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My parents both have dementia. Mum has Alzheimer’s and is 86. Dad has Vascular Dementia and is 88. I was caring for them both until a year ago when it all became too much. I am 63 and hubby 65. They are in a nursing home now, pay privately through the nose for it and since their money is flying out of their bank acct to pay for the care - £10,000 per 4 weeks, I (POA) am selling their flat to pay for continuing care.


My problem is that every time I visit, my dad complains about the home. My mum is very settled there and feels secure. Dad is blind and deaf as well as ill with dementia so he becomes very confused a lot of the time, understandably, and also suffers from suspicion and paranoia episodes. He is taking meds for this. He also doesn’t fully appreciate that he has dementia and that he needs looking after. They both refused to have any carers helping me when I looked after them previously, that’s why they had to move to a home.


My dad is under the impression that if my mum passes first, he can move back to his flat. I would be doing it all over again 24/7 if this happened! I have told him that someone has offered to buy his home but he says if it is sold he wants to see it first. Last time I took him to see it, he got angry because everything had been cleared and cleaned, even though I had gone through everything with him previously - short term memory probs!


He says If it is sold he will move 130 miles away back to his home town where he knows people and I can visit him once a week! I am finding this all so stressful I am at the point of giving up! At the same time, I feel his pain at losing his independence and I’m always trying to please him and fighting a losing battle. On top of all this I feel super guilty because I had to use some of my mother’s money to pay for our food bills and some treats, like days away as I have had to give up my job to see to them and my life has been on hold for years to look after them and hubby is retired. We are finding it very difficult to say the least. Any advice or sympathy appreciated. I feel I am such a bad person.

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Els. I know it must be as hard for you to accept Dad’s behavior as can be. Since he is blind as well as deaf, communicating with him must be impossible. You can’t really tell him anything because he won’t hear you. He is living inside of his broken brain. Who know what’s going on inside there. You said Dad was always like this. Dementia seems to magnify these behaviors.

Dont take Dad’s behavior personally. It’s not aimed at you or your fault and it’s not up to you to “fix it”. Right now, he’s striking out at anyone and everyone. He’s throwing out all these demands because he’s trying to fix his situation himself and he’s angry because it’s not working. Maybe in his past life being an SOB worked, but not now.

When he starts, take a deep breath, smile, pat him on the shoulder and leave.
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Reply to Ahmijoy
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Thank you
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Reply to bigsun
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I had to personally let go of my parents and pray that I did the right thing. Best,
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Stop feeling guilty. You have to do what is prudent and right. You are 1 person and arent the hired help. He wants you to do this or that. No your not doing it. Next subject. Moving on....

I would gently change the subject when your dad brings it up. Or flat out tell him he cannot go back in time and live like he is an independent 30yr old. Then say that will happen when you turn a gorgeous 20 yr old again. Then have a good laugh. How is he able to hear and remember all of this anyway? That seems like a lot for someone with dementia making all these plans.

Either change, the subject- did I tell you so and so called and asked about you. Or, I have to use the lady's room. How is your meal? Etc. If you can't come up with good answer, leave to check on something with staff. He probably won't remember when you come back.

If he insists, tell him all of this was settled a long time ago. Going over just upsets you, and you refuse to be upset. Subject closed. Change subject. No other updates to report. If he argues, tell him you will not discuss it, and leave. Make good on leaving. You will see him next visit. If he has dementia, he shouldn't be bringing up so much detail & info, unless you are keeping him constantly updated on every every visit. Stop updating period. He doesn't need to know because it is upsetting to him. You are the parent and essentially he is the child. They need to be safe, cared for, and stress free. If he is hard of hearing, he is not going to hear everything anyway.

A lot of elderly want to go home. Men especial like to grumble and complain. Very common. More so with men, than with women. Just ignore it. Every comment doesn't need an answer.

You have the upper hand in this. He has memory problems, hard of hearing, and dementia. Keep changing the subject and not give updates about flat sold, now onto selling storage contents, what to do with foto albums etc. He is bringing it up because you are.

Change topic, deflect, go silent, read him an nice magazine article, talk about this crazy weather, what's on the tv, what did he have for dinner, how is your hip? I brought you a snack, etc.

Visiting elderly should be like visiting someone in the hospital. Pleasant and light. Not chat about $, homes, financial issues, stress , family fighting, dying loved ones etc.
I would also get a hold of nursing staff - to not tell your dad if your mom dies. That should be up to YOU. I wouldn't tell him she's doing poorly, or latest setback, issue etc. But that's me.

We had discussed with staff not to tell our dad, mom died. One cna decided she needed to tell him. So he had to grieve alone. I was livid! That is a family's right. You should have that right to tell him or not. We didn't want to, because he had enuff problems.

Keep your visits like you would someone in the hospital. Talk of non upsetting things. Happy and light. Upbeat. Good luck.
And take time for yourself. Go out to lunch with friends, take hubs to dinner, bowling, a movie etc. You need to take care of your stress to.
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Reply to Jasmina
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Thank you Isthisreallyreal. Appreciate your kind words.
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Reply to Els1eL
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You are not a bad person. You are doing what needs to be done, for all involved.

Don't let him guilt you into taking him anywhere.

Stay strong and exam your boundaries, maybe you need to reassess them in the present situation.

Hugs for being willing to do the hard things!
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Thank you very much Val3rie, Ahmijoy and cwillie. Your comments have helped me. I guess I know all of this but it helps to hear it from others.
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Reply to Els1eL
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My husband has vascular dementia also. He is emotionally flat and very pleasant from his strokes. When he doesn't understand things, he just shrugs and doesn't get worked up.

My MIL is the opposite, she is like your father. She nags me every day for her car, for her checkbook, for her independence and she is angry at the world and she is frustrated.

I don't argue with her, I just nod and shrug. I don't say anything when she goes on a rant and I remember that she probably won't recall that conversation in a few days.

I think cwillie said it very well.
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You understand that your father is just mad at the world, don’t you? Some people with dementia, like my father-in-law, are meek and mild. And others with dementia, like my mom, are combative, delusional and angry.

Who gave your father the impression that when Mom passes he’s leaving? Was this something that was said to pacify him? He seems to be of the impression that he’s running the show, and he’s not. It probably wasn’t a good idea to bring him to his flat either. You will crash and burn if you keep trying to meet your father’s demands. He has a lot of anger issues and believes that he will get his way by demanding he be obeyed. Stop trying to make things up to him. I know you feel sad and guilty. I did too when I placed my mom. But like you, there truly was no other solution.

When he starts angrily making demands, tell him you aren’t able to meet his demands right now. And leave before he becomes angrier. Let the facility staff handle him and his anger. That’s what you’re paying for. Understand his brain is broken and he is not able to be reasonable and comprehend what you’re saying
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bigsun Aug 19, 2018
Thank you. My dad continues to be angry and demented. He was a volatile and angry person earlier in his life. I am exhausted... feeling like he has me under some kind of lock and chain mentally. It's time for him to let go..
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You can't expect to have a reasonable conversation with him about this, he has dementia. The home he longs for is one where he was a physically and mentally fit younger man who was captain of his own fate, unfortunately no home will ever give him that. Tell him whatever you need to in order to appease him, delay, defer and redirect - don't think of it as a lie but rather a therapeutic fib.
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