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My 97 year old father is and always has been verbally and emotionally abusive, especially with my sister. He is narcisistic and now in his old age, he cannot stop talking about all of his great achievements and he exaggerates stories about famous to make himself look important. It's hard to hear, and he has lived alone as a result, but now, as he approaches the century mark, and my sister is the primary caretaker because I still work, he has turned on me. He tells my sister that she needs to take care that I don't cheat her, and he is accusing me of stealing from him. I have left his house in tears. He makes a point to ignore me, hangs up on me when I call, and my sister shouldn't have to have all of this on her shoulders. He has always told us that we were worthless, and he wants our children to care for him, which they obviously won't. Though he's always been abusive, we think he may be developing Alzheimer's. Does this sound like it?

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I doubt it. At 97, I'm pretty sure a psychiatrist would probably run. Treating people my dad's age with antipsychotic drugs, or even something as mild as a low dosage ativan could cause their mental and physical control, whatever they have left of it, to become worse. I imagine that I would have to take him to a geriatric doctor, but he would resist that one completely. We're talking about a very stubborn man. One who waited almost 80 years before he went to a doctor.
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Adriana, what kind of doctor is he seeing? If it's just a regular MD they rarely prescribe head medicines so to speak. Can you take him to a psychriatrist and not tell what kind of doctor it is?
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As I understand it, when a person gets dementia they change personality. The once nice person becomes NOT so nice anymore. In this I got lucky. My mother-in-law never was that nice, always a little ornery, and looked down on me when I quit work to stay at home with our son. Now however, she's as nice as can be, is so grateful that I DON'T WORK like she did for 40 years, and has nothing but nice things to say about me. ha. She is still loopy with the memory thing, but this personality change is an improvement. Hopefully she won't flip it over again....
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His doctor sees his change, but is hesitant to prescribe anything. He says we just need to get conservatorship over his affairs and finances, but it would take a court order for that to happen, so I don't see it happening anytime soon, if ever.
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Adriana, does any of his doctors see any of his aging problems? There must be one doctor you can go to. Since my mom created an incident that caused her to be prescribed some meds. It's tough to have to wait for some disturbance has to happen before anyone prescribes something. But NPD is not widely recognized still because of exactly what it is a personality disorder. Some alz/dem meds may calm him down.
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Sorry, let me make a correction to my last post. My father WAS not paranoid, but he is now. I do want to thank all of you who have been generous enough to share your thoughts and stories with me.
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My father is not paranoid, but he is narcissistic. His narcissism is exacerbated by his dementia which is worsening by the day. The conversation does not exist if it isn't about him and he isn't monopolizing it. Drama? Yes, plenty of it, and it has always been that way. I don't know how my dear mother lived with him all those years. He is old school, and women are for nothing other than to serve a man, and he made it clear that he helped give birth to my sister and I, and that it was our responsibility to now take care of him. He can't make sense of the fact that no one wants to live with a man who is constantly degrading and belittling them. I feel very guilty about the fact that he is alone at such an age, and I worry about him, because I know he is not eating right and perhaps not taking his medications as he should, but what is the alternative? He refuses to have anyone but family take care of him. He is not taking any medication for any personality disorder, including dementia. On top of it all, he is now losing money to insane projects he thinks are going to make him look important.
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Adriana, it sounds like your father always wanted the center of attention and with old age it will be even more. It sounds like he has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I myself found this term and what it entails last year and finally figured out my mom after all these years. There are a few websites that deal with this topic but there are only a few. The drama that they need is called narcissitic supply and it will be used at your sacrifice, because they don't recognize you they only recognize what they can get out of you. They also have paranoia issues. I bet he was paranoid when you where younger as well. Please let me know. When my mom finally blew her gasket last year with on-set dementia the meds they prescribed helped a lot the problem with these folks is they will never understand they are not 'alright' since they are always right, and sometimes it's hard to get them to take their meds. Is he on any pscyh meds?
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My Mom is in a NH with dementia, she's 94.
She went from a loner to crying out constantly for attention.
It"s hard to see the person you once knew change so much.
It"s like a stranger has moved into their body.
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Well said... Anne!! :)
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Adriana, I feel for you. I also have seen my father go through personality changes that have made him say and do ugly things, totally opposite of his former personality. And as you say about your Dad, he says things that are "hard to hear." How poignant. Thank you for putting that pain into words. Your Dad is really up in years, and it's natural that anybody who gets that old is going to develop some degree of "dementia", at least that's what I gather. Whether it's "Alzheimer's" or not would be up to a physician, who could tell after giving your Dad an evaluation. But as for its effect on you, the technical name for it doesn't make any difference; it just hurts to see and hear it. What we have to do is cope with it....somehow. Easier said than done. At first, I'd cry into my pillow nightly, mourning the loss of my Dad to this hideous mental disease, and now I seem to have adapted to this new reality about my Dad. You said that your Dad was mean before, and it seems that elderly folks with dementia only seem to "get worse" as far as these unpleasant traits go. So unfortunately for you, his abusiveness is going up a notch. But what I've found helps me, Adriana, is to remind myself that my Dad is not entirely rational anymore. It's even sad for me to type those words. But it's true, it's the new reality. Some elders with advanced dementia/Alzheimer's may be rarely if ever rational anymore. A doc said to me: "His brain just can't do it. He can't help it." So when Dad yells the "F" word at me or gets that wild, mean look in his eyes and starts yelling cruel, immature things at me, I tell myself these things. It does help me cope, but boy there are times that I just can't take it, and have to leave ( the room or the facility he's in). I know all about your tears, and I"m so sorry you are going through this.
Maybe you'll understand this too: The other night when I called Dad to talk, something weird was going on, and my "old Dad" started coming out and he was talking and sounding a bit like my old Dad, peppy and loving and more "with it". I started to cry on the phone listening to this----It felt like a cruel reminder of what he used to be. I held back the noise of my crying so Dad wouldn't hear it. I know that it was a "fluke" that day, and he'll go back to the other, mentally weakened Dad again. But you have come to the right place to this website. There are many who understand your pain and can support you.
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Hmm.... that's hard to say. If I read this correctly, from what you say, he's always been a bit mean, right?

