I live next door to dad. I was finally able to get him to the Dr for something else. She diagnosed him with dementia. He’s in denial but I understand that’s to be expected. He took a mandatory driving test and failed. Now the family want to hire him a lawyer and do not believe me when I tell them the diagnosis. I think they are in as much denial as he because they don’t see it in him yet. They do not spend everyday with him and his past memory is very good. I feel like I’m fighting with them while trying to take care of him and it’s giving me panic attacks. I feel like I will die of a heart attack before he will. All I want is the best for him so I’m trying to make Dr appts and get the family to be supportive. But it feels too overwhelming. He stresses me out with his denial and threats. Yet I feel guilty for leaving him be and spending time alone to recover. Any advice?

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One of my siblings was in and still is in denial about my Daddy. However all my others have seen it and have assisted me with it. I have, in the passed, invited them over for dinner, or lunch or a day of fun and just let them see how he responds to questions and activities that are just part of the day. It has been three years and I have had no probs, except with one, about it. There might be a way to do this since Memorial Day is coming up I would suggest a picnic or bbq at the house and just let them see and talk to Dad and maybe they will just see how he reacts. Just a suggestion.
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The family may try to use his ability to remember things from a distant past to say he is fine. And you know the distant past is not going to help him in the present or the future.
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You might want to ask his doctor to write a formal letter about Dad’s diagnoses and his prognosis (what will be happening to him as time goes on) and send copies to your family via registered mail. They can argue with you, but if they have proof from his doctor, the can’t argue with that. Explain that you need help caring for Dad in the way that they need to pitch in so you can get a break. Spending time alone with Dad may educate them about what’s going on. At some point, without their support, you may want to consider filing for Medicaid for him and start researching facilities. Make sure that you have Power of Attorney now while Dad is still able to sign.
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How old is your Dad? Does he live alone in his house?

Who is in "the family" and where are they?

The way not to want to punch them in their collective head is to remember that they probably think they are being your father's champion. Poor old boy, they think, how dare The Government take away his fundamental human right to get in his car and kill people? How dare Martz put her/?his control freakery and convenience first? They are acting in ignorance. What they have not grasped is that you too are on your father's side, only better-informed.

Is there a key family member you could invite to come and stay with you for a couple of weeks or a month?

For immediate relief, when you are feeling overwhelmed and panicky, do two things. One, breathe - I mean literally, you can look up the correct techniques online. Two, remember that You Are Right, and they will learn.

These plans to hire a lawyer for your Dad, how far have they got with that?
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It might be best to back off and let ‘the family’ take the burden of challenging the Dementia diagnosis and the loss of thw driving licence. They will pay the bills, they get the results, they are not fighting with you. It will take a while to settle down to acceptance, but let them fight the battle if they want, not you.
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