Dad has a hard time being around those with dementia. Can I do anything to change this?

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He's 85 and cognitive. My mom died of Alzheimer's October 2012. He still thinks nothing was wrong with her, though she was demented for at least 15 years, refusing help or to believe something was wrong with mom. He is going to adult health/daycare 3x a week for about 4 hours each day, nothing positive to say about it, and complains more and more about "those people." It makes me upset because my mom WAS one of "those people." Can I get him to be more charitable? Oh, on the last note, what a good Catholic man, who spouts off Go* D*** and prays the beads. It makes me sick and sad.

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Eddie, I think another drop in visit sounds excellent!
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Waddle1, you are right on the money! Sounds like our dads were cut from the same cloth. I have only made a comment one time, about a year and half ago. My mom was still alive, at her skilled nursing home. All of us kids were told not to talk to the residents by dad, but you know what? Most of them never got visitors and the ladies and men kind of lit up when someone without scrubs on spoke with them or held their hands (same as my mom reacted!) I quietly told dad mom was one of those people and that it the people happy, No reaction from him meant he heard me and was probably bugged, but oh well. I tried to remember to be in the moment with mom, best advice I ever got. If she saw dogs in her room, I'd ask what it looked like. She would get very descriptive, then I would "chase the dog away" and she would be satisfied. Little white lies maybe but she and the other ladies were always content after you accepted their world and included them as full functioning people. Thanks all of you guys, I'm going to hang in there!
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Many thanks to all of you for you helpful and candid answers. Family Circle is a great place, it is not specifically for those with dementia. The VA's object was getting out of the house a bit, socialization and physical therapy regularly. They actually have a section called the memory center just for people with dementia and memory related problems. If he's he's home he sits and pouts because I don't drive him around all day, nor will he even try to do the exercises that his doctors and PT's have asked him to do. So, it does give me a small break to get chores done and try to attend to my own needs without guilt. I agree with Scared's answer in that it may be a reminder of the home my mom lived at. I have approached counseling, but that's not in the cards. I also 100% agree with Balexander9's note that the nurses, doctors and anyone who works at a nursing facility or senior center have seen it all before. I have given him the option of not going, but he is also aware that some doors have closed to him because he refused to take meds, PT, etc. As I said, the VA is paying his way 100%, this is actually an adult HEALTH/day center, there are all kinds of attendees there and they sure seem to have a good time. I dropped in a few times just to see the day in progress, it's a great program!
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Before I lose my thoughts.... upon reading these posts I need to share this...
I have come to the conclusion that my Mom ( who has dementia) is troubled when someone is acting improper in a negative way, she points out the 'drooler's" the "ranters" the "swearer's" etc. she tells me to stay away from anyone who has these types of odd behaviors, she basically finds these behaviors annoying and just stays away from those people. She does not, in any way, shape or form, excepting of these behaviors, There is a woman that smiles all day long another woman laughs out loud about anything and everything, a woman caresses a baby doll all day, they do not disturb her. In fact the people who generate a peaceful happy emotion she compliments them and says they are sweet or pretty or nice. she even offers them a wave or asks them to sit by her.
There is one man who is a fall risk, in a wheelchair he fidgets but is speechless, he doesn't stay in a sitting position, so when Mom is next to him and see's him try to stand she say's "uhuhuh ohnoohno sit down" in a calm voice then hes sits two minutes later this all repeats, this can go on all day long and neither one will quit and that doesn't bother Mom or the man. If someone else shouted out a bad word in anger then Mom would get up and walk away.
So I look at it like this..... would I rather be in a room of angry people or people with unsanitary habits, swearing, shouting or in a room of peaceful pleasant smiling happy people. I really think it's that simple sometimes.
I used to watch two and a half men with Mom, she'd say "Oh my Oh my...can they really say that stuff on TV?? they talk about sex and bad things." She was in shock, I'd say Oh I'll turn it off, she'd say " no no this is so funny, but such bad language" In fact she started to get excited to go home and ask to see the show with those funny guys.
Thought i'd share this!!!
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58:

I also have a problem being around people with dementia; particularly those that talk about 5 different subjects at the same time and expect you to connect the dots. I try to respectfully listen and help them gather their seemingly incoherent thoughts & expressions accompanied by erratic behaviors. Sometimes they get mad at me because I'm "crazy" and don't make any sense. ... In a nutshell, we're in very different wavelengths.

As to your Mom, it must have been excruciatingly painful for him to watch Alzheimer's rob her of herself before it robbed her of her life. Call it denial, but he probably just wanted to remember her as she was. Besides, if his behavior towards her had changed she'd have somehow noticed, said something about it like "You've changed," and become saddened further.

