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My father has severe dementia and is hostile toward me when I try to get him to put on clean clothes and change his depends. Today, for example, he slept until 2 p.m. When he got up the depends were soaked as were the sheets and blanket. I told him I needed to wash the sheets and wanted him to change his clothes and put on something clean. He became furious at me and started slapping at me to get out of the room. He said he was going to punch me in the face and raised his fist to me. He was in my face and cornered me. I was scared of him.


The doctor has also suggested that he go to a memory care facility so I have been researching a couple in the area. My mother, who is in the hospital right now, said that he would change once she came back home. He cannot change. I have tried to talk to her about him going to a facility. She seems to think because she had taken care of him I could too. But I can't. The reaction I have to his outbursts make me physically ill. I can do other things but I cannot directly deal with him--it is too stressful.


Any advice you can offer would be very helpful to me. Thank you!

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demstress, you cannot continue to care for someone with dementia who is threatening bodily harm. You are scared of him, as you should be. His social filters are no longer working and he doesn't know what he is doing.

But what can you do? Most states have a provision that allows a person who is a risk to others or himself to be committed to a mental health facility against their will, for evaluation. They may be held for up to 72 hours to stabilize the situation. The facility may also petition the court to hold the person longer if they deem it necessary. This is often called the Baker Act, but may have a different name in some states.

Keep your cell phone with you at all times. If the scenario you describe or something similar happens again, leave the room. Lock yourself in the bathroom or even in your car -- any where you can be secure. Call 911 and report that your father has severe dementia and is threatening you. Say he is on a rampage if that seems accurate. (The responders should know what to expect).You need to have him removed from the house as soon as possible. You are afraid he may harm you. You hope he can be evaluated.

Whew! That will give you at least a few days (maybe longer) to look into other options. Make it absolutely clear to everyone you talk to that he cannot be released to your care. The desired outcome is a treatment plan that will enable him to be less anxious and angry. Whether this can be achieved to the point it could be safe for your mother to care for him (with paid help!) would have to be determined.

Why is your mother hospitalized? When will she be discharged? What is the general state of her health?

I really don't know if you have to wait until something happens again, or if can call now and report that he has threatened you three times this week and that can initiate the Baker's Act. Maybe someone on this board who has had similar experiences will educated us. I would hope that your Area Agency on Aging could also answer your questions about how to go about this.

But the bottom line is you cannot continue in this situation. He is your father. I imagine you love him. You want the best for him. Believe me, him harming you would NOT be the best for either of you!
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Follow the doctor's advice.
Mom in hospital, may not be thinking exactly of her husband's needs.

Sad, but when things happen, like hospitalization, the elders may not get what they want.

Please don't wait, because father could get the proper care, meds, and be ok to return home if possible. If you wait, less options will be available.

If Mom is willing, would they agree to go to an assisted living together?

If she wants together, please don't wait. Take charge, imo.
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