Father (94) with anger issues.

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My Dad (94) and Mom (82) live in a nice Independent Living Facility where one meal/day is provided. They have many acquaintances and join in the multitude of festivities the community provides.


They function well as a team, though the situation will change dramatically when one passes. Dad can walk, is 95% deaf, and had glaucoma laser surgery 2 months ago - so vision is not optimal. He walks with a walker because the deafness has left him with no equilibrium. Dad's latest brain scan determined his brain had begun to "atrophy."


Mom has little to no lower body strength but still manages to get around with the help of a walker - though getting up and down from a seated position has almost become virtually impossible. We are probably one year away from a motorized wheelchair - if that long.


Recently Dad ran a routine errand in the car, about 3 miles from his home, and ended up lost, 30 miles away, getting ready to go up a ramp into oncoming traffic. Through the GRACE OF GOD he was stopped and both car and Dad were brought home by police. As a result, DMV received a notification of the incident and, Dad has subsequently had to turn in his license. Dad CONTINUES to remain adamant that he was "just confused" and got turned around and that he can drive and has been doing so for 80 years.


Since the loss of his license, his anger has escalated to an uncontrollable height. While he doesn't act out physically, he emotionally abuses my mother who is already beginning to lose HER mental faculties. Her short term memory is not good, so I would not say she has Alzhemers, but possibly early onset of dementia.


The emotional abuse has always existed in the 64 year marriage, but the escalation because of the loss of his license (which is, of course, my mom's fault) has become so problematic my mom wants to leave. She loves him. She can't stand him. He is killing her. She cries at the thought of losing him. She wants to live with me. She can't leave him. I sit by and listen and try to encourage her to the best of my ability (from 5 states away), but it is killing me to know how abusive he has become.


Mom now must drive him to his appointments and, by the time they return home, she has to "take a nerve pill" just to be able to breath and keep from having a nervous breakdown (my words, not hers). He yells and tells her what a lousy driver she is the entire time they are driving.


The obvious solution is peace will come when God's time has come. MEANWHILE, what can I do to keep my Mom from having a full on nervous breakdown and get my Dad under control. He will not allow her to visit any other single ladies in the community because he fears she will "share their business." He accuses her of flirting with other men and workers throughout the community and brings her to tears. She tried to hire a cleaning service because she has ALWAYS kept an immaculate home, but he will not allow anyone in his home! I love my Dad and Mom, but my Dad is no longer the father that raised me. He is a constant victim, never takes responsibility for anything that happens in his life, has never once uttered the words, "I'm sorry", and has no empathy or sympathy for any other living human being except ME! I have an older brother but their relationship is different because my brother shares many of my dad's traits. I simply am seeking anyone's thoughts on how to 1) keep my dad from mentally and physically destroying what little time my Mom has left and 2) get my Dad under control.


Any comments, thoughts and ideas are MOST WELCOMED!!


SIGNED,
A very frustrated, very sad, loving daughter.

15 Comments

Your father sound like mine almost to a T. The anger of losing the license and the "fear" of others discussing it is a big deal and he will amplify it to take up all of his emotional time. The blaming of others for everything sounds familiar, along with browbeating the family.

My suggestion is to get him on some sort of antianxiety drug. Celexa has been a miracle for my father. Really toned down the nastiness and accusations.

Does the facility have a van service to take them to appointments? Sounds like mother does not need to be driving as that makes her the bad person now.

Most importantly, you may consider being your mothers advocate and act as a buffer. She most certainly does need to get out of the apartment and socialize as much as is possible.

The stress of living under his domination may be too much for her. Only you can be the judge of that. I urge you to consult the staff at their facility. Consult with their primary doctor. My empathy for you ....this is tough!
Also, band together with your brother ...discuss escalating to assisted living so that they can get more oversight.

And for the safety of the world at large, if your Mom is getting dementia....the car has got to go. If father is that angry, he may just drive for the heck of it someday.

Best to you!

I feel like I have stood on my soapbox and preached to you, but I have just been through this in the last 12 months and I thought I would share what we had to do. Sorry to be so matter of fact. All of this is not pleasant but necessary.
Mincemeat: thank you so much! It makes me feel better just knowing my situation is not unique.

