Burden of secrecy when you care for a parent who behaves in sexually inappropriate ways.

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My father makes sexually inappropriate advances, verbal and mildly physical (touching and grabbing--he's very frail, so it's not a physical hazard, just emotionally uncomfortable), to me and his aide and occasionally to others. It is not clear whether he knows who we are when he does this, and he switches between this and "normal" confused behavior without any seeming awareness.

He was never this way before he developed dementia. He is incontinent, wheelchair and bed bound.

I don't like to invite friends to our home because I don't want them to see him like this. I talk only to his doctor, my husband and sisters and my therapist about this distressing behavior.

I would like to know if other caregivers encounter this sort of problem. It is very distressing and isolating.


i know a lady on another site whos father lived well into his 90's. he was quite the character to say the least. one of his nurses used to present her behind to him so he could gently smack it. they all found it uproarious but he was of sound mind and just being mischievious. i guess im suggesting that it could be turned into something less than uncomfortable if it were taken in a different context.
How hard for you to have him act like this. It is the disease which causes this behavior. I understand that you don't want other people to know about it. You should do your best not to feel any shame. It's just another biological function he can no longer control.

Is his doctor an expert with dementia? I'm guessing that there might be medication that would at least reduce such behavior. See what the doctor says, and maybe get another opinion - from a neurologist or a gerontologist.

Best wishes.
In some cases, it is a side effect of a medication. Talk with his dr. about it. I know this is difficult but it is not unusual with dementia. Do you have hired caregivers helping you? Maybe a male caregiver could be brought in to help. Yes as women, being touched inappropriately is a violation to our personhood, your father has an illness that has changed his filters of what is appropriate and inappropriate. He does not recognize it as such. I would request a medication review with his dr./dr's and see if he could be having a side effect to one that could be lowered or discontinued or if that is not the case, then a new med added that would help this situation. Again, so sorry you are going through this. Hugs!!
There is another thread , just recently, about this - so you are not alone!!! I am sure that your Father's doctor has heard this many many times before and can help. Is he on quip by any chance? I read that that can lower ones' inhibitions. I am sure there are other meds and dementia itself that cause this. Try and remember it is not your Father but his disease doing the inappropriate things. Hugs to you. I know it can be hard.
Is he on Requip -not quip -typo
I would imagine that it's very embarrassing for your to see your dad act this way. Also distressing and extremely uncomfortable. I agree with the others that it's the dementia but that doesn't solve the problem. Your caregivers should understand and if they're uncomfortable, they should discuss it with their boss and see if another caregiver with a little more experience (read: older) could be brought in instead. A caregiver who's on the younger side may not know how to handle the situation. Someone with more experience may not be as embarrassed.

I would also imagine that the isolation comes from not wanting to invite a situation where your dad embarrasses himself and you. I don't know if your dad does this but my dad did: they start to tell you something and they think they're whispering but they're not? This drove me nuts with my dad! If he would begin to say something and I could tell that he was going to tell me something he didn't want other people to hear I'd change the subject FAST and redirect his attention to something else.

Anyway, I don't think you can stop this behavior from your dad unless is related to a medication. If it's medication-related then you can solve the problem but if it's just his behavior you won't be able to correct it. If he were reasonable he wouldn't be behaving this way and if he were reasonable, you'd be able to discuss it with him. Check out his meds, see if that's the cause. Try to get caregivers who understand dementia and understand that the behavior isn't personal, and depending upon how much you feel you need to isolate him, redirect his attention when you two are in a situation where his remarks could cause embarrassment. Whip out a newspaper and throw it down for him to look at, or a magazine. Comment on something you see. Have some anecdotes he might find amusing.

I think this type of thing happens more often than we know.

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