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My father has dementia. He has good days where he can function and he has bad days. My father's Doctor retired, so I found a new Doctor, made the appt. for January (trying to make sure he has enough meds until then). Today he tells me “I’ve changed insurance plans. They told me about a different better plan so I went with it.” I said dad your Doctor appt. is coming up and they may not accept the new plan. How will you get your meds? You may not be able to get in with another Doctor in time. He said oh, I didn’t think about that (I’m thinking I know that’s why I’m organizing things for you). Or when he constantly tells me his computer broke he can’t get in because he forgets his passwords. I made a list of all of his passwords but he goes and changes them and now I do not know what they are and we have a hard time trying to figure out what some of them are. It’s so frustrating because it constantly happens and it places so much extra stress on me. He can’t remember that I have everything organized for him and he still wants to do things himself but it doesn’t work out so well. Yet I’m not sure if he would be labeled incompetent if he still has good clear days. What do I do? Anyone else with this problem?

HE has dementia. Look at what he has changed...is it o.k? The recent efforts to get medicare suppliment plan may get him reduced or no premium...take a look and see if o.k. All those plans have med. pay. some are more or less.. All that free stuff we all have been exposed to is directed to those who may be elgible to medicade. When they get you they have alternatives. Medicade elgability has to do with income and Assets. Get a small book for passwords. Let him change or I mean let him live with not access and let him get frustrated....tell him you need to manage the stuff on the computer and you will get into what he wants. HE HAS DEMENTIA.!!!!!!!! He is doing stuff his dementia comes and goes. If you have protected him in not losing his assets or income by giving away is a first step. He has to do stuff. If he is not a danger to himself or others he needs to do stuff. If you are tired and want to quit and still want him to stay at home...there is a anxiety drug that works on "the want tos'" But he will require more care if he gets too much. He sounds incompetent...so decide whether you are willing to continue or you are tired and want to quit. Remember if you are wanting to quit....you willl become frustrated and this will get worse and cause you both problems. Verbal abuse is the top of the deeper problem of anger. when he has good days do not involve him in evaluating or try to get his mind into.....you can not change behavior. He has had a lifetime of repeating what he knows that works.
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Reply to DKelso34
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You didn't indicate whether you live with your dad (or he with you.) It he's living alone, it is probably time to consider some changes to that. Dementia will often have good and bad days, sometimes on the same day! But it will not get better, only worse, so you have to be 10 steps ahead of him. There's no real timeline when changes or further regression might happen, so you need to know what you might expect (not everyone follows the same time line or changes) and be prepared for them!

Your profile states he has vascular dementia, so did a doc diagnose him at some point? A letter stating that might be sufficient to take over if you have POAs. If you don't have POAs, the window of opportunity may or may not still be open. Our EC atty was able to query mom and determined her capable to sign the new documents we needed (we already had most done, just needed new documents.) It would be best to tackle this now, in case he can qualify, before it's too late - then you would have to go guardianship. Expensive and time consuming!

Do you know who "they" are regarding the insurance change? Are you sure he actually did it or does he think he did it? I would confirm that and, if he did, also confirm whether this new doc takes the plan before you go. Pharmacies can sometimes provide a small advance on medication if there will be a lapse, if you explain the situation to them.

I don't recall what the tool(s) are, but they have ways to make computers safe for children - you might need to do that, OR change all the passwords and do not give them to him. If he lives alone, that might be a problem, because he could call some places to get it "reset." It might be better to restrict his access with the child proofing tools and not allow him into his accts. It is so easy for hackers to get access. IF he says the computer is "broke", there's your opportunity to "confirm" it is broken and take it, telling him you'll get it fixed. If he asks about it, they are still repairing it! Get it all straightened out so YOU can access the important accounts, and IF you choose to return it, make sure it is Dad-proofed. If he asks why he can't get to the sites, they are down for maintenance, they've been hacked and are offline, they don't do it online anymore - ANY excuse you can think of to brush it off.

