Is this elder abuse?

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My dad has late-stage Alzheimer's, and my mom is his 24/7 caregiver in their home. Understandably, some of my dad's symptoms include hallucinations, paranoia, fear, and tantrums. My mother is convinced that many of these behaviors are demonic in nature, and she will stand over my father and yell and scream to "rebuke" what she perceives as demonic events. As you can imagine, this is terrifying for my dad, and he'll scream and yell right back at her. It's heartbreaking to witness, and it's caused my son (their grandson) to be in tears when he's witnessed it. I've tried many, many times to convince my mom that dad's illness is completely physical, that the illness is within his brain, and that is what affects his behaviors, it's not his "soul", but she has consistently refused to change her beliefs, and therefore her treatment of my dad. She has also refused any and all outside help, she will not attend support groups, she will not even go to online support, she will not have any visiting nurses or respite care in her home, nothing. I love my mom dearly, she is a good, kind, and caring woman. She is exhausted, overwhelmed, and completely stressed out due to this situation. I don't know what to do at this point. Is her behavior considered abusive towards him? The shouting, the accusing, the making him think it's somehow HIS fault that he's ill? She'll call him stubborn, uncooperative, etc... and I tell her, "No, he's SICK, Mom... you wouldn't yell at someone with cancer like this!"


Advice, please.

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Has your dad been evaluated for the symptoms you mention, i.e, paranoia, agitation, hallucinations? Many, many AZ patient's psychiatric symptoms can be ameliorated through meds. I would try to get this done ASAP.

I personally wouldn't call APS; they probably wouldn't witness what you describe. Your dad needs to be in a safe place. I would talk to his doctor; the next time he hallucinates, I'd call 911 and have him transported to the hospital. Much easier on everyone to do an in-house assessment of his symptoms.

Alternatively, is Hospice a possibility? Depending upon the organization, they are sometimes able to evaluate the patient at home. They might be a good source of recommendations for calming meds.

Look, I feel for your situation and I think that your mom is at her breaking point. This isn't fair to her. But does her minister REALLY think that rebuking an AZ patient is the right thing for a LAY person to do? Or is it something that is best left to a professional? Are you going by what MOM tells you the minister says, or have you heard it from HIS mouth? Mom might be misinterpreting what she's heard.

Lastly, please, for the love of all that is holy, DO NOT EXPOSE YOUR CHILD TO THIS BEHAVIOR. I'm a mandated reporter and there is not one iota of doubt in my mind that exposing a child to this behavior, no matter how well intentioned it is on your mom's part, constitutes CHILD abuse. You don't want to lose custody of your son.
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I am certainly happy to picture Alzheimer's Disease as a demon. I can't think of a more apt description, in some ways.

Sadly, your mother's approach to dealing with this demon is abusive towards your father. It is also dangerously ignorant, and destructive to both of them. So wherever you want to look for help for them, they both need it. Can you talk to their pastor and, depending on his own experience and understanding of AD, perhaps ask him to enlighten her? Can you ask local doctors' practices and hospitals for contacts on their own pastoral teams?

I agree with Babalou that at this time in your parents' lives, when they most need your help and support, you can't afford to tiptoe around your mother for fear of her potential anger towards you. You are the fit healthy adult; she is the person in need; your father is completely helpless. I know it's a frightening thought, but you're in charge.
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Your mom is in a fragile state and yet you are letting her run the show and call the shots....To me, that means that you are not thinking like an adult. You are thinking of your mom as being all knowing and all powerful as she was in your youth. She's a fragile, aick and tired old woman who needs help and support. She'll thank you agter you get your dad to a safe pla v e.

Please don't let your dad die this way.
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VRF, maybe we're getting sidetracked with the points about beliefs, religion and demons. For What ever reason your Moms behavior towards your Dad is abusive. I agree with Babalou above. Dad needs to be away from Mom. This will not be easy but something has to happen to make Dads life easier.
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VRF:

I completely understand the faith and religion angle, but *any* religion will consider what your mother is doing to your father as abuse. This has nothing to do with faith or religion. It has everything to do with your mother abusing your father.

You need to step in, or the abuse will continue. Do you want to be in the same place as your father in future years, when your mind fails and dementia takes over, laying in bed, having someone you once loved, but no longer recognize (even more terrifying) screaming at you and telling you you're possessed by demons? How do you think your father feels? He has no way to communicate how he feels about this, all he can do is lay there and be terrified and confused within himself.

PLEASE do something. Put the whole faith and religion thing aside - that has absolutely nothing to do with what your mother is doing to your father.

But let's turn this another way...if you are a family of faith, then you believe in heaven and a day of judgement, where all things are called into account - correct? Please understand that I am not trying to be harsh here - only trying to get this through to you - what is being done to your father is positively wrong - criminally wrong. How do you think that will be viewed when you have to face up to it at the end of your own life - that you didn't stop it from happening? Get your father help - immediately. He does not deserve this any more than you will deserve it in your own old age.
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This terrifies your dad and you don't know if it's abuse? Your father will be far better in a nursing home with competent, professional caregivers and good psych meds. If mom dies tomorrow from a heart attack or stroke, where is it dad will end up?
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Yes
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I'm not Pentecostal myself, butI know many people who are,(and I believe in prayer) and may I suggest an alternative for your mom? In dealing with some troubled people in my life, I found it much more effective to quietly pray for God to get the demons away from your dad, and give him peace. Much more effective than arguing! And you pray for peace for your mom as well!!
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So where is their Pentecostal church family in terms of supporting your mom and dad? Doesn't the pastor come to visit? Other church members? They should be sitting with your father, so your mom can have lunch out with some other church members.

Could you enlist the support of other church members (maybe younger ones who might be a bit more open-minded about why your father has the behaviors he does) to support your mom? That's one avenue I'd check out, given your limitations. Or talk to her pastor about getting her some respite care, so she can get out to relax. Surely he'd understand that need, unless he's a total idiot.
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gladimhere - thanks for your comment, but as I said earlier, no one else goes into their home, so they'd instantly know it had been me.
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