My mom died 3 years ago. I have 1 sister but she doesn't have a relationship with our dad. I talk to my dad every week for an hour and a half (usually the same conversations over and over). I am all he has. I have known for several years that he has symptoms of dementia, but I just go along with whatever he says. Today, for the first time, he has turned against me. He said I visited him 2 weeks ago and stole his tax returns. He also said it appeared I was on narcotics. The last time I was really there was in December. I have been planning to visit him next week, to go to the tax preparer and also to help him with his bank account. He claims that he has no money and his social security and retirement pay aren't going into his bank account. I was on the phone with his bank and him 3-4 weeks ago to go over his account and the money is going in, but he doesn't believe it. So today when we talked on the phone, he turned on me for the first time. He said I was there 2 weeks ago and took his tax returns. I kept saying I wasn't there, and he is convinced I was. He got very angry, told me not to come next week and hung up. I don't know what to do next!!! Help!!

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Ok. Long distance caregiving for someone who probably has dementia/Alzheimer’s isn’t going to work. Weekly phone calls and once-in-a-while visits whenever you can won’t work either.

Do YOU have a relationship with your sister? Because she is his daughter and part of the family. If he has any property or funds, she will be part of his will. The two of you need to sit down and discuss what to do. Dad is obviously on a downslide. If it is dementia, it will get worse. And, if it’s a Urinary Tract Infection and it goes untreated it will also get worse. Dad is not himself, for whatever reason and things cannot go on like this. His paranoid behavior will soon include everyone, not just you.

It’s very hard to accept the fact that you may now have to become the parent. It will be a battle. You won’t be able to reason with Dad. People who suffer from dementia can’t reason things out. As has been said here, their brains are “broken”. They will yell and argue for hours about some inconsequential thing and then be sweet as pie.

Make a decision about what you can and will do. First, Dad needs to see a doctor. Who will take him? Second, Dad needs caregiving if he lives alone. Can and will you research and arrange for it long distance? Third, are you willing to uproot your life by either moving closer or moving HIM closer? If you feel you need to step in and take over, this is not something that you can do once a week for a few hours. It’s a lot of work and he won’t be cooperative. You can contact his local Agency for Aging in his county of residence and ask for help from them. Good luck and keep us updated. We’ve been there.
Helpful Answer (24)

You might also consider asking his local police department for a "wellness check".

Call his local town police NON-emergency number and tell them that your dad lives alone and seems not to be himself; you are worried about his health.

If this is not under the jurisdiction of the police in his municipality, ask who you call call for a wellness check. It may be APS or the local Area Agency on Aging.

Are you in touch with your father's doctor? You might consider calling his office and telling them about is sudden onset of confusion and ask them what they recommend.
Helpful Answer (18)

Urinary Tract Infections don't cause dementia, but they can cause psychiatric symptoms in the elderly. So when there is a sudden change in mental status, it's the first thing we thing of.

Has your dad been diagnosed with dementia? It sounds like it's a surmise on your part, and probably a good one. Dementia patients shouldn't live alone past the earliest stages and it sounds as though dad may have passed that point.

Dad doesn't have weapons in his house, does he? If he does, please talk to the police /APS/AAA (whomever you call) about that fact.

Just to prepare you, if your dad is a danger to himself or others, they may take him to a psychiatric facility for an involuntary evaluation, which can be a good thing. Meds can be prescribed which won't reverse his dementia, but may allow him to be calmer and less paranoid (I don't mean drugged; I mean calm and alert).

