My father is 78 and was diagnosed with dementia 8 months ago after a hospital stay for an unrelated medical issue. I am an only child and pretty much his only family (he and my mom divorced when I was 6 - I’m now 52). I have spent the past 8 months with him almost every day since he was discharged from the hospital in December. Currently he’s at the rehab where he went after the hospital because I just don’t know what to do. The problem is this..... my Father seems “too normal” to have dementia - although many of the characteristics he’s had his entire life (that may lead a doctor to believe he has it) he’s had forever! My father is an educated man but has never gained value with the changing of times. He’s been a bachelor for 46 years and he’s never had anyone challenge his “unique” way of life. He has never used a computer (not wanted to learn), he can’t figure out simple gadgets like a gps or an alarm system. He doesn’t care about a messy house or dirty clothes. Even when he was in his 50’s, I wouldnt trust him enough to watch my dogs for fear he’d forget to let them in at night. He refuses to make new friends because everyone he meets he sees as different than him and he doesn’t have anything in common (although he pretends to like everyone - especially people that are beneath him). So now that he’s in rehab and is not going back home (to live like a homeless person), I feel he’s angry at me. But rather than participating in an open calm conversation, (which I have tried to have) so I can find out what he really wants, he dances around the subject and when confronted, tells me he’s happy and content. Problem #2, he’s not. He calls me constantly! He starts at 7:45am and leaves multiple messages saying that he’s leaving at noon to go home and would I be able to help him move..... or he’s leaving at noon to go home and do I want any food to take him..... or he’s leaving at noon to go home and will I be stopping over because he wants to be sure he’s still there. This is a vicious cycle that happens every single morning. When I get to the rehab (usually around 11:30am) I’m a wreck and he’s fine. Sometimes I confront him (in a nice way) and he denies leaving the messages. I dont think it’s that he forgets he left them - I think he’s content when I get there so all is well. I’m sort of losing my own mind because if we’re talking about the news or even a problem that someone ELSE is having, he’s like Dr Phil! But when it comes to dealing with his life (which in turn would make my life a little less stressed) he clams up. He ignores the fact that I have a husband and children that I don’t see because I’m with him and sometimes he asks why I don’t do what I used to do (which is because every waking hour is spent with him). I’m so stressed and I really wish I knew for sure if this is true dementia or just his passive aggressive behavior. I would venture to say that 80% of my fathers personality is the same as it was even when he was younger. He’s a difficult person and I never really spent as much time with him in the past as I do now. It’s a struggle and has always been to spend time with him. But I know for sure that the way he is now is the way he was back then (just with a little forgetfulness). Sometimes I think back and wonder if what he used to tell me was truth or lies. I know now that a lot of lying is going on. Ugh can anyone shed some light on this?!

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Back off on the visits, let the home do it's job. Helicopter caretakers do not help they actually hinder the process. He is of that generation where the man is in charge, the little woman is in the passenger seat, he is the driver. This is very common. Stop answering the phone, the home will call you if there is an emergency.

I certainly hope that you are considering placing him in AL after PT, this will continue to get worse, yes, IMO he has dementia! Sending support your way, keep posting, it will help.
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Yes, and a multitude of other stuff, It sounds like he is hiding a lot of fear. His generation did not allow men to show it. You need to think about all the legal stuff. Do you want to be his P.O.A.? If not then the state will step in. All that other stuff is based off fear also. Set some boundaries, be firm, and talk to a counselor about how to deal with his behavior. Tell him if he doesn't want to talk about what he wants or to have you be is POA, then you will turn it over to the state.
A counselor can help you talk with him or help you make the desissions you are going to have to make. He will start to decline and if nothing is done before he declines you will have to go through the courts.
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Wish I had more energy to give you more in-depth tips. But for now reward good behavior ignore bad behavior. When he does things that make you crazy or make you look like you're crazy, walk out of the room and acknowledge he may or may not remember it but you have to take a break right now and walk out of the room. My mother was a smart cookie she had Alzheimer's 10 years before we ever knew it. Six kids -one lived with her -I visited her twice a week and I didn't know. Some of her children thought she was just being a bitch, others just chalked it up to her being passive aggressive and crazy. But really she was hiding her Alzheimer's and she was quite the pro. About a year after Her diagnosis, I found her with a newspaper writing out a cheat sheet for her neuro appointment the next day. It was at this time she couldn't not tell you her address where she had lived for 40 years or phone number which had not changed for 40 years. Three years later, after her death I found 10 years worth of notes listing all her children all their birthplaces- all their birth dates, all their birth times not once -not twice -but a hundred maybe 200 -times. I found these notes in faded and folded notes inside boxes I know she had not touched in a decade.. She had suffered so much longer than we ever knew. When I think of her being scared over losing her mind, and not being able to share that with any of us, it breaks my heart. Hang in there with your dad hang in there. He cud just be smooth!
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Why are you going and spending every day with him? I would take a week or 2 vacation and then reset your visiting to once a week or two, whatever works for you.

