My 82 yr old father came to live us 2 1/2 months ago just before our state went into Covid quarantine. He is a controlling narcissist with a shopping addiction and has mismanaged his meager nest egg, so this was our financial solution. His declining cognition has been documented as mild dementia several years ago and we feel it is rapidly declining since. In a tri-level home, his bedroom, master bath, and a second bedroom "office" is his area. My husband and I are in the lower level, and we all share the kitchen and livingroom on street level. Dad can navigate the stairs fairly ok, but we put in a handrail on the 1 step to the front porch door. He has "fallen" frequently in his own ranch level home, so this was a precaution.
We got him his own full size refrigerator and extra cabinets so we don't get stressed from triple and quadruple purchases of items with his shopping habits. He drives still and we lost the battle of preventing him from going to the store a month ago with many heated arguments. He is a diabetic with an artificial heart valve so he is on quite a bit of medicines.
We have had frequent arguments about him buying even more food for our fridge that end resulted in hurt feelings and even tears from both of us.
Last night was the 3rd time he displayed even more unusual odd behavior and I just don't understand it: We were watching a show on Hulu (Catch 22) that my dad, husband, and self all seemed to enjoy. Toward the end of the episode (my dad is a veteran so the show was a bit emotional for him) he said he needed something upstairs. When he came down the stairs he used his phone as a flashlight (the room had darkened since we started watching the show) instead of turning on the light at the top of the stairs, the livingroom, or the kitchen, as requested by me. He has about 25 pocket flashlights and he has put up nightlights in every outlet including those on the kitchen counters. I asked him to turn the light on and of course he ignored me. He went into the kitchen with his phone light and looked in his refrigerator continuing to ignore me asking him to turn the kitchen light on. It is just so weird. The time before this he did the same thing using a flashlight to go down the stairs and out the door to come back into the house with a new blanket. We moved at least 25 of his blankets and 7 (yes 7) are on his bed which he sleeps on top of instead of between the sheets. He ignored me the last time as well and I turned the porch light and foyer light on as he went out the door and he almost fell when it startled him. Several weeks ago was the 1st instance using a flashlight upstairs while I watched tv in the livingroom around 10pm. The wavering flashlight caught me by surprise, like a cat burgler, and I yelled up the stairs "what are you doing?" He answered looking for something. After about 10 minutes of feeling like there was a burgler in the 2nd bedroom office, I asked him why doesn't just turn on the light. He said, " because I know where it is" and he left the room without retrieving anything.
So, this 3rd episode, I pressed him when he called from the kitchen pulling a Klondike bar from the freezer saying "Do you want a popsicle?" to figure out why he refused to answer me. "No dad," I said when he returned to his chair beside me on the couch. "Why? Why won't you tell me why you can't turn on the light? Why would you risk going down the stairs by flashlight when you're not sure on your feet?" (He shuffles his feet now like Tim Conway, only it's not a joke but neuropathy from extreme diabetes.) He swore at me quite a bit and went back upstairs with his Klondike bar.
I feel like I'm losing touch with common sense. Does anyone have some insight to what need this might fulfill for him? Obviously, if I'm awake and "catch him" going down the stairs in the dark I can turn the light on myself, but he is often up in the middle of the night while I'm sleeping. I could also get battery operated steps lights. But why??!