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My dad lives in a memory care facility. They are amazing and keep him very busy with several day trips a week, live music, games and exercise almost every day and more. I try to visit at least two times a week and take him out at least once a month. His 2 sisters each visit once a week as well. I usually try to go at times that music is playing or a bingo game is happening in the common areas. His sisters try to go during the lunch hour and take him over to the assisted living dining area to have lunch with his favorite dancing partner. Otherwise, his mind races on and on about all of the things he thinks I should be doing for him. He thinks his Alzheimer’s is a concussion and that the longer I don’t do anything about it the worse it’s going to get. He thinks the numbness in his fingers from cellulitis nerve damage is carpal tunnel syndrome. He insists that his legs are broken when it’s arthritis. He does surprisingly get relief from Tylenol and gets it when he ask or complains of any pain or I request it for him. He’s already had carpal tunnel surgery and it didn’t help. He’s had 3 falls in the past 13 months with visits to the ER via ambulance. One time fell asleep sitting on his walker seat and tumbled forward, another time we think he lost his balance getting up out of his recliner and most recently he slipped off of the toilet between the wall and toilet. Each time he was examined and released within an hour and was fine after that. He thinks he should be able to marry his dancing partner and live happily ever after in the home that is tied up in the middle of his divorce that his wife filed (yes, I’ve had to hire a couple of attorneys to help me with that too). I go along with all of his dreams. It all breaks my heart. I stay in constant contact with his primary doctor and his memory care facility. I take him to see his primary doctor on average 6 times a year. This disease is so cruel. My husband and I tried to visit yesterday, but his rage towards me forced us to bring him back to his memory care facility before we ever left the parking lot. While checking him out at the front desk, he told my husband that I once put him in jail and that I’m taking all of his possessions. Diversion only made him more angry. I called the facility today and they suggested I give him a few days to settle down before visiting again. On the one hand I worry that my absence will make him feel abandoned and on the other hand, if I do go, I worry that I’ll make him even more upset.


Alzheimers is the worst. I hope I die before ever having it myself. I don’t want my husband or children to go through what I’m going through.


What can I do to reduce his anger towards me?


I am glad that the nursing staff understands that there is no basis for your Dad's anger towards you and that his anger is part of his disease.  Since your presence seems to be increasing your Dad's anger, I think that you need to take some time away from him for awhile.  Also, I agree that you need to visit him at the facility and not attempt to take him out for a ride or a meal.  These activities might be triggering fear and anxiety in your Dad because he is leaving a place where he feels safe.

A counselor told me that the reason our loved one gets mad or upset with us more often than with other people is because our LO feels comfortable enough to display their feelings because they know that we love them no matter what they say or do.
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Qwerty Mar 12, 2019
DeeAnna,
I’ve learned that he has told some really awful confabulated stories about me to our family and the staff. Apparently, he’s very convincing. There are still people that believe him, which I find extremely hurtful. Usually, once they realize what all I’ve been doing and continue to do for him, it becomes clear how much I love my dad and how unfounded his stories are.
I agree with you and many others here that outings may need to be a thing of the past in order to keep his anxiety at bay.
I agree with your counselor, and know it to be true. However, it’s sure hard to remember that when I’m getting beat up.
Thank you for reaching out and validating my thoughts.
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Qwerty,

In a way, the elderly are so much like children. My parents would call my house and say they would arrive at my house in an hour or so.

When my daughter was too young to tell time and I made the mistake of telling her that grandma and grandpa were coming over to see us, she would cry until they got there. I eventually stopped telling her that they were on their way. She was so young, 2 years old that she didn’t understand how long an hour was. At first I told her that an hour was the length of time that Sesame Street lasted but she would still cry.

She would get so excited about seeing them, that she wanted them to arrive instantly so you may very well be onto something with him knowing you are coming shortly to visit. The anxiety is building up in his mind.
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Qwerty Mar 12, 2019
NeedHelpWithMom,
I agree and believe that the skills I learned, as a parent of 4 children, has helped make me a better caregiver for my father.
However, I’m afraid I still have so much more to learn.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
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Qwerty; I remember this SO well from when my cousin was caring for her dad, who was a WWII vet and who clearly had some mental health issues as a result of the war.

