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A strange question but I think a valid one. My aged father is consumed with Catholic guilt as he's getting nearer to the end of his days. He talks constantly about the end of the world and predictions of The Blessed Virgin and how we're all sinners. I'm a practicing Catholic but I'm no way as obsessed as he is. He drives my siblings mad to the point where they either lose their temper at him, or just not talk to him.
Is this a dementia thing?

Any time he starts talks about being a Sinner and the end of the world. Don't get angry with him. It's only right especially for a person nearing their time here on earth to think about.

But instead of any negative talk, discuss how much Jesus loves him and remind him of the cross where Jesus gave up his own life to save all of us sinners.

Hsve him pray directly to go for forgiveness of his sins.
Read the Bible to him letting him know if he believes, confess his sins that he will be forgiven.

Rwas about the love of God.

Read to him from the Bible about Heaven and assure him that he's going there because his Jesus already paid the price.

If you're not using Music Therapy, you should play relaxing Christian Music for him.

Tell your siblings to Grow Up...
One day it'll be them lying in bed dying.

Give Love while Dad is still alive.
I'm sure Death is a very scary thing to handle.

Prayers
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Reply to bevthegreat
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Nazdrovia Jan 8, 2021
Thats wonderful advice. Thanks very much ❤
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Definitely have a priest visit, hear his confession, and give him the anointing of the sick!

These will bring definite spiritual and emotional comfort!!
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Nazdrovia- An elderly family friend became more focused on religious matters after entering a nursing home and as his health declined further. He often spoke of God, expressed that he was God, spoke of the beauty of God he saw in everything. All conversations came back to God. I believe his anxiety and fear of death caused this preoccupation. I think it was simultaneously his attempt to calm himself while also coming to terms with his own death. Try to have patience with your Dad and realize that he is like a frightened child in a grown man’s body, coping as best he can.
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Nazdrovia Jan 8, 2021
Thankyou yes. I do need to be more patient.
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While I was reading the accounts, I was reminded of my late SIL, she was Catholic and knew she was on her death bed. The family was gathered and all of a sudden she said she had something to confess. We all settled down to listen to her confession. She said it was her and her cousin Kathleen who drove Grandpa's Model T through the back of the barn. Her siblings said they already figured that out, LOL. You never know what people hold in their minds.
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Reply to MaryKathleen
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If this is new for him, then more than likely his dementia has deepened this religiosity. What is disturbing about it is more than he is concentrating on the sort of "old testament" God-as-wrath, rather than the new testament teaching of resurrection and love and forgiveness.
Since your Dad is a Catholic I would go to his local Parish and ask your most kind Priest to come and visit with him. They would have a good conversation, I would think. You could also probably help by reading him the more beautiful passages from the bible, those that are uplifting, and of joy. Try to steer his belief toward the positive messages given.
Most of my nursing career was spent at a Catholic Hospital where we had a roving Nun on the floors at all time. She was a marvelous woman, salt of the earth and both feet on the ground. She was such a comfort to ALL patients, but most of all to those suffering from religiosity combined with mental illness. A marvelous soul she was, and full of gentle humor. I saw her presence calm many a troubled soul.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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NeedHelpWithMom Jan 4, 2021
Well said, Alva.
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People of faith get dementia as do those without faith since 75% of people 75 years old and older have some dementia. What you are describing is what I call circular thought, or "stuck thought," where the person seems to be obsessed with a particular idea, thought, or event.

My grandmother had a bit of that when she would obsess about a family falling out that was decades old - and resolved! She was still mad at the people who she thought did her dirt. I tried reminding her of the last time she saw those family members and how they had a lovely time together. I also reminded her that she needed to let her anger go and forgive them. Eventually, I would remind her that "we decided to forgive them" and change the subject or try to divert her attention to another activity.

Your father is having similar "stuck thoughts" about his "guilt", about the end of (his life) world, and whatever beliefs that go with these thoughts. Since your father is Catholic, I suggest he have some regular sessions talking with his priest of a counsellor from his parish. The priest or counsellor can get him to discuss whatever he feels guilt about, pray together, and record that your father is a forgiven man in Christ. Having something that your father can focus on that reminds him that he is forgiven and has a wonderful eternity waiting for him may help with his fears.

