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HELP!!! My Dad is still going Bananas over "missing" pants that aren't missing. He's got in his head that he has more dark pants than he's ever had, and no amount of input from the AL staff or me will convince him otherwise. We'll change the subject which works for a while, but he brings this up DAILY.

He's accused me of being condescending when I help him count his pants. He yells at the staff, and he's even threatened another resident thinking that he stole his pants.

I know it's the disease talking, but can I divert his attention permanently? This is really testing my nerves.

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My mom has a few of these obsessions..paper towels, toilet paper (everywhere!) and stuff for her cat. All I've been able to do is keep her stocked up.
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no guilt zone. Yep goodwill or someother cheap place and put them in the closet. But like Jesse said they will never find that pair of pants= I used to count with my mother the number of shirts she had into a Giant Pile and she still thought clothes were missing. you could fill the closet FULL of dark pants - yes, listening and compassion... but it is madness and illness and sometimes you just have to realize there is nothing that you can do....
there might be something else besides seraquil? It's SO hard, but live and learn- no guilt (heart)
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Do him an inventory, properly, a nice military style one. Pin it to the inside of his wardrobe door.

Shirts, polo, various............................. 8 no.
Shirts, cotton, l/s, check...................... 4 no.
Socks, ankle, black.............................. 10 pairs
Socks, sports, white............................. 3 pairs
Trousers, twill, black.....

You get the idea.

We had these lists at my first boarding school. And checks at the beginning, middle and end of term. Oh God the misery of it. How come everyone else had either every single item or at least a valid explanation for anything missing, and come to my bed and there was like one pair of gym pumps and a cardigan with its buttons hanging off...

Thought I'd got over that some time ago :/
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Tinyblu- do not feel guilty. Even a saint would get frustrated with some of the stuff we have to deal with!
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I'm going to try the Goodwill thing to see if that helps. The thing is, he likes the pants with the elastic waist as his motor skills have diminished and he struggles with buckles, zippers and buttons.

He's currently on Seroquel, but he refuses to take it during the day (he thinks it's a sleeping pill and accuses the staff and me of trying to poison him).

I'm going to ask his psych if a different med will help. In the meantime, I will continue to deal with it. Sometimes I feel so guilty for getting frustrated with him...
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Yes, these obsessions are difficult to address. My cousin was obsessed with her cat and whether she had enough cat food. There were about 40 cans of cat food stacked on the shelf AND a large bag of dry food, but she would beg for more cat food every day. I would say, okay, I'll get more tomorrow. I said that every day, but she would forget, so I kept saying it. But, she was always anxious and worried about running out of cat food. Even if I bought 10 cans of additional cat food and let her put them on the shelf...within 5 minutes, she would be asking me to get her more cat food. So,.....unless it can be treated, with meds....it's difficult to address.
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My mom was having a lot of anger and the doctor made a few small adjustments to her medicine and it seemed to help. I have also found that it does help to listen to them and validate their feelings. Besides, depending on your Dads memory abilities, any brilliant plan to ease his mind about the pants might soon be forgotten. My mother talks about her clothes that way at times, usually because she has no idea where she put them, so I have to show her that the exercise pants are in the bottom drawer. The goodwill idea might just work for your Dad.
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"You know what, Dad? You are right! We just found out that the laundry had a bad problem a few weeks ago, and a number of pants were ruined. They have finally identified who those belonged to, and they've given us apologies and checks to replace them. Isn't that good news? So, do you think you can get by with the number of pants you have left, and use the money for something else, or do you want to get replacement pants?"

As Jessie writes from long experience, there may be no way to overcome this obsession. But I'd try sympathizing with him, validating his concerns, and giving him an option for solving the problem. It will cost the price of some pants, and it may not work, but I'd give it a try before giving up.

Also, an anti-anxiety or antidepressant might be called for.

And, Tinyblu, hugs to you! This is not in any way your fault.
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Tinyblu, my mother has four obsessions that she is really stuck on. The longest one has been in her mind for 5 years, the others not quite so long. There's nothing I've ever been able to do to stop the obsessions. It sounds like your father has the same problem about the pants. You can try putting more dark pants in the closet, but it probably won't help much, since it is really that his mind is stuck in this loop. I've had to learn to try to ignore the obsessions when my mother talks about them, because I know there is no way to fix them. If we did something to fix them today, they would just return tomorrow like nothing had been done at all.

Maybe they get a feeling of general unease, then look for something that must be causing it. The fixate on something, then assign some blame. In your father's case his pants are gone so someone took them. You can "replace" them, but he'll still be stuck on the ones that are missing.

I don't know if antidepressants would help. We tried different ones with my mother and it didn't help. They might work with your father, though, so it's worth a try if you want to go that route.
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Go to Goodwill, buy some more dark pants.. Cheap fix if he'll go for it.. until the next thing comes up... Tell him your found them in your laundry at home
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I can't recall if you said he was taking medication to help with anxiety. I'd explore that more with his doctor.

Has the facility expressed concern over his yelling and threatening comments? I'd be surprised if they haven't. Yelling at staff and threatening other residents is normally not tolerated for long in a regular AL. I might discuss that with the staff, as I don't know of anything that can satisfy your father and stop that behavior. He isn't likely to be convinced he is wrong about the pants.

Sometimes, this phase of behavior passes, but there isn't any rule about how long it might last. I know it's frustrating. Maybe others will have some suggestions.
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What psychiatric meds is your dad on?
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