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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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Jeannegibbs - you'll never see me say that I'm OK with what my mother's doing. That's why I posted here! I KNOW it's not OK. I don't believe the solution is to drag my poor father from his home and into the hands of strangers, though. I think that would literally kill him.
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Blannie - you've hit the nail on the head with your reply. My mom has been part of a Pentecostal church for years now (she used to be much more conservative in her faith), and it's all shouting and stomping and "rebuking" this and that.

Sadly, no one comes into their home except me. They may get a visit a few times a year from other distant friends or relatives.

Oh Blannie, I've offered respite care over and over and over. I offered it again just the other day. I told her I'd walk her through the whole process and do all the paperwork and everything. She just told me to stop mentioning it. But I won't stop. I told her, if she wants to stop talking to me, that's her choice. I've thought about just hiring someone on my own and sending them over there, but I know what she'd do; she'd politely tell them to leave.
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Windyridge, I am not concerned about my mother's mental state. We're a family of faith, so spiritual issues aren't foreign or "out there" to use, even though I firmly believe that one shouldn't treat all illnesses as if they're demonic and such. I understand the physical affects of Alzheimer's, and how it manifests in personality, emotion, and mood changes, so I know what's going on. I think my mother is desperately clinging to what she believes spiritually in this regard because it gives her some tiny sense of control, in an otherwise horribly uncontrollable situation. She's helpless to do anything for my dad's sickness, other than stand back and watch him slowly deteriorate, and I think this gives her something to "fight against". So while I don't think it's right or correct, and I've addressed it with her, and will continue to address it, I can understand where it's coming from. But as far as her mental health, she's perfectly sound of mind, she's just overwhelmed, exhausted, and stubborn as a mule.
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JessieBell - thanks for such an understanding reply. The thing is, my mother does acknowledge that my dad has dementia, but she doesn't see it for what it is, scientifically. She thinks that the dementia is "revealing" things that have sort of been buried in my father's subconscious, that Satan or demons then take advantage of, and make him behave badly, like when he hallucinates or accuses her of things or calls her a liar, etc. And she thinks those moments are demonic and need to be rebuked. I'll try mentioning to her about praying quietly instead of shouting, but I don't think it'll do any good. She is just about the most stubborn woman you could ever meet.
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Rainmom - none of us want to see him end up in a nursing home, as that would be beyond traumatic for him at this stage of his illness, as well as for my mother, and for our entire family. I'm the only relative close by, so we really have no one else in a position to help in any way, and I've got a family of my own, so what I can do is very limited. I don't think that it my father would be better off being forcefully removed from the only home he knows, where he's in familiar surroundings, and despite the "spiritual rebuking" from my mother, she takes extremely good care of him. He is well-nourished and fed, she takes care of all his toileting needs, she provides him with books and family photos and cards to look at, she encourages him to get out and ride around for short drives in the car with her. I don't think a cold, sterile, impersonal nursing home environment, where he knows nobody and is confused and frightened 24 hours a day, would be a preferable situation. Ideally, I'd like to see her seek out some respite care, where a trained nurse could just come into their home and sit with dad, so mom can go shopping or work in her garden, or just get a break once in a while, as I believe much of her outbursts are caused by her own exhaustion. But so far, she won't hear of it. She's asked me to stop mentioning it, but I told her I won't stop, because I believe she needs help.
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I think it would be reasonable to have more involvement with his doctor on this subject rather than concealing because you don't want to embarass your mother. Also, to have more involvement with the church pastor or members on this subject. Both might actually have something positive to contribute to managing the situation in a compassionate manner.
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I too, am wondering about Mom's brain health. One can be in denial for a very long time. But, that does not excuse the abuse dad goes through daily. And NO, APS will not tell mom who called them to check on dad's welfare. In fact, if you explain the situation to them, they will be more prepared to help.
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Blannie, there may well be many people who believe in demons, that is indeed unfortunate and it is quite "Out There" by any measure.
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vrf19977, let's change the characters just a tad in this scenario.

An older man with dementia who cannot communicate his experiences and feelings is in a care facility. One of the older caregivers there thinks he is possessed by demons and she screams at him trying to drive them out. She calls him names and berates him, day after day.

A younger worker there observes this. She realizes how off-balance the caregiver is and she hates to see the poor old dear get in trouble. So she doesn't go behind the caregiver's back and report what she knows to administration.

And the abuse continues.

Sound like a good plan?

Sorry if that sounds judgmental.

In the bad old days sick or mean husbands were pretty much left to beat their wives and children, because it was a private matter and nobody wanted to interfere.

Just sayin' ...
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Windyridge there would be a lot of congregations in the US who might agree with the notion of demons possessing someone with dementia. Unfortunately, it's not that "out there", depending on what church one attends. I DO agree it's elder abuse.

Does anyone else come into the home? APS would not be telling your mom who reported them (as I understand it), so if their situation is exposed to anyone outside of you, then your mom wouldn't be sure how they heard about the situation.

Is there any way you could get your dad into a respite situation to "give your mom a break" (what you'd tell her), so that you could figure out what to do long-term? Your dad definitely needs immediate help from you, one way or the other. No one with Alzheimers deserves to be treated like your mom is treating him, whether she's at her wit's end or not.
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With all due respect it seems to me your mothers mental Heath is questionable. Demonic events?! That's out there. Dementia is so difficult to deal with and it is hard to not get frustrated and angry but people of sound mind understand what is happening and don't behave in this manner towards dementia patients.

You should contact APS. They need to evaluate the mental competence of both your parents. This should not continue.
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vrf, I wonder if you might talk her into just praying quietly over him. I don't know if you'll convince her that something is wrong with your father's brain. My mother never accepted that my father had dementia. She still doesn't, even though it is on the death certificate. Some people have trouble coming to terms with dementia, since it can seem like a mental illness. Having her yell to rebuke the demons, though, probably scares your father badly. If you could find a way to talk her into praying quietly, maybe things would be better.

Something I wondered was if APS removed him from the home, would it be better or worse for your father. I don't know what would happen if they got involved. I hope that you can find a way to make it easier on your parents.
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Sorry to sound like a hard ass here, but - just because your mother is "fragile" it doesn't excuse or justify allowing your father to continue being demeaned, terrorized and abused. The poor man is going through enough with his illness without mistreatment from his wife. I can only imagine how frighten and confused he must be. If your father were a child would this be okay? How about if he were disabled - in the traditional sense? I honestly don't mean to be judgemental, but I don't understand how you can allow this to continue. If your mother can not be made to see what she is doing is profoundly wrong and must stop immediately - then your father should be protected by removing him from the home.
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Sorry, I didn't answer you fully - my father isn't able to carry on coherent conversation anymore, so I don't think APS would be able to understand much, if anything, from his end.
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jeannegibbs - My mother would be absolutely devastated and would probably never speak to me again if I did that. Same if I talked to their doctor behind her back. She's in such a fragile state herself right now, which is why this is such a complex situation. I'm as worried about her in some ways, as I am about my dad. It just stinks in every way.
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You could report the situation to APS. If they came out and spoke to your father, what would he say?

Have you reported this to his doctor?
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jeannebiggs, do you have any suggestions on what to do? I sent her information on respite care yet again, but I doubt she'll take me up on it.
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GCCcampbell48 - unfortunately, a lot of her beliefs stem from the church she attends.
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Yes. It is elder abuse.
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What about talking to her minister and having him/her talk to her, maybe they can convince her to get some assistance and explain that this is a physical condition, not spiritual.
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