"He can’t remember that I have everything organized for him and he still wants to do things himself but it doesn’t work out so well."
Unfortunately this is also the way of dementia. Anything you don't want him messing with, make sure it's no longer accessible to him. He isn't going to change for the better, only worse, so take these things now and over time they will be forgotten. He'll just find new things to mess with!!

Cognitively impaired or some other benign PC label is used. I never mentioned the word dementia around my mother. To her it meant you were off your rocker and she would NEVER agree she had a problem!

Restricting his access to important things, like insurance, banking, esp the computer, anything he could change for the worse would be a start. It won't be easy, in the sense that he might balk, but it can become dangerous to allow him access to all of these. The child proofing tools for computers might be an option, so that he can still get online if he wants to, but he shouldn't have access to those important things that require passwords. Moving general stuff around is a pain, but it doesn't really impact anything. You'll have to keep tabs on the necessities and if anything's missing, replace it while searching for where he might have put it. Better to have too much than not enough! If you already have POAs set up, now is the time to use them. Some docs or places might require that doctor letter, but in our case it wasn't needed except for federal issues (mom's pension was as is SS, IRS, etc.) I had all billing addresses changed to my PO Box and set up banking so I would deal with it, not her. No one really had an issue.
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Reply to disgustedtoo
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Imho, yes, I had part of this problem with my late mother. I would organize her items, but when she laid hands on them again, they would be back to unorganized because of her low vision.
Part of your dad's issues are that insurance companies have VERY enticing ads on TV for Medicare. However, some aren't what they advertise. Also, on password forgetfulness, some sites have a second step for authorization, e.g. name of your high school, name of your first pet. That may be able to help you. I also thought of something else - if you're able to access your dad's computer, see if you can bring the computer up to an earlier time. I have done this when I needed to (not just for password recoup). Perhaps you also want to consider purchasing a portable hard drive.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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The best solution I found to the password problem was to use "autofill" so he didn't have to remember (and then change when he couldn't remember) the passwords. It wasn't perfect but it did help a lot. We were lucky that his computer was not ever used by anyone else and he only had his cleaning lady of long-standing in the home. For bills/mail/etc. I had the USPS Informed Delivery info come to my email so I would know what bills had come and I could then assure they got paid. I would stop by the house and casually sit at the kitchen table where he would leave the mail and say "Oh, I see you got the Tax bill. Why don't we get this in the mail? I can drop it in the box on my way home." Finally, he would just let it pile up on the table until I came and went through it. It's very frustrating on both your parts to feel out of control of these things. He wants to still be in control and knows he's not and you would like to be in control and know you aren't. It's a real push/pull that has no good solution.
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Yes, this was our life for about a year and now dad is more used to us dealing with things for him. It's a process and frustrating. I bought a subscription to Last Pass and taught him how to use it to keep track of his password changes (and so that I could also see/have access if needed) and also set up his main websites on the browser as standard. But that barely worked for long. I was glad I had it though because then when I needed to take over finances as trustee, I had everything set up and ready to go. I now use his computer as a standing open display of his upcoming appointments and he doesn't really touch it, just looks at it to remind him of what's coming up next.

"Incompetent" is a weird thing because the doctors don't really say someone is incompetent... they will just say he can't make informed decisions... and it sounds like your dad can't make informed decisions (like with the insurance). However, even if they did decide this and you took over his "stuff" completely... the person on the other end of the phone wouldn't have a clue that he was not supposed to be making these choices and he would still do it.

