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Thank you all for your help and encouragement. Things have settled down a bit now. I probably didn't mention that my parents have moved into the house recently as well. My dad bought a bigger house for us all to live in together, so the move has been stressful for everyone. I haven't seen my dad act abusively or irrationally since that one night. Of course, there are still plenty of ongoing issues and the move has been very hard on Mom, but I am not as concerned about my dad abusing her.
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Wow ! Lots of good suggestions here..for what it is worth I'll add my opinion.
I would call social services NOW ! Although this could get ugly fast, what if someone accuses YOU of abuse since she is with you now? I recognize the issues with dementia, my mom has it and is getting more paranoid by the day. Please, DO NOT let your dad be alone with your mom until this is sorted out. Abuse is abuse. There is no excuse. No exceptions. Ever.
Good luck..
Kim(caremom1)
p.s. I know what I'm talking about. I have a family member who we suspect hit his spouse and killed her.They were both elderly. it has divided the family for the last 30 years.
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I have read all the amazing answers here (quite comprehensive) and there are but few things I would add.

You stated you "just" moved in to help with Mom. If you are not familar with Alzheimer's you may not be seeing the 'whole picture.' Your father may be dealing with situations poorly and just need additional information and support to help him care for his wife. She may NOT recognize him as her husband anymore, and may think she is being help captive by a stranger! Hard to believe that it can happen, but it does!

To keep an eye on Mom and dady, you can get a small wireless granny cam and since you are in the same house, you can actually do this with little if any effort. x10 has dozens of low cost wireless cameras that you can get for under $100.00 They also have 'packages' that include 3 or 4 cameras and everything else you would need to keep an 'eye' on several areas of the house or even outside. Worth EVERY penny, and you can tape the proceedings too using a vcr setup, or even to your computer.

Also.. there is a great free book that you can get for your father (and your family) that will help all of you understand the 'Alzheimer's experience' Coach Broyles Playbook can be read online, downloaded, or even received in printed copy (for a small fee perhaps).

WORTH a read by anyone dealing with Alzheimer's. Of course, there are many other books/resources online or in the library that will help you too.

One other point I would make is that if you father isn't in the early stages of Alzheimer's himself, it sounds like he is most likely suffering from 'caregiver's syndrome'. The stress and daily physical drains on him may be affecting his 'judgement and patience'. It's good that you will be there to help him.

This personal story about me and my mother who was half my size may help put things in perspective: while at the grocery store my mother would walk up to a stranger and tell them that she didn't have anything to eat ALL week!!! Now.. who do you think they would believe, a tiny little old lady, or her 'healthy' daughter twice her size. Well to dissuade them from thinking that "I" would not feed my mother I carried my small camera with me and could literally produce a picture of every meal my mother ate, AS she was eating! Lord have mercy if they would have thought I was starving her!

Of course I am not saying that there isn't the possibility OF abuse, but again like all others have stated here... procedure with caution and with some evidence that confirms your worst suspicions. I truly hope this is not the case!!

I am sure that this situation has many many sides to it. God bless you to find the truth.
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The very word abuse covers such a broad spectrum now. Recently my mom passed out in the grocery, she passes out occasionally, always has. The medics came, wanted to transport her, dad said no, she'll be fine in just a minute, and she was. I got a call the next day telling me that the paramedics have documented that he "refused" her medical treatment and that there may be an abusive situation. Nothing is further from the truth. When we were small kids we knew where the airomatic spirits of amonia bottle was in her purse. Now he's "labeled" as a possible abuser. My guess would be that frustration sometimes could look like abuse.
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Dewlap,
Not really sure of what is happening in this situation. Do you think your father locked her into the "smaller part" of the house to keep her from wandering? MB that was his way of helping keep her safe? Aside from this what other evindence ie.. bruises, cuts, verbal abuse? Is your father maniputive or mean spirited? Is this a new situation with your mother and your father or is this something he is used to handling? Please ensure your mother's safety, but try and look at the situation from your dad's eyes. He may not know how to deal with these new developments.Please let us know how things work out. Best wishes my dear! SD
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ok, if her escaping is the problem, then it IS a problem. Is she trying to escape HIM specifically because he's abusive, or is this escape of the wandering type and he can't control her? Several months ago, I had to use ties to keep my mother from falling out of the chair, from slouching over to side, then down onto the floor.