My 90 yo FIL also tends to make up "little stories" about the past. I think he always did so to a minor degree, but it has gotten "worse" in the past few years and especially since he has been trying to cover up his mental and physical decline. Some of the things may have been embarrassing to him and he'd rather change the story to fit his self-image that to tell the truth. He may also cover for things he should remember, but can't and therefore he makes up stuff.

He also used to be a little paranoid and suspicious of certain family members, neighbors and acquaintances. That behavior increased and he became more insistent and sometimes even angry, as he declined. (In the past, he had actually been cheated/mistreated by people but never to the extent he claims now.) Example: About 10 years ago, when my FIL was still well , one of his neighbors borrowed a ladder and forgot or just didn't return it, until my DH's asked the neighbor about it. She admitted still having it and had forgotten about it - and immediately returned it. No fowl, that stuff happens... right?! In my FIL's mind, however, he was convinced that she had intended to steal it. - Fast forward 9 years.... Now, my FIL has been diagnosed with dementia! We're visiting him.... and he mentions that his neighbor had stolen his cordless phone. We know that he likes to carry his phone around the house and yard with him - "just in case he needs it or someone phones him." (He does have an answering machine and they could leave a message, but that's not good enough for him.) We asked him if he had misplaced it and he insisted that he had not and that he was certain that the neighbor had stolen it. PERIOD. A few days later, my DH stumbled upon a plastic shopping bag which contained the missing cordless phone. My FIL has left it hanging on a hook on the coat rack by the front door. He has simply misplaced it and was trying to cover by making up a story.

To make a long story short.... exaggerating or embellishing the truth as well as over-the-top accusations and anger to not necessarily mean that someone has Alzheimer's. It's a possibility, though. Usually, Alzheimer's patients exhibit a change in behavior or personality. A once docile person may become overly aggressive. A once outgoing and social person may become afraid of contact with people.

Have your father checked by a geriatrician or an elder care social worker. They can do mental as well as physical tests to figure out if his behavior is due to a specific disease.....
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