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It doesn't end...


...so I just had to rush to Dad's ALF to retrieve his wallet from the trash.

Yes, I know he shouldn't have one, but up until he moved, Dad knew it was in his jacket pocket zipped up. Since moving, it's like he's at an entire new stage of dementia... the stage that I hope (sorry if this is mean) doesn't last long. It is beyond sad.

Anyway, I made the mistake (or maybe this was actually a blessing) of calling him to check in -- something I can't do during the workday anymore because it WRECKS my nerves, and Dad told me "I threw away that old wallet."

I got Dad a new wallet a while back and we put all of his "things" in it, but today I guess something got crossed up. Long story short, he threw away his wallet! I made a mad dash to the ALF to get it, and sure enough, all of the contents were all over his room (I found the ID's in the bathroom) and the wallet was in the trash with cash. I have no idea where the extra cash came from. He said someone gave it to him.

This was a HUGE blunder on my part. I should have taken the wallet some time ago, but I didn't want to deal with the same meltdown I endured today. I was called names. He screamed, he cursed, he cried, but I couldn't back down.

He'll probably forget the whole ordeal, but it was SO painful (and I had to take MORE PTO for Dad's stuff...).

So I am going to make copies of his ID and cards and laminate them and stick them in the wallet to make Dad think I didn't completely take it from him. As for the cash, I don't know what to do.

Dad really doesn't need cash, but he wants to have it. I was thinking of giving him ten singles or maybe some fake money.

It's like he's become a different person overnight. It's hard enough with the COPD and lack of sight, but I'm not sure I can endure seeing him turn into this shell of a man.

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Way to go, Tiny!!!!!!!!!!!
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Funny you mentioned that surprise! I went to a meeting last night! Thank You!!!!
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Tiny, I don't mean to diminish what you've lived. It was brutal and I know that's just the first example you could think of. I get what you are saying. Listen, I have an idea.

By pouring yourself out for this man by worrying, fussing, and fretting all the time, you are STILL allowing him to control your emotions. I won't take that.

He can live without his wallet. Remember, he himself threw it away. It's ok if you take it over there next week, whenever it is you have your next visit planned (not tomorrow I hope). He can live without it that long - he did make that choice already.

Wish you were next door. We could go to Al-Anon together.
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Hugs Tiny💜
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(((((Hugs)))))).

There's one thing you are not.

Stupid. You use that word again about yourself....Im gonna have to find you and thrash you!

You are incredibly smart and perceptive and loyal to a fault.

Can you give yourself 2 weeks off? Two weeks of no contact? Just say "I'm under doctors orders to rest and get well"?

Your dad is dying, Tiny. Nothing can fix that or change the time line. It will happen with or without you. And he's not dying imminently, he's dying eventually.

If you don't want to end up permantly disabled or prematurely dead, you need to "just " work, rest and recharge.
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Tiny,
For right now, til you get some help, relief, time to yourself, try NOT to react to less than perfection like your Dad.

There will not be perfection within an ALF or Nursing Home.

Your Dad was not perfect. Yet, you are trying to create perfect for him.

Give yourself a break. Try to take better care of YOURSELF.

Don’t expose yourself to the anger and abuse your Dad exhibits. Stay away. Protect yourself. Let the professionals handle Dad.
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Thanks guys. It's good to know that people really do understand what I've gone through and empathize and provide constructive advice.

I am going to work on not making everything a "fire drill" and just staying away more. It's like being in Dad's presence takes me to this awful place. It is my hope that once Dad gets settled that I will finally be able to get rid of the second job and just... breathe. Maybe then I can find the time and money to seek the therapy that I know has value (too bad it ain't free).

I've been in tears all day. Oh, how I wish I had a family to distract me from all this, but caregiving takes ALL of my energy. I haven't dated in two years, and the last guy was awful and abusive (hmmm, that's familiar). I only stayed with him because he helped with Dad. I don't even care how I look anymore. I just go through the motions. I'm only 40, but I feel 60.

It was incredibly stupid of me not to think of the "fake wallet" idea earlier. I just didn't want to get called names or cursed at. Looks like I chose the wrong battle, huh.

Well, I made the copies on card stock, in color and laminated them so they feel more like real ID's and cards. I ordered some double sided fake money that should arrive tomorrow which I will use for the larger bills and just keep the ten singles for Dad.

I am going to stop and breathe before making a decision as well.

I just want this all to be over. Catastrophic or not, NO ONE should have to endure this... especially alone when the man has 9 more living-able bodied children.

Maybe if he wouldn't have single handedly beat the SH** out of each of his seven ex wives (I was an expert at cleaning busted lips and bloody noses at 10 years old) and abandoned his other children (the daughter next to me ran away. I'm SO jealous), he wouldn't be where he is now.

