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This year my Mom has noticeably slowed down and become more confused- no short term memory. She can't cook or remember meds/days/places. Dad keeps driving everywhere with her- all around Michigan, then to Columbus, OH for a family wedding, then against our wishes to FL with her. I had set up a car hauler with airplane tickets, but he cancelled the week before. Now they are in TX after flying to San Diego for another family event with my sister. My sister just said: "Mom SHOULD NOT travel anymore"! I agree, but when we tell him that it's not good for her, he says "This is the last time"...but keeps going. I am POA for him but he is for her. What else can we do?

If she is able to travel and not agitated, let her travel with him. If he is a safe driver, let him drive them. He realizes that their time is getting short. He is trying to fill their "last days" with fun. Mom may not retain the memories of these activities, but Dad does remember and he wants to have those fun memories with her. Meanwhile, he is providing her with "in the moment" joy.

My Gram developed dementia in her later years. My family had the joy of moving almost every year while in the military. She and my mom travelled to see us every Thanksgiving. She enjoyed every visit and we did what we could to maintain her usual routines while also giving her fun experiences and outings. We did that every year up to the year she died.
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Reply to Taarna
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i am amazed by your father! If I had dementia, this is absolutely the husband I would want.

Rather than locking her up and letting her brain shut down and the world just close in around her, he is getting her out, showing her the world, giving her stimulation and therapy. Giving her the very best and the very most that he can. They are literally riding off into the sunset.

Many people don’t want their parents to get hurt or to be in danger. Many are put in a “safety” box, like animals at the zoo, where you can come and look at them in their cage to see they are still there. Maybe not happy, but still there, maybe not even “there.”

Enjoy every minute of this. Let their life and energy inspire you. One day this will happen no more. You will long for this. You will be inspired by these memories.
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Reply to ACaringDaughter
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Your dad is probably "seeing" his wife's demise approaching quickly and his own soon to follow...and is afraid if he stops it will get'em.  This is like his last hurrah.  I totally get the protective nature you're exhibiting for your parents and it is my first reaction as well, but then I try to look at it from their perspective....their lives are coming to an end, would you prefer that they sit quietly and safely in a room waiting for it or would you prefer that they enjoy what time they have left?  I know it's hard to get out of that protective mode, but he obviously feels like he can still handle her.  Try to put yourself in their shoes.
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Reply to Jamesj
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Life should be lived, let them be...for now...if something happens then a new decision can be made. Trying to control them or being over protective is not the answer, they are adults, treat them as such as long as you can. So much better than sitting around and feeling sorry for themselves.
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I'm going to take a different path than a lot of the posters here. My father had vascular dementia and a extended family member had ALZ; I found vascular dementia is very different than ALZ. In ALZ there is a decline in the entire brain or a more complete across the board cognitive decline than in vascular dementia. With vascular dementia, there is more variance in the decline depending on what areas of the brain have been impacted by strokes or TIAs. In my father's case, loss of executive function, panic attacks, and personality changes were the major impacts while memory remained almost entirely intact. Dad couldn't make iced tea (more steps over a longer time frame) but he could still make a grilled cheese sandwich; he never left the stove on but it did poison the well water with pool chlorine.

If your mother's vascular dementia is currently impacting her short term memory, but her long term memory is intact then your mother may do very well traveling to visit relatives or places she has known for a number of years. As my mother's short term memory degraded (with MCI) I became her "security blanket". My mother travels very well and just spent more than a week at her sister's home while I went on a vacation in spite of the fact she has almost no short term memory anymore. Your father (and other relatives she has known for decades) may be your mother's security blanket, the person she trusts and turns too when her lack of short term memory causes confusion. When visiting as a guest, she may enjoy the company of people she knows without feeling any need to cook or clean and experiencing problems trying to do things she now has difficulties with.

You mention your concerns but you do not detail any problem that has actually occurred on these trips. Until there are actual problems, I think your parents should continue to travel.

I believe you would do better discussing care options with your father to support their traveling (like a cell based fall monitor with GPS) and for WHEN your mother can no longer travel and/or needs constant close monitoring. Will your father want to care for your mother at home or place her in an AL/MC? If AL/MC then where? How will mother's care be financed? Begin gathering information on AL/MCs at the various possible locations and then visiting them. Develop a plan with your father for your mother's future care so when the time comes it can be put in action.

