Dad has developed an obsession with caregiver at assisted living, crush maybe?


He goes into parking lot looking for her car, gets offended when she talks to other men, walks past me, his daughter, to hug her, etc. do i let it play out, if she backs off it will throw him into a tailspin. He waits daily for her to show up/He is very anxious when she is not around. I am up there almost daily, but i am the caretaker, not the social person so it seems I don;t count right now. i can deal with that, but his behavior towards her is becoming an issue. Other residents are staying away from him now because they think he is having an affair with this woman. She is wonderful and kind, by the way.

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I apologize, dad is almost 91 and his dementia level appears to be moderately severe at last evaluation.
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I've heard of this happening when a senior becomes, very old, ill or sometimes demented. You read all the time about children upset because their parent gave the caregiver valuable items, money, etc. Its sort of "transferrence", psych patients sometimes "fall in love" with their counselors, psychologists, etc. My friend's mother a few months before she died became obsessed with her male caregiver, making sexual remarks about him, gifting him, saying she was in love with him, etc. I competent caregiver knows how to handle that and might suggest finding another. Inappropriate behavior, taking favors from a patient could harm a caregiver's career.
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I think older people, with or without dementia, can become attached, perhaps too much so, to people who give them a lot of attention. Some people just have a natural compassion and knack for making people feel comfortable and important. And if the elder is lonely, that attention has a more intense impact.

It's hard to tell if your father's feelings are any deeper than just the need for attention, and perhaps it's unfortunate that people jump to the conclusion that there's more involved that just an elderly man with dementia needing some reinforcement.

Has this ever happened to him before? You might caution the caregiver; I would think generally that if his behavior got out of line she would put him in his place, but it wouldn't hurt to alert her to your concern for his attentions.

Windy's idea of mentioning the husband is a great idea.
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How old is Dad and what level is his dementia? Can you work with the caregiver to Cools his jets a little bit? I'm thinking she can still be nice and caring for him but start setting boundaries on hugging etc. She should tell him if her husband sees him hugging her he will beat him up.
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