What do you do when your mildly demented Dad can't live with fully demented Mom without fighting?

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My father is in beginning stages of dementia but is still oriented to person, place & time while my mom is in full dementia (hallucinates, forgetful, confused about everything). They live together on memory care fl. in assisted liv. but my dad can't tolerate my mom's behavior. He refuses to take meds to calm him down & doesn't want to get separate room which they probably can't afford anyway. My dad sits in a chair all day long and watches every move my mom makes. If se moves anything around the room, paces from room to room, goes thru their drawers, etc. he yells at her to stop it, put it down, don't touch that. He does it all day long which stresses her and she either ignores him or goes out in hallway for hours. We've discussed with him numerous times that her behavior is due to dementia and she can't help it but he wants her sitting down on couch and not moving all day which is crazy.
I've been called by the facility and told that he grabbed my mom's arm so hard to make her stop what she was doing that he left large bruise on her arm. About a month later he caused a skin tear on her arm again trying to stop her from doing something . What do I do? There are no open rooms in facility to move 1 or the other to and I'm not sure they could afford it even if there as another empty room. I don't want my mom living in fear or being yelled at all day and dad refuses to take any sort of medicine to help him with his temper. I'm the only 1 caring for them and am disabled myself and don't know how to fix this.
Anybody have any ideas? Dad won't listen no matter how many times we tell him to back off and leave mom alone.

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Even though my parents circumstances are different, my mother was constantly belittling my father in the facility & same room they shared. She was also very mean to me, the daughter & POA. She has Alzheimers. Things were said from her that were deeply painful towards my father & I. After the day we had her medically tested for Alzheimers, she changed. (1 year later). She is back to being her phoney, happy self. It works for her. I hope her attitude stays this way. She decided on that day, that if she couldn't change her situation, she would change hers.She would get dressed, become sociable with others, get involved in events, play word puzzles. She does everything she can do to stay out of that room they share. It keeps the nagging to a minimum. Even if two mentally healthy people are living side by side, 24 hours a day, how would they deal with the constant presence to each other? Especially after being married for 60 years. Everyone needs their own space & their own thing to do. Try to get your dad separated from your mother as much as possible. Hopefully, he will get into his own hobby or interest. Married couples tend to define themselves by what there spouse is. Thus , they try to possess each other. Good luck. It is an extremely stressful situation for everyone in their lives. I guess it goes to show we all have a different purpose in life and we aren't going to be happy until we find it & live it.
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Goodness this is difficult, Emmie. Really hard. It sounds as if it very much is your father's dementia that's causing him to be so obsessed with controlling your mother, partly fearing for her, partly thinking he can 'train' her to behave as she should, partly just not in touch with the reality of her condition. But as you've already noticed a deterioration in his temper, I think you can be confident that he's no more able to be patient with your mother than your mother is to understand what she's doing.

What makes me frown is this. I dare say your parents are charged a very substantial fee for their place in, as you explain, Memory Care in an Assisted Living Facility. I've spelled the words out in full to emphasise them. You say that you are the only one caring for them. Well, no, actually. Very large amounts of money, I expect, are being paid to people for their professional expertise in precisely this job. Why are they trying to make you feel responsible for your parents' care? It is *their* responsibility to look after both of them.

I wonder, would it be worth asking an Older Age Psychiatrist to assess them as a couple and give an expert opinion on where to go from here, do you think? There are so many factors to weigh up. For example, you'd say in principle that it is better for them to stay together - continuity, familiarity, emotional support and so on. But, as you say, you also don't want your mother to be bullied from dawn 'til dusk (and you don't want your father getting a bad name, either). A specialist psychiatrist might be able to assess the whole picture better and, as a bonus, have more influence on your father when it comes to treating his mental health and helping him control his behaviour. It would be a sad thing if they had to be separated, and it would have drawbacks for both of their wellbeing too; but on the other hand, "safety first." I'd take expert advice, if I were you.
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Does someone now have POA for your parents? With Dad progressing in his dementia, the time to work on that is now, before he's also incompetent to sign papers. Perhaps a lawyer or the Social Worker at the home, can explain to him that this allows you to help with her, and he can still make decisions about anything while he's still competent, but the help is there. It's a lot more expensive to later have to go to court for guardianship. Then, my suggestion...based on being in a similar situation with my own parents....perhaps get additional meds for Mom to calm her more...rather than Dad at this point. With POA and health care proxy, you would be entitled to work Dad's Dr. actively. Without it, you can talk to him, but he cannot talk to you. You need to be able to be actively involved with Drs. for both parents. Second, re: Mom, are there 'chores' she used to do around the house, that she could do now, when she's prone to wandering and getting in drawers? A bunch of towels to fold? A 'swiffer' so she can sweep the floor in their room? Dusting furniture? That way, she has something familiar to do at times, and she feels helpful. I think the activities via the AL or outside day care is a good thing too. If Mom were occupied, then Dad might be more willing to also make some friends there and get involved in something himself. But they cannot continue to live in the same room if he is going to injure her. That's what started happening when we had to remove Dad from home into memory care. Almost 2 years ago now. Mom is now getting worse, and we may have to look at getting them together in memory care in the near future. Again....IF they can afford that even! Those are my ideas.
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Check in your area for an adult senior program; somewhere mom could go for 5 or 6 hours a day. Near me, there are are several options where community transport will pick up and drop off (or the community where your parents live may provide transportation there - that would be more convenient for mom).