Eventually dad decided he liked having his "manager" deal with all this stuff but it took about a year of doing for him.
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Reply to marydys
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Yes been there. Instead of fighting about it I just let my mom do as she wants.
As long as she keeps everything in her bedroom i don't care what order it is in.
I found out that by doing that she redoes her room a least once a week and she
thinks she has control over her stuff. Let it be and give them something to do.
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disgustedtoo Dec 31, 2020
That's fine and a good idea if they only stick to their own room and their own stuff, esp if the stuff isn't anything important! OP needs more control over her dad, with computer use, phone, etc., not just stuff.
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Unfortunately there is going to be a lot of this for you. The suggestion is to try as best you can to keep him from things he can mess up and have him watched more closely. We had a flood in 2013. Our basement flooded. I pulled up the carpet and called someone to take care of it. My mom called a plumber in another city an hour or so away. It wasn't a plumbing problem. Then, because the guy I called didn't come that very day, she called another plumber. I was at work. He explained to her it wasn't a plumbing problem. She called the city and had them turn off the water. They did?????? She went to the sink to get a glass of water. No water. She called the police. They called me. She was never left alone again. She'd ask me to put some things she never used on the porch as donations, but when I did, she'd bring them all back in. I'd watch her do it. Nothing I could do about it without upsetting her. Making her house mom proof was exasperating. If I locked the air conditioner monitor in the house, she'd go outside to the control box and shut the entire workings down. She'd unplug the internet while I was grading student work online. She'd unplug the refrigerator on a regular basis. Unplugging was her favorite activity. She was trying to save on the electric bill. Second favorite was calling the police by mistake when trying to call time and temperature, the old way to find out what time it was. Never just looking at the clock. Yet, I still wonder sometimes if I should bring her back home from assisted living. Thanks for the reminder to not do that.
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Reply to ArtistDaughter
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Please talk to a good elder attorney. A Power of Attorney is just a way to carry out instructions on behalf of someone else. The POA can be overruled by the individual at any time. It’s a bit of subterfuge but that’s why we take away the computers, credit and debit cards and checkbooks away from our dear ones so they can’t find them to use. The only way for you to completely conquer your father’s whims and decisions is with a full guardianship. In the meantime, file a change of address and have all his mail come to your address and go to Social Security to become his representative payee because they don’t recognize a POA. That elder attorney can help you find just the right path.
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Reply to VeronicaJo
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You need to get Power of Attorney. Then you have to call all the places your Father has contacts with (doctor, insurance, banks, Visa, mortgage, gas/electric/phone) and send them the Power of Attorney. Then you can tell all these places NOT to deal with your Father but only listen to you. You should also take away the computer and phone so no scammers/telemarketers have access to your Father. Lock away all important papers in a file cabinet and only you have the key. Very harsh, but this worked for me. Solved all the problems of not having bills paid and excessive spending "for charities" that would call or email. Make sure you are the only one in control. Good Luck !!
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NeesaLee Dec 31, 2020
Hi LonelyOnlyChild,
I had some of the same things happening with my hubby when he was in the mid stages of dementia where he was in and out of cognition constantly. Like you, I tried having discussions at just the right moment hoping something would stick in his mind. I tried the post it noes too that worked but only until his mind deteriorated past the ability to read them. So it dawned on me one day that he was losing things like his wallet, his cellphone etc. So as a gift to him, I put all his ID etc in my pUrse and when he looked for it on our way out the door, I assured him ai had all he needed in my purse. Then I used that strategy on his phone, when he misplaced it, I made sure it was never found..... finally I did this with his laptop. When he looked for it, I said “awe it’ll turn up sometime”. His world got smaller and smaller, but I considered it my responsibility to remove things that caused either of us stress. After 6 years of caring for my husband, he passed away on Dec 8, three weeks ago. I know I did everything possible and ai have no regrets..... bless you as you maneuver thru this horrible decease without a playbook!
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Why are you letting someone with dementia have access to the internet? Do you let him drive too? He should not be dealing with ANY accounts on-line, for a variety of reasons, the most obvious of which being the inability to remember a password, or remember to write down a password, or remember where to write down a password... Aren't you his medical POA? It's definitely time to sit down and talk with him, on a good day, about recent decisions and what is safest for his health, his finances, and both of you.
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disgustedtoo Dec 31, 2020
The chat can be had, but more than likely he isn't going to remember it. It could be forgotten in a minute or less, 10 minutes from now or anytime after the chat is done. He also may not agree to anything said when the chat is happening. Sometimes it is best just to make the decisions yourself and move forward, without discussion.
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While the situation that you have is not unusual for people with dementia. Their brains are only working 50% or less most of the time. I went through the same thing with my dad, he was set in his ways as it was always the world of his way or the highway. You can't change that in someone that has always been independent, many people that have dementia don't even realize there is a problem, and some family members will make excuses for the behavior patterns or tell a sibling they are exaggerating to avoid having to make decisions. But, one thing I can say, you MUST take care of yourself. The stress of caring for a loved one is overwhelming not only physically but mentally.
I do not know if either of these options will work to help with some of the password issues, but it may be something worth looking into. https://www.howtogeek.com/111239/the-best-ways-to-lock-down-your-multi-user-computer/
https://www.top-password.com/blog/prevent-windows-10-users-from-changing-password/#:~:text=Click%20on%20the%20Users%20folder,labeled%20User%20cannot%20change%20password.

