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Can my Dad live alone? At least for a month?


My Dad has diagnosed dementia. He is not diagnosed, he went to the doctor once and he said " That Chinese guy says I may have Alzheimer's. How dare he say that to me!"


He is pretty bad off speech wise and forgetful but since his cancer treatments he has gone into full blown delusions.


The doc says it is not the treatments (immunotherapy) that it is just a coincidence.


He eats and cleans and appears bathed and groomed but he thinks he is working at an ad agency and that he gets standing ovations and etc. He called 911 because he thought the people from twitter were after him and he got lost last week and they took him to the precinct.


He refuses to acknowledge he has a problem, does not want to go to alf or live with me. Any kind of assistance is seen as a threat to his independence and that we are after his money.


I dread having adult services come in and evaluate him but after reading some posts here I think I may be able to.


What I really dread is putting him in memory care which is a locked 300 square foot studio. If it was a full size apartment locked, MAYBE I could deal with that idea.


I just do not know what to do. He won't accept a nurse or anything he is so, so difficult. All his selfishness, paranoia and lashing out at others is 100 times magnified by the dementia.


Do memory care units (locked) ever have full sized apartments instead of a studio?

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He really does not sound safe to be at home. Bear in mind that police, if called to the house because of any of his behaviors, may not recognize this for what it is nor handle it appropriately the next time. If he does have Lewy body, there are very specific recs for which meds are more likely to work without making other things worse. The newest of these is pimavanersin. Best wishes on your quest to see that he is safe and gets care - he's lucky to have you in his corner!

See www.parkinson.org/understanding-parkinsons/non-motor-symptoms/Psychosis/What-are-the-Treatment-Options-for-Psychosis
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Ander, I see 2 questions here. The first is can he be left alone for a month? Nope, sure does not sound like it,, he already wanders.. what happens when you are gone? Why does he need to be alone for a month? If that is all the time you need, look into short term MC.. its better than leaving him alone and he may come to like it. My dad did!
I have also never seen a MC where the residents are locked in their rooms. I agree the rooms are locked to keep others out so stuff doesn't wander off..LOL. My MIL is in a so so place, but even they get her out and with others once she is dressed for the day. Nice TV room, some activites they get her too..nice dining room and decent food (crab cakes today!) My dad was also in Sunrise facility, they were very involved and always found dad with a paper, magizine or someone interacting with him. Things that were his normal routine, even if the paper no longer made sence he liked to "read" it.
Good luck..
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Ander355,
You mentioned delusions, seeing things (halicinations) and sensitivity to benzos along with dementia. You should look at the symptoms of Lewy Body Dementia. It is the 2nd leading cause of dementia, but is often misdiagnosed. It's important to diagnose properly because certain medications can be dangerous, even fatal for LBD.
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I understand how hard this is for you Ander. I am in the same situation. My mother has been diagnosed though, even though she won't believe it. I took her to the doctor a couple of weeks ago to rule out a UTI and she doesn't have one.

I also recently visited a memory care unit and I noticed that all of the rooms were like studio apartments which is fine with me as long as my mom gets the care she needs. I didn't see one locked door, except for the rooms for the staff and the front door. One of the goals of a memory care unit, is to get people out of their rooms to socialize with other people.

If you can get your dad to go to the doctor for a urine test, you can also get him tested for dementia, without having to go to a neurologist. It's a simple test. My mom was a master at fooling everybody else, including the doctor until the doctor gave her the test. I also made an "observations" list and kept it updated for the doctor which was a big help.

I wish you the best of luck!
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ander355, have your Dad tested for a Urinary Tract Infection because that can mimic dementia. The test is very easy and the medicine does clear up the infection. If it turns out not to be a UTI, then you can work from there.

Just curious, is it after 3pm or so that you find that your Dad is thinking he is still fully employed? My Dad would call me around 4pm and tell me he had a late meeting at work so he had missed the bus to come home, so he will stay at the hotel.... well, Dad had been retired over 25 years... the last time he took a bus to work was back in the late 1940's... and the hotel was actually his Memory Care room. My Dad was dealing with "sundowning" which is a phase of dementia.

I, too, was worried about my Dad moving from his nice size Independent Living apartment and going into a small studio apartment. What surprised me was that the Staff said the smaller the space the easier it is for the person who has dementia.... the person can see all of their possessions from anywhere in the room... and they don't have the fear that someone is in one of the other rooms taking their things. Made sense.

My Dad could still under the value of money, so he liked the idea when I said the Memory Care apartment will be less expensive [it was a therapeutic fib], plus it will feel like his college dorm. As long as I found room for all of his bookcases and books, he was happy there.

Oh, my Dad was never assessed or had seen a neurologist.... the facility where he lived did the assessment. It was easier because he was already a residence in Independent Living, thus the Staff knew him.

Find a senior living complex where it feels more like a hotel setting [such as Sunrise Senior Living], instead of a nursing home setting where you see dozens of residents sitting in the lobby or out front in their wheelchairs and looking zoned out. I know I had scratched a couple places off my list due to that.
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You say locked studio? Usually the entire unit locked. The lock on his unit door is for keeping other residents out so things do not disappear.
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Move forward with steps toward memory care. I've recently done that for my mom and she is adjusting much better than I thought ever possible. She is fiercely independent. Fortunately, I am retired and can visit her often...morning coffee/chat time with her and others. I know firsthand your concerns and fears about how your father will react, but move forward with your plans and keep reminding yourself that you are doing what is best for him...because you are. As others suggest, tour some memory care communities. There are many lovely communities out there.
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I would talk with his doctor about a written diagnosis so that you can begin to put things into place, like getting him some care, wherever that may be. When one can't be trusted to behave safely, MC is a good answer. And it's actually good that they're not full apartments, because that requires them to spend more time in the common areas with staff and other residents. Other than the fact that the staff won't let Dad go outside to the courtyard alone, he is adjusting well. He does have times of deep sadness, when he's very lucid and realizes the turn his life has taken in the past few years. Go check a few places out for yourself. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
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I am basically afraid to upset him. He will not be assessed or see a neurologist, so it would have to be adult protective services and a shrink to evaluate him. I am not sure if they do that there or take him away?

He keeps having delusions and got lost once so I am going to have to do it.

I have to say I laughed when you said they gave him staplers and etc and he is happy. I may work on that angle. Tie it all into his positive delusions.

As for meds, when they give him benzos or opiates he goes completely ga ga every time. And his ga ga visions are rarely pleasant so I hope they don't want to just stick him on haldol to shut him up.
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I've never known of full sized apartments in memory care. However, I've noticed that many men adjust very well to having small personal space. They are not so wedded to "stuff" like many women are. If he thinks that he's working at an ad agency, you may be able to work off this idea. Our MC has a patient who thinks he's the assistant manager. They give him so folders, stapler, pens, paper and a small table, and he's happy.
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Ander, what kind of doctor diagnosed your dad?

Has he ever been evaluated by a geriatric psychiatrist, who might be able prescribed meds for agitation, delusions, etc?

Most Memory Care units are not individual studio apartments. They are spacious rooms with lovely common rooms, dining areas, sometimes gardens and courtyards. You need to go on tours to see what is out there.

You sound very scared. Why are you afraid to have a needs assessment?
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