My bio mom stuck a needle in her arm and poisoned herself (overdosed on heroin) probably because of HIM. I wouldn't know because she was gone by the time I was two and dead by the time I was six. Baby brother couldn't take our family and committed suicide. This is just a HUGE MESS, and for whatever reason, I'm the loyal, good daughter...

This whole thing is bringing up such resentment and anger. Sorry to unload all of this. I'm really not having a good week.

Anyway, the wallet situation is fixed. Now I'll just wait for the next catastrophe and make an excuse for why solutions don't work. That's me... all drama!!
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Tiny, mthr was extrordinarily evil. What you described is what she would do in public to shame me. I won't go into my private he!!.

I had to separate myself from her for awhile and get counseling. This taught me how to react better to her, and where to draw the line. Eventually, she chose to behave in a way that she knew would  prevent contact with us, and I was good with that choice.

It made it easier for me to learn that I was priority #1, and she was not. When we rescued her, it was very hard. Like you, I wanted to give her the best I could to make it so pleasant for her, but I quickly remembered that fantasy would not earn me her love. I do what needs to be done, and nothing else. She is a pitiful old woman who ran off everyone who might have had a connection to her, including her only child (me). I'm just a generous onlooker, emotionally detatched because I know the past can't be undone. Genes are not the basis of love, kindness is.

Stay strong and stay true to you and your family, not your abusive dad. Acting as if you had a close loving relationship is just acting. Forgiveness takes many forms, and just taking care of basic needs is one form. That's more than either of our parents deserve, and that is living out forgiveness.
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Hugs, Tiny.

Tiny is working two jobs so that she can keep her Dad in better accommodation than he might otherwise get.

Tiny, you know this is early days. You were anxious about the move, and you are - if I may say so - engaging in the creation of a few self-fulfilling prophesies.

Making sure your father does not have the originals of important documents is obviously sensible.

Ten one dollar bills, should they get lost, really won't matter very much. If they do go astray, maybe replace them with something like old Francs or Marks (I bet you can get them on eBay) or some other defunct or very distant currency that your Dad might have come across during his career.

Perfectionism can become paralysing and destructive. I know you know that. Try a new mantra: "that'll just have to do." You just need to get through the next couple of weeks to give things a chance to settle.
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Tiny, one more thing.

You had an abusive childhood. You don't have a " complex". You have a diagnosable and treatable condition that is the result of abuse. You can get help if you choose.

Or, you can continue to try to gain the love of your abuser, causing yourself more physical and psychic damage than he's already done.

I'm not telling you not to care for your dad. Just understand that there are ways to arrange care that don't involve YOU dying first.
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How about before you react make a goal for yourself to wait one hour before you act. No matter what, 1 hour. That will give you time to calm down & determine if the issue calls for action or if it’s something that can be delegated to the ALF staff & if so, notify them.

It’s not good for yourself nor your father to get in these “tizzies” - he reacts to you, you react to him, & then both of you get distraught, overreact & the fallout is emotionally crippling for you.

Unfortunately your father is not going to improve. It’s a reality that many of us CG must come to grips with. You have to learn and work at putting that realization in a box. It is was it is.

My mother hated being in a NH. I remember getting ready to drive back to my home from NJ to MD crying for the first hour or two. And I can still see her in my mind when even with dementia she said to me when I was setting off to home “I thought today would be the day that you were going to take me out of here”. Talk about feeling absolutely crushed. But I knew I had to close the box & go back to being me- wife, nurse, whatever. I had a FT job I needed to do, a husband at home & had to continue to live MY life. Did I feel crappy about it? Oh yes- for days. My mantra to help me get through it was “safety first”. While it wasn’t a wonderful NH she WAS being cared for. 

Dementia is awful. To see your parent get to be a shell of who they were is absolutely terrible. 
But my mother would be the first to insist I get back to work & my life if her mind was intact, but it wasn’t. I had to accept that. 
You can’t jeopardize your job because of your dad’s situation. Employers these days are very mindful of employee productivity. Don’t think they don’t notice your frequent absences. Yes they are empathetic but don’t push the envelope. They can and will replace you. And let me tell you, there is age discrimination in the workplace (although this may be changing but not enough). So protect your job and your well being. Dad’s mental & health status will only get worse- that’s a fact. And you will be left to carry on when he is gone. 

Hard reality, I know.

Choose your battles. 

It’s so freaking hard Tiny. It’s like everyday alittle piece of your heart is getting yanked. You get that disgusting feeling of helplessness taking care of an elderly parent when you KNOW you can’t fix it. 

Call me cold (& I often felt that way about myself) but I had to “close that box” when I got in my car to head south. If I didn’t it could ruin me - emotionally & financially. It’s ironic that you use the skills & values your parents taught us to shield yourself emotionally coping with our parents when dementia robs them of their lives. 