I wish you the best and hope that the links I provided can help solve part of your problem with password stuff.
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Reply to thingsarecrazy8
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Would it help if at least for the computer passwords to tape a note to the monitor that says in large letters, DO NOT CHANGE PASSWORD and then below that put the correct password for him? Or is there a way to take off the need for a password on most things like his e-mail and stuff like that? Or maybe re-do the computer so he can't access it unless you are with him to put the password in for him? Not sure how that would work with him so these are just suggestions. Wishing you the best. Oh and for the insurance... if he changes it again you do have a small time frame where you can change it back to the old account.
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Reply to whaleyf
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This won’t help with your current admin issues w/your Dad, but generally speaking, are there any projects you can occupy your Dad with that won’t cause harm?

For example, many years ago a therapist recommended I distract my mom with a ‘useful’ project so I pretended I was really having problems finding the right kind and color of sheets and could she help me? ( Silly but it worked ) Now mom has dementia and a recent brain bleed and does go in and out of cognition. She’s always been big on post-it notes and is fighting the memory loss big time so she is using TONS of post-its. Of course these notes are getting lost but I want to make sure she has all the post its she wants as this gives her a sense of control and a fighting chance. I’ve also had to downsize and move a bunch of her stuff and in her new space I crammed more things in than necessary. Primarily because A) it would be crazy making to have too little stuff and have to deal with back and forth with what she thinks she wants!! B) This is a project that gives her more control and will occupy her for a while.

Of course there are no perfect answers and this is very imperfect....but in the back of my mind I try to think of projects that can give mom control but also keep her OUT of the big ticket trouble spots.

Blessings...
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All I can add is I understand. We moved our parents into a wonderful well respected place. We researched and visited every one within our area. Taking tours and researching each one. We knew that one important factor was levels of care. Starting with independent and the ability to stay in the same place but move up care levels as needed. After COVID lockdowns my Dad became frustrated with us not being there everyday so he contacted an independent living facility and got himself and my mom and apartment there. The move and settle in was a nightmare in the middle of COVID. The former facility told us your parents don’t want any outside help they just want you and your sister to provide for them. They were right even now they turn away the cleaning option weekly and rely on us to clean, get groceries, give meds, pay bills etc.... and mostly hunt every single day for tv remotes, eye glasses, hearing aids, etc that never get put back in one place
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AnnReid Dec 29, 2020
How painful and difficult for your family.

I have come to realize, as a caregiver, that a cognitive assessment performed by someone with training in geriatrics can be a powerful and comforting tool when dealing with decision making for our Loved Ones.

I will be asking my children to have such an assessment done if/when they have any question about my husband and me, and act accordingly.

Perhaps your father was no longer capable of making the decision he made; perhaps he decided with more clarity than you were aware he still had, it either way, if you and your sister are pulling more than your fair share of what should be your parents’ responsibility, there IS something out of balance.

You may have to back out completely before you can figure out whether this will work for a while FOR ALL OF YOU, and that may be unmanageably difficult for you all, in one way or another.

