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Hi, My name is Mary L. My dad has been having a lot of bad days and i am trying to learn how to stay calm when he get's mad at the world. Everyday he want's to leave and we are we just have to find a place. I really need to get some answer to help me cope

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My mother also has dementia and has been living with me for 8 years, I work full time during the day and it was not safe for her, so she is in the hospital now, waiting to get into a nursing home, it is not easy, I cry every day, and every time I go there, I never know what to expect, I see her getting progressively worse every day, and that is not easy to deal with.
My mom was sad all the time and always felt like she was being a burden to me, when she would remember, now the hospital has her on a low dose of anti depressants, and she is a totally different person. But she is refusing to take some of her meds, and she only wants me to give them to her, it is so hard not to get angry, I know its not her fault, I don't want to argue with her, but at the same time I want her to take her medication so it will help her.
Dementia is a horrible disease, I too wish nobody would have to go through this.
Just hang in there, I myself am finding this support group so helpful, whenever I am having a hard time, I just come on here, and I feel so much better just knowing that I am not alone!!
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maryll, the thing that helps me the most is getting away from it for a few hours and talking to people about normal things. When you're caring for someone with dementia, it can soon become your whole life. You live life for them and yourself, and their life takes 90% of your time. Being around and enjoying other people helps us to recharge our drained batteries. A few hours away can work wonders.

I think you were saying that you are looking for a place for him? I hope you are able to find something he likes soon. Often people with dementia behave better around other people than they do around family. He may have trouble settling in, but give him a while to adjust if you know the facility is a good fit for him.

I wish there was no such thing as dementia. There is no way to really do things right -- at least it feels that way. A lot of the time we have to do what works at the moment. We have to pull back emotionally or anger can take over. This can be difficult to do at times, but we have to forgive ourselves.

I guess the best way to care for ourselves is the same way we would under normal circumstances. Eat right, exercise, enjoy life. One thing I find myself singing a lot is "Don't worry. Be happy."
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I live in Maryland Frederick County i never realized what i was taking on when i moved back to care for my dad who has dementia. It has been an up hill battle for me as his caregiver. There are days when i don't know what to do when he is having his tantrums, right now i am just letting him rant and rave and wait until he cools down
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Hi Mary,
I am GNP and dementia specialist. I facilitate support groups for caregivers in New Jersey.
I would be glad to help you with your questions
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my poor mom can barely get out the door to get the paper when my dad apparently starts banging on things with his cane or yelling for her. he quit taking his meds (that even after 5 days my mom noticed a small difference) but my dad said it felt like h*ll (which we never got a true answer as to what was wrong), but the voodoo meds was not to be taken again. so not sure how going to explain to the doctor about that. But when mom gets to go out for hair salon, we arrange for someone to come stay with dad while she is gone.
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For your wellfare, I recommend seeking respite care (family, friends, adult day care, in-home provider, Deparment of Aging and Disability). It is so easy to get lost in the day-to-day activities of taking care of a loved one....but you can't lose yourself. You must 1st take care of yourself in order to be able to take care of your father. Im telling you that you DESERVE to be happy and have peace of mind.
Taking care of a loved one with Dementia doesn't come with an instruction manual, or warning label. Taking care of a loved one with Dementia is FAR from easy, but there is support out there. If you can afford it, hire a elder care sitter (which usually can be found through Nanny Care Provider) , or seek out a Personal Care Home (for a day or weekend) to give you a respite care break. If money is limited, seek out assistance through your state's Department of Aging and Disability, or look into your neighborhood's adult day care.
Seek medical advice concerning his anxiety/ behavior. A close relationship with doctor's will be instrumental in dealing with your father's condition as it changes.
My mom would try to get out of the house/wander at night, too, and was very resistant to change (the change going on with her mentally/physically + the change of having to live with me).
In taking on the role as primary care provider, I had to make some big changes. First, I had to remember that although she had moments of clarity, she was not always rational, thus I had to deal with her where she was. I am slowly realizing that I don't have to be right all the time; this lowered my stress level tremendously. Second, I was had to baby-proof my home. I put away all sharp objects, or anything my mother could possibly harm herself (or someone else) with. I child proofed my oven by removing the knobs at night. I installed double-sided deadbolt locks on all doors leading out of the house. I installed/ placed a magnetic door chime above her door which would ring whenever she opened her bedroom at night. I also purchased a baby monitor for her room; now I can hear her stirring in her room at night.
Hope some of these suggestions help you.....
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How far advanced is his illness?
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The best way in these cases is to get medical advice and treatment for the mental issues such as depression or anxiety medication. My mother seemed all eager to move to an assisted living, happy and calm, and seemed to understand the reasons and was compliant in every way. Once there, her attitude changed completely. She was negative, abusive, despised everything and everyone. She had been taking depression medication for years but somehow that wasn't working anymore, so once a psychologist saw her, he prescribed a change of meds. Once the process of elimination of the old meds and adjustment of the new ones was completed, she was a new person. Nice, agreeable and positive.
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You can call "Adult Protective Services" in your area or "Council On Aging" in your county. They are there to help you.
I will not give any medical advice but to go to your primary care physician.
We all live moment by moment....
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There is medication that the Dr can order for your dad that helps with his out bursts and temper. If someone is with him full time in the house, you might want to look into the combination key pads that only you or whomever is there can open. They use those on the doors at the facility my mother in law was in. Homes that deal with dementia patients are very, very expensive but if he has the money and you are his POA then no problem, otherwise try to get aides to come in several times a week for 4 hour shifts so you can get out and away. "sun downer's" is a huge problem but again the Dr can give you meds to help that. If he won't take the meds disquise them in his food or drink.
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I cared for my mother for a short time at home after she had a stroke. It was very difficult so I understand what you are going through. Hat helped me was a small dose of trazadone at night for her. It helped her sleep through the night ( most of the time). Every night after dinner I would bathe her and get her ready for bed. She rested for a couple of hours and then a small snack around eight o'clock helped her to get through the night. She seemred to be hungry all the time but only ate small portions at every meal. I started to give her a bowl of cereal between meals which seemed to hold her over until the next meal. Also if you can get some help in so that you can get time for yourself is helpful also. Best of luck to you. It finally got too difficult for me and unfortunately I had to put her in a long term facilitie. She is finally starting to settle in after 7 months. It is such a exhausting experience. Hope all works for you and your loved one.
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Do like the rest of us do. Wait. The storm blows over, you go outside to calm yourself, and know this situation will not last forever. Keep telling yourself you are doing the best you can do under the circumstances and no one (family member) doesn't feel your pain and anguish sometime caring for their dementia loved one. On Sundays these are my "off duty" days when my husband has to fend for himself (he can make toaster popups, a sandwich and dinner is microwaved). I go swimming, take in a movie or just get out of the house for a few hours so I can get a different perspective and talk to other people. Learning to stay calm is an ongoing practice. Practice meditation every day or whatever calms you so you can deal with all the stressors of caregiving. No one said this was an easy task, not even for those of us with medical knowledge. Give yourself permission to grieve now because you are losing your father every day little by little. Try to make the most of it...
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Is your dad living alone or with you?

