abu09 Asked February 2012

What can I do when my dad leaves the house for a few hours leaving my mom alone?


She becomes angry and vindictive towards him and calls me every 15 minutes with that same hostility.

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abu09 Feb 2012
Thank you all for your responses. I've been in denial hoping that it's just a bad dream. I'll try some of your suggestions; have to put frustrations aside. We'll talk!
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sharynmarie Feb 2012
I have several suggestions for you: 1) My sister and I would my father for an outing on Saturdays, to the zoo and other places we knew he would enjoy then go out for lunch. Usually we were out with him for about 4-6 hours. 2) Adult day care is excellent because they provide activities, supervision, and I believe a meal. Check with your local care homes to find which ones provide this. We live in a small city and my mom took my dad to adult day care in another city (even smaller) that was 15 min.. drive. 3) Can you or another family member, close friend, church member, or a friend of your mothers come over and sit with her for a couple hours once a week to give dad a break? 4) Hire a health care worker to come over once a week. Maybe your father's insurance will cover help in the home. 5) A trusted neighbor or maybe someone your mother worked with that she has kept in touch with. I hope this helps you and your father because it is so important that he get a break if only once a week. Take care of yourself as well, it is stressful dealing with dementia. My mother is now 83 and she has it also. Keep in touch and let me know how things are going for you and your father!!
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jeannegibbs Feb 2012
Is it safe to leave Mom alone for a few hours? Many people with dementia reach a point where they can no more be left alone than you would leave a 3-year-old alone. I think that is the first issue to be addressed. If Mom needs constant supervision, some arrangements need to be made so that Dad can have some very-necessary respite time.

But whether she can stay alone or someone is with her, she may still feel worried, anxious, stressed, and angry when your dad is gone. I don't think that reasoning with her is going to be very effective -- dementia robs people of their reasoning ability.

What has helped in our household is for me to put in writing where I am going. I can tell my husband where I am going. He can understand and be OK with it, but totally foget the conversation in 10 minutes. I can come home with the nice carry out lunch I ordered as a treat for us, and he'll be eating a bowl of cereal. So now I tell him where I am going and I also write it down. "At book club. Be home by 10:15. I'll bring a treat!" "At Target. Back by 3:30." If he forgets he has a reminder right in front of him. Less anxiety all around.

I used to be able to leave him for a few hours. Now I only run short errands close to home and make sure someone is with him when I need to be gone longer.

Try not to take the hostility personally. This is the disease speaking, not the mother who raised you and loves you. Assure her that Dad loves her, that he'll be home soon, that you love her, etc. and then try to change topics.

Good luck to you. Dementia is a cruel disease, not just to those who have it, but to those who love them.
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msleeth Feb 2012
Perhaps, trying knowing ahead of time when Dad will leave. Then, before he leaves, try calling Mom prepping her for Dad leaving. Remind her not to feel hostile when he leaves...as it may be necessary because....? Medications? Doctor's Appointments etc... there have to be good reasons for him leaving and you can use these when reasoning with her.
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JaneB Feb 2012
oh, man. It sounds like Dad NEEDS a break from time to time. Is she fine the rest of the time, and becomes hostile ONLY when he leaves? If so, maybe she its scared and something could be done to soothe her in those times: an alert bracelet, if she falls, or a respite caregiver. If she tends to the hostile, then this behavior isn't new. How would it feel to NOT answer the phone? If it's part of a pattern you've been seeing, maybe the only thing to do is realize that it isn't personal, and you can't make her happy. And either be okay with that, or take yourself out of the line of fire by not answering the call. So unpleasant -- for everyone! Good luck.
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