Father's Poor Judgement

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My dad has not been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. The docs just all it old age and wanting to remain in control but it is giving me high blood pressure. On most things and most of the time he is fine. Good conversations about the weather, the holdays, MD appointments... but then my 92 yr old dad gets things hooked in his mind and won't let go. for example he has gotten hooked on the fraudulent sweepstake scams and has lost thousands. He sends the bank these scam checks from the sweepstakes which they do not deposit. He claims the bank is cheating him and goes and closed out his acct and changes bank. I change it back (with his permission. I have POA) The bank is somewhat cooperative with me but say that until he is in a conservatorship they have to do what he requests. For years he had a blanket on his bedroom wall I was told there was a hole in the wall. He finally allowed us to clean up his room. Throw out boxes of sweepstake crap clean the carpet...and take down the blanket. He now feels that he repaired the hole in the wall and the apartment owner should give him the deed to the unit as a condo. (they were for sale a few years ago.) This type of behavior is constant. As well as being determined to correct old business deals gone bad for 30, 40, 50 years. He call a taxi and spend $$ on attorneys... The problem I have is all the rest of his behavior is normal. Yep he cataracts and wears hearing aids.

How do I deal with poor judgment and stubborn behavior? It's not alzheimers but it is getting me sick. He now wants me off his bank account. Has anyone else had this problem? He lives at home with my mom who is ill. A sister see them daily and helps with groceries, food... She is my mom's advocate and I am my dad's. Pleae advise!


3931 helpful answers
You need to find a doctor who is more in-tune with dementia. Your dad may or may not be diagnosed with dementia, but doctors just saying it's "old age" should have gone out years ago.

Your dad should have a complete workup. There are medications that can help slow the decline if he has dementia. His poor judgment is an indication that something may be wrong.

I'd find geriatrician, if you can. This person would have a better understanding of the tests needed. If you can't get him in with one of those (too rare) specialists, try a neurologist and say you'd like testing done including a Mini Mental State exam and a PET or other brain scan.

Good luck. These scams would raise anyone's blood pressure.
Carol is right, he does need a complete workup. In addition to a neurologist, a Specialized Geriatric Assessment Clinical team, consisting of Physician, Social Worker, Pharmacist, and Nurse can be invaluable. Write out a list of your observations and concerns, and take them to your Dad's physician. Tell every detail, asking for a referral. Mini mentals are a joke, as they do little to reveal the depth of certain problems. There are many other psychological tests available. One problem is, he has to agree to the testing, and may refuse. Even a legal Guardian can't force it.

Best wishes, as this is a difficult situation, and there are no easy solutions. We are caring for three, and still fighting to find the help they need. I can emphatize with you though, as our loved ones were/are victims of scams and poor judgement, as well.
Hi rf

My mom who is going down the dementia road has given me enduring power of attorney. I have her checkbooks (all credit cards are cancelled) and I have spoken to the bank where Mom used to deal. A note has been put on my mom's file that the most Mom can take out in cash without the bank consulting me (if someone should take her to the bank) is $200. This was done so that someone couldn't sweet talk Mom into taking out hundreds of dollars to give away. Since Mom is no longer at the address she was at a month ago, her forwarding address has not been given to the post office. Instead, all mail is being directed to my address. This way I can deal with, besides her regular bills, all the charity mailouts that used to fill her mailbox each week and I give her letters and cards from friends each time I see her. Do you think you could have all your parents' mail redirected to your house? I am not saying this will work for you and your dad but, if you think there's a possibility, go for it as, believe me, the sense of relief feels good. My sisters and I believe we are pretty much in control of our situation with Mom
now and that we will be able to protect her from scam artists.

I don't believe for a minute that your father is just exhibiting signs of "old age". There is definitely something going wrong and to me, it sounds like dementia. His stubbornness and poor judgment sound like symptoms to me (unless he has ALWAYS been this stubborn and has always shown poor judgment). My mother, too, has lucid times when she can discuss things like the weather etc. but then she forgets, for instance, that she asked me five minutes ago how my children are doing so she asks me again and again. This on again, off again ability to think straight seems to be part and parcel of dementia. I have noticed this behaviour amongst all of the old folks I visit with who suffer from dementia. My dad, who died from cancer when he was 87, exhibited NONE of the signs your dad or my mom exhibit but this was because, although he was old, he did not suffer from dementia. Good luck in finding a doctor who believes your dad is not just "behaving old". And good luck with being POA for your dad. He knew what he was doing at one time to give you this job but now that he is not thinking straight, he will fight you. Stay strong. I hope your sister will stand with you. Kindest regards.
Sounds to me like dementia. The same thing started happening to my mom about 6 years ago. I took care of my mom for the last five years, then she had to go to the nursing home because she was falling in the apartment about two months ago. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do, taking care of her. She was always a person who wanted to be in control of everything, trying to keep up with having a boyfriend who gradually went downhill with Alzheimers. I probably waited too long to get my mom evaluated and it did not happen until my sister tried to get guardianship. My sister has guardianship now, after a big court battle and mom resisting it, and I have had to move in with my sister. I am trying to pick up the pieces now and get on with my life after this experience, and hoping that the fight between my sister will cool off now so we can all get along together over the Holidays. Don't wait too long to get him evaluated and get the proper care that he needs. I should have had assisted living because mom was starting to wander around the apartment building at night when I was asleep and she wasn't safe, then started forgetting to use her walker and falling in the apartment.
lmw124, I wish you luck in getting on with your life now. You are right - rf shouldn't wait too long to get her father evaluated. As so many of us know, It is so easy to keep putting off the inevitable because parents don't want to accept the truth but tough things have to be done. Our parents are more like children in many ways now so I think we have to walk a tight line between respecting them still as our parents but taking charge of their welfare as if they were our children. And we all know that children balk at times so we have to expect such behaviour from our parents too. I hope all goes well with you staying with your sister, lmw124, and good luck to you, rf. Be strong.
Help needed in discussing an unhealthy relationship my 85 y o father is in. He has given up his home, belongings and church to concede to his new 85 y o wife's demands. He would follow her anywhere putting his own health and personal desires aside. It is getting to be a point of concern with his 4 children. How to deal with?
I feel your pain. My siblings and I were going through the same scenario, a dad who is 88 years old, stubborn with poor judgment in the management and care of his 87 year old wife who is our mother. My mom has Alzheimer and he is in denial about her mental and physical condition. He is a pack rat and also likes to keep grudges. He is hateful and bitter towards any of his children that attempts to tell him right from wrong. Due to his poor judgment there was self neglect as well as unintentional neglect towards my mom. My sibling and I had to report him to APS and started the process on conservatorship for our mom. We were initially given temporary conservatorship in February 2013 after several visits to court. On April 8, 2013 we finally got full conservatorship of our mom. You have to take the legal route because that is the only answer.Good luck to you.

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