Dad was diagnosed with dementia about two years ago, and I had started to suspect some things before then. Once I was around him all the time, it was quite clear something wasn't right.
Until recently, he just went about his day not realizing that he just repeated the same story 50 times or that he had just asked the same question 5 minutes before, but it's getting worse and I can hear the pain and fear in his voice.
Last night he kicked me out of his room at AL (after screaming at me - completely embarrassing) for trying to get him to sit down and catch his breath. He was really anxious and started having a panic attack and removing his oxygen. I tried to get him to put it back in because that just made his shortness of breath worse and he ended up running out into the hall and screaming at me.
I've learned that setting boundaries is OK, so it became clear that it was best for me to leave. Then he started crying and begging me to stay (in front of the staff) but I just couldn't. I was angry and humiliated and wanted to get out of there. Of course I felt AWFUL for the whole ordeal and even more mad at myself for getting upset with him.
Anywho, when we talked this morning, he shared with me that he couldn't get out of his room the day before because he couldn't remember how to open the door. A few weeks ago, he got really upset because he "lost" his banana... the one he had eaten earlier that day. The peel was in the trash.
...so now it's becoming clearer to him that something is not right, and I don't know what to do or say. He's ridiculously stubborn and refuses help. He hates the portable oxygen. He says his hearing loss is earwax buildup and won't accept a hearing aid. He insists on walking instead of using his motorized scooter which makes him so short of breath the staff has to FORCE him to sit down. The numbness in his fingers (going to the doc about that) is caused by the brand of hand lotion he uses... the list goes on.
How can I try to keep Dad calm and encourage him to accept help? He's suffering needlessly because of his own stubborness...
One reason I think that not fighting the confusion helps is it helps to calm the anxiety. Anxiety scrambles the mind, so adds to the confusion. Taking away the anxiety and relaxing can help the mind return to how they normally are -- still with dementia, but not so confused.
Your poor Dad. And poor you. And the incident the other evening when he yelled at you to go and then begged you to stay must have been excruciating. What he must be going through, and what he's putting you through. Oh my.
But, so, be daughter not caregiver. Hug and console him. Remind him how important he is to you. Let the people with the training and the salaries deal with medication, exercise, rest and oxygen. You do hand-holding and treats and being the person he loves and is proud of. Hugs to you.
Is he on any anti-anxiety or alzheimer meds?