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86 year old father in law with a lifetime of untreated OCD is making our daily life miserable. He has a constant never ending stream of requests and demands, we think he unloads on us to somehow feel less anxious himself? He absolutely refuses meds or treatment of any kind. It’s like he transfers his anxiety about medications, food, doctors appointments, laundry, groceries ….the list goes on and on….directly to us all the time with repeated requests in person and with texting when we are at work. We have tried to set boundaries, create schedules, but he just continues to harass us repeatedly (OCD) about every single thing he wants us to do. Here’s the thing. We are both plenty competent and we absolutely meet his needs….but then he starts in on obscure tasks that really don’t need to be addressed in the moment leaving us on edge and fighting for our own space and time to live our own lives. Any suggestions?

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Yes: my suggestion is to get Frank out of your home and into Assisted Living where paid caregivers can deal with his extreme OCD 24/7 and leave you alone to live in peace now. Enough is enough. There comes a time when in home caregiving becomes too much to deal with, and it sounds like that's what's happened with your situation. Nobody's life should be usurped by an elder with this level of neediness and issues due to untreated OCD, especially when medication would address a lot of it.

Just b/c Frank is unwilling to be treated for this extreme OCD, does not mean it should be YOUR problem to deal with forevermore.

You and your spouse deserve a calm, peaceful life of your own. I suggest you create one.

Best of luck.
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I get the impression that you would be OK about FIL living with you if this behavior could drop down. You may need to move him out of your house eventually for 24/7 reasons, but for now you could give him a choice – you get medical treatment now, or you go to a facility now. He will have a meltdown, but stick to your guns. Get on a couple of mailing lists and start giving him the flyers about facilities, so he realises that you are serious.
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Caringagain Oct 4, 2022
I appreciate your advice and believe you are right. I just called a very good nonprofit assisted living facility in our area and am going to start looking around because it’s now apparent to me that this is what will need to happen next. Yes, we let him move in when covid was in full force and we felt at the time group living was potentially dangerous given his age and medical issues and he was alone in another city. That situation wasn’t working but I’m now clearer that this situation isn’t working either. It’s interesting, I thought other caregivers would have behavioral suggestions and was doubting myself for being so frustrated and exhausted by his nonstop demands. There are no workable behavioral suggestions I now realize. He needs medication and professionals working with him who are able to escape the stress.
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Thanks much for the straightforward and on point response. You are absolutely right and I really appreciate hearing it. My SO and I have just kept trying to problem solve, but the problems and behaviors just morph into new ones as the underlying compulsions never go away. It’s been so difficult dealing with him and we just kept thinking if only this solution or this attempt would stop the behaviors we could work it out. That’s not going to happen, it’s only going to get worse. Not going to lie, I’ve been astonished at his self centeredness and level of dysfunction. It’s a really sad way to live in my opinion and we just need to get him to a safe professional setting regardless of feeling guilty about putting ourselves first. Thanks again for your understanding.
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Depending on how advanced his dementia is, he needs an ultimatum that he either agrees to willingly take meds for anxiety (to treat his OCD and depression AND any other medical malady) or he goes to a facility. There is no middle ground here. At some point even if you can mitigate his OCD, his dementia will continue to rob him of abilities. There can be much worse behaviors compliments of dementia... just something to ponder as you work on a long-term solution.
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Caringagain Oct 4, 2022
You are so right. I went through dementia/Alzheimer’s with my own mother and I keep pointing out to my SO that nothing is going to get better from here ….it’s all only going to get more difficult. I appreciate the advice, it’s hard to realize with clarity that his behavior isn’t something we are going to be able to solve.
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Most people behave so differently with non-related caregivers. Please get him evaluated for placement and turn off your phones when you're at work.

Please remember, you're a volunteer in this situation..............how long will you volunteer for abuse?

A Geriatric Psychologist or social worker should be called in to evaluate the situation.