Work at having fact based discussions, not opposition discussions where you try to tell your father he's wrong. Ask you father if he has considered something, like the fall monitor with GPS just in case your mother doesn't recognize where she is and gets lost looking for him. Become your father's partner in planning your mother's care.
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officerripley Nov 21, 2019
It's prob. a waste of time for her to have "fact based discussions, not opposition discussions" with her father and to become her "father's partner" in planning" her mother's care. I had a father, a stepfather, and am now married to a man who were/are all as she's described her father and men such as that won't discuss anything that they don't want to and are not interested in having partners in any way; they are always sure they are right and always know best. It's all well & good to say let them be & have "fun" while they can; but there are so few cases when people get to this age where "fun" is the same thing for both husband & wife. I, over a ten year period, was just about the only caregiver for 5 elderly parents and as I said am starting to be in this situation with my hubs and have seen over & over that 1 spouse (in every case I know of, the husband) was in denial about their age & its undeniable limitations & was/is therefore dragging the poor wife all over & trying to get her to act like she's 20 again. (Men!)

So Lizard, you have my total sympathy; my heart really goes out to you.
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I'm dealing with sort of the same situation. My father who is completely functional insists on hauling my 90 year old mother with dementia with him everywhere he goes. He's 92. She's not able to comprehend where they are going or what they are doing, she just basically does what he says. She fell off a curb while trying to get into the car and fractured her hip. We are now dealing with my poor mom with dementia trying to rehab from a broken hip. I felt my father should not be hauling my mom around because he gets distracted and can't watch her all the time, and doesn't always tell me when he's decided to take her somewhere. I had arranged for caretakers and myself to watch her, but he refused. She is now going to require 24 hour care because she doesn't understand that she shouldn't stand up without assistance, so someone has to be with her and alert constantly. So, here we are, now making hard decisions on what kind of care to get her. I can't help but wish my father had listened to me.
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TNtechie Nov 21, 2019
So if your mother had fallen inside the house would you still be laying the "blame" on your father? Elders fall and frequently at some point they fall and break their hip. This injury could have easily happened with the exact same outcome whether your parents traveled or not. My mother fell in my home with me walking right beside her and damaged her knee. I have the same second fall concerns because she forgets her knee doesn't work too well anymore and tries to take off without her walker. It's a sad fact of aging and being angry with your father doesn't change or help it at all.
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He is probably a passive aggressive man who has no empathy for others. Your mother’s declining health is an inconvenience to him Also she is 87. 87 is a very big number and she probably just wants to sit and stay but that’s no good to your father. He needs his servant “to do” for him. He is pushing as hard as he can because he has also gone past old and into ancient. I would also be worried about all this driving at his age. Time for a big family intervention
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Reply to PandabearAUS
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BeckyT Nov 21, 2019
Wow
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Is mom upset during these trips?
Is there a potential that she would wander off at any time?
Is she able to get around easily?
Is it safe for her to travel?
If she likes the travel....
If she does not wander off and he is careful to keep her in sight at ALL times.....
If she is able to move around easily....
If it is still safe for her to travel and safe for him to take her....
I would say let this continue until there is difficulty with any aspect of the traveling.
I used to take my Husband for rides all the time as he always enjoyed car rides. When it became a problem as he would try to wander, or would not sleep in a hotel we stopped trips. When it became dangerous to get him in and out of the car I stopped taking him to the store and other little outings he used to enjoy.
I would say let them enjoy the last few trips, keep an eye on them when she is getting in and out of the car, if they are having difficulty then revisit the "time to stop" discussion.
This might be your dad's way of dealing with the illness..sort of a denial on his part.
If you truly think it is dangerous you could try to obtain Guardianship and then you would have control not your dad despite the POA that he has. (I would suggest this as the LAST option as it would probably ruin any relationship you have with your dad)
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Lizard61 Nov 18, 2019
Mom does like to travel but needs to be watched as she doesn’t know where she is and has no sense of time. We got her a wheelchair at the airport which helped. Dad has ALWAYS traveled with her and doesn’t want to give it up. He is sole caregiver now as he won’t sell their home and move near family. In denial, I think. We do need an intervention soon. They are with my sister until Dec4, then flying to FL for the winter. I will go there in mid Feb for 2 months. Hard times ahead, I fear.
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He should be gently reminded that someone younger should be her PoA...did she name a secondary on the form? Make him justify why he has you as his PoA but not for her? I have mixed feelings about all their traveling, since the option is hanging out at AL or MC and I think you dad's frantic activity is probably because he knows once it stops, it stops forever. I'd be concerned about his driving (and if it's safe) and if he's endangering your mom in any real way. Be careful about an intervention...ambushing him will just piss him off and give him a reason to dig in his heels. Better that individual family members make their case to him in calm, unemotional visits. Good luck!
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Reply to Geaton777
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Lizard61 Nov 20, 2019
Thanks, this is good advice. I worry about getting him upset and digging in his heels. I hope my sister can reach him while they are staying with her until Dec. 3. Otherwise, he is operating on his own until I come to FL in Feb.
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Your father is taking responsibility for your mother now. Does she enjoy the trips and seeing family? Try to let them be independent and enjoy life as long as they can. My father was in denial about my mother's progressing dementia. But my mother enjoyed every trip she took with him until he passed away. Her life is not as good now that she is in a memory care unit.
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