For pete's sake, most still point and shoot digital cameras have video function built in now. Get a large enough memory card. Borrow one for a week. This has to be sorted out before the agencies are called in and there are all sorts of misunderstandings. Your father could be unjustly accused, or worse he could actually be guilty and the law gives him the benefit of the doubt.

Alzheimer's folks are known for being paranoid. My mother would blurt out with "well just kill me then." (Shortly after asking me to "just let her go, I've lived long enough.") Luckily (ugh) that attitude and behavior was caused by Ativan, the drug typically Rx'd to stop paranoid behavior. It was CAUSING it. Gimme a break.
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Thanks for all the suggestions and help. The "we" was my husband and daughter and me. I was out of the house, but my husband thinks that my dad locked my mom into a smaller part of the house and just let her panic. If I had been home I would have brought her into our part of the house. She got out of the house twice yesterday and it seems like he is trying to punish her for it. He also did not seem very upset about her getting out. My family is located in the basement of the house and I cannot see anywhere out that opens to the front of the house where she gets out. I finally took my mom away from him yesterday and she seemed very afraid to go back to him.

I will try to gather more evidence, I'm not sure how I could videotape any of it, but I could probably audiotape it.

Again, thanks for the help!
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Before you take any extreme action on this, I would advise you to contact your local chapter of the Alzheimer's Association or go online to www.alz.org
They have people who are experienced in dealing with just this kind of problem and will guide you in resolving it in the best interests of all concerned. It is extremely important to keep all family members in the same tent when dealing with Alzheimer's patients.
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Just to have your own suspicions confirmed, take video. So many devices will take video, start video mode, even low res, place on shelf, and let it run while you go out of the house. Maybe you get only 15 min at a time, but eventually you might catch something. A real tape video camera can shoot longer, and perhaps be plugged in to wall socket. Also mp3 players often record audio only, so get it going, set up near where your mother is and have a listen.

Confirm your suspicions first. if you get the authorities involved, you could end up with the county suing for conservatorship of estate and person, and you can kiss overall supervision of your mother goodbye. As they did with my sisters financial abuse, the county just ignored it and pressed no charges nor asked for them to pay back. "it isn't worth it..." ...to ME it was worth it cause they loosened unrepentant thieves on me.

And it could be your father "just" is frustrated and loses temper. Snaps at her cause she's so stupid and can't she do anything any more. that can probably managed.
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Firstly, has your Father any history tofabsuing your Mother. If not, then it could be frustration and fear making him behave this way. You need to observe his behaviour and if he is abusing, then talk to him and try to gently ask why he is abusing his wife. It could be that he is suffering some cognitive problems which could result in this aggression or he is as I said frustrated. So the bottom line is to observe and talk. From there get the appropriate help. There is help out there but from my experience you have to be judge and jury on everything you seek when seeking help on mental health problems. So consider your options, such as putting your Mother into a care home. I wish you luck. M.
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I'm with Elizza, gather all the information you can, seek out any people who have knowledge of the abuse and speak to your local adult protective services immediately, the numbers usually listed as that, or you can ask a nurse or someone through mental health for information on what to do. Best Wishes.
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There are adult protective services in all counties and you can contact them.; I think you will find that you can file a report anonymously.
If there is abuse, you certainly want to stop it.

But you also want to be sure and get as much information as you can before accusing. This is always a very difficult situation. You said "we" suspect. Who is the other person? It is good to have insight from others - hopefully you two can talk about it and help each other make a good decision. Good luck.
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