The programs are often subsidized (by your county or a non-profit organization) so they're inexpensive (sometimes just a few dollars a day for the lunch), but you don't have to show need to enroll. The one my parent attends has several members who are relatively wealthy.

Having your mom out of the apartment for most of every weekday might diffuse the situation. It's at least something to try before you take on two apartments which, by the way, may do nothing to solve the problem. Dad or mom is likely to just go to the other's apartment for the whole day and the problem would just continue (at double the rent!).

The staff of the AL has experience with this situation, I'm sure. But, there's a limit to what they can do. I suspect that your dad would deflect their efforts to distract him from harassing your mom (they probably already have). Your dad probably considers it his "responsibility" to manage her. And, frankly, it's been my experience with seniors that you can't tell an old man anything : )

I'd send a very clearly worded letter to your dad's doctor about these behaviors and then call him. The AL can't give your dad medication that's prescribed to be given only when requested, but the doctor can change that.

The AL will call the police if this continues. I've seen it happen. They really have no choice when they are aware of assault they are obligated to report. I'm surprised they haven't since there have been multiple incidents.
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Call in adult protective services for your mother, and then file for Medicaid for her and move her to memory care alone. He can stay where he is and he won't have anyone to abuse.
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My Mom had a Severe heart attack in April 2014. She was alittle forgetful before, but when she got out of Hospital 45 days later, She thought we switched houses on her. She has lived in same house for 50 years. Now she is angry, Aggressive, Hits me , hit my Sister and Dad. She walks on Highway to ge to her house "down the Road" She sees People in the yard, that aren't there. She will Say "I am at my House' now, then later she claims we moved her to "other House" We have tried to get her to the Doctor and we have a couple of times, but she acts like we all are Crazy and all he says is "Se has been through alot". When I go after her, She want get in my car, She cusses and beats on me. Then I have to call the Cops and they just take her back home. I never went along with the other house thing, but the rest of the Family has. I am the Daughter that has catered to her, helped her the most. My Dad is afraid she is going to kill him while he sleeps, and She has Threatened to do the same to me. I dont live with them, but I go there everyday and just seeing me sets her off. I have tried to get help, but My Dad is afraid to be alone. So I get a call from him everyday about what she is doing. They had a very Abusive Marriage for 60 years. He doesn't do it anymore, but he is on a walker and he can't chase after her. I don't know what to do, honestly they both need help.
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Is there something that he had interest in that you and the facility could create schedule for him away from your mom. Maybe an activity with other men in the facility. Can he volunteer somewhere in the unit or in the community to creat a purpose for him other than trying to control Mom. Can he plant vegetables or flowers? Can he be on a residents commitee? Look at the activities calendar and maybe you and or a social worker can go with him to activies for a while to get him refocused? I have also hired a companion to come in a couple times a week for 3-4 hours to play cards or go to a movie with a client as a distraction. Most times I have encountered this type of behavior it is because of the client is not feeling in control giving them something to do or control that is not a person is often a good distraction.
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Meds can be ground up and put in chocolate milk, coffee, etc. when my mom goes through a rough spot that's what we do to get her back on track. She then starts taking them again. She is pretty miserable without them.
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emmie45, men like to fix things, and your Dad is probably very frustrated that he can't fix your Mom's [his wife] dementia. Of course he will be angry. He probably doesn't want to leave the room as he still wants to protect his wife... would it be possible for your Mom to join some activities, that way your Dad might eventually tag along?

Sounds like Dad is a take charge type of guy... is there anyway the Staff can get him to *volunteer* on the project, something you know your Dad likes to do. Does he like poker? Maybe get 4 or 5 guys together for a game.
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Other than dad's personality changing a little you might never know he had dementia. Those of us who know him have noticed the changes in personality such as swearing, losing his temper for little or no reason and his memory is getting worse. The staff suggested we take him to his Dr. to get something to chill him out and the Dr. prescribed Xanax but he has to ask for it. It's not given on regular basis and he won't ask for it. They have suggested a few wks ago that he change rooms but there are no more rooms available now. Even if I get his Dr. to prescribe more meds, I don't know if he would take them because he knows what his meds look like and would know we added meds. He doesn't "believe" in taking meds for nerves, depression but believe me, I'm taking my share of them by now! Lol! He absolutely refuses to take part in any activities or try to make friends with other men there. He's so frustrating.
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