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Hello,


We are so happy to have found this forum and appreciate the information on so many topics as well.


A brief history of my FIL. He is 80 and has been a bachelor for the last 50 years. My husband is his only living child. He is a hoarder that we feel we have helped him manage over the last 15 years. But it’s now getting out of control. He burns all mail in the fireplace versus us taking to a shredder because of fear of someone getting his personal info. He doesn’t trust pretty much anyone. When talking about anything personal he states “ they are listening anyways”. We can have “normal” conversations with him for a few minutes then it quickly turns to “word salad” that we can’t comprehend and when we ask him to explain what he means he says “well you wouldn’t understand”. He gets philosophical or speaks in mathematical terms or theories that he believes are facts- which some may be but he seems to not be able to converse anymore without it being about him.


He has delusions of grandeur about himself. He claims to have been in the CIA, and when trying to go down a factual road asking questions about his experiences he gets mad.


The most alarming and very recent delusion is that he claims his own father is a very famous composer/musician that died in 1940. His own father my husbands grandfather died 40 years after that. When we go down the road of facts of his own fathers birth and death and life and it does not compute with him it’s hard for us to comprehend. He says he actually believes this but can’t explain to us how it’s possible....he also has a picture of this famous composer alongside other pics of his father.


He sees a psychiatrist every couple months for countless years but we believe he’s just collecting money. My FIL agreed to allow my husband to come to his Dr. visit as well as speak with him on the phone to address our concerns. At the Dr. visit he stated to my husband “he’s just an eccentric man”. (Which is how we have always known him but he has now crossed over to another world) so all the time and energy and time off work to go to his appt hasn’t led us anywhere. We are just spinning in circles.


So HOW to we move forward? Take video of his home? Secretly record his conversations with us? Which we don’t feel good about doing.... how do we start the process and conversation for brain scans etc.


Looking forward to some feedback on this and thanks in advance.


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There is a difference in the two conditions.
Aside from the finances it sounds like he is doing fairly well in caring for himself. So good that he has stopped driving. That alone makes him heads above the behavior of many seniors. The loss of executive function is often a sign of vascular dementia. Does he have a primary he will allow you to call?


https://www.verywellmind.com/schizophrenia-versus-schizoaffective-disorder-2953129
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ZBay3D Oct 20, 2018
97,
yes we are in the process of getting connected with his primary Dr. thanks for the suggestion on possible vascular dementia. We very much appreciate all info as we are having to develop a new set of management skills and tools for these health concerns.
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Tell us how your FIL is doing outside of his mental health.

How are his ADLs?
Does he take care of himself pretty much as far as finances, shopping, preparing meals, hygiene? Does he drive? Clean his home?

Does he see a primary doctor in addition to the psychiatrist? Is he on any medication from either doctor? If so, what is it for?

I saw your question earlier today and wanted to answer you because I know someone with these very same symptoms. They were diagnosed with
bipolar Schizoaffective disorder.
All of the same type symptoms you mentioned are present with this diagnosis. You might want to look that up.

I would be very hesitate to separate FIL from his psychiatrist. I’m impressed that he has had a long term relationship with a doctor. This is very different from dementia. Imaging is not used to treat this type of disorder although the person I know had a CT scan and MRI to rule out some family history of brain tumors.
Since FIL has given your husband permission to speak with his doctor why not ask him what FIL diagnosis is and if he has noticed that his symptoms have increased.

About the fireplace. Are there signs of burned carpet or flooring? Are the smoke detectors working with fresh batteries? If the hoarding is really bad perhaps a visit with the fire department would be beneficial.
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ZBay3D Oct 17, 2018
Hello 97,
His Psych did say to my husband that he does not have Schizophrenia. But still we really feel this doctor doesn’t know the whole life truth he is living. We aren’t sure of all meds but we live in California and he uses edible marijuana and has for many many years.
He cannot manage his finances. With his health insurance he said he missed a few payments but our conversations yesterday is it’s been 7MONTHS! This year was the final catalyst with the family comparing more conversations and open talking with him as he now has run out of money (he has always talked that he is fine in that regard) He cannot manage his finances and this year we are very much clued in to this. He must look into reverse mortgage. His house has crossed over into serious hoarding. We had discussions through the last 5 years of selling this 2 story home and him getting a small 1 story. But he will not as this is his parents home from 1940s And it’s filled with family treasures through countless decades. So we committed to helping how we can make him comfortable there.

