to get through the day successfully. Remind him to take his pills. Make sure he eats something healthy. Help him find his shoes. Ensure he drinks enough water. It seems as if you are living his life as well as yours because if you weren’t there he wouldn’t be able to accomplish anything.
On a good day all your caretaking can backfire. He knows to take his pills and drink water. He remembers what his schedule is and who he needs to call. Your reminders only serve to irritate him. He doesn’t recall the bad day before when he relied on you for both mental and physical help.
It is up to you to negotiate both the good days and bad days. You must be flexible enough to know how to respond every day and sometimes every hour. You may have to split your own personality into old and new – the old being the person he has always known and the new being his full-time caretaker.