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My father and mother have both been in nursing home care for over 2 years now. Mum has Alzheimer’s probably about stage 7 now. She is 87. Dad has vascular dementia and is almost completely blind. He is 90 soon. Lately he has gone downhill, becoming more confused and angry, often refusing his drugs which he needs to help his mood and his heart problems. He has become very panicky and it breaks my heart to find him in tears when I visit. He keeps saying he needs to get out of the place but doesn’t know how. I feel so guilty. I would love to take him home but am elderly myself and certainly couldn’t manage him at home. My home is not suitable for him either as it is old and quirky with stairs. He would need supervision 24/7 which I would find difficult to give. I found it extremely difficult to try and look after them both before they went to the nursing home as they refused to accept any outside help, only mine. This is devastating watching his misery and being helpless.

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Oh my! I am so overwhelmed by everyone taking the time to write. Thank you so much for all your kind thoughts and ideas. I really do appreciate it. I don’t know any of you but it feels like I have friends on here and you certainly are the only ones who seem to understand, having been through similar situations yourself. I pray for you as you do for me.
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My daughter's father in law had vascular dementia, but he didn't cry. He was actually much younger - early 60s and he just accepted it, but he wouldn't help himself out either. Prayers sent to you tonight. It is imperative that your father take his meds. Tell the Ombudsman of the NH.
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My mother's dementia is not the same as your dad's, but her tearfulness sure is. Here are some things that have helped. The staff at her MC unit has gotten skilled at distracting her, sometimes with music, sometimes with juice, sometimes by giving her a task (straighten out the stacks of songbooks), sometimes just looking at something sparkly. We (family) have a several memory books that we go through with her when she is down. Helping her to look back on happier times is also a form of distraction. Sometimes, she just wants to be heard. Active listening, "I know it's hard mom" or "I'm so sorry you are going through this mom," followed by a good hug, sometimes helps. Also, taking her for a walk around the unit. Movement helps to dissipate the adrenaline and cortisol that accompany the stress. I wish I had as many answers to offer for the difficulty this causes for you. There is no real easy answer. But having someone to talk to is super important. Even more important is taking care of yourself; good nutrition, movement (for those stress hormones), and giving yourself one or more day(s) off from time to time. It sounds trite but is so true :if you empty yourself and don't refill yourself, you'll have nothing left to give anyone. You are in my thoughts for strength, wisdom, and comfort.
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Elsel1 my dad also has vascular dementia and recently he too had been crying every time I visited him. He would also say he wanted out of there. It is distressing and sometimes would make me tear up. I tried very hard not to cry in front of him. When I would ask what was making him cry he could not tell me. I think it was a combination of being sad, lonely and depressed with is condition and wanting to die but not able to. We did have his doctor try a new antidepressant called Cymbalta and it seems to have now made a difference. I'm wondering if this is something you might talk to his doctor about. I am sorry you have to witness his sadness, I so understand.
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Elsel1, Your post could've been mine today. After three years in Assisted Living, she moved to Memory Care two weeks ago. She is fine. Safe. Beautiful, wonderful facility, kind workers, lots of activities. I think She believes she’s in hospital. She begs, I mean begs, “Please, please, please, please come get me. PLEASE take me home. Who put me here? I have to spend the rest of my life in this room?” On and on. Crying. It’s awful. I know she’s in the right place - that there is no place better. I think of her all day and night. Wake up to her calls. Go to sleep worrying over her. I visit every day. My logic tells me I’ve done everything possible, but watching your parent suffer is - I can’t even think of a word that truly conveys how difficult it is. Elsel1, I feel for you. I know you feel for me as well. Just coming to this site and writing down what we are experiencing helps some. I am determined to never feel guilt over her. I hope you commit to that as well.
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I don't think that people with advanced dementia have the mental capability to manipulate, but, their distress can be concerning. I would definitely explore medications. My LO gets hers in a nice spoon full of pudding. At one point she was very worried and distressed, crying, and inconsolable. But, once she was placed on a daily med for anxiety and depression, she felt much better. It doesn't make her drowsy either. She was then very content in her MC.

