Follow
Share

He's 87 and actually in good health physically. He works out 3 times a week and lifts weights. He has been blind for most of his life, but he went to school, worked etc. He's done everything but drive.
By family reports, he was always a hateful child even before he lost his sight.
As an adult, a father and husband, we saw a lot of that hate and anger but he would stop at a point. In the past year though he has become progressively almost not even human. He seems unaware of anyone else's feelings or needs.
He and my mom fight 24/7 and he grabs and shakes her.

I talked to his doctor who did a basic cognitive exam and he said everything is
fine. I've offered to find my dad someone to drive him around so he'll be more free. I've offered to take him on two trips to see his old friends. I've tried getting my mom to leave (she hates him but feels that leaving now is too
big a change)

I am at my wits end of how to make this situation better. I'm an only child and there is no other family.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Personality usually does not change as one gets older, but some behavior traits may become more pronounced--sounds like that might be one reason. However, I would seek another opinion concerning your father. I would look for a very good Geriatrician as they might be few and hard to find. Set an appointment and have a very good workup from head to toe and look at every possibility--make sure that check all of his blood levels from some kind of deficiencies. If that appears to be negative, then I would look to psychology for therapy.
As the child I would have a face-to-face talk with dad and let him know some of the conseuqences if this continues. And he cannot behave, then I would take action that might require the authorities as I do feel your mother needs protection--shaking and shoving is just appropriate in any situation and should not be tolerated. After all, your mother has endured some abuse most of her life and deserves not to have to any longer. This is time to be tough and stand by your mother. Wish I had better advice, but you are the one who has to step in and really begin to take action. I feel when someone safety is involved we have to be held accountable. Be strong and resolute!!!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

The important thing is you...Not your mom or dad...I learned this the hard way...Find out what you need to do for yourself...A support group for me was a big help...I wish you the best...
Helpful Answer (8)
Report

Boy, this is a tough one and I feel for you. My dad had an awful temper when he was younger (during my childhood) but he mellowed as he aged. I'm sorry your dad is going the other way. Do you ever try to calmly talk to him about his temper and why he's behaving that way? Is your mom afraid of him?

My mom and dad had a relationship where she did everything for him to the point it wore her out. I tried to talk to them both at various times but I finally came to the realization that their marriage and relationship was 60 years in the making and I had to let it play out on its own. It was hard, but I let them do what they'd done for their whole marriage. But my dad wasn't shaking my mom. That's the only part of your parents' situation that would cause me to step in and take more action.

But first I'd try to understand what is going on with your dad. And I'd probably try to get him to a neurologist to see if there's some brain thing going on. If he's seeing a general practitioner, I'm not sure if he'd be able to tell whether someone is having some brain issues. Also has he had any medication changes lately? Is he diabetic?
Helpful Answer (7)
Report

DO NOT assume that 12 min. cognitive test his doctor gave him is valid for dementia! My husband had the same test when clearly he had already been diagnosed by an MRI as having signs of damage. The aggression you speak of is the frontal lobe where emotions are, and affected by dementia. Have an MRI, CT or PET scan done. An EEG might be "normal" at first, but as the disease progresses, it turns to "abnormal". Seek another opinion from a neurologist who does a more extensive verbal test as this aggression is just the beginning of dementia signs. My husband is 87 yrs. young in good shape physically, and now has progressed to a more calm stage without the anger. My best hopes for your family in 2014!
Helpful Answer (7)
Report

Your dad's anger could be a sign of depression. My dad also had anger issues for years and, although he never touched my mom, I felt his actions bordered on verbal abuse quite often. He was very stubborn when we talked to him about taking an anti-depressant so this went on for a number of years. More recently, his health declined and it became obvious that he was also struggling with anxiety. After a trip to the ER, a stay in the hospital and a number of doctor visits, we learned that there weren't any significant physical changes that would cause him to feel so poorly so we focused on his mental health. He finally agreed to take Lexapro (mainly because this would help with his anxiety) but it also had the added benefit of being an anti-depressant. We gradually saw a difference in him, starting with the anxiety. Now his mood is much improved, he's pleasant to be around and is even thanking us all the time for helping them. While my dad will still need to deal with his physical health issues, at least he is in a better place mentally and more able to handle what comes his way - and, the best part is - he doesn't seem to be angry all the time!
Helpful Answer (6)
Report