I am going to investigate the Celexa. My challenge is getting him to agree to take it. He is still sharp enough to get on his computer and look up drugs and their side effects. Once he knows the side effects, then he usually decides to have one or all of them, then he stops taking the drug. He refuses to take the ARACEPT previously described.

Regarding the van that takes people places, dad won't use it. He seems happier when he is just complaining about things. The vans go out to the stores for 60-90 minutes and he complains he gets tired and cannot stay that long.

I will be visiting next month to make another assessment.

Thank you, once again!
Geriatric psychiatrist appointment for each of them. Yes, antidepressant meds can work wonders, but dad has to take them. If dad's dementia has8been diagnosed yet, get him a full neurological/neuropsych workup.
Hi Connie. I have a similar situation with my folks except without so much anger. Dad has dementia and is usually ver caring towards Mom, but he can't understand they they need help now and won't allow me to do anything that makes any sense for them.. It's like he's stuck in 1960, everything is fine, don't be getting in our business.

I'm also watching out for them from 600 miles away. Dad doesn't know it but I've been taking care of the bills and finances for some time now. How far are you from your parents?

Also, how are you fixed to handle their affairs as things get worse? Do you have POA, are the wills and end of life affairs drawn up? You mentioned that your brother has some "issues". Does he cooperate in their care?
Brain atrophy is dementia, early onset happens when in your 50's and 60's. The ages your folks are is late onset. They are going to have to be separated, dad to memory care, and mom to assisted. Itis wonderful that independent living has worked for them for so long, it is quite rare.

I suggest you check with the Alzheimer's Association for classes in your area to learn about what they are both going through. It will be very helpful to you as well as you try to understand what all is about to start happening.
Hi Connie, It sounds as if are going through a rough time now, as is your mom...So, okay, Dad has a dementia of some sort going on and shouldn't be driving and mom shouldn't be driving either with the weakness in her lower limbs - you kinda need that for the brakes, gas pedal etc and your dad yelling at her all the time, while driving, could lead to an accident. Perhaps you could get their doctor involved (if he/she is compassionate) and let the doctor be the bad guy by saying 'No more driving for either of you!'. Also please let the doctor know about dads non-stop aggression (this a well-known feature of early to mid stage Alz.) but it can be treated. If he won't take the pill on his own it can be added to his coffee or some other drink or food. Living 5 states away makes this all the more harder on you, but think long and hard before having mom move in with you. Being a caregiver is a very hard and often frustrating job and your own life goes pretty much out the window. Best of luck to you! Lindaz
Babalou: Thanks for your input! Impossible to get dad to see anyone that is going to evaluate his mental status. He still handles their finances and buys & sells stocks on line. His mental situation is tricky because he can still do these things, yet when you ask him what year it is, he'll say 1815 or 1915. Short of drugging him and taking him to a geriatric shrink unwillingly, this is never going to happen. And even after his car boondoggle incident, it took every trick in the book just to get him in for an evaluation. He is not an easy man. But I will certainly keep your suggestions in mind.
Windyridge: My folks are in FL and I live in VA. I go visit as often as I can, and have even purchased a little condo 3 miles from their front door so I can visit comfortably.

My brother and I have established all of the necessary estate docs, wills, POA's, HIPPA approvals, etc., that are needed. But dad still handles all of their financial affairs.

As for my brother, he was diagnosed with salivary duct carcinoma last year; has been treated & is in the periodic checkup phase. Mentally he just checked out on worrying about mom and dad and figures whatever will be...will be. I understand and that's why I am pretty sure the future caretaking will fall to me. I will never move mom in with me, but WILL move her closer into assisted living when that day comes. She wants to be near me and would come willingly.

You are blessed to have a dad who is loving to your mom!!
Lindaz: My mom actually said she would give up driving because of dad's abuse. So this may be a partial solution. Dad's complaint is, "you people have me caged in and I can't go anywhere!" Of course not true because there are numerous transportation options but he believes none are good because, "these people don't know how to drive!" So..... But if one way to get him to stop bringing my mom to tears every time she drives him somewhere is to get her to stop driving, that's step 1! Thank you for your input!

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