New here and don't know what to do.

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A little background info on me and my father. I'm 27 years old I have 3 children who range in age from 3-7. My husband and I have been married for almost 9 years. My father, who is 63, was diagnosed with FTD (frontotemporal dementia) about 6 years ago. My mother was his primary care giver. In 2010, while my husband and I were stationed in Italy with the Army, my mother passed away from ALS. My husband got out of the military in October 2011 and we moved back stateside in order to care of my father. We all currently live in a 3 bedroom home in VA. Most of the time I feel like I'm going to lose my mind when dealing with my father. I try to be respectful of him while still setting boundaries. It's really hard. When I tell him no or I question the things he is doing or wants to do he gets very angry and mean. He curses at me in front of my children, he yells at my kids for no reason, he's rude and impatient all the time. The more I tell him no the nastier he is with me. If I question him he gets nasty with me.
My father still has the ability to drive (god help me) and wants to take a road trip to a battle field 3 hours away. He says he has a map and can drive himself. I told him that I'm sure he could but I wanted him to pick a place on the map, any place, and drive me there 1st. He got so angry with me. He said I was calling him stupid and I was disrespect and ungrateful and some other choice words. I know he can't do this because I have given him simple map quest directions with a map to a place not even 5 minutes from our house where he knows all the roads and landmarks, and he couldn't find the place and ended up getting lost. I've tried to explain that I question him not because he's stupid but I need to make sure he can do these things for his own safety.
There are times where he asks me for help with something and the whole time I am helping him all he does is yell at me and belittle me. I'm finding it harder and harder not to lash back at him. the other night he wanted me to bid on something on e-bay for him and he yelled and cursed at me and the computer for 10 minutes until the timer finally ran out and he won the item. after it was all done I said you know Dad normal people don't act like that when someone is helping them. There was another time where he was cursing at me after I had helped him find a phone number for someone and I yelled at him to stop acting like a mean old man. Sometimes I feel bad about the things I snap back with, but he just pushes my buttons in just the right way that I snap.
He doesn't understand why I I won't let him spend his own money on things he wants. I bring up the fact that he just spent $40 on an ancient ( late 1980s) camera at goodwill that doesn't work and that he ended up throwing away. Instead of cutting his losses and saying oh well he went on e-bay and found the exact same camera and had to buy it to replace the once he bought at goodwill that didnt work (WHAT?!?!) So instead of paying $40 for a POS camera he has now spent $80 on 2 POS cameras (hand smack to forehead)
If he needs or wants something....no matter what I am doing at the time he says I need to stop it and help him....and he will stand about 6 inches from me cursing at me under his breath until I come with him.
I do all the cooking and cleaning for everyone in the house. All 6 of us. We have a very strict grocery bill so I trying to stretch dinner over a few days. For instance, the other day we had baked chicken, sauteed cabbage and mushrooms and brown rice. We had leftovers so the next night for dinner I made chicken fried rice by combining everything some some frozen mixed veggies, soy sauce and scrambles eggs. I give my father whatever is left over from dinner for lunch the next day. Today, he looked at lunch, gruffed, and said something under his breath. I asked him what was wrong and he said you make this too often. Granted I make it about once every other week...but its cheap and easy and fairly healthy. He does this with everything I make...either he says he doesn't like something (chicken, steak, fish, rice, veggies, ect) or he says I feed him too much or too little (I feed him the same amount every time...I actually measure it out on a scale) When he goes out and buys a candy bar or ice cream he'll blame me for his sugars being high. If I gives my children a treat he gets mad if he doesn't get one too. Ive tried explaining that hes diabetic and can't have what the children have (usually a cookie for good behavior for the week). I think hes mad because I wont let him eat junk food all the time. My husband and I are very health conscious and we don't eat any processed foods. I make almost everything by from scratch. Since my father has moved in with us he has lost 50lbs (from 280 to 230) has been taken off his diabetic and BP med and we're slowly working on getting him off his cholesterol meds.
I just want him to appreciate what I do for him and I know he doesn't and its frustrating.

11 Comments

I guess I should also say that I'm an only child and all my family has said they are done dealing with my father....Even his own brother has completely abandoned him. He makes too much $ from retirement to qualify for aid of any type, but not enough to pay for assisted living or a nursing home.
Maybe you could talk to his doctor and explain whats been going on. Does your dad laugh? Smile like he used to? Does he find pleasure in doing anything? If not, he could very well be depressed and his doctor may be able to help.

