Dad recently had an outburst with my sister in which he yelled at her "What if I take these nails and dig them into your face?" Is he losing his mind? - AgingCare.com

Dad recently had an outburst with my sister in which he yelled at her "What if I take these nails and dig them into your face?" Is he losing his mind?

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Recently my 70 year old dad, stopped cutting his fingernails on one hand. The nails are longer than what my mom has. My dad is not alternative nor has demonstrated this behavior before. What was really unsetting is that he had an outburst with my sister recently in which he yelled at her "What if I take these nails and dig them into your face?" This is behavior he has never demonstrated before. He struggles with SADs and depression but this is really extreme and scary. Any thoughts would be appreciated. I guess I have gotten so used to his physical health going downhill that I haven't thought of his mental health.

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Say hello with smile and shake hand, invite him if you can massage his hand and nails so that it makes him good and refresh.
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I would have him looked at by a physician. Not only can you rule out some sort of mental issues, but also medical conditions that may cause this such as a UTI. In the meantime, I would restrict your sister from seeing him unless there are others present. The growing of the nails may also be just a control issue. When seniors start losing control of their body and their minds, they often grasp hold of things there can control.
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I'd get him to his doctor and have him evaluated...Hope every one stays safe!
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I wonder if it is easier for your Dad to use one hand better than the other? Hence, the nails being cut on only one hand. Would he receive help from a professional? That is something we have noticed with my mother since her stroke; she is weaker on her right side, so has more difficulty with her right hand (though it does seem to get stronger as the days go by). My mother prefers it if professionals help her with her daily tasks and likes me to just be available to do the fun things with her (i.e. take her to the beauty shop appts., arrange the various appts. but not actually do much her as it makes her feel like a child again).
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It does sound like mental illness. You need to have him evaluated immediately. Next time he may not say it, he may just do it. If he refuses to go to the Dr. just call 911 and have them deal with it. Tell them he is threatening physical harm.
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Your Dad and your sister should not be in the same room together--ever. They should not communicate with each other. Mental illness has a way of finding a bad ending.
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We sometimes forget about mental illness in relation to the elderly I would suggest you seek assistance from your Doctor and request a psychiatric evalution. Recently a family friend ignored aggressive behaviour towards her mother's caregivers by her mother until it became violent to the extent one family member had the brunt of the physical abuse. and the family decided to seek help. She had to be admitted at a short stay
psychiatrc unit to get her behaviour under control through drug therapy.
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When my dad was in his early 80's he started to grow his nails and decided to put nail polish on them just like mom. His nails became ugly and about an 2 inches long. They used to break off. When we asked him why, "He said that that they were his nails and he would do as he wanted and we couldn't do anything about it." He seemed belligerent, but he never became threatening. Nurses and doctors were fearful that he might use them as a weapon. The family used to ignore him at that point because we also felt the he could hurt us. Sometimes it just seems that the parent with the long nails finds it a useful tactic to scare others away because they know that something is wrong with them and cannot figure out why the mental side is not not working properly. The nails are their protection against anyone trying to do things they do not want you to do. He is in a long term care facility now and is still growing his left thumb to horrible lengths, but the family and the nurses leave it alone and do not even mention his nails. As time goes on, I believe he will let the doctors and nurses snip it off for safety reasons for themselves and dad. If your father is showing other signs of any mental disorders, please have him checked out by your family doctor. Also it is recommended that he be checked out for a bladder infection as this can cause some mini mental problems. A mini mental test would help you to understand any progression of any underlying issues. Try not to argue with him as this only agitates him more and he may strike back with these continual comments. We found that if we joked with him and talk about my own nails, he became calmer. Maybe if you and he sit together and paint your own nails, used an emery board and clippers, he may think that his long nails on sissy on him. Do look at avenues to take the anger away from the situation as anger and frustration do not help the situation. Dad is now 91 and is still growing one nail, so what. Good luck and God bless Vickie
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I would take him to the doctor, it's best you get advice from a professional on this matter.
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