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I've bounced things off of all of you before and received some great advice. My dad is 89 and my mom is 86. My mom doesn't talk much anymore, so my dad gets lonely for conversation. I have a caregiver there with them throughout the day, but for some reason, dad has decided he doesn't like her. So, he calls me griping about what she has made them for dinner and just recently, he's called me complaining that she has eaten all of their cobbler or banana pudding. Yesterday, he called me complaining that there was just enough vanilla ice cream left for mom to have some. I had recently bought some for them and told him where it was in the freezer. He huffed and puffed...insinuating that the caregiver had eaten it all. It has gotten to the point where I just dread talking to him because I know he's going to be complaining about something, simply because he has eaten something and forgot, or that he can't find something and blames the caregiver. This is so mentally exhausting! Do any of you experience the same thing?

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Thanks everyone! All good suggestions. Right now, I'm getting somewhat of a "break" as I'm on the couch suffering from a serious bladder infection. On Monday, I had a severe sore throat, so got antibiotics for that....on Wednesday, I went back due to me getting worse in my lower back. Last night, I ended up going to the ER, getting different antibiotics and a shot for the pain. As is my usual self, I have taken care of everyone but me. I know that my resistance has hit rock bottom. Thankfully, tomorrow while their caregiver is taking the day off, my husband will be going over to cook for them and help with what they need. Until I can decide what to do, I'm going to call our local university's nursing department and see if they give students credit for sitting with the elderly. I think that would certainly help with their evening needs.
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Miliataryredhead, you say in a post upthread that you dad's dementia is getting worse. That's how it works. Dementia patients often are suspicious, can't find things, don't recall what they did, are confused and unhappy. Nothing in their world is working right and they can't understand it. I wouldn't expect him to be acting very different, if he dementia is progressing. I would expect it to get worse. If he is caring for your mom, who also had dementia, I would start considering the options for their care.
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If I had dime for all the complaints that come from my Mom!!!

I just turn a deaf ear.. It's all part of the disease.. All you can do is change the subject and hope for the best...

Try to get him involved in an Adult Day Program.. He needs activity.
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My father in law knocks 3/5 times a day to tell us something bad. Never good. My solution is moving him to AL. My husbands is to sit and take it. You have a choice. He's a grown man. Tell him that if he can't say something nice you will have to scale back his phone calls. Draw a line in the sand. Think of him as a child at this point. Harsh. But true.
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Sendme2help, actually, the caregiver hadn't eaten the ice cream. Dad only looked in one place in the freezer and hadn't even seen the new box I had bought and he immediately jumped to the conclusion that she had eaten it. It's so tiring to keep having to assure dad that the caregiver isn't eating them out of house and home!
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Tell Dad, you are right Dad, the caregiver's food is not in the caregiving contract. Don't worry, I will speak to her and agree to deduct her food from her pay.
In the movie, 'Driving Miss Daisy', her driver borrowed a can from her cupboard, and just as she was yelling that he was a thief and needed to be fired, the driver enters with a new can to replace the one he borrowed.
Apparently, it is more of an issue with seniors than we realize, and caregivers should have an agreement about the food. If the caregiver drives, have her replace the ice cream right away. Have a talk with the caregiver, it is not okay that Dad has to be upset, and then not validated in his complaint. Maybe the complaints will decrease if some are handled and he feels heard.
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Redhead, do you think he objects to the cost or the fact that she's eating HIS food?

If the latter, perhaps you can ask him to keep track of what she eats, go with you to the store (if he's still mobile) and buy some food she likes, just for her. Then label it with her name - "[Caregiver's] food". Then she can eat HER food and he and your mother can have their food.

Maybe even create a special place in the frig and freezer for her food so it doesn't get mixed up with theirs.
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Freqflyer, you're a hoot! You know, I may just resort to humor and when he makes a remark that hints at her eating up all of their pudding, etc, I can give some sort of humorous remark that borderlines stupid. And, I think there's a lot of what you say going on here. My dad will be 90 in October. Not too long ago,he asked me how old my Grandfather was when he passed away. (my dad's dad) I think he surely is bothered by losing independence and not having it the way it used to be. Thanks for the laugh! GardenArtist, thanks for your comments, as well. At one point, I did actually ask dad if he expected the caregiver to bring her lunch! Bless his heart, the way he talks, she's sitting in the kitchen, guzzling down all of the coke and eating their ice cream! He isn't thinking about her cleaning, bathing mom, cooking and all else that goes with it.
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Sometimes when people are complaining and it's getting on my nerves, I say that it could be worse...they could be living in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, or a bankrupt Greece....just name the country. They could be Holocaust or Armenian genocide survivors.

But I wouldn't do that with someone who's older unless it's a whiny person who never stops complaining and just wants to complain for the sake of it.

I agree he's upset if not angry and directing it at an innocent party. The caregiver is the scapegoat.

It wouldn't hurt to talk with the caregiver and alert her to these complaints so she doesn't take it personally.

Another option is to respond with "what would you like me to do about this? How can I solve the problem for you? Should I tell the caregiver not to eat while at your house?" It might just slow him down for a bit.

Or you could just say "well, guess I need to get more ice cream the next time I shop so you can all have some!"
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Redhead, another thought here... your Dad probably isn't happy that he and your Mom are getting older, thus so much lost of independence. Bet your Dad rather go back in time when it was your Mom doing the cooking, not some paid person who downed all the pudding [according to him] :P
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My mom has early Alzheimers and dad's dementia is getting worse. Just thirty minutes ago, he told me they're almost out of cokes. I told him they're really drinking a lot of Coke and then he ONCE AGAIN insinuated the caregiver might be drinking them.
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Can you get your dad out to a daycare program, so he can have conversation with others? Who has the Alzheimers you mention in your profile? Your mom or dad or both? If it's your dad, his suspicious nature is common with the disease. If he can have more outlets for his need to interact with others, maybe he won't focus on the negative so much.
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At first, I thought that dad was seeking conversation, too, but it's almost as if he's becoming suspicious and untrusting if he can't find something or if he has forgotten he ate something.
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Sounds like your Dad is trying to make conversation even if it is negative conversation. I try to redirect my Dad when he goes too long talking about the weather, that is his hobby, he has the weather map up on the TV any time we visit. Then we talk about our aches and pains, and what rub on pain killers work best, yada, yada, yada.

My Mom is almost totally deaf and blind being 97, but she goes about her chores of cleaning and cooking. She and Dad apparently communicate on whatever they like to talk about, depending if she has a fresh battery in her hearing aid :)
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