My dad blames me for everything to everybody. He holds so much anger and verbally lashes out at me at every visit. He keeps telling me I need to fix things that can’t be fixed. He thinks he needs me to take him to the doctor to fix his:

-“concussion” (Alzheimer’s)

-"carpal Tunnel” (permanent nerve damage from cellulitis)

-“broken legs” (he's had knee replacements 3 times)

-replace all teeth with implants instead of getting fillings

He’s constantly wanting to go shopping (he’s an obsessive shopper and hoarder but already has everything he needs). I have taking him shopping for shoes and clothing.

He wants to:

-move back to his home that’s over 2 hours away with nobody to care for him,

-Drive his fancy car and golf cart in parades.

He keeps taking things apart in his room:

-took coaxial off of new TV

-takes batteries out of hanging clock

-moves furniture around

-rearranges closet

-rearranges dresser drawers

-folds dirty clothes before putting in hamper

The list goes on and on and repeats itself with every visit. Diversion agitates him even more. “I’m too angry to eat!”, “I don’t want to go for a walk or do anything with you!”, “where have you been?”.......

I love my dad and feel the need to check in with his care providers almost daily, but I'm finding myself not wanting to visit him.

The doctor has already prescribed medication and it does seem to help a little bit with hand wringing, rocking and teeth grinding. How can I make our visits more meaningful and less painful?

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Are you sure your father isn't related to my father.? :) Same style of attacks each and every visit....and if you stayed longer than half an hour, it would be repeated several times.

I used to try redirecting and changing the subject. It was all negative either to me, my home, or about the neighbors and relatives he all "disliked". It is the dementia, which does amplify a cantankerous personality, but when you are the victim, it is still horrible to take. It got so bad, I used to get panic attacks on the way home. In fact, one time, my blood pressure got so bad it scared me and I drove directly to the local clinic to get help.

Here is what I did....I decided that I needed to care for my own mental health. I would put a "worry stone" in my pocket. When he started in, I would hold the stone, count slowly to 20, breath in and out through my nose, and try to remain calm, not really absorbing his rant. I was able to patiently visit for around 15-30 minutes. When loop 2 of his standard complaining started, I would say, "look at the time, got lots to do, hope you have a great week".

Lots of good advice here....stay sane....hang in there.....take care of you.
Helpful Answer (16)

In my situation it is my husband who acts that way. In his mind I am the one who is at fault for everything! So the nurses suggested that I no longer visit and take telephone calls from him. Only one of my daughters and her husband visit him and he is always in a good mood with them also telling them what a good place he is at. To me he says that he there is nothing wrong with him, that I have to take him back home as he says that the place is a hell. Not visiting him has given me less anxiety to deal with and he is less aggressive and frustrated. So this works for our family.
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I am struggling with this also, but I live with my mother so I get it 24/7. She has massively complicated delusions (all terrible, of course), sees things written all over everything, thinks people come in the house and take her things, and on and on. I have struggled with the fact that I can't help her when she's in one of these rants. It goes against everything in me to ignore her behavior, but this is what I am learning to do.

Redirecting her is a joke. There is no comforting her, no reassuring her. I can't get away to another room because I need to keep an eye on her. Sometimes I put on my noise cancelling headphones and listen to music. I am also going to follow Mincemeat's worry stone idea.

If I had the choice, I would limit visits to a couple of times a week for no more than an hour. We are caretakers, not punching bags. We have the right to our own lives. We know they can't help their behavior, but that doesn't mean we have to take it. Right now, I am doing everything I can to take care of my mother, but I'm also doing more and more to save myself.
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CantDance Dec 2018

Your thoughts echo mine. Fortunately, I don't live with Mom, so I'm spared a great deal. Even so, one phone call with her; one brief visit feels like exposure to toxic waste. I care for her, but I care for myself, too, and limit my exposure. No one understands the psychic pain, the mental and physical exhaustion that caregivers experience, except for the caregivers.
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Mincemeat is right. They ALWAYS blame the one who cares the most. Here is a conversation between my friend and her Dad who was in a home at the time with Dementia.

Dad: Car needs taken into the shop
J : OK Dad, will take it tomorrow

Next day

Dad: Did you take the car to the shop
J : Yes Dad, they are working on it today

Next Day

Dad: Did u pick up the car
J : Yes Dad all fixed
Dad: Good

You may have to learn to play along. Nothing you can do about him rearranging stuff and things. My Mom used to take clean clothes and throw them in the dirty clothes basket. Asking them not to do it will not help. I agree to cut your visit time down when he gets started.
Helpful Answer (8)

I think we have the same Dad! I agree with the others about limiting the visits. We have to take care of us first. It's not easy. I worry about my Dad everyday. I have not seen him since he charged me with his wheelchair, (over a month ago) all because a brother feds him with misinformation and because of his hatred for the idea of being in a nursing home. (All my fault) He is not rational at all. I do go up and take the newspaper but have someone else deliver it. And I get to talk to staff to see how he is. I always call the floor he is on the see how he's doing too. My father does participate in the activities so I know he is fine.
Helpful Answer (8)

First of all, stop visiting so frequently.