I would not even listen to the messages, the facility will call you if there is a problem.

He is safe, cared for, gets fed 3x daily with snacks, has activities and people to socialize with. He is playing mind games with you and you are the only one that can stop you from participating.

Your husband and children need you, don't let him take anymore time away from your family.
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I have a mother quite like your father, except she's 92. She's always been narcissistic and passive aggressive and loves loves LOVES to feel Better Than others by putting everyone else down. Continuously. She was diagnosed with progressive dementia in 2016 and was recently hospitalized with pneumonia and sent off to rehab for 20 days to regain her strength. So, the Assisted Living place she was at for 4 yrs prior would not take her back because she's now too cognitively impaired and too physically impaired ie: wheelchair bound. So they took her in Memory Care instead which she hates because the residents are all CRAZY and NUTS and STUPID and she's perfectly normal. See where I'm going with This? Some of the behavior is dementia related, some is passive aggressive and some is narcissistic or normal for HER.

So. I've never had a normal conversation with my mother in the 62 years I've been alive. She lies through her teeth and skirts the issue, much like your dad is doing to you. Everything is hunky dory when we talk....she loves it in memory care, but how long does she have to stay there and why is she there to begin with? It's part of the narcissistic personality (NPD)traits these people exhibit. And on that subject......gaslighting.

I think your father is gaslighting you, frankly. He's purposely trying to make you think you're losing your mind by leaving you voicemails then denying it. Trying to make you question your sanity. It's part of the NPD behavior you should read up on. Google it, I'm not kidding. For years I thought mother was passive aggressive until I read up on NPD and realized aha, THIS is what I've been dealing with! Combine that with some dementia and it's truly a nightmare with these people.

Your dad's doctor likely gave him a cognition test, right? If he just diagnosed him with dementia based on chatting with him alone, he may be mistaken. These people Showtime like oscar winning actors....trotting out normal behavior when trying to impress others, or being forgetful when it suits them. No doubt your father is as good an actor as my mother so that leaves everyone, including US, scratching our heads lots of times. He's mastered the art of manipulation but YOU are still a novice.

It's a bad situation and I empathize with you. My best advice is to cut down your visits. Draw boundaries......make rules that are not negotiable. Ie: I will visit on Mon And Thurs every week and call you once a day. All other calls will go to vm since I'm very busy. That sort of thing. Otherwise, your dad will figure a way to consume your entire LIFE and then innocently ask why you're not spending more time with your hubby because he sure doesn't want to be a pest. Let him know you KNOW he's leaving you these voicemails and if necessary you can play them back to "tweak his memory". The gig is UP dad, there are some new rules now!

Good luck......its a lot to deal with, these old folks with personality quirks that drive us insane. That's why we need to make rules and draw boundaries, for our own sake!!! In the end it doesn't matter what name or diagnosis is put to it, just that WE learn how to navigate it and manage them. Sending you a hug.
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chachacha Sep 2019
thank you for writing this response. i too have a narcissistic mother. i am 62 years old and most of my life was spent being manipulated by this mother of all mothers. like you, i had that AHA moment several years ago after reading about NPD. it felt great didn't it. a kind of vindication.
unfortunately, the moment didn't last long. my mother is 93 and over the last six months her mental state has gone downhill fast. she has no memory - or does she? she calls 20 to 30 times a day with a major crisis, in tears. and then tells me -or screams at me - that she never called. she has made some disastrous financial decisions that have depleted her bank accounts. she refuses to live any where but her home. because i have no other choice i had to move into her house last saturday only three days in and i am about to jump in front of a speeding train. i cannot stop crying, she has turned into a horrible 3 year old child, throwing temper tantrums until she gets her way. not much different than before, only now she stomps her feet and puts her hands over her ears when she doesn't like what i am saying. i am not sure if her memory loss is 100% real. it seems to be at her convenience. i am at a loss as to what to do to keep my sanity. any ideas are welcome.
thank you
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