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My 17 year old son and I live with my 84 year old son. It's almost daily he accused my son of doing things to inconvenience him - using the car (I try not to let him drive anyway), watching TV late at night (my son is homeschooled, and often is studying on the computer late and Dad swears he's watching TV), and drinking milk/eating "his" jello or drinking "his" V8, and the latest - changing the thermostat to freeze Dad to death. He's done none of these - he has his own snacks, never messes with the thermostat and I never notice it being extremely cold in the house. He's even said my son was going to get the Black Panthers from the local high school to kill him. His doctor and I feel it's part of Sundowner's, but it's getting where Dad stays mad at me all day when I tell him no one is doing these things, then I feel frustrated and upset ....

My son has had three knee surgeries in the past year, the last one four days ago ... I'm wondering if this is some kind of jealousy thing.

Does anyone have any advice for how to make this easier on my nerves? I'm the only family member around here, and love having this time with Dad, but hate feeling like I have to choose between the two ...

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Thank you, everyone - you all seem to know exactly what I'm feeling! There has been no official diagnosis yet. It was just my son and I from the time he turned six until my stepmother died four years ago ... We've always been close. Dad is not at the point where he needs full time care yet, so we do get away for a few hours now and then. I've explained what I think is going on to him (my degree is in psychology), and he understands, but like you said - he's walking on eggshells. Then there are times Dad is friendly and buying him things, giving him money, etc., which makes him a little confused. All of us went to Gatlinburg in March and they got along great - my son pushed Dad's wheelchair and Dad was bragging to everybody how strong he was ...

I'm going to talk with the nurse practitioner and see what he recommends - maybe we can get something going to help all of us. And, yes, I do have friends who offer to stay with him some, so that might be an option (just not sure I want to subject them to his moods :)!! )
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I hope your son is leaving home soon. This situation is very unfair to him.

I would be concerned that dad would act out on his paranoia. This really isn't a good situation. I think you may have your priorities messed up.
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Try to get someone to watch you father on occasion so you can build some special memories with your son. Your father sounds exactly like mine. My teen / early 20s sons are so alienated by this type of dementia behavior that they would walk barefoot on coals to avoid it. Not being able to escape this is traumatic for teen boys. They need to be lifted up, not run down by constant critism and harassment. Please make sure your son has the ability to get out and away as much as possible. It is sad that he has to hide in his room, but my sons were the same way.
Don't count on a dementia person to suddenly change. (and treat your son better) It will only get more intense with out medication. You may find that as dementia progresses, without your son to pick on, he will turn on you as well. Your idea of getting help from a new doctor is a great one. Best of luck to you.
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Sundowners is, of course, part of dementia. Has your father been "officially" diagnosed with dementia? What kind (if that has been suggested.) Calling the police when he thought your son was truant was way, way out of line. I'll assume that is part of his demented behavior and not a real reflection of his "normal" personality or reasoning ability.

I hope that your son understands that this is about his grandfather's illness, and not about himself. Even if he were guilty of the things his grandfather is accusing him of, that is for you to discuss with him, not his grandfather. How late the kid stays up is NONE OF GRANDFATHER'S business. You need to let your son know that you know this. But grandfather has a sad disease that doesn't always allow him to behave rationally. I think it is extremely important that your son knows that you know that the tension in the house is not your son's fault. Don't assume he knows it. Tell him! Often!

It sounds like you are going to miss out on the last few months before son goes to college. That is sad. But given the situation, that may be the best you can hope for. Just be sure he is not leaving alienated from you, over your father's disease. I hope that the two of you can remain close.

But what about when son comes home for semester breaks and holidays and summer? I hope that by then your dad will see him more as an adult (which you say helps relationships) and possibly be on some medications to mellow him out a bit.

You love having this time with Dad. You hate having Dad mad at you. Both of those feelings are understandable. But your primary responsibility at this point is to your son, don't you think?
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Yes, get another doctor!
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I don't work outside of the home - the VA pays for me to be his caregiver. My son is the only male, they've never gotten along real well (Dad never got along well with any of us until we became adults, either); my son is always respectful and willing to do what he's asked, but isn't a self starter :). They've never come to blows, but Dad did call the police on him once for not going to school (this was shortly after the first surgery and he was still on limited activity). I have talked with his dr., but he just acts like its nothing to worry about (I've finally convinced Dad to see another dr. - never liked the one he's had for thirty years)

I just hate having Dad mad at me, and telling him I can't handle the constant friction just makes him angrier. My son pretty much stays in his room or at his girlfriend's, but that means I miss these last few months with him before he goes to college!

I guess I'll talk with the new CRNP that is seeing him now and see if he can check him out. I've long felt the guy he was seeing was going through the motions, and Dad finally agreed with me when he started having back pain. Two months of "I can send you to have tests run if you want, but ..." Instantly became "Let me get you to a specialist immediately" when I switched him :)!

Thanks for the help - it's nice to just talk it out!
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If your father thinks your son was going to put out a hit on him, I think he's got some paranoid delusions as well as having hostility toward your son. Was this ever addressed with his doctor?

I'm generally familiar with sundowning but my experience has been that it causes confusion and disorientation, not paranoia, although that might be an element of it of which I'm unaware.

What concerns me is whether your father could threaten your son since he's making these allegations for him. Has there been friction between them before? Is your son the only other male in the house? It might be that your father is jealous of your son because of his youth while your father is suffering from old age restriction.

I don't really have any good suggestions except to try to keep them apart, but that's not always realistic. I'm assuming that speaking directly with your father hasn't solved the problem? Do you work out of the house during the day, and your father is alone?
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Okay, I'm tired ;)! That should have been we live with my 86 year old father ;)!!
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