When you go, arrive for visits with something to "do.". Maybe ask him to help you identify people in some old photos (be sure to agree with him no matter who he says it is). If that riles him up, maybe put out an easy puzzle and ask him to help you with it. Try to find something that will take his brain away from complaining and blaming.

The minute his anger starts to flare and he starts in on you, even if it's after only a few minutes, announce, "Oh, look at the time! I told _____ that I'd be home 20 minutes ago." AND LEAVE. Don't make it a threat ("I'm leaving if you don't stop hounding me."). There's nothing to be gained by that. Just be merrily on your way.

Good luck! I feel your pain.
Helpful Answer (8)

Qwerty it's not You, it is the illness. Why is it We always seem to hurt those Who We love the most. I would suggest
you visit less often for a while since Your Dad is being well Cared for and You need a rest from that agrivation. Play along with You Dad. Ignore all the strange habits and look
after number one here Yourself.
Helpful Answer (7)

In my experience it is very hard to make visits less painful. I have taken a two pronged approach.

1) work with his doctor on medications that can improve his mood. There may or may nor be something that will help. My mother states she is miserable/unhappy, hurting here and there, doesn't want pureed food, and so on. The staff are working with her doctor to find treatments that will help. So far, at this phase of her disease, they have been unsuccessful. but it is worth trying. Meds helped her delusions earlier in this disease.

2) Visit less. My experience over our lifetime is that mother will be unhappy whether I am there or not. It is how she is and always has been, She focuses her unhappiness on me or on others. If I am not around as much she focuses less on me, and also it is easier on me because I don't experience the difficulties as often. When, during a visit, she gets too difficult, I leave - not in a huff, I just quietly go, "Gotta go, see you later." I think by visiting less often you have a better chance of breaking the loop. Good luck!
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CantDance Dec 2018
Great answer!
Three months ago my Mom was put on a low dose of Celexa. She became a changed person! Although she still calls me to want to come home a few times a day, she is no longer doing it with anxiety or is driving herself tired of the loops. She is more relaxed. Thank you Celexa!

I now can answer the same questions in a way which she can accept and not get angry, depressed or get high blood pressure from her anxious state. I also now have learnt to only visit 2 times each week, and no more than 3 on special holidays. It is not easy to stay away, but I also have to take care of myself at almost 70! I have no children to later take care of I have to do that right now!
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Mincemeat Dec 2018
My father got put on Celexa. It truly is a miracle drug. BUT, our NH did not like to use behavior altering drugs and took him off. Our entire family BEGGED to have him put back on.....but no. One sibling said it was the first time ever that dad asked about how he was doing and had a lovely conversation. It was a bummer because he reverted back to that dark place.
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The December, 2018, issue of Discover magazine has an extensive article on the research being done on treating and preventing Alzheimers. There are no drugs involved. An extensive analysis of the person, called a "cognoscopy" is the beginning. It "is a combination of blood tests, genetic evaluations, and an MRI which measures brain volumes to identify areas of shrinkage." Then the data is crunched using a computer algorithm to customize a plan on each person's deficiencies and genetic makeup.
"Typically, each plan encompasses several key elements to reverse inflammation, insulin resistance and destruction of vital brain structures."
They include getting enough sleep every night, frequent yoga and meditation to relieve stress, aerobic exercise for 30 to 60 minutes at least 5 times a week, brain training exercises 3 times a week, eating a mostly plant-based diet, drinking plenty of water and eliminating gluten and sugars.
One of the stories included was of a person developing Alzheimers who was able to completely reverse the disease and remain symptom free. The "holy grail" of finding a pill to pop may never be successful. I recommend reading the article "Alzheimer's Under Attack", by Linda Marsa for a more complete understanding of what I am referencing.
When my friend with frontal temporal dementia would not let anyone work with her, I was advised to take her to a geri-psych ward in a hospital to find an anti-psychotic drug that would calm her down without doping her up. It took them 3 weeks to find the right drug and dosage, all paid for by her insurance. She was calm and happy after that until she passed away. Perhaps something like that could be tried to help get him through this most unpleasant stage.
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