How can you comfort a father/husband who is blind and has dementia?


My father became suddenly blind and began sliding into dementia about 7 months ago. He is in a good, nearby ALF where my mother and I can visit frequently. However, he is intolerant of almost any stimulation including music, reading aloud, TV, light conversation and is unappreciative (to put it kindly) of our attempts. My mother (whom he does still recognize) wants to provide some quality time for him. Any suggestions?

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Wow. You're both spot on. I was about to write that the only thing he requests is visits from his dog. Unfortunately, the dog is pretty hyper in the ALF setting and doesn't want to be the lap dog he was for my dad when home. Maybe a trained therapy dog could be more of a comfort even though new to my dad. And, yes...he does like to hold my moms hand which he NEVER did before. Thank you.
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I'm so sorry to hear about your father's struggles. I know its not easy to see a loved one in that condition. I'm sure your mom's company gives him a lot of comfort. I think just her presence there, holding his hand or gently talking to him would be helpful.
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Curious - is there a pet therapy program for him that may help ground him in his new normal? Touch, companionship & acceptance are key features to pet therapy.
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This is the direction we're heading so thank you for the support in that and for your heartfelt response.
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When you say that "unappreciative" describes your father's response kindly, does his invective include any hints as to what he does want the two of you to do? (I hope, primly, that you're not going to tell me it ends in "____ off!")

If, for example, he says he wants to be left alone, it might be best for your mother's peace of mind to take him at his word and keep the visit short. Still go, but don't struggle to keep him company if he's just becoming abusive.

You could ask his doctor if anti-depressants or other therapies might help your father's mental state. But you only have to put yourself in your father's shoes to imagine his anger, fear and frustration - I just wish it were obvious what could be done to remedy them.

Meanwhile, helping your mother come to terms with your father's deterioration may be more productive for both of you. It must be terribly sad and hurtful for her, and I'm very sorry for it.
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