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My dad is obsessed with his calendar and calls constantly about events that are to happen. Should I not tell him of upcoming events?

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I'm with all the folks here who have said that a calendar often doesn't help much. If I've heard my mother say once I've heard it 10,000 times when she calls to ask me a question multiple times..."I didn't look at the calendar" or "I should have written it down." She's not going to do either and to hear those comments over and over make me want to just tear my own hair out after awhile. So, less is more as most folks are saying and whatever keeps everyone calm and works best is the way to go.
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We went the giant calendar route as well, in his room. So he could write the times of ball games, when the Italian Club met and most important when he would bathe. Alas, he would write down when he showered when he did not do it and it caused a problem.
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I use a whiteboard with the week's appointments on it so the folks and the caregivers can all be aware of the schedule. They used to call frequently to ask about appointments but after a few time of me telling them-What does it say on the board-they quit calling and check the board on their own. Caregivers can also put schedule changes on there for all to see.

I also have a 8 1/2x 11 write-on/wipe-off calender beside my Dad's bed (each month I fill in the month and dates info) so that each morning he can cross off the new day. Since i've been doing this, he can tell me the month, day and date.
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My husband seemed to be obsessing over time, dates, checkbook entries, and anything with numbers. He would watch TV weather and tell me the temperature or wind speeds. He told me the date every morning using numbers. We picked up the grandkids after school and he would watch the time and tell me when it was time to go. I mentioned all this to his doctor and a few other odd things like an excellent sense of direction in a strange town. He ordered a new series of scans, CT and PET. From the symptoms and the new scans, he gave a new diagnosis. My husband didn't have AD, he had FTD. His fixation on numbers was because his language center was severely affected and all he understood clearly was numbers. He no longer could read or speak clearly(he only used pronouns, not nouns) and couldn't follow story lines on TV. So he talked about what he did know, numbers and directions! So then, when he would look at the clock and say, "We got to go over there now to get them," I knew why.
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my mom,92, worried about everything with the day,time,and appts.....i got a huge wipe off calendar..i write in all the days, then dr. appts. in one color, then who is her caregiver in another color, etc.,....it must be big and consistant each month......then we have one marker that we use to mark off the days...this works great!!!!
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@Mary11 its important not to ask questions on another members question as it can end up taking away from the original post members need. Would also love to answer but not here.
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This is for Mary11. You have a good question there, please post it in a separate thread so people will notice and give some answers an advice specific to that issue. I will be very interested to read what they say.
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Very common- his memory is fading and he is trying to keep up with "life". I bought mom an extra large Calendar and filled in all birthdays etc- whatever dates are important and if we schedule events or appts I fill those in immediately. She keeps it by her chair and looks thru it often. Simple solution- she loves butterflies so I got her a butterfly calendar. Whats dad like?
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My spouse has dementia and has gotten so obsesses with money, spending it on the lottery and anything he wants and everything is about him only. Have any of you been through this.
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I agree with all....wait until the last hours or even minutes before an appointment or notification of a friends/family impending visit. Otherwise, their paranoia about being prepared just sets them in a tailspin (and you as well, after having to answer their repeated questions or concerns)
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Besides the above mentioned FIL we also have my dad 87 who lives on his own at the moment...but should not be. I live a hundred miles or so from his Florida home. He was down here this winter fixing it to sell and so I was up there a lot. I would tell him I was coming at 11:30 AM and I am extremely prompt and reliable, but he was always standing outside on the porch waiting for me and would be displeased if I was 2 minutes late (seriously 2 min/100 mile?) I also wrote him a list of each time I would come, what we were doing and the day. He could not keep track of it and one day called at 3:30 PM to say he could not wait one more second for me to show up for lunch! I wasn't supposed to be there until the NEXT day, clearly the calendar thingy is not working for him! I was really stunned!
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My mom is past being able to use a calendar since she never knows what day or date it is. I don't tell her about appointments until that day because, like others, she obsesses about them. Last fall, she broke a tooth and needed a series of five dental appointments for the repair. Since she could feel the broken tooth in her mouth, she was calling me many times each day to ask when her dental appointment was. I hung a yellow legal pad on her wall, and wrote each appointment, in order, on a sheet of the tablet. She still called me, but at least the staff at the ALF could easily answer her when she asked. Each time I picked her up for an appointment, I just removed the top sheet and the next appointment time was right there.
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CountryMouse, I too doublecheck things before going to bed or leaving the house, especially the stove. I might not have used it all day but still need to check to make sure it's off. I'd like to think I'm just being extra cautious!

