How to cope with constant complaining and non-stop talking?

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Let me preface this by saying I'm not a full-time caregiver yet. We are on a "trial run" with my elderly father to see if both parties can handle each other. So far, not so good!

Long story short, all I hear from my father is constant complaining. Never necessarily about anything I or husband did, but specifically about things that happened 40+ years ago. His ex wife did such and such to him...his other kids don't call him enough...they don't appreciate him..the list goes on. I do not have a relationship with these half siblings, nor do they care to be part of the care giving process. So it has fallen to me.

I recognize we all get reflective as we get older, and it clearly pains him that these children of his don't want much to do with him. But I can't take more of the constant assault of negativity from him. I say things like "sorry I'm the best kid you've got, dad!" In a lighthearted tone, and I've even gotten to the point where I've told him I don't want to hear how bad his other kids are.

How can I cope??

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You need a new doctor. My mother's wonderful internist was only wonderful as far as her physical being was involved. Once anxiety and depression (caused by cognitive decline) set in, he was useless. We needed a geriatrician and a geriatric psychiatrist to show us the whole picture, prescribe meds, further evaluations and a change in lifestyle.
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Dementia is easily redirected... I do not agree... I only wish it was. Every individual is unique. When you see one you see one.

It is difficult for everyone to accept a mind is damaged by Alzheimer's Disease. Not only is memory damaged their ability to process
thoughts and conversations is impaired.

Confabulations and repeating are a major annoyance.
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What about the emotional neediness under the mental thoughts and behaviors? My mother's non-stop talking arises out of anxiety and fear of abandonment. What helps is someone (usually a stranger) who heaps compliments or some little act of kindness which she acts like a person in a dessert being given a glass of water. The drama is enacted over and over again. I think yes, rumination, would describe the thought and the need to fix it.

The doctor ignores all my suggestions and my mother does whatever she wants to . If someone tires of her antics she disses them and finds a new victim.
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I agree, I have written before about sending my mom to a Senior Behavioral Clinic. In ten days they "fine tuned" her and the difference was amazing. She still has a tad of anxiety but it is all much better. She still gets critical and self-pitying--after all, she was ALWAYS like that so why should that change completely? But it is much, much better. Now I can just ignore or re-direct the remarks. It is not a complete onslaught, which you are describing,and which I have experienced.

Try to get the family doctor on board with the geriatric referral, and your dad will probably accept it better.
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I am so glad this was posted, because I feel guilty about posting a similar question. @bunnyslippers - does he have dementia? I don't recall reading that, but others seem to be alluding to that. My MIL is living with us temporarily, and although the complaints themselves are somewhat different, the general behavior is the same. I realize that she is grieving over the loss of my FIL, and it has been less than a month, so I've tried to take this with a grain. Unfortunately, she was like this prior to now. I am almost to my breaking point. My husband and daughter are as well, but we are just stuck until she gets moved into her rental home (next door). My husband thinks she just doesn't realize she is behaving this way, while I think it is straight up intentional and evil. For that thought alone, I feel so guilty. Maybe I need the medication!!
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I, too, get the constant stream of negativity, but I am not the caregiver, so I try to just let it run off me. But it is very hard to take, and it will tend to drive away others who otherwise might want to visit or participate in caregiving. My only advice would be to make sure you take a break from it yourself, and don't take it personally.
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Medication for depression might help him. You also redirect his line of thought by telling jokes or remind him of funny events in the past. Keep him away from blood and guts TV and tune in the comedies. Play his favorite upbeat music. Dementia is easily redirected.
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I'm with Pam on this. Either have him seen by a geriatric psychiatrist or talk to his dementia doc about meds. It's called rumination and it's not good for the brain.

What does he do all day? Is there adult day care he could go to? An elder group that goes to breakfast a few times a week?
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By he way, I just got the bill form the Senior Behavioral Clinic: $$30,134.15 total to my family after insurance: $1216.

It is worth it. JuddhaBuddha, my mom was doing the same thing. Acting like she was deserted by the family and desperate for attention. She was making a nuisance out of herself, bothering everyone, including the secretaries, with her endless needy talk and accusations. Now she pretty much minds her Ps andQs.
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I haven't tried meds yet. But i find it helpful if I listen to a few complaints and gradually redirect attention to something calming to them. Sometimes it seems their outlet of frustration if they are unable to do a simple task. Helping or guiding with the task in progress always helps for me.
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