He's already on the max does of anti depressants along with several mood stabilizers. He's better than he was 7 years ago before his diagnoses. He used to be very violent. He would throw objects at you and scream profanities. I just am afraid he's heading back to those days. I sent his doctor an e-mail and actually talked to him today and he upped one med and we're going into his office on Monday. My husband just tells me to ignore everything my father says....its hard to let the nasty things he says go.....
To ignore any type of abuse from anyone is much easier said then done, especially when its ongoing.

I'll be keeping my fingers crossed that the increase in the med will help, and that the doctor will be able to figure out something to help alleviate the problem.

You're doing an amazing job and his health has greatly benefited from your efforts. Sending a hug your way!

Bless your heart, CJennings. You are really going through it at such an early age. You have my sympathy. FTD can cause major personality changes and people can become hard to deal with. Many times their behavior can be very inappropriate. I haven't dealt with FTD before, but I've read some about it. There is a good bit on the internet, so it can help you know how much is the disease and how much is him. It might help you deal with it better if you can simply say that certain things he does, e.g. cursing you, are the disease talking and not your real father. Was he violent and profane with you when he was younger, or just about life in general?

Many people with dementia do not realized how impaired they are. For example, my mother told me I could go on a trip for a few days and she could take care of herself and my rabbits. I knew better! I knew she wouldn't be able to do her medicines right and that the rabbits would probably be very hungry, thirsty, and dirty when I returned. However, she felt that she could still do these things. (My mother has an undiagnosed problem that behaves a lot like mid-stage Alzheimer's, and like a later stage when she isn't taking her medicines right.)

My mother also complains about everything not being right. All the restaurants are bad, I cook wrong, etc. It is tiresome to hear when we try so hard to live for two people. Living for two, or in your case five, is exhausting.

If your father insists on driving, would it be possible to disable the car? I don't know if you use his car or not. If you pull a wire in the electric system, the car won't start and will have to be taken away for "repairs." Repair time can be very long, so maybe he'll forget about going to the battlefield.

Let us know how everything is going. Sometimes it makes things better just talking to people about it.There are a lot of people here who know what you are going through. I am just lucky that I did not have to go through it at your age with three children. My heart is with you.
My goodness! First, take 3 gold stars out of petty cash and stick them in your halo! You are doing a superb job.

Does your father understand that he has dementia? Do he know anything about it? JessieBelle is right that it can help a lot to remind yourself it is the disease talking and not your father. If feasible, it can also be useful to remind your father of that. When we have a meltdown situation here and things are not going well, I can say to my husband, "Oh, dang! I think that Lewy is causing a lot of trouble right now!" (He has Lewy Body Dementia, and Lewy gets blamed (correctly) for a lot.)

A person with dementia SHOULD NOT DRIVE! It is not only about reaction time and risk of getting lost, it is about impaired judgment. I hate to add something else to your overwhelming to-do list, but I'm afraid I have to urge you to address that issue. With luck, his doctor will be the heavy, if you bring it to his attention.

Hang in there -- you are doing a remarkable job!
Bless you for all you are doing and at such a young age. You are an amazing young woman to be doing all that you are right now. Do hope you can work with his doctor to stop the driving. You have a lot on your plate, but getting this out of the way will give you some piece of mind to not have to worry about it.

There are so many wonderful and caring people on this site to help you and and offer guidance, etc. Also, a lot of us are here for you to just be able to vent and we listen and truly care.

You should be so proud of yourself and you are a wonderful daughter. Is your father a veteran? There are veteran's benefits if so. Hugs to you across the miles and will keep you in my prayers. Sorry about the loss of your mother.
My Father is a vet...he actually retired from the Army with over 27 year in. He was receiving Aid and Attendance and that paid for him to have an in home aid while we were in Italy after my mother died, but because of an oversight in his income on there part, it was quickly taken away AND I was left with a $4000 bill due to the VA. My mother left me a small inheritance which is now almost all gone paying for my fathers care and paying off an incredible amount of debt my mother left.