If your father is having a lot of anxiety and agitation, as many folks with later stages of dementia do, he may benefit from a prescription for a mild anti-anxiety medication. It will help him to relax and may loosen this fear of guilt.
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Nazdrovia Jan 8, 2021
Thanks Taarna. Something you mentioned about your Grandmother always remembering dirt that was done to.her. when my Mum was dying in.hospital 2 yrs ago, My Dad asked his priest to come and say prayers with us. My Sister in Law was there and is not a Catholic. The prayers went on a bit. Anyway at the end of it,my dad apologized to.my sister in law bc it took so long. Well she went off her head bc she felt that he singled her out for being non Catholic and felt he had to apologize to her. She stormed out of the room. It upsets my father greatly still that she behaved this way and he still finds it hard to forgive her. I can see both sides but he should just let it go.
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I am a life long Catholic in my 60's, and was diagnosed with Early Onset ALZ in the summer of 2016. Those of us from the 50's-70's were taught all about Catholic Guilt. It has never left me. I did go to confession and was anointed when I was diagnosed and unloaded my burdens and got back to a clean slate, which now continues to be dirtied, That and anointing are good for the conscience and soul. Now, I know I can only reliably remember I am a sinner and ask for forgiveness. I believe I've enteredmidstage of ALZ and accept it all, keep praying and attending Mass. I know my family will keep bringingme to Mass as long as they are able to do it, as I no longer can drive, by surrendering my license on my own volition nobody has had to tell me, that was 10 mos ago. Prayers for all of our patients and Caregivers.
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Reply to jfbctc
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Nazdrovia Jan 8, 2021
Thankyou for your kind words
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If he has not always been obsessed with religious guilt, it is probably that he realizes the nearness of his transition to another place and that can be very scary. I would suggest have his favorite priest visit and council him and give him any necessary rites. Losing your temper doesn't help you or him so try to comfort him and as others have said remind him of the forgiveness of Christ.
Blessings to you and your family on this journey.
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Nazdrovia Jan 8, 2021
Thankyou
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One of the major symptom of my mother's vascular dementia was anxiety. She also had aphasia from a stroke, so she had difficulty expressing herself. Her major sources of anxity were "Catholic guilt" and the IRS. NO AMOUNT of explanation or calming talks with her priest worked.

Antidepressant and antianxiety medication did wonders for her and gave her peace at the end of her life.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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Nazdrovia Jan 4, 2021
Thanks Barbara. It sounds very much like my father. Nothing I say or anyone else says, will stop his ranting. I have thought about getting him medicated but it's how to.get him there that's the problem, assessed etc. He just won't bend.
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My very wise dad once told me that whatever is a person's strongest personality trait seems to get magnified as they age. As he got older, he became even more gentle and kind, and spent his last days calling old friends to tell them how much they meant to him.

My mother on the other hand, has always had what I'd call a "spirited" personality, but now she's a really cranky old woman who has nonetheless earned the right to be crabby. She's a lot to take, though, and I'm thankful every day for her caregivers who still think she's a hoot even when she's flipping them the bird.

Not to say that religious faith is annoying, but it seems that it's your dad's most intensely ingrained personality trait, so here he is with it getting more and more amplified as he gets older and closer to death.

I have no real advice for you, except to consider going toe-to-toe with him once in a while and challenging his statements. Tell him that the world ends for everyone eventually, and that's the "end of the world" as far as you're concerned. (That's the explanation I choose to believe at least.) If he's not suffering from dementia where you can't reason with him in any way, I'd say you should call him on some of his stuff. I think he's looking to be comforted, and perhaps you just need to offer some reassurance in firm statements that God is watching out for him and forgives him for his sins.
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Reply to MJ1929
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Nazdrovia Jan 14, 2021
Id say he has dementia though I'm.not sure to what degree. I have challenged him on several occasions about his rantings and ravings about the Blessed Virgin. But most times i just tune out or go yeah yeah but that gets old after a while.
See, my Dad reckons he's been a rotten person for most his life, and while I don't argue with that, he's also been an.incredibly kind and compassionate father and husband to my Mum and us 3 kids.
But now his memory is very bad, his hearing is worse and his ability to do the simplest things he was once so good at, he was so smart, is now gone.
It's very sad.
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