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How do you handle a Father when out of the blue nobody cares, complains about siblings we're all bad kids etc What do you do or say? He no longer drives and asked my retired brother if he would take him around the old farms and to see his sister that is an hour away. Brother did not reply, so dad informs me that none of us care and we will do whatever we want to do...this is a small sample...one other thing that he gets very angry about is our mothers funeral from 2 1/2 yrs ago that he was left alone and it all went wrong? the other is nobody tells him what is going on that he is not included? I see him face to face 5 days a week, 3 sons see him a couple of days a week. We all call daily. I take him once a month (if I can get time off of work)to his sisters town to see her and to go to an accordion playing group. I have walked away, I have screamed back, I have mention the times we spend together. Which all give me a guilty feeling!

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First of all, this is not your fault and we can’t make someone stop being depressed. You are right to be concerned and are doing what you can. So, try to ditch the guilt.

It seems to me that he has a "right" to his depression in that he's lost so much. As others have noted, he's only seeing the grain of truth - his truth. He's incapable of seeing the full picture. Whether this is a sign of dementia is hard to tell. It certainly does sound like depression.

Depression can sometimes be treated easily with medication - other times not. Medications are sadly limited in how they work so far and they aren’t right for many people, yet they do help a significant number of people so a doctor may want to consider this.

Whatever is wrong, he needs to see a doctor. His physical health needs to be checked, His medications need to be reviewed. His mental health should be evaluated.

I agree that a certain amount of agreeing with him is good. Even without dementia being present, someone with depression is not helped by people saying "oh, you don't have it so bad." For everyone's sake, it often helps to sympathize. But medical attention is needed to sort this out.

A geriatrician would be ideal as a starting point. If this aging specialist thinks that a psychiatrist and/or a neurologist is needed then you can move forward with that.

Read through this thread again and when you have time, browse other threads. There are wonderful people here with great wisdom. We'd love to have you keep us updated on how things are going.
Carol
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It's just a thought: you could try agreeing with him.

The thing is, what he says is *partly* true. A very small part, but there is a grain of truth. The problem is that from time to time that grain is all he can see. At times when he is down, he has things wildly out of perspective; but that is how he sees it, and the only way to change his point of view is to start out by sharing it.

Look at the situation from his perspective. Now a lot of the time there are plenty of people showing him that they do indeed care, very much, and helping him to continue with all of the activities he enjoys. But, life being what it is, there are other times when people are busy, or absent, or when things just go horribly horribly wrong - not from anyone's ill intent or culpable negligence, but because that's life. Things go pear-shaped. They just do.

Take the funeral as an example. It's one of those experiences when all you can do is close your eyes and wail internally: you might bitterly regret what happened, even if none of it was your fault, but even so there is nothing you can do to change or remedy the fact. All you can do is agree with your father that it was a terrible thing, and sit by him reflecting together. Then you can move him gently on, perhaps, to happier memories.

To help with the guilt that you feel, ask yourself whether a given accusation is true, and isolate what part of it is true, and look at whether you have in fact done anything wrong by action or omission (hint: probably not). E.g. the incident with your brother's not replying to your father's request, leading to your father's accusation that "none" of you care. The grain of truth in that accusation is that the lack of reply *could* mean that your brother didn't care enough about that request to respond to it. Now that is a very long way from "none" of you caring about him; but it is a possibility. Acknowledge it. Then point out that your brother's email was down and you hadn't been able to get hold of him yourself; or that you happened to know he was away attending to his in-laws' business; or whatever might be the perfectly valid reasons for his lack of response. Then further point out that the plan to visit the old places and see his sister is indeed on the family agenda and will be put into action very soon.

I suppose what I'm getting at is that your father's view of reality is distorted, but his feelings about his own reality are real and need to be accepted before they can be changed. It's hard, and it's sad, and it can drive you up the wall. But at the heart of it you know that your father is loved by his family, and attended to by them, and that's why it hurts you when he says these things. Which makes you a good child, not a bad one, who has every right to let go of the guilt.
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Rumination over past wrongs is the hallmark of some kinds of depression. Has your dad been seen by a geriatric psychiatrist? This would be a smart move if you haven't had him seen previously.
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Does dad live alone unassited? Has he shown any signs of dementia, memory loss, confused, can't reason with him about simple obvious issues? It certainly sounds like your family is very active in spending time with him. Most people at this age have few if any visitors.