We have tried to convince my father he should NOT be driving but it does no good. And of course when we go to the doctor he's acts just fine, completely normal, so the doctor never sees what I see. Most of the time I can convince him to let me drive and take him places (thank god) but there are times he just leaves. We have given my father a cell phone and Tomtom...we have taught him how to use both, but most of the time he still cant remember how to use them. He mainly drives himself to church and occasionally he will drive himself to the library. Both are extremely close and not on main roads with a lots of car or foot traffic, but I refuse to let him drive anywhere else. I will occasionally have to use my fathers car while my husband is at work (we only have one car) so disabling it isn't exactly possible.

Also my father doesn't think anything is wrong with him. My husband and I and the doctor have told him on multiple times that he has dementia and the beginning stages of Alzheimer's. But he says we're lieing or that the doctor doesn't know what hes talking about. He says he can care for himself. For one month we let him live on his own. I still came by like 2-3 times a week to cook his meals and do his weekly meds and clean....he still managed to screw up his meds.....so bad in fact that he ended up in the hospital with kidney failure because he took his meds 3 times in one day and he was drinking 2 pots of coffee a day and no water which cause him to become severely dehydrated. After that we decided to move in with him.

My father was awesome up until I was about 14/15 years old. Thats when his personality started to change. The doctors though it was major depression and anexiety. Thats what they treated him for. It wasnt until I was about 19/20 and my parents moved to Ohio that they got the diagnoses of FTD. By the time I was 16/17/18 he was violent and mean all the time. During my senior year of high school, while I was applying for college and FASFA, I needed my parents tax returns in order to file for financial aid (at 17 I did it all on my own....my mother was very ill too with the beginnings of ALS and she was a severe diabetic on an insulin pump and still couldnt keep her sugars stable) They hadnt filed their taxes in like 3 years and I was questioning my father why they didnt file and I needed them in order to get financial aid for college....well my father started screaming at me that I was an ungrateful B*tch and to get the F out of his house and never come back. He went put my clothes in a bag and locked me out of the house....granted at that point we had no idea what was wrong with him....so I went and lived with my boyfriend at the time (my current husband) I kinda bounced around until I finally started college and moved into a dorm. Stayed one semester at college, mom and dad were in and out of the hospital during that semester and my now husband went to basic training for the Army....I didnt do to great that semester which wasnt normal for me because I was an almost straight A student in high school. I finished the semester moved down to GA from VA and married my now husband.

I can say the happiest part of my life was when I was with my husband and my kids and we were living in Italy. Most people miss their family but I was so happy to be away from mine. Its the most relaxed I have ever been. About 2 months before we moved back to the USA I started having panic attacks because I knew what I would be having to deal with again. I just want to have a relatively "normal" family. I wouldnt wish this hell on anyone. I do have to thank the stars for one thing, I'm adopted, my parents lost 3 children from birth defects(makes me wonder if the universe was trying to tell them DONT HAVE CHILDREN) But I don't have to worry about their genetics being passed down to me.

I guess Im just telling you all my life story.....lol....No one my age (or older) understands. Even my husband (who is about as awesome as they come and super supportive) doesn't quite understand. I talk to my Birth Grandmother sometimes about it. Her husband had a stroke and dementia before he died and she can relate. It helps to talk to her sometimes, but shes lives far away. I really just need a vacation from everything.
Oh and when we do remind him that he has dementia and he has limitations....he gets VERY angry. He says we are calling him demented and are calling him and idiot and stupid....which is not the case at all. We try and sit down and talking with him when hes upset and it just makes things worse....He says were keeping him in a prison and he's not allowed to do anything. My husband and I say that he throw temper tantrums. He's worse than all 3 of my children combined. At least I can reason with my children. There is no reasoning with my father....none....hes not capable of it. That part of his brain has shrunk so much that its almost not there anymore.

I do have a kinda funny story.....this morning he went to go make himself a bowl of cereal. He usually cuts up a banana into his cereal. Instead of cutting the banana into the bowl of cereal....he cut the banana into the utensil drawer....LoL....my husband and I just stood there staring at him while he did it. We dont dare question when he does things like that anymore because he gets angry at us if we do and says we're calling him stupid and treating him like an idiot and calling him demented....::sigh::
WOW CJ! I am so sorry for all you are going through. You have found the right place to come and vent and have people understand-that is for sure! I use humor with my mom -but she is not the tyrant your dad sounds like. I don't have any good advice for you but want you to know that we are all here to listen and we completely understand your feelings. {{{HUGS}}} to you CJ! Mame

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