Upallnight, I think mail (especially junk mail and so-called charitable solicitations) is another area of obsession. For some reason, it's treated as though it's important and all of it needs to be reviewed. When I get my father's mail I sneak some of the junk mail away and slip it in my car if I know he's not watching.

And now there's an election coming up in August so there will be junk mail in the mailbox and at the door in the form of political solicitors.
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As humans lose autonomy, lose some memory and mental functions, and become less involved socially [more isolated?], they will --heck, anyone might!--
become more obsessive about keeping dates, appointments, or something else, etc.
People will learn to compensate in some incredible ways, for abilities they are losing.

Gma picked up smooth beach pebbles, used a pencil to write words and phrases on them, then placed them carefully around the house on any horizontal surface--trying to hold onto at least some thoughts.
That drove my uncle nuts--he kept tossing them outside, as he considered it unorganized--he simply failed to understand it was G'ma's last-ditch effort to hold onto a few thoughts, as Alzheimer's crept in.

Mom's [for over 30 years!] kept writing / re-writing about certain topics--absolutely reams of paper generated, yet, she was unable to keep them in order or saved very well, and, has pretty much stuck to similar topics.
She's believed it's extremely important information for posterity and society.
She's understood, at some deep level of subconscious, that her mental ills somehow invalidate her life, despite having accomplished some extraordinary things despite her issues; she's wanted, deeply, to have her life COUNT for something, and this has been a last-ditch attempt towards that.
She's written various versions of same and hand them to whoever she was talking with, wherever--the Doc, his staff, people in stores, push me to send them to politicians, fold into her collaged birthday cards to family, whoever.
Some of them are shaded with her fears regarding her life, spirituality, and politics.

Another G'ma kept kleenexes--up sleeves, in pockets, in a garter, in the kleenex box, between book pages--aargh! But she could always find one!
She was also obsessive about keeping things in exactly the same spots--2" out of place, she couldn't find 'em. My Parent-unit caregiver didn't understand, got so upset about it---needed it explained to her---that it took even a little bit more energy to find something 2" out of place, than being able to go directly to it--even those tiny bits more energy use, could make-it-or-break-it for finding/taking meds, getting to the potty fast enough, eating, etc. She barely moved during sleep--had trained herself to do that, to avoid too much effort to make the bed in the morning.

One brain-injured sister relies heavily on sticky notes and family members reminding her of things. I've seen the dashboard of her car literally covered in sticky-note reminders--each one w/a separate item on it, or it won't work.