No easy answers, no “good” choices. Be SURE that you and your sister are fighting for YOUR right to time and space, with “love and respect” for your parents and enough distance for yourselves.
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I’m learning to live with Mom’s inability to make wise decisions. I understand your frustration! Please, please, please take time for self care. It’s very hard to come to terms with a loved one’s deteriorating brain. Things Mom once understood don’t make sense to her now. She lives alone, is hell bent against accepting help or discussing anything with us (because everything in her mind is ‘fine’). I’m unsure if she would be labeled incompetent but won’t go to a neurologist, with or without me.

There’s not much we can do, except care for ourselves to relieve the stress our minds are under. Praying for all caregivers.
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My3Sisters Dec 31, 2020
In the same boat and I can feel the strain on me and my older sisters causing a lot of frustrations
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What you are considering a “good day” from your point of view, is still a dementia broken brain that he’s thinking from.

If formally assessed by a geriatrics trained examiner, he could in fact be identified as incompetent, or perhaps not, but his ability to appear socially appropriate in verbal interactions isn’t necessarily directly related to being able to organize, recall, utilize previously familiar facts.

My grandmother and aunt both suffered from vascular dementia, and fought desperately, we ultimately learned, to maintain the appearance of “normalcy” while battling their increasing struggles with the loss of the language/higher order skills needed to deal with daily life.

For your peace of mind, see if his doctor will recommend an evaluation of his current cognitive status. Once you know, it will help you to be able to provide him with more support while being less frustrating for yourself.
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Martz06 Dec 28, 2020
Yes thank you. That is a good idea. At times he can’t do simple math, he’s very confused, can’t remember names or recent conversations. Other days he’s doing more complicated math problems out loud, he’s thinking more clearly by remembering people’s names, he remembers what we talked about yesterday. Some friends and family are still in denial, they don’t see him on a daily basis or at times very confused as I do.
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If your father is even able to log onto a computer, I seriously doubt he'd be considered incompetent. My mother with moderate dementia can't even work her TV remote control or the telephone half of the time...........never mind a computer!

Your father is going to do things his way, period. Some people with dementia will rummage through their bedroom drawers, pulling everything out and tossing the items all around the room. You'd go in there, put it all away, fold it nicely, he'd come in and do it AGAIN. It's all part of the mind that no longer works properly.

You'll have to either take over FOR him with his paperwork ie: Medicare/ finances/bills, etc., or he will continue to wreak havoc by making changes he's not even aware he's making. What sort of 'better' insurance plan was he talked into, I wonder? Do you know? And how much extra are the monthly premiums? THIS is where dementia decisions can get a person into deep trouble. What about when the con artists call to get a 'donation' from him? Then what? This is why managed care becomes necessary for so many elders with dementia; because they can no longer make ANY rational decisions b/c they don't understand consequences anymore.

As far as the computer goes; I have a Lenovo Idea Center desktop; it stores all my passwords for me so I don't have to remember them. That may be a helpful thing for your dad, IDK. But the computer itself can become an issue if he can make purchases on it with his credit card/debit card from sites that are not secure, etc.

There's just so much trouble the demented elders can *and do* get themselves into without 24/7 monitoring, it's unbelievable. As time goes on, you'll have to think about taking over more and more of your dad's life FOR him, as he won't be able to manage too much on his own. You'll be there to clean up the messes he makes in the meantime.

Such a difficult situation, I know. I'm sorry you're in this position and my heart goes out to you. Wishing you the best of luck trying to manage dad and all that goes with his diminishing abilities. You may have to consider a Memory Care Assisted Living eventually, if/when the need arises. My mother lives in one and is very well cared for there.
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Martz06 Dec 28, 2020
It’s the strangest thing. Sometimes he can’t remember how to use the TV remote either but somehow still manages to log into the computer and change passwords. Sometimes he’s so confused I think he’s in mid stage dementia, other times he seems ok. He was diagnosed with vascular dementia.
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Hi Martz. There is really nothing you can do to change this behavior. It’s dementia and the forgetfulness will get worse. I can understand your frustration though and would suggest you just try to go with the flow and savor the lucid days your Dad has as they will become fewer and farther between as this ugly disease progresses. Good luck.
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