I'd keep in mind, as others has stated, that people with dementia often tend to walk, though, they don't know where they want to go. They desire to return somewhere is more about seeking peace of mind, not a physical location. So, even in their own homes, they do the same thing.
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I work as a receptionist in a Memory Care community; it's a locked facility so the residents can't get out and wander around, getting lost, etc. Unfortunately, a lot of them know the doors to the reception area = freedom, so they knock and knock and knock on those doors asking to be let out. And there I sit, behind the front desk, looking at the cameras and watching these men and women knocking on the doors to be let out. To say it breaks my heart at times is an understatement. I do know, however, that they are safe behind those locked doors and in a beautiful environment with a lovely, large room with all the amenities, etc. Yet, they want to come OUT. Where they'd go, they have no idea.............they just know they want OUT. Most times, they stop knocking after a few minutes and take off down the hall again. If they knock for longer than a couple of minutes, I'll go to the door to see what they need. Oftentimes they're not even sure WHAT they need or want, they're confused or thinking they need to 'do something' but they're not certain WHAT it is. I can easily redirect them or offer them a chocolate chip cookie, a smile and a hug. It's all I can really do.........which oftentimes doesn't seem like enough.

Dementia & the other brain diseases are horrible, and it's unimaginable what these people have to endure. I feel such pity for them, my own mother included because she too lives in Memory Care, yet there is nothing MORE that can be done for them. They've been saddled with a disease that has no cure and they must be kept safe at all costs until it's their time to transition to death.

When your dad cries and says he wants to get out of this place, I don't think he's saying he wants to move in with you, per se. He's just expressing confusion and frustration in the only way he's capable. Yes, it breaks your heart, but no, you shouldn't feel the need to move your folks into your home. Number 1, you are not capable of caring for them, and number 2, your home is not a safe environment for either of them at this stage of their disease.

Offer them love and hugs and reassurance that you will be back soon to visit. Bring them treats and small gifts given with a big smile. It's really all you CAN do.

Sending you my compassion and understanding for the difficulty you are facing with your parents. It's probably the toughest thing you'll ever have to go through. I know..........I'm right there with you.
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Thank you for sharing.... my Dad is at the same place in his journey. I, too, am having difficulty visiting and watching him cry. It helps knowing others are in the same situation.
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When FIL kept wanting to make plans for his future "outside" we would ask what he was worried about. Usually it was where he would live and what work he could do. We would reassure him he would never have to worry about where to live and that he was old enough to retire now and would not have to work. He was scared and worried and we found that if we reassured him he was safe and that we would be there for him if needed he would calm down a bit. We reminded him he was there because he needed to rest and get stronger. He seemed happiest when a group would visit and he could watch the activity.
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Thank you so so much for all the concern Lvnsm1826, Isthisreallyreal and TNtechie. I really needed that. No-one else understands the daily anguish. It is possible that my Dad’s meds need tweaking as you say or a urine infection is the culprit. I’ll get on to checking that out.
Thanks again.
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Maybe the meds need to be re-balanced? My father with vascular dementia went through a period where he had panic attacks and crying spells too. A geriatric psychiatrist was able balance his anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medications. Once Dad entered MC and took his medications regularly, both the panic attacks and the crying spells were very rare. During the attacks I would hold Dad, rub his back and arms and sing some favorite hymns, usually getting Dad to join me.
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Great big warm hug!

It is sad to see our loved ones in such a state.

Have they checked him for a UTI since he is having new behavior, not taking his meds?

I am sorry that your family is going through this. Sometimes we just love them, cry on the way home and hope that tomorrow is better. He is where he needs to be at this stage of life, please don't feel guilty, you have done nothing wrong.

Praying that tomorrow is a better day.
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Els, I don't think he's manipulating. I think he's actually depressed because of the disease. I understand you feel sad for him. But guilt, isn't necessary. Thank G-d your parents are in place with care, and where they need to be. What you can do is try to redirect his thoughts to something that might interest him. Like music he enjoys, or read to him etc.
Hope this helps
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Thank you for your reply Dollyme. You’re right my guilt serves no purpose. It’s just so hard watching the parents you love and who were so active until recently, deteriorate dreadfully in front of your eyes.
I do try to explain to him why they need to be there and then use distraction if I can. However, I don’t think he is manipulating me at all. He is genuinely distressed, frightened
and confused. Rather, I am allowing myself to be manipulated by his behaviour and I’ll have to try and stop that. Difficult though.
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Why in the world would you feel guilty...they are safe and where they need to be. They have lived a long life, on their own terms, everyone needs to accept where they are in their life as you too may reach that stage too. You cannot take care of them, accept this, he is manipulating you, keep re-enforcing the need for them to stay where they are. Let go of the self imposed guilt, it serves no useful purpose, it is just keeping you and yiour parents stuck.
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