I'm no expert on dementia, but I'd keep him company the next time he goes to FC and help him identify individuals he can "click" or hobnob with. Once he builds a posse they can all talk about those looney tunes over there. Hopefully he'll realize that the more he talks about other people the more he says about himself.
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Scared...thanks for your comments. I don't know how helpful I was in helping 58yroldchild respond to his/her father's thoughts & words, but her/his story did ring a bell with me on what maybe causing those thoughts & comments from the father. If I'm right, 58yroldchild shouldn't even think he/she can change the father's opinion. It would be a waste of his/her efforts or thoughts. The father could even be stubborn in holding-on to his opinion because at this stage in his life he probably is fighting change.

58yroldhild...I did want to point out something that I neglected to mention in my previous post. That is, people of this age group can be easily embarrassed (proud) to admit or acknowledge that someone in their family has/had what they consider "mental issues" or any troubles that in the old days were considered private, dirty laundry that should be kept behind closed doors. That is probably why your father "still thinks nothing was wrong with her, though she was demented for at least 15 years, refusing help or to believe something was wrong with mom".

I know your father's comments are hard to hear and his lack of acknowledgement concerning your mother's dementia, hard to deal with. I don't think there's anything wrong with you vocally disagreeing with him, or shaking your head when he makes negative comments about "those people". You may feel as though you're condoning it if you don't respond in some way. You might feel better if you do respond. But, from my experience, I wouldn't expect to change his opinion or stop him from making those comments. This could actually be worse, where these long held opinions, stubborness, and denial effects the treatment and care (including life & death) decisions for himself and others, which I believe is what happened with my parents...and I'm still not over it. It has changed, perhaps forever, my relationship with my father. I don't want that to happen to you or anyone else. Provide guidance and assistance to your father, avoid lecturing him, and keep an eye on him concerning decisions that he makes. I wish you peace.
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Some very good thoughts, waddle1. So true about the different generations.
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My mother, whom died two years ago at 85, had early dementia and my father never could understand it. I tried to explain dementia and alzheimer's to him numerous times and in varying ways and he just could not absorb it. Nor could he deal well with the changes that came to her or to his life. He is 87 and comes from an era where men and women had their cultural roles to carry-out. That is how he was raised and has lived his life...'men are strong, women are weak and fragile. Men make decisions, women provide support. Men work, women raise the children and keep-up the house. The roles are not to be mixed-up.'

My father, and perhaps your father, grew-up when it was considered a "woman's mental mallady" known as "the vapors" if the woman became nervous, unpredictable, full of worry, withdrawn, moody. Often at that time, women were institutionalized-abandoned-hidden simply because they "acted differently", or were depressed and were considered "crazy" or 'nuts'. Well, we know now...it wasn't/isn't just a woman thing and when one begins to lose memory and logic they are not crazy. It is a physical change that occurs in the brain that can't be helped by the man or woman who suffers from it. I think for a lot of people, especially men (who imo are in general more self-centered), their reaction can be one of denial. As long as they don't try to understand dementia or learn about it...they can deep it away from knocking at their door.

I think this long standing belief and history with people of this age group and what they experienced in their formative years ("the good old days"), is difficult, if not impossible to change. Teach an old dog a new trick?? Perhaps situations like this is where that saying came from. I understand you being upset with your father...I've been there. You've given him options and he is still making his choices. Let him deal with the consequences and don't you worry about it (easier said than done, I know) You don't have to approve of his behavior, to do the right thing with him...giving him your time, attention and love.
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58yroldchild...I just read an article on the home page here....that may help You and your Father, and a lot of us here to understand more about Dementia. This is from his view of what he feels about his diagnosis etc.. This article is about a Doctor who has been diagnosed with Dementia/Alzheimer's. MEET DAVID HILFIKER is the title.
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Your father may think of himself as not being like "those people" because he is functioning better than his wife was towards the end and perhaps better than many or most of the people in the adult day care program. Having seen what happened to his wife, it must be terrifying for him to think that the same thing might be happening to him. If he really was very out of place at the adult day care program, a program that is designed for people with dementia, he wouldn't be willing to go there. As long as he is willing to attend the program, it doesn't matter if he is in denial about his own condition. My husband definitely has dementia (diagnosed through standardized testing in 2008 with yearly retesting, although it is believed that he doesn't have Alzheimer's) but since he is higher functioning than most of the people in his adult day care program, he tends to think that he doesn't have dementia as they do. However, he does like to attend the day care program which is what is important at this point. As others have said, the people who work at adult day care programs are used to dealing with difficult, inappropriate behaviors and are therefore not likely to judge your father (or you) if he has temper tantrums or behaves in other ways that would be embarrassing under other circumstances.
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