Maybe you should try to get him tested for dementia. It can really sneak up on you. I didn't recognise it with my Dad for a couple years. Just thought he was being a poop head. You should also read about dementia and depression on this site. Lots of good info. You could be dealing with one or both issues.
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Dear lkwjohnson,

When there is a dramatic, noticeable change in behavior, like the one you are describing, it is because something has really changed inside of your dad's head. His perceptions have changed. Here are some things to think about.

1. This is "normal," that is to say, it happens to a lot of people . Read, read, read on this site and you will see how common this is. Also, you will see that your dad is having a mild problem at this moment: other stories here are much more severe. But, beware, your dad's situation will not stay as it is today. It will get worse with time.

2. The first reaction and the easiest is anger. You feel that he is being unreasonable and ungrateful. He is--but he cannot help it. Something has changed. We all react first with anger and frustration and regret it later. So, skip that and go straight to a solution.

3. Get your dad to a geriatric doctor, as Windyridge suggested. You will save yourself a LOT of time, frustration and trouble, if you take your dad to a geriatric specialist. They are the only ones who really understand the disease of dementia and related diseases, and the medications that can help him. There are many levels and stages of intervention. For example, my mom's family doctor gave her meds but too little to have any impact and she became uncontrollably angry and meddlesome (she called the police on me!). She eventually needed to go to a senior behavioral clinic for ten days to have her meds straightened out. But her situation was worse than your dad's--similar in the paranoia but more extreme. On the right meds my mom is now a pussy cat and always happy to see me. She plays bridge daily and has a nice time.

4. If your dad refuses to go to the doctor, ignore him. Just take him and that is that. Tell him he is going out for ice cream and firs there is just one stop. This sort of lying is necessary and all part of the strategizing... You are not cheating or hurting him. You are looking out for his welfare.

5. As many will suggest, you can always turn to Assisted Living (AL) but try these other options. Try the correct medications first.

Good luck!
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Also important for him to understand that, if diagnosed with depression, it's not a 'mental problem' but a 'chemical imbalance', and taking medication is no different than taking medication for your heart or cholesterol.
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People often don't realize how limited their lives have become. Your Dad misses your Mom and needs other people in his life. Hook him up with a senior center, a volunteer visitor, a religious based social group. Does he have neighbors? I agree you need to agree with him. He has more needs than his kids can provide while he lives alone. What does he want to do to change his life? Ask him.
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My dad is he same way. He refuses to go to the doctor to get checked for depression. In some people sadness turns to anger and this becomes difficult for family members and friends. My dad's social network has shrunk after he lost my mom since his prolonged grieving was accompanied by so much anger. He refused to try grief support or therapy or medication. In his view there is nothing wrong with him it is everyone that has a problem. I am the only sibling in town and like you I have him over almost every night for dinner and was getting all the angry rants. When they started to get directed at me, I got some counselling to help me cope. The advice I got was to put up a caring boundary with my dad and and tell him that he could no longer direct his anger towards me. It was not easy and provoked his anger even more at times,but I found a way to communicate with him that I no longer could tolerate his angry rants. I told him he was welcome to come and spend time with my family, but that he had to check his attitude before coming over. I let him know we were supportive of him and want to care for him,but the angry outbursts were too much. Things are much better now, it took a year but with the support of my husband we are able to have pleasant dinners with my dad. He still has the occasional angry rant, but I can tolerate it better and when it gets too much I let him know. Best wishes with your dad. Don't get racked with guilt, by coming to this site and seeking advice it shows that you care and are a good daughter. I hope you find a way to cope.
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Maye that is how he remembers your mothers funeral. If he is depressed, he is probably feeling sorry for himself and thinks nobody cares. He may have convinced himself that this is true. He might feel alone and sad. Try not to argue with him, antidepressants will help. I agree it might be dementia. He needs to see a Doctor.
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Is he on meds for mental illness (depression or clinical depression)? If not, get him to a doctor who will prescribe these meds STAT. They will, quite literally, save his life!
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