Time to start planning your next vacation, right after Dad gets placed: Aloha!
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I mean I don't know if it's entirely ethical...but...if he really needs medication, and has a need for mental health care and it's to the point that it's interfering with his quality of life... perhaps you can start him on something like a Luvox which is recommended for OCD? I only mention that med as I actually was on it myself and it works REALLY well for OCD. Obviously everyone is different, but it's been around of ages and is one of the oldest SSRIs.... I don't know how or if it's recommended for seniors though.

I mean if he won't take any meds, what can you do? Like others mentioned, he'll only get worse from here, and they WILL medicate him at a facility because they basically have to - otherwise people can get combative with staff or other residents.
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He refuses meds or treatment of any kind…I'm sorry but does that mean he won't go to the doctor period and as a result does not have a presciption, or he does have a prescription and he won't take them.

From others I've read that you may be able to get your FIL to the doctor under the guise of asking him to help and accompany you for YOUR doctor's visit.
Give his doctor a written statement of your concerns ahead of time.

Not comparable, but I've learn to not tell my husband that he's going for a hair cut. We appear at the barber shop, I hold the door open for him and before he knows it he's either in the waiting area or more likely just popped into a chair because his barber knows the deal. My husband doesn't gripe in front of other men.

As far as giving him meds, share a small milkshake, or something you both enjoy and spiked his with his meds. I think that sharing the action, and distracting him by encouraging his most soothing obsession, (talking, human contact, complaining, ordering), might be distracting.

My husband has obsessive compulsive habits but it has to do with hiding folded knapkins all over the house. It's driving me cross-eyed nuts. I never see him do it but they're stuffed everywhere. Which reminds me, as I mentioned in another reply, one of his very much grosser secretive obsessions has been nipped, unfortunately not in the bud, since he's been weaned off of Donepezil. His neurologist's office said at this point of his decline it doesn't do anything for him anyway. Which is another subject for another time. What is the point of prolonging this inevitable end? We have both lost 15 years already.

My MIL had dementia. She use to have a g'zillion steno pads and wrote a lot of notes. Perhaps if you supplied your FIL with writing materials it may by helpful. Make a place for these, table or desk, and post a sign at that spot saying something like - Dad we need to know what's important to you. Please write down what you'd like us to know.

I know it's incredibly nerve racking.
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Arrange an evaluation. Call your local aging agency or speak to an eldercare lawyer. It will be difficult because he really can't cooperate. He is too caught up by his illness. You cannot manage this. It will be difficult for professionals.
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You are going above and beyond, and I'm sure you are doing a wonderful job as a caregiver. But sadly, caregivers often don't get the support and appreciation they deserve. Your FIL may not be able to do better with his behavior, and you may have to lower your expectations about what he can do. That being said, you need to have time for yourselves and to have your lives. It's not humanly possible to be a 24/7 caregiver and not burn out. Talk to your father's doctor about his refusal to take medications. There may be ways to sneak them in (mashed up in apple sauce, for example). Also have a plan for a time when his care may be too much for you to do do on your own. Connect with a local social worker to find out if he is eligible for some in-home care to take over part-time so that you can get breaks. You may be eligible for "salary" as family caregivers. If you do have people coming to your home be sure to lock up the valuables and personal papers. Besides additional in-home care, the other option is assisted living. It would be best to get his OCD under control before doing this, if you have to go this route. All the best!
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CassandraMae Oct 10, 2022
Before sneak-medicating, I would find out if there is a medical reason he can't have the meds, kidney or liver problems, stomach issues, some side effect or other interaction which he will notice if you do that. And then have to deal with trust issues on top of everything else.
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Visit for short periods only, bring something/find something to make a happy distraction.

That is my only known successful coping strategy for OCD. Not for them - they won't change - but for me.

If temporary (UTI) or a passing stage of dementia behaviour (sundowners) you may have better luck. But if faced with that long held deep persistent OCD personality type... sigh

Is leaving an option?.
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