1. Please Google search "Teepa Snow", a leading expert on senior care specializing in dementia and Alzheimer's patients. Read her website for information and consider getting one of her DVDs. Although he may be in good cognitive shape, Snow's tips for caregivers are very helpful and practical in getting obstinate parents to cooperate. I've tried to post Teepa Snow's website here before, but the links are not allowed, apparently.

2. Have a talk with your mother about not 'reacting' to your dad's temper. She should know better than to join him in an argument. The more neutral she can be, the less of a target she'll be for his anger. She's not doing either of them a favor. I hope you can discuss this with her without making her feel defensive and get her cooperation.

3. Get dad some psychological counseling, specifically anger management. If you and your mother tell him sympathetically it would help him feel better if he talked to a neutral party about his anger, he just may go. Not sure if Medicare in your state will cover it, or if his secondary insurance will. If you can't get psychological care for him, a clergy person will counsel him for free or a donation. Please consider this. Mom should attended at least one session, it will help her stop reacting against him/triggering his outbursts.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

Hi - this must be very difficult, not only now but even in all these years before now. I'm an only child too, and understand how directly you feel everything that goes on with them.

Good replies here so far. I echo what Simba advised. Even if someone else is not well, the majority of 'fixing' this for ourselves I think is outlook, learning how to process, not connect with the negativity, etc. Coaching, either a support group or going to an individual counselor. It shouldn't matter if the other person is not well, our own boundaries and responses still make the difference. If he's taking a hand to her (shaking is a start) she must learn to calmly and keenly look him in the eye and say 'Let go, now.' He may escalate if she doesn't get strategies on how to draw the lines, no matter what he is feeling. Especially since he's a workout guy, he's too strong to be left unchecked.

You guys can be sympathetic, work with him within your own boundaries... putting up with any of his crap is not required! Good luck, Funnyfarm, you guys deserve to feel okay despite his personality and his changes. Keep on this forum and keep strong!
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

If you get a chance, take a look at a book titled "Elder Rage". It's a memoir of a daughter stepping into caregiving for her parents: her father was increasingly angry, hateful, and sometimes physically violent and her mother as from the past continued to enable that. The situation is not an exact parallel but may give you some insights, as it did me in handling my often miserable, physically well but verbally abusive 86-year-old mother. Doesn't sound like his behavior is going to improve without some non-negotiable boundaries being drawn and made clear to him, regardless of what state he is in mentally and cognitively. Taking chances with your mother's physical well-being is not a good option. Best wishes and prayers for a good outcome!
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

How exhausting for you. I can sort of relate because my elderly mother has a mean streak, along with various personality disorders, but nothing as bad as what you describe. My heart goes out to you.

How long have you been trying to serve as a buffer between your parents? Is that a responsibility a child should have, whether they are an only child or one of many? Haven’t you noticed you don't actually have the power to change them?

Regarding your father, cognition is not the issue. The reality is that a person who has been "hateful" since childhood and now has become "almost not even human" has mental health problems. Your AgingCare ID of “funnyfarm” gives a clue that you at least have an idea of this.

You asked for advice and mine is to get to a NAMI meeting right away -- National Alliance for Mental Illness – for support from others who have similar issues. The Birmingham chapter meets the second Tuesday of each month from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the second floor auditorium at the UAB Center for Psychiatric Medicine. I don’t know what it is, but they have a “Family to Family” class on the 13th.

God bless and may the new year be a happier one for you.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Funnyfarm I forgot to add, your mother needs to be protected. Either get her to your house or find another intervention to help her deal with an abusive spouse. Do not allow this to go on much longer, and you are the only one who can stop it by your actions. You can do this!
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

See All Answers
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.