And you're trying to find him a nursing home?

As far as your dad's dementia goes sometimes having a set routine can help. It alleviates the anxiety someone with dementia feels when there's too much going on around them. A calm, regular routine.

If your dad gets mean and nasty walk into another room if you can leave him alone for a few minutes. Let him calm down and take a few deep breaths yourself. When you return pick up right where you left off with whatever you were doing in a calm and relaxed manner. As if the outburst never happened.

Don't argue with your dad. The dementia may make him insist, for example, that the sky is red. Don't insist that it's blue. Just let the sky be red. You're dad isn't rational so it's a waste of time and energy trying to make him see reason.

Has your dad's Dr. prescribed an anti-anxiety medication for him?

If your dad becomes agitated and/or anxious try redirecting his attention to something else. Sit outside or put on a tv channel that he enjoys. Get him talking about his life, encourage him to tell stories of his life. Try photo albums as a way to redirect him. He may not respond to the redirection that very second but if you can maintain your cool in trying to redirect him he may settle down in time.

Mid to late afternoons can be a very trying time for someone with dementia and their caregiver. Make sure that your dad is clean and dry (if he's incontinent) or has gone to the bathroom. Make sure he has water or juice or whatever he likes to drink and a snack. Keep the stimulation down to a minimum.

Your dad is starting to wander? You said he was trying to leave. Where does he think he wants to go? If you keep the doors locked from the inside can he still get past the locks? If you have an alarm system keep it on while in the house so it will go off if your dad tries to open the door. Another idea is to gather together some soda cans and leave them in a heap at the threshold of your doors. If your dad wants to leave he'll kick those cans out of the way and alert you.

As for how to cope with it try to take a little time for yourself each day if possible. Read a book or take a cat nap if you can leave your dad alone for a little while.

Get out of the house if you can.

If you have siblings who are supportive lean on them. Talk to them. They may not know you need help. In my situation I just assumed that my brother would know that I needed help and my brother assumed that I would ask for his help if I needed it. We need to ask for what we need instead of relying on people to automatically know what we need.

Keep coming back here for support and help. There are a lot of people here with vast personal experiences with dementia. You can get a lot of good suggestions and lots of support.
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