My Dad has dementia and Mom is having a rough time with him not knowing her or getting angry, cussing, not believing her. How to help Mom? - AgingCare.com

My Dad has dementia and Mom is having a rough time with him not knowing her or getting angry, cussing, not believing her. How to help Mom?

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Mom is driving him places he wants to go but when they get there he gets angry because he doesn't remember it the way it looks now. Dad asks for my sister and when mom takes him to see her, he doesn't recognize her and gets angry at mom for not taking him to see my sister. Mom is trying being loving and caring to him and it doesn't help. When dad is not himself mom will keep telling him what is right for today but dad is lost in yesterday and mom gets frustrated. Dad is 86 years old and mom is 80 and she is trying to take care of dad the way she did her mom, dad, brother, sister and my dad's dad. But it is not working and mom is with him 24/7. We (the kids) have tried to get mom to let us help more but she says he does better when it is just the two of them. When we go to visit we can only stay about 30 minutes before dad starts trying to run us off and mom says it would be