He does not drive as of last year. A small car accident led to this. No one was injured. He does cook and enjoys this. His local grocery store is 2 blocks and he likes to walk. We are also encouraging grocery delivery and Uber. We are getting him signed up for the city’s elder pick up for free rides as well. And we feel his hygiene is hit or miss.
His fireplace is the type he put in 10 years ago for burning other than logs and no sign of Burnt carpet etc.
I do like the idea of a possible visit from the fire department and another phone visit with his Psch for more info.
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I will also add that when my LO was seeing a geriatric psychiatrist, he was not inclined to treat behaviors, just because they seemed odd or were annoying to others. He felt that my LO, who has dementia, did most things out of boredom, amusement, frustration, etc. She did stay on meds for depression and anxiety and took a little something to help her sleep, but, he wasn't inclined to prescribe medication just because she said odd things or had delusions and hallucinations. He focused on how things affected her. If she was not bothered, then, he said she should be tolerated. Thankfully, her behavior wasn't all that troublesome. But, I would struggle whether they would treat a delusion if the patient isn't bothered by it and it doesn't hurt anyone. Maybe, that's why his current therapist hasn't done much about them.
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Yes we are at a point where something needs to be done and appreciate the feedback of how others have dealt with similar situations. We don’t live with him and are 1/2 hour away so trying to educate and observe everything ourselves as much as we can before moving forward to help manage this.
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I don't know if this will help, I'm kinda in the same position. My mother is 75 yrs old and there are days when she is all there and days were I don't know where she is. I tried to talk to her about being tested for dementia I even told her that it could be her medications, or not getting enough healthy food. Well that went over like a lead balloon. She was NOT HAVING IT!
I do live with her so that makes a big difference. Can you or your husband get a referral from FIL Dr and just take him to a Neuro Dr without telling him where he is going. You can say something like "we're just worry about you & this is just a routine test" I used to say to pt this is just a routine test. Nothing to worry about. This is what I plan to do with my mother when she gets to a point I know she won't really understand. Your husband and you are coming to a point were something has to be done, and from your post it sounds like it is now! I don't see talking to him (FIL) will do any good, if anything it could make things worst. As people say, "Their brain is broken". Their are others on this site that are more knowledgeable about the process you will have to go through to get him the care he needs. I wish you good luck.

God bless you.
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You do have a unique situation. I think that I might look at the most pressing thing about your FIL and that being safety. While hallucinations can cause a person to hurt themselves or others, due to their fear, does it seem that his delusions are of that sort? It seems they are rather harmless. Burning fire in the fire place concerns me, but, if he is competent doing it, then, I wonder if that would be enough to step in.

I guess my point is what good would the test do if he is still competent and is going to live his life the same anyway? While you may mistrust his current therapist, they may know him pretty well by now. I might write down a list of things that you have observed about FIL and provide it to the therapist in advance of the consult. That way, he has the heads up as to why the family is worried and maybe he can delve into it a little more.

I might also consult with an Elder Law attorney. They can explain the process for filing for guardianship, if it comes to that and let you know what evidence you need, costs, etc. Make sure, it's one who regularly litigates in those type of hearings, so they really know the best options for you. You can ask about the legality of recording. There are state and federal laws that may apply.
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ZBay3D Oct 16, 2018
Thanks for your input.
yes an elder law attorney could be helpful. I do believe a diagnoses will be helpful to know if medications can help with his quality of life too. We will see.
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A.
Thanks for your time and input. Much appreciated.
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Ahmijoy Oct 16, 2018
You’re welcome. Good luck.
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Z, I agree about the psychologist. Wow. At this point, I don’t think explaining the battery of tests would make much sense to Dad, especially with his paranoia. Can you concoct a story about why he needs this testing? Like maybe the doctor needs his help with some research and has asked if Dad could help him out? Play into Dad’s eccentricity. You’ll be eligible for an Academy Award, but it might work. And dump the psychologist.
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Has Dad been formally tested and evaluated for dementia? I ask because as her dementia progressed, my mother became increasingly paranoid and delusional. She was a famous actress on the Broadway stage, I was her co-star and her room was her Chicago apartment. She never lived in an apartment or in Chicago. We often had conversations that made no sense.

Is this Dad’s doctor who says “he just an eccentric old man”? Uh, no. Dad needs to be tested and treated for dementia. Dad’s doctor may be from the era when people just tolerated their elders acting out because they had dementia. Now there are medications that can be beneficial and make things easier on everyone.

Trying to make sense of what Dad is saying or trying to correct him serves no purpose. His road is very crooked now and you can’t straighten it out. As we say, his brain is broken. When he goes off on a paranoid tangent, listen for a while and then redirect. I’d be a concerned about his “playing with fire”. That could be very dangerous.

Start with asking his doctor for a referral to a neurologist or a Geriatric Psychiatrist and have Dad tested. It will be much easier if you know what you’re dealing with.
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ZBay3D Oct 16, 2018
Thank you Ahmijoy,
no he hasnt been formerly tested. This is his psychologist that made these comments when my husband went with him to an appt. my husband walked away feeling like maybe the dr needed a doctor lol which was frustrating. So do you feel from experience the best way is to just come out and tell him in as tactful manner as we can that for OUR peace of mind we would like some tests done?
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