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My father thinks we are all being brainwashed by the doctors because there is nothing wrong with him. We transferred him from a geriatric hospital straight to a high care nursing home a few months ago without being able to discuss it with him as he was too delusional at the time. Covert drug intervention and excellent care from the nursing home has improved him out of sight (physically and mentally) but now he is asking questions about when he is going home and how he is going to get out. We told him about his brain damage and he now is trying to prove to us he is ok by reliving his horrific childhood and blaming that on his condition ("my alzheimers is a special kind"). He personality has always been abusive and narcissistic and the medication has been a blessing. I hate to see him tortured but he begs us every time we go not to believe the doctors but to believe in him. He seems to have a bit of short term memory because he remembers our visits and talks about them with my other siblings. But he can't answer or use a phone, pees in a cup because he can't work the toilet out, wears a nappy, can't dress himself easily, can't find his way back to his room without visual cues, forgets our names sometimes and the names of foods and places. We want to be there for him and bring him the things he needs but I can't go through this every time I visit because I don't have the answers. I think I am going crazy because he brainwashes me every time I go in there. It would be my worst nightmare to feel wrongly imprisoned with no one to understand me and that's what wakes me in the middle of the night! Anyone got any ideas on how to get it through to dad that he needs to be in a nursing home? PS. I live in Australia, I couldn't use our zip codes on your profile set up.

Your post is telling our exact story.
It took our Dad (who is 90) 5 months to finally start doing things in the nursing home.

We found he was cooperative when we weren’t there. When one of us visited, it was like a switch flipped on, and he would get very angry.

He would say he was going home, and we could not keep him there. That everyone knew how we lied to “Put him away”

Some of us siblings do not visit because he reacts more aggressively to some than others.
We do not judge each other. Each of us does what is needed for our own well being. One of my sisters had to take Xanax before visiting. She finally decided it was too stressful for her and Dad, so she doesn’t visit.
My advice is to keep the visits short, do an activity with him, like walking around the facility, or playing a card game. I took some fresh strawberries and a lottery ticket. Another time I took an ice cream bar.
My heart goes out to you, all you can do is know he is safe and has structure,
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toomuchtobear Oct 1, 2018
Thank you PrairieLake, wow. So true, he is so well behaved for the staff and they think he is such a gentleman, I also took him strawberries last week, which was a bit funny because here in Australia we have had a contamination threat with some idiot putting sewing pins inside them for people to choke on. We will push on, I am usually physically ill the day before and days after I visit, I have terrible anxiety most times anyway. In some ways I feel this can make me stronger and not stress about stupid things I did when I thought I had problems. I will try to hang in there with the visits and keep them short as you say. Much love from Australia to you.
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I'm no expert, but, it appears from what I see and read that many dementia patients are not aware of their condition and in fact, some are not capable of accepting it. Have you discussed something called ANOSOGNOSIA with his doctor? It's a condition that renders a person incapable of accepting their diagnosis. It's not that they are being difficult of stubborn, but, they are just not physically capable of processing it. That might help with managing your father's behavior and your expectations.

It might be helpful to have some prearranged responses, that keep him happy and yet allow him to continue under care. Having him accept the diagnosis, really has no long term benefit that I have seen.

I used to discuss tests and therapy with my LO. It seemed to reassure her if she had questions when I responded that we were looking into all things, doing more tests, waiting on tests results, getting a second opinion, relying on her physical therapy, waiting for meds and vitamins to kick in, etc. I assured her that things would get better, she would be cared for until they did. So, that satisfied her. Her brain was not capable of accepting such negative news and if it had gotten through, she would forget. In fact, she did forget that a Neurologist and her Primary diagnosed her with dementia in their office weeks earlier. But, she forgot about it, so, it would have been pointless to keep going through that every day. Instead, she thought she was improving and was content.

Also, if your dad is rather anxious. I'd discuss meds with his doctor for anxiety to see if that will help.

I might consider making him happy and content and not focus on him understanding his condition.
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toomuchtobear Oct 1, 2018
Thanks Sunnygirl1 I will look into ANOSOGNOSIA. I do believe he truly thinks he isnt ill. He also only wants to hear positive things about him like how good his BP and heart rate is for his age. He is very healthy other than his brain damage and unresolved mental issues from his past. I am going to see a geropsychologist on Friday and I don't know if that will help but I am happier when I feel I am doing something to help him. I am hoping she will visit him in the home and help him talk about his issues and maybe she can help him understand that his children cant get him out of there. Dad takes olanzapine which I believe is a schizophrenic drug and as he is usually a volatile and abusive man this medication seems to have helped him sleep and focus and behave better. I am wondering if we just keep going along with the talk of the plan to get out, knowing we will go through it every time as it probably gives him something to think about. Dad has been told by a few doctors, I think he remembers them telling him, he just thinks they are idiots.
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The combination of his reaction and your reaction makes this a very difficult problem for you. First his reaction: He may not accept or remember it, but clearly you need to say that he cannot live alone, he cannot come to live with you, and there are no other options. Then you need to change the subject by starting to talk about something that will divert him. When he brings it up again, you divert as soon as you can. If he won’t drop the subject, you need to say that you can’t talk about it any more because it upsets you too much, and you will have to leave if he continues – and go. If he can remember that this is the result of talking about it, repetition may get the point across and he may stop bringing it up. Many many people on this site go through this in one form or another, and have to do just this. For some people, the ‘conversation’ is seriously nasty abuse, which is just as distressing in a different way. Some narcissistic parents seem to enjoy upsetting their children - the only form of control they have left!

Your reaction is understandable, but it is your reaction that is making this so hard for you. You have to deal with yourself as well as your father. You cannot know for sure that he feels wrongly imprisoned and that no-one understands – many elders in care have this or another conversation that is repeated endlessly and seems to be the only thing they can think of to talk about. You know that it is not true – he is not unjustly imprisoned and you do understand. You are doing the best for him that you can. You have to tell yourself just what you are telling him.

Try to plan for something pleasant to do and think about after your visit – don’t go to bed worrying about this. If you wake in the night, plan what you are going to think about. My method is to tell myself the plot of a book or a film. It’s better than worrying even if you don’t go back to sleep, and with luck you will.

You have my sympathy, and I hope that you can get past this difficult stage, for both your sakes.
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toomuchtobear Oct 1, 2018
Thanks Margaret, you are spot on, I think he senses my weakness as he treats all of us very differently. I am the job doer, the problem solver, the searcher for every stupid little thing he thinks he wants. So my reaction needs to be more solid and definite about his need to be there. I find myself telling people that maybe there is a way to get him home with carers (not us) my dad is very wealthy and could afford the best care which is also a quandary for us - and then I tell them about his toileting and his inability to dress himself or answer the phone or the 'people' he sees that arent there, and I must bring myself back to reality and say 'he isnt going home!' I wish I was like one of my sisters, she goes and visits and then leaves and just says 'he's nuts, oh well'. Funny Dad doesnt ever ask her to help him or even bring him things, she just goes to check in and have a chat.
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