My Dad is almost 93. We had to get guardianship and place him in a nursing home because his behavior and thought processes were a danger to himself or others.

He was diagnosed with vascular dementia. He is a hoarder, very intelligent and paranoid, angry that he has lost his freedom.

There are 7 of us kids. When we call him, or he manages to get access to a phone to call long distance, he calls out of the blue. Could be at 2:30 am, in the middle of the day.

He has many recurring delusions and all he talks about is how much money we have stolen from him, that he is going to Hollywood to make a movie about his military service as a CIA(he did not). How he is a doctor and a probate judge in all 50 states, How they are moving him from from to room so no one can find him because of all the money they are making. These delusions have been consistent but embellished on each time.

I am a healthcare professional that spent decades working with people with dementia, strokes, In nursing homes. I know all the strategies. But every time after our conversations, when I hang up I feel drained. It is just more crazy than I can believe. And he seems to believe it.

What do you do to deal with these emotions?

Find Care & Housing
Ours likes to constantly rehash the path of destruction which led to her current NH living situation. She adds and deletes details at will and it makes my blood boil. To hear her tell it, she managed life and finances with ease - never needed to burden anyone and would not have ever dreamed of doing so because she's such a lovely person. Her mobility was such that she pranced like a gazelle and if she tripped occasionally it was never HER fault. Reality is that I was breaking my back and ruining my own life tending to her for basically everything and trying to keep her from falling. She does not remember this. For her, it was much different and it's a massive injustice that she's "in this place" for no reason and it's costing her a fortune (she's on Medicaid).

Which leads to the preoccupation with money which I've seen mentioned many times on this forum. Mine is constantly talking about how much things cost and it "makes no sense" for us to pay a NH to house her. She believes she's merely living there and she does not receive any care of any sort. When she was independent, I personally saw that her finances were a disaster. Always. To hear her tell it, she operated with the efficiency and skill of a CPA and would like her "accounts" back under her own control (cannot happen).

She does have vascular dementia, but she always was a liar as well - hard to know if it's the dementia always talking or if it's just more lies. However, I've had to say "I don't remember that" or "Yeah, I'd have to look into that" rather than arguing with her. It's my life and I can't spend time on silly stuff that's either a flat out lie or it's the dementia talking. The scary part is that she makes it sound SO very logical. When it's too much or an attack on me, I tell her we MUST talk about something else or I will need to go and I'm prepared to do it. It's your life. The tough love you showed is still love and it sounds like you went through a lot to get there. Focus on your own future because it can be a long journey back. It helps deal with the present.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Mysteryshopper

Understand the emotions.

it’s ok to cry and laugh your butt off, or both at the same time. It’s also ok to allow his calls to Go to voice mail if you can’t deal at that moment.

I see it as part of the grieving process you lost are loosing the father you loved, his body just hasn’t given up yet.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Ohlas1

My mother is married to her high school boyfriend in spite of the fact that he's been dead for 11 years and she hasn't seen him since 1946. My dad -- her devoted, caregiver husband of 66 years and the best man you'd ever know -- might as well have never existed.

The new hubby is a personal pilot for the Kennedys who flew them to Hyannis Port for the funeral of one of their grandchildren -- while holding said dead grandchild in his arms. (The baby was born without a head, she told me matter of factly.) He also works on the telephone poles for PG&E (which isn't a telephone company, but whatever...), and oh, by the way, their sex life is FANTASTIC.

I hate every conversation that Mr. Wonderful is part of, because my father was the man of her dreams and this imaginary clown has taken his place. Nevertheless, he keeps her company, especially in these times of lockdown when I can't visit her in person, so for that I'm grateful. I just go along with the conversation, letting her take the lead and don't attempt to make any sense of what's going on in her demented mind.

I think you should just turn off your phone at night and tell the nursing home you won't be answering calls during those hours or give them another phone number for emergency calls. As far as the rest of it, just let him ramble and go along with whatever he says, since it's his reality.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to MJ1929
Ohlas1 Sep 29, 2020
Spoiler alert;

He was mr universe too but you haven’t gotten that part of the story yet.

im sorry it’s laugh 😂 are butts off over the madness or cry a river.
We are going through something similar (minus the 2:30 am calls). Every conversation is upsetting. He's never happy. We are all stealing his money and plotting against him. He says "What did I ever do to you?"

I think the hardest thing is that what he is saying sounds just like him- in an alternate reality. That makes it harder to me. He sounds like himself so somewhere in my emotional brain- I'm listening to him as if he's sane. I have to consciously say to myself "You are not talking to him. You are talking to his disease." It doesn't help too much but that's what I do.

I have no advice- except maybe block his calls between 10 pm and 7 am. I do offer sympathy. It's draining and so very sad.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Marcia732

How does he get access to a phone? If its the nurses station request they not allow him to use. Should not be too many residents with phones but I guess he could get one from them. I would ask if there is something that can be given him.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to JoAnn29

same thing with my mother, thought she had been promoted at work, so they kept her their, she is in heaven now, I believe if I could go through it again, I would let her be whoever she thought she was because at that stage, they need to be happy and reinforced, you will allways be there and you love them.because they do go quickly!
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to connietomaselli

Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter