Put Your Dukes Up! Put ‘Em Up, Put ‘Em Up! Five Strategies for Fighting the Good Fight When FTD is Your Opponent

Put Em Up 21. People. As in any fight, it takes a team. It’s hard work. Not only being a caregiver, but getting used to all the new things that your loved one will be doing, saying and acting out. You need a team of great people who love you and them for what you are. Warts and all. Not some fair-weather friend who flakes on you at the last minute. You and your FTD’er need a reliable group of people who will absorb you and do whatever it takes to make life run as smoothly as possible. Friends, sitters, doctors, nurses, social workers, attorneys, family, support groups. The more people you can get in your corner the better. Because there will be many, many rough days.

2. Patience. Even if you don’t have to deal with anger, aggression, violence or verbal abuse, you may (probably) have wandering, getting lost, incontinence, pure stubbornness, inappropriate social behaviors and garbled speech or total silence to deal with. Or a combination of any or all of the above.  You may not usually be the most patient person in the world. (I’m definitely not). It may take an act of supreme strength to hone the skill until  you can be entirely selfless and do what needs to be done. And then you can’t feel like a martyr.

3. Flexibility. To handle everything that is happening to you both. Go with the flow. Accept the inevitable. We’ve talked about this before. Pick your battles. Don’t waste your energy fighting “IT”. You can’t fight FTD per se. No matter how much you believe in mind over matter. It doesn’t matter to FTD what you have in mind. Being flexible will help you deal with everyday changes. Your routine may only last a few days before you have to change it again. Or it may last months. Who knows. You just have to be able to change your plans without notice.

4. Humor.  A highly developed sense of one too. You will see the honor in the most horrible situations. Macabre almost. Sick even. Sometimes things are so ridiculously outrageous you just have to laugh. At yourself. At the things FTD makes your loved one do. At the reactions you get from people who are so wrapped up in their own “Glee-like” dramas. Humor in unpleasant things. Humor in things you’ve never even considered before.  Ignoring that your house needs cleaning when it looks like a tornado went through. Even your kids didn’t make this much mess. And being ok with that. Or conversely, having to tell your loved one “I live here too you know!” when they are obsessively cleaning and tidying behind you everywhere. Humor in going to buy a bicycle pump even when you know he isn’t going to ride the bike anymore. But doing it anyway.

5. Love. Always love. Love the harsh words and sounds. Love the seemingly unloving behavior. Love what is left of them. Love yourself. Love the treasured memories.

Love every minute until there are no minutes left. Ding! Ding! Go to your corner please.

Never let your guard down. Ok I suppose that’s six strategies. But I mean it. Just because you have known and loved someone for forty years, does not mean they will not turn on you. It’s not ‘them’ anymore remember?

Put up your dukes and fight the good fight. Not physically. Metaphorically. Heroically. Fight for them. Fight for you. Give it your best shot. It will make you feel better. And get your team onboard too.

FTD is a fearsome contender. Advocacy is a fantastic defense.

But don’t make yourself your own worst enemy. Go with the flow. Relax.

Love! Love! Love! It will be over sooner than you would like.

Boxing gloves

That’s the old one-two. The sucker punch.

You want it to be over. Ding! Ding!

But wait, you don’t want it to be over.

Over is painful in a different way.

3 thoughts on “Put Your Dukes Up! Put ‘Em Up, Put ‘Em Up! Five Strategies for Fighting the Good Fight When FTD is Your Opponent

  1. We all get there – developing coping strategies/dealing with FTD/ staying in control – whatever we like to call it – in our own way. But, somehow, the end result and ways of thinking are pretty similar. To deal with FTD you have to learn the tactics fast: patience, flexibility, humour, resiliance, growing a thick skin and above all love, for a person who is not the person you married. My husband still tells my daughters & me that he still lives us, and I am sure he does, but it’s done in an inappropriate and unreal way. We are not embarrassed when he blows kisses in a cafe and talks about ‘sexua’l moments in a loud voice, we just smile back!


    1. Ha ha! Oh yes, embarrassment surely has to be a thing of the past, along with so many others.
      Sometimes, if I leaned in to kiss my husband, he would try and kiss me back in sexual way. It made me uncomfortable at first but then I realized he had no concept of how inappropriate it was. Just looking for love I guess.
      I’ve never told anyone that before.


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