Are you in contact with any of his neighbors? Is there any way that you can get on a plane tomorrow and go be the "boots on the ground" to see what is happening?
Helpful Answer (15)

After dealing with this in my dad for the past several years and also reading posts on this site: don't uproot your life to take care of this. Do what you can, within reason. Some people will tell you to move in with him, or have him move in with you. Don't. Your life as you know it will be gone for an unspecified amount of time - likely longer than you imagine. Don't let people guilt you into giving up your life for his care. Get him someplace safe like an ALF or nursing home.
Helpful Answer (14)

Good luck to you. This can and probably will be a long, arduous and emotionally trying period for you. Just do the best you can. It’s really hard to take when some one you love changes so much it’s hard to recognize the person anymore, as b/o dementia they indeed are not the same person as their brain is broken.
My mother said some absolutely terrible things to me in the last years of her life. Surprised the crap out of me in the beginning and you have to steel yourself to not react or go overboard when they say totally off the wall stuff.
Yes an UTI can cause mental status changes. As it sounds that your dad is a Vet, try to connect with his local VFW or American Legion to assess any benefits he may have locally to check in on him- maybe Aide & Attendance, which he may qualify for.
It’s so hard to manage elderly parents from far away. It would be great if he could be moved to the AF long term care center.
Helpful Answer (12)

It is no longer safe for your father to live alone. The time has actually passed for you to "step in" and start taking over things. (Been there, done that, with my own father who lived 500 miles away from me.) As a Psych Nurse, I can say that your father's behavior is all part of dementia. Forget your sister, forget the guilt, ignore your father's paranoia - your father needs care now at this point of his life. As we say in Psych, he is "becoming a danger to himself and others" - so he should not be permitted to live alone. Just step in and DO what needs to be done - for his own safety.
Helpful Answer (11)

UTIs in elders are often symptom-less (except for the behavior). I don't think anyone knows why.

((((((hugs))))))))). We're here with you. Let us know how this is going; we LEARN from each other here, and we care!
Helpful Answer (10)

Dear, everything I know about eldercare, I learned here! Starting out with the whole UTI thing.

Stick around; there are good, nonjudgmental people here and there is usually someone awake to give advice around the clock.
Helpful Answer (10)

Wow, this is exactly what happened with my 85 year old mother who lives 75 miles away! I knew she was needing help in the house and got in-home care scheduled in late December -- she was mostly ok with that. For the last 2 years I have talked to my mother twice a week (often repetitive conversation) and ordered groceries for her to be delivered. On January 11 she and I had a normal conversation, on January 15 her (undiagnosed) dementia spiraled downward -- I was suddenly a "prostitute and drug dealer" and was "trying to steal her money"... and she wouldn't let me in the house. Thankfully, the in-home care was allowed into the house and kept an eye on her. Eventually and quickly, they reported that she wasn't able to function very well. Your father may become paranoid and start calling the police -- which is what my mother did, and he may forbid you from visiting and he may not answer the phone. Since you are miles away, I would call Adult Protective Services and do a well-check. He will have to go to a memory care facility, count on it. I would start working toward that end. It's better if you have this in-place, rather than wait until the last minute. APS can help you get him diagnosed and then moved into a facility -- you can (should be able to) stay in the background, which is what I did. It will be several weeks of tension and emotional exhaustion, but if you are proactive NOW, it will save you in the end. Understand that there is no way your father will be able to continue to live alone -- you will either have to get him 24/7 care or put him in a memory care facility. Your father has hung on as long as he he needs to be somewhere safe to move on to the next part of his life.
Helpful Answer (10)

Barbar92 so sorry to hear you are going through this and being at a distance feeling so helpless. In addition to what everyone else suggested if Dad is unreasonable or unruly when you arrive you can also call 911 to have the ambulance get him to the hospital they should be able to recognize his problems and behavior, test for an infection, dehydration can another big issue,and have the hospital social worker come in and discuss the next steps with you so this way you're not arguing or pleading for him to get to a doctor or go see someone. The hospital may not be able to keep him very long but can get him transferred to a facility for further evaluation as mentioned above with you insisting that he is not safe at home and you are not local nor able to take care of him in his home.... advice I got on this site a few weeks ago that though difficult is an option. It's hard not to defer to what our parents and they want and not be worried about how they will be angry at us or angry at a situation you have put them in. Also, it doesn't mean that once you do this everything will be okay , it's just a first step that you will have to work through piece by piece.
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