Calendars, datebooks, sticky notes--good stuff.
If they keep reminding you of something, just keep assuring them.
If they must use other tools or useful obsessions, let 'em, as long as it is not harmful or impossible to deal with!
Patience! There, but for the Grace of God, go we.
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Maybe it is just me, but I forget dates, no person can remember everything. Even my 13 year old grandson with ADD has to keep organized or he forgets everything. I use to write everything down on a calendar, like mentioned above, but if you are not at home you are back to forgetting. Since I got my smart phone, life has been so much, much better. So my answer is two part. 1. In the phone you have calendar that can be shared with the whole family, the calendar has notifications, and a note section. Phone numbers can be added, so you can call a number from your event. You can even set up a calendar reminder to put something on your calendar. With this set up, it does two things, keeps a parents mind stimulated, and keeps them organized, let me tell you, elderly persons DO like to be in control, and so much of what goes on in there life is done for them, this is one small way to let them have control. If they have Alz, they can stop and add to there calendar while they remember. It seems like that would give them piece of mind, no pun intended, the cell can be will them at all times with a belt clip or such. Now the second part, if the person is OCD or gets ready hours before an appointment, the calendar and reminder notifications may of great use, if they have a doctor's appointment, set up a reminder to get dressed, shower, shave, etc. they may check the calendar 40 times to see when it will go off, but they can learn to hear the ringer, and can feel like they are in control. If you get the right cell, you can set up dates remotely. Hope this can help, my 88 year old father loves his cell phone, he has Parkinson's so we got him a larger cell, and he loves it. He checks his email, surf's the net, uses his calendar, he even puts on events that happen locally, the other day he asked my brother, isn't there an air show this weekend, he can not go, being so weak, but my brother was amazed, and then they had a long talk about old air shows that my dad had been to.
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My dad doesn't remember what year it is, what month it is, when I was born or anything else. But if I tell him I'm coming over at 4:00 o'clock, Lord help me if I show up at 4:01. "Where were you!? Why were you so late?!?"
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Ugh, I just do not tell FIL (87) of any appointments until we are all up and dressed with coffee. Reason being if I tell him the day before or have it on his calendar he gets up at 5 AM and wakes us all. He leaves the house at 9:30 for a lunch appointment (still driving) and sits on the couch tapping his foot hours in advance of any appointments that we do take him to. Drives us NUTS.
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My dad writes everything down in a datebook. He's done this since he worked. He's almost 94 and marks each dr appointment etc in this datebook as well as on a calendar on his fridge. If I'm to go with him to an apt, he'll remind me every night when he calls. Rather than tell him you already reminded me, I just say oh yes, I wrote it down. I think when they become almost obsessive with dates, etc, it's just their way of trying to cope with declining memory. No point in getting him upset. I try and put myself in his shoes and act accordingly.
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Yes this is very common. It makes some elders very anxious. When they constantly ask family members about appointments. It is stressful and overwhelming. I found it better to tell my mother the day of the appointment to ease the stress.
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My husband is obsessed with his Medicare Mail and coverage. I'm just glad he quit calling the 800 number. I agree the Calender is not a good idea because it will cause more confusion. My husband went through a phone phase and thought he had to call. He would call and not be able to follow through with why he was calling. He would try to get me to "understand" and call for him. Ugg! He is obsessed with the mail and will sit and look at it all day. He is just 57. I just glad he is not mean anymore. Your Dad is going through a phase and other behaviors will replace them. Hang in there!!! Our loved ones need us.
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Also: you know how uncomfortable you feel when you know you've forgotten something but you can't think what it is? (In my case, it's often my own head, sigh…) I suppose having dementia might involve feeling like that about almost everything. Frightening and confusing.

GA, you're absolutely right about the checking and needing to reassure oneself too - with me it can be getting out of bed twice over to make sure I've turned the heating down (when I have). Oh Lord, are we saying that just because you're demented it doesn't mean you can't have ocd too…?!!!

I am going to learn to meditate properly or I will be taking after my mother before my time.

Thank you for the WalMart idea KDCM - we've got an Asda not far away, which WM owns, so maybe they can help.
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Yes! When my mother has to go anywhere whether it be drs, hair appt, she will look at the calendar for days ahead of time ..and ask me about it days ahead .of time too...now when she needs to go somewhere I tell her 15 minutes ahead of time....she would also get her coat out the day before , then put it on 4 or 5 hrs before we had to leave...
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Oops, meant to write "she gets ill". Silly autocorrect on iPad.
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Yes Gary. This is why. As the disease progresses our parents want to hold onto everything they can because they are proud and stubborn in their ways. When they begin to lose things that they have done all of their lives like driving, or dispensing their own medicines, trimming their flowers, any and all tasks they once did on their own, they try to hold onto some of that until the end so they try their hardest to remain cognizant in keeping their appointment schedules, dates and times and always ready to leave for their appointments far in advance of the necessary time it would take to arrive on time. Let them do it. My mother likes to write appointment times, dates and notes on our wall calendar to constantly review and she likes to remind me often of her appointments. So...just take a slow deep breath and remain gentle, soft spoken and calm ( all new lessons for me when this began 3 years ago ).
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Garyscott, my mom, too, is obsessed like that. We don't even bother telling her of any upcoming appointments, as she works herself up into such a tizzy she gets I'll. She is constantly obsessed about tomorrow. What do I have to do? Who is coming? OMG! We used to write on a white board what today is, what tomorrow is, and who is coming tomorrow. That worked until her dementia progressed to the point where the words were meaningless. Now we just answer the same questions over and over and over again until we are on the brink of madness.