Wait a certain time period - 30 minutes, 1 hour, whatever- before you react, look at his issue objectively and determine the relevance of the “crisis”. Look at it like a work project. 

Tiny steps, Tinyblu. 
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Tiny, one more piece of "advice".
It matters who you ask, by what means and how.

At mom's NH, I never asked " staff" to do anything. I brought them cookies and cake and other treats each week, but other than asking them to take mom to the restroom, I never made direct requests of the staff.

I made requests via email to the Unit Head, the director or the social worker. If it was an emergency, I followed it with a phone call. I asked for a time when we could confirm the problem had been taken care of.

In your situation, I would have emailed and then called the admins, told them that dad's wallet was in the trash and could they retrieve it and place it in a secure place for me to pick up.

And I'm really surprised that you don't have the originals of dad's cards in your possession before this. My mother never had anything of importance or value after she stopped living independently.
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Tiny,
I gave mom theatrical money to keep in her purse when she moved to memory care - it was a cross body bag so she could use her walker - Sometimes she just threw it around her neck like a feed bag

She would spend hours counting that wad of cash and it ended up getting 'lost'
Of course the joke was on whoever 'found' it

Luckily Amazon sells it in about a 3 inch stack so it was easily replaced
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Tinyblu, I doubt that anyone keeping up with your posts is surprised to hear that you have a complex, and that you came by it from a difficult childhood.

But isn't the goal now to get past that? To live your own life on your own terms?

I hated this word the first time I heard it, but I'm beginning to understand its uses: Catastrophizing. It is also related to the Yes But syndrome. It goes something like this.

This is a disaster! a catastrophy! I don't know how I'll cope.
Have you tried X?
Yes But it never works.
When I've been in a similar situation I've had luck with Y.
Yes but I don't know if Y is allowed.
The experts often recommend Z
Yes but what do experts know?

Do you see the pattern? Does it seem familiar by any chance?

People try to convince you to rely on the ALF staff more.
"Yes but they are lazy and don't really do things, making it worse when I get there."
Com'on, lady, Dad hasn't been there two weeks. How many things have you been turned down for?
"Yes but I don't know them yet. Some caregivers steal things."
Really? Dad only had a few dollars (which probably weren't legitimately his in the first place.) Do you think a CG is interested in stealing his identity? And if that is what they want, why would they wait until you call? Surely there are many times in the day they could have access.

Not every event in your father's life is a catastrophe.
Not every event in your father's life requires your personal attention.

It is especially easy to catastrophize when you are sleep deprived. We've all been there! Is there any way you can improve that part of the picture? I can't remember -- why are you working 2 jobs?
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Tiny, I took some old membership cards (like Triple-A) and put them in a wallet with a few dollars for Dad. That seemed to satisfy him. I kept the important stuff. I learned the best response to other requests that I couldn't fulfill was, "I'll try to remember that the next time I come." Hopefully you will become more comfortable with at least some of the staff soon. I was happy with most of the staff at Dad's MC and would have felt comfortable calling with a request like yours.
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Tinyblu, I sympathize. When my Mom was in nursing care I kept her purse with her wallet and I.D. cause I knew something would happen to it if I let her have it. She had been given her own key for her room there that she wore around her neck and she somehow managed to lose it.

Also, I know how hard some people who work at these places work but there are always the ones who don't. I noticed one day my Mom's call button hadn't been hooked up??????????? Not much good in an emergency then is it?
Plus, like Tiny, the staff where my Mom was were definitely not looking for extra stuff to do.

So, sometimes you have to be proactive even if it means creating extra work for yourself.
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Tinyblu, I let my Dad keep his wallet as having a wallet was always a part of his life, and sense of independent.

Keep a bunch of wallets at home, make copies of everything in the wallet. You keep his original ID card at your house so when you take him to doctor appointments you have it ready. Make copies of the Medicare card and secondary insurance cards. You keep the originals. Put a few dollars in Dad's wallet, even though you know he doesn't need it. Plus put your name and phone number in Dad's wallet.

Wonder if your Dad is now experiencing "sundowning" on top of his dementia?

As for the facility helping.  Note that such facilities have a triage system.  A missing wallet goes on the bottom of the triage list if there are residents who are having major health issues at the same time. 
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jeannegibbs no disrespect intended, but Dad is in an ALF. It is a nightmare to try to get through to anyone at the desk, and I've had bad experiences when I've called and asked staff to help with something in the past. I end up having to do what I asked hours later when I can get to the facility, and I'm having a REALLY bad day, so I'm crabby.

...and sadly, I don't have the luxury of going home at a decent hour. I still have two jobs so my day started at 6:30 AM and won't end until about 12:30 AM.

Lesson learned. I should NOT have let him keep his wallet that long.

