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So my dad is 76 and exhibiting signs of dementia. This makes him very mean at times and very difficult to be around. I struggle with the guild of "well he's earned the right to be a little disgruntled" but it crosses the line when it makes the loved ones around him stressed and depressed. He make going to the grocery store a challenge. He picks fights with happy people in public and is in a bitter mood most of the time. I'm at my wits end and I love him dearly and love being around him but I can't continue to be around him and feel bad or stressed. He makes negative comments about my job, my house, my dogs, my car, heck he seems to not approve about anything except the kids.
I'm not sure how to handle him, and should I just ignore him or confront him on the bad behavior?? But I feel like I can't take him anywhere, he does things like lift his leg and fart in public :-), seems funny but is actually quite mortifying :-(. Uses profanity and offensive language at any given stranger, I just don't know what to do?? he keeps getting on the road driving long distances when his vision, mind, legs, prostate, etc etc are not functioning at best. I also notice he is starting to reminisce on the past, even back to slavery times. Evidently there were some bad things that took place on an island in the south many kids were sent to live and work. He won't entertain seeking any psychological help or medicine. Any advice on handling the situation I would greatly appreciate.....

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Would he go to an eye Dr? Maybe his eyesight is too poor for him to drive. DMV can be informed of this. Ask the police and DMV if there is anything you can do? I would be most worried about his mind and vision. he seems able to find his way to your house so the dementia may not be the most important issue.

You can not control his behavior in public so just try and walk a few steps away from him. You say it is mortifying. It does not have to be most people will look at you with sympathy and disgust at him. I would only intervene if an interaction with a stranger looks like becoming ugly. Just take him by the arm and lead him away. If he hits you don't hesitate to call the police that may get him detained and confined on a 48 hour order where he will be seeing psychiatrists whether he likes it or not.

Is this new behavior or has he always been this way? Is his wife still alive or are they divorced? If divorced your mother may be able to get some clues about how he was within the marriage.
If all this behavior is new it is likely due to the advancing dementia. You can't control it or reason with him. This is the way it is going to be. Try and get him to sign documents for POA, medical and financial. Take him to a lawyer for this. You may need to trick him to agree. Try something like that you have an appointment and would appreciate it is he would come with you and offer his advice.
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You have an obligation to report him as a potentially dangerous driver to his DMV. Should he maim or kill someone while driving he will be brought up on charges. His insurance company will drop him like a hot potato and seek medical evaluation to prove he should not have been driving in the first place and they may decline to defend him in a lawsuit. Criminal charges may be filed in addition to damages sought in civil court. It will cost him a fortune to hire an attorney to represent him and his assets will be at risk.

Uber. Lyft. Taxi. Senior citizen shuttle. Those are plenty of alternatives in order to take the car keys away.

There is no easy way to deal with people like your father. Be up front. Set healthy boundaries. You are not his little girl. And you cannot protect him from his bad decisions if you let him continue to make them. Time to act like an adult because your father isn't.
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Do you visit his home much? If his behavior is getting more problematic and challenging, I might arrange to visit his home to see how he's faring. I'd check to see how things look, spoiled food, dirty laundry, unpaid bills, etc. I'd confirm that he is able to still run his household. I wouldn't take his word for it that he's fine. Does his car have any damage? Can you talk to his neighbors? They may have information for you too. Is he wandering around, asking them odd questions? Sometimes others know things, but aren't sure how to approach the family and let them know. You might also see if 911 has been called to his house or about him.

With this information, I'd try to let his doctor know what's going on. If his competence is really at issue, I'd seek a legal consult with an Elder Law attorney to see what your rights are, evidence required, process, costs, etc. At least, you'll know what the standard is.

I'd also speak with the doctor about his driving. The problem is that with dementia, he may be okay until he's not. Accidents happen that way. Most states have ways to have a senior evaluated, if there is concern.

I don't know how disagreeing with him or correcting him about things matters. I do think that some point, the behavior can be so outrageous that it places the patient at risk of being arrested or hurt by a member of the public who is frightened or offended by him. At some point, they must be protected from themselves.
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The driving is an issue. I think you can probably expect a stream of responses saying "aaaarrggghhhh get him off the road!!!"

Which unfortunately doesn't make it easy to do. But if you're serious about the vision problems and the loss of cognitive function, and though I hate to sound heartless about his safety (which obviously is your main concern, as his daughter), the bigger question is what if the catastrophe kills or injures somebody *else*? a) He'd have to live with that. b) He might have to live with that in jail, or bankrupt, or both.

There are ways and means of getting the authorities to get him off the road. But before you pick up the phone, what are the options for his future care and support going to be? Better to have alternatives in place, or at least thought through, before you take his car keys off him.
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Thanks Barb, and I'm afraid you are right, and unfortunately he lives 900 miles away from us, and basically by himself. He gets on the road to visit us and I cringe every time. I've offered to fly up and drive down with him but he declines needing help, I've even demanded to drive with him, but he just quietly gets on the road and calls when he's almost here. He gets his medical stuff done here because in his home town he's offended most doctors around him :-),
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Sorry, I missed your line anout his resisting psychological help. I'm sorry if I sounded flip.

In your shoes, I would communicate with his doctor in writing about the symptoms you're observing. The doc can't communicate back with you, but you've put her/him on notice about the psychiatric symptoms he's exhibiting.

I'm afraid that you are awaiting a catastrophe, i.e., a fall, etc.

If he falls, is injured or becomes ill, call 911 and him transported to the hospital. Once he's in the hospital, you have access to social workers, discharge planners, folks who can help.

You can call your local Area Agency on Aging and get a needs assessment. This might help get him some outside help, but would he accept that?
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Freqflyer, thank you so much the article has a lot of great information!!
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lifeaintnojoke, it might be time for your Dad to be tested for an Urinary Tract Infection, as that can cause an elder to misbehave with inappropriate language, being mean to other people, etc.

I found this article here on Aging Care that has a lot of good information.
https://www.agingcare.com/articles/bad-behavior-by-elderly-parents-138673.htm
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Thanks Barb, but yes he is very uncooperative, and we can barely get him to the regular doctor. She suggested he see a neurologist and he literally tore the referral in half as soon as we exited the dr office :-)
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Barb, you would know this too: if he's not co-operative (and it doesn't sound promising...) whom should the OP get in touch with to force the issue?
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Get him to a geriatric psychiatrist for meds. It won't solve everything, but it's a start.
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