Countrymouse, I found a clock for under $20 at WalMart. It has day, date, time, and AM or PM. Do you have anything like a WalMart by you? I bought 5 or 6 of the same type and put them all around the house. This worked well for about a year for my mom. Now she is beyond understanding it and doesn't really understand much of what she reads anymore. Which is why the calendar doesn't work anymore either.
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I did not have this problem with dates. However, my father needed lots of time to get ready for any social gathering. He also needed a nap before such gatherings, and I found he could not take company for more than 1 1/2 hours so we often left parties early. After awhile he was not able to be at social gathering after 4 or 5 pm because his energy level didn't last longer even with a prior nap. It was difficult for some family members to understand their evening parties were too late even if they began at 6 pm. Working health adults don't realize the elder lacks stamina.
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CountryMouse,

I have seen such a clock, probably in literature I picked up at an AAA Expo, but offhand I don't know where it is. I'll see if I can find it for you. There are companies that specialize in "adaptive" accessories and that was probably one of them.

You know, there is some element of obsessive repetition that may not be associated with dementia. I experience this sometimes when I have a complicated legal or financial project and am stressed out from caregiving - it's hard to really get a good perspective and know that my calculations or conclusions are right, so I go over them more than a few times until I feel I've done as good a job as I can. Sometimes there's still a feeling of being unsettled about the project though.

I there that some behaviors that are primarily attributed to dementia but are also coping and adaptive behaviors that younger people experience, but no one associates them with dementia because of their age. I recall a few occasions when attorneys with whom I worked experienced this on very complex issues.
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I'd have thought that if you don't tell him about real events he'll just fabricate either fictitious events or something else entirely to obsess about. At least if you mark it all down on a big, clear calendar you've got a quick response handy when he asks, viz "look at your calendar, Dad, we wrote it down for you, ok?" I agree it won't stop the calls, though. My MIL writes everything down in her diary and then asks constantly and repetitiously for confirmation that she's got the details right. It is a pain.

On the subject of helping them keep track of time and date etc. - I saw the perfect dementia-friendly clock, big bold face, clear day and date, just right; but the price was insane - well over £100, which is… um… anyway, getting on for $200 it must have been. I know that's not a lot for very fancy clocks, but this was just ordinary battery-operated plastic, only thoughtfully designed. Has anyone seen a similar, hyper user-friendly one for a slightly more reasonable amount of money?
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I think he's trying to maintain what higher functioning skills he has and create parameters by which he can still navigate his life. It's one method of maintaining some structure amidst evolving chaos in his mind.

We also used a very large calender, with color coding for different events. PT was one color, home nurse another, doctor appointments yet another color. It helps the different types of events stand out and be distinctive.

If you still take him out to lunch or dinner, get some of those little smiley stickers or something like that to highlight exceptionally happy events so he can look forward to them.
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last night I told my 83 year old husband ( mod ALZ ) that our SIL was coming by in the am, he went off the wall, I used to be able to tell him 2 days before, but after that reaction I will wait till the day of. In my case, forget the calendar, they cannot relate to time & space, my husband can not answer what date, day, or year it is, let alone have him check the calendar - it's Greek to him. Just bought him a new watch with a large digital display as the hands on his watch became a real obsession with him, he could not figure out the time anymore. Even with the digital I know he is only reading me the time, it does make him proud, but he does not understand it. I would suggest just not giving your a Dad any information that will cause a frenzy. Calm is good
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