Father with dementia, I live 500 miles away...resistant to help.

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My father is 83 and lives alone in his own home. He seems to be rapidly declining into dementia. My mother died of Alzheimer's disease 3 years ago, and it looks like he is headed in the same direction. He is losing his ability to perform and/or understand daily tasks, and recently did agree to allow a caregiver into the home for a few hours a week (2 hours a day, 3X a week). I think he needs more.

i have had to make 3 trips there in the past month and a half. It's a 10 hour drive, I am his only child. He doesn't want to move closer to me, and doesn't want to go to assisted living. How do I convince him to accept more help, and where do I turn?

He maintains that he is just fine and managing well. This is totally untrue. Today he called me to tell me that he was locked out of his house for hours, and had to drill the lock out of the door. He has keys outside the house, he claimed his caregiver locked all the deadbolts (not true).

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Thank you sharynmarie for your thoughtful comments.

I've spent this morning looking into assisted living, there's a really nice place near him. I'm going to gather the information and make him go and look at it next time I'm there. There are actually not too many choices in his area. I'm going to hang in and try not to go back down there until Thanksgiving.

This is extra hard for him, as my mother died of Alzheimer's and he was her caregiver, and saw it all....it is his greatest fear to end up like she did. I don't know if he has alzheimer's, I am calling it dementia for now. I got the DPOA etc and all financial arrangements were made during her illness. I'm also going to try to get him in to see a gerontologist, if I can find one. Or someone who is more specialized than his GP.

In some ways, he manages ok, he still drives, although on a very limited basis. It's more of inappropriate reactions, like the thing with the door...there's a whole list of stuff like that, although not as extreme...but it all adds up to not competent.

Caregiver (who he thinks of as a cleaning lady) told me today that he didn't eat the food she left for him, but went to the store and got some Stouffer's. I had been making a large amount of food when I visited and freezing it in single portions. He didn't want caregiver to cook, so last time, I didn't cook for him, and he agreed to 'try it' with her preparing some meals. Guess this is his way of not accepting this!
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I hope all works out for you. I understand about getting dad to agree. My mom is the same way, she refuses the help she really needs for fear of losing her independence when actually the help would allow her to remain independent longer. Maybe you could look into getting a security screen for the front door so if dad locks himself out again he can't destroy the main door trying to get in. Have all the locks keyed for one key. Men are more resourceful. When my dad had Alzheimer's, my mom would remove all the knobs to their range when she would run a quick errand and my dad would use a plier to turn on the stove. Thank goodness you can work remotely. My mom's dr. has been no help to us so I no longer talk with him about her (he's my dr. too), it's a shame. My best estimate of my mother is she in stage 4, can't handle her finances, doesn't always recognize her own handwriting, double pays some bills, forgets to pay others. She refuses help. Her dr.'s response is, call APS or time to place her. We can't place her if she refuses since the DPOA is written so we can't do anything until she is certified incompetent and we want to keep her home as long as possible using her long term care policy for home health care but as yet she doesn't meet the requirements to use the policy and she refuses to pay out of pocket. I really wish that parents thought things through or that their attorney's talked more thoroughly with them about the consequences of setting up a DPOA the way my mother did. Keep us informed about what happens, we may learn something from your situation. Good luck!!
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Thank you for your responses. Actually just yesterday when I found this site, I started to think about a geriatric care manager...will get some information on that today.

I do have DPOA, and he has enough money to fund whatever option we decide on. It is a matter of getting him to agree. His caregiver called this morning, he basically destroyed the front door lock trying to get in, now the door is not usable. Have started to keep a record of all this stuff to document all these little incidents that add up to a lot...he always has an excuse, he made a mistake, or someone else did it, etc.

He sees a dr. and a psychiatrist ...I have been to both with him. Problem is, he presents fairly well, it's the daily stuff that they don't see that is the issue..Regular MD did say they were 'very concerned' about his memory, but didn't offer any further advice. I plan to reach out to both of them for suggestions.

After speaking with caregiver this morning, I'm inclined to make another trip, I was hoping to stay home until Thanksgiving anyway...at this point, I maybe will go there and stay through until then. I do have a full time job, but am fortunate to be able to work remotely whenever I want to.
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What is the situation regarding a DPOA? Does dad have the finances where you and he could agree on a geriatric care manager? A geriatric care manager is a great compromise for the children of parents who live out of state. They oversee the care of your parent/s keeping you in the loop. They will supervise caregivers in the home, take care of your dad's finances, seeing that the bills are paid,etc. If not, it may be as Jessie said, he will have to reach a crisis. It is sad the our parents put us in these positions of watching them fail, refusing the necessary help because they fear losing their independence. If worse comes to worse, you can always call adult protective services to evaluate your dad's situation to determine if he should be living unassisted especially if he won't see a dr. Stay on top of the situation as best you can and use your best judgement. It's hard to do and always easy to advice another to do this, I have the same situation going on with my mom and she is a 7 minute drive from my house. My heart goes out to you. I hope something comes available to help you!!
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This is a difficult situation. It is hard to know what to do. Chances are that he will have to reach a crisis before he realizes that he has to do something. I hope that the crisis is not a bad one. Until then, you can keep working on him to move closer to you. Maybe one day he will surprise you and say yes.
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