His "favorite" daughter died at age 50; his son, who is something of a failure to launch even in his 60s was there at home caring for uncle and my aunt, but her reserved his most vicious anger for my dear, dear gentle sweet cousin. She only wanted the best for him, but as she said, she never knew who she was going to find when she got there. Psychiatric meds helped some, but not all the time. There were times she just needed to stay away for her own sanity, and so as not to set him off.

Take care and be gentle with yourself right now. You are doing all of the right things. (((((hugs))))))
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Qwerty Mar 11, 2019
How very sad. But thank you for sharing. It’s comforting to hear such kind advise.
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Seems like the one who does and is the one who gets all the crap. Maybe because you are there.
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NeedHelpWithMom Mar 11, 2019
Oh boy, JoAnn

You said a mouthful. So true. What Barb says is true as well. At certain times we must learn to step back to get a clearer look.

It’s so easy for things to become fuzzy while in the middle of a situation. It often takes us stepping back to look at the entire picture or asking for outside help when necessary.
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This must be heartbreaking for you.

That said, two things occur to me. Has he been seen by a geriatric psychiatrist to see if meds might help with his anger and agitation?

The other is, that if you are a trigger for his anger (he can deal with others but not with you) then you may need to lay off visiting until he's gotten through this phase. I'm not suggesting that you abandon him; make sure that his needs are met and keep in touch with the facility through the SW and RNs.
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Qwerty Mar 11, 2019
Thank you for your kind reply it’s inline with the facilities suggestions after reaching out to them again this morning.
His favorite doctor put him on a med and he is monitored closely. His anger is, more often than not, targeted at me. I understand that he is frustrated with his memory loss, huge life changes, inability to be independent and pain from his wife’s rejection. I guess I should be thankful that he’s not lashing out at his memory care providers.
I just wish he didn’t look at me as the enemy. I am jumping through hoops to make sure he’s well cared for, not taken advantage of and that all of his stuff is taken care of expeditiously and affordably. However, I know better than to share all of the struggles, he just can’t handle it.
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Maybe the process of “taking him out” is just too much for him to handle and he just lashes out because he’s overloaded. I think i would limit the visits to engaging in fun stuff at the facility. Then if he starts to lose his temper or challenge you, you can just say “sorry dad, I have to go.” I know when I was still taking mom out the whole episode was frazzling for both of us. He sounds pretty active and busy...doesn’t sound like he’ll feel abandoned if you adjust your visits.
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NeedHelpWithMom Mar 11, 2019
Rocket,

My mom is like that, becoming overwhelmed if doing more than one thing. I used to take her out to eat after a doctor appointment but now she just wants to get home, so I fix food here at home and don’t even try to take her out. One thing and she’s done!
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My father had vascular dementia and was very angry at me for gaining guardianship and then placing him in MC and selling his house to help pay for it. I have an estranged sibling who encouraged Dad's continuing anger. I visited weekly to make sure he had everything he needed and always took at least one treat with me (ice cream, magazine or book, small box of chocolates, 1/4 cake, etc.) and he was often glad to see me but occasionally he was angry when I arrived or became angry during the visit. Dad was at high risk for either a stroke or a heart attack, so when he became agitated, I said good bye and walked out the door. You cannot expect someone with dementia to act in a reasonable manner. It's not really your father, it's the disease talking.
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Qwerty Mar 11, 2019
TNtechie,
Our fathers and brothers sound very similar as does our take on their care. Thank you for sharing.
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Oh my gosh,

What a nightmare! I am so sorry that you have to deal with that. It’s evident that you love your dad, and it’s nice that he has other visitors as well. His facility sounds like it’s active with fun things to do.

If you need a break from visiting him in order to keep your sanity then do it. You can check in on him with his sisters or the caregivers at the facility. Take care and recharge. Sounds like you need a break from it all.
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Qwerty Mar 11, 2019
I think i need to call the facility and get a status on his mental state before visiting and ask that they not tell him I’m coming. It seems that in the short wait for my arrival he experiences anxiety during which time he makes unreasonable list of everything I “need to be doing for him”.
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