JoAnn29, I do have a tendency to step in probably more than I should. When you had a Dad that would rip your homework apart and make you do it over again completely if it wasn't his version of neat, or flip the mattress if the bed wasn't military perfect, you get a complex.

At the time, all I could think was what if his ID and money ends up in the trash? And he was speaking... dementia. He couldn't answer a question, and I knew asking them was making him more upset.

...and this is still new. I don't know which staff members we can trust yet. Dad has had caregivers steal from him in the past, so me not knowing exactly what was going on pushed me over the edge.

I'm going to have to not call him during the day. Talking to him (if you can call it that) makes me ridiculously anxious and triggers my codependent need to try to "fix" everything because I've had to take care of adults all my life.

I thought the new facility would make things easier. Not quite the case yet.
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I would not allow him money at this point. Like the idea of fake money. He has nowhere to spend it. Change is awful for Dementia/Alz patients. He is in a place he doesn't know. Not blaming you...but no Daycare. My brother said I was my own worst enemy. My thing was Moms hair. No one knew how to brush it. Parted it wrong, which made a difference in the way it layed. Brushed it straight when it was cut to feather back. Used brushes on it when she had a metal brush so her hair wouldn't get static. I wrote notes but they went unheaded. So I carried hairspray around and a brush and did her hair when I got there. Then...putting her in brown slacks with gray socks and blue shoes? She had socks to match pants and white ones too. She had blue, brown and black shoes but they mixed and matched. Yes, I have a little OCD.

As Jean says there are hardworking CNAs, my daughter works with them, but just like all jobs you have some that choose to do the minimum.

Now Dad is in a new AL will take time for him to adjust. Give the AL time to adjust to him.
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Tiny, this a general response to all of your recent angst.

When my mom was in Independent Living, and later in a NH, I visited once a week. Sometimes every other week.

If mom called me with an "emergency", I told her to contact staff ( when she had better cognitive abilities) or later, I contacted the unit manager/sw/business office at the NH to solve the problem.

I was 90 minutes away. I have a stressful job. I have a husband with heart issues who needs to have the same amount of green vegetables every day due to his blood thinnners.

My mom had a good life and taught me well not to waste energy on what she termed "needless anxiety". Nothing I was capable of doing was going to extend her life beyond where it was going to end, and I knew that I wasn't responsible for her being happy.

I'm not telling you what to do. I'm just telling you how I stayed relatively sane during the 8 years that my mom declined through Vascular dementia and CHF.
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Excuse me. My daughter who works at a nice ALF actually does work for her paycheck. And from the stories she tells almost all of her coworkers work hard, too. I know you are having a bad day, but try not to spread it around, OK?

I'll bet you could have called the ALF and requested that someone check your dad's wastebasket and retrieve the wallet if it was there. The rest of it you could have handled after work, no? Nothing about this was an emergency except the lost wallet, right? Save your PTO. You deserve to have some in reserve.
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I can try, but as all ALF staff members, God forbid they have to work for their paycheck.

Besides, I have all of the stuff at my job to do this. I'll just make color copies, laminate, and throw them back into the wallet.
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This is probably a dumb question, but why couldn't you call the AM director and ask them to do this?
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...so I just had to rush to Dad's ALF to retrieve his wallet from the trash.

Yes, I know he shouldn't have one, but up until he moved, Dad knew it was in his jacket pocket zipped up. Since moving, it's like he's at an entire new stage of dementia... the stage that I hope (sorry if this is mean) doesn't last long. It is beyond sad.

Anyway, I made the mistake (or maybe this was actually a blessing) of calling him to check in -- something I can't do during the workday anymore because it WRECKS my nerves, and Dad told me "I threw away that old wallet."

I got Dad a new wallet a while back and we put all of his "things" in it, but today I guess something got crossed up. Long story short, he threw away his wallet! I made a mad dash to the ALF to get it, and sure enough, all of the contents were all over his room (I found the ID's in the bathroom) and the wallet was in the trash with cash. I have no idea where the extra cash came from. He said someone gave it to him.

This was a HUGE blunder on my part. I should have taken the wallet some time ago, but I didn't want to deal with the same meltdown I endured today. I was called names. He screamed, he cursed, he cried, but I couldn't back down.

He'll probably forget the whole ordeal, but it was SO painful (and I had to take MORE PTO for Dad's stuff...).

So I am going to make copies of his ID and cards and laminate them and stick them in the wallet to make Dad think I didn't completely take it from him. As for the cash, I don't know what to do.

Dad really doesn't need cash, but he wants to have it. I was thinking of giving him ten singles or maybe some fake money.

It's like he's become a different person overnight. It's hard enough with the COPD and lack of sight, but I'm not sure I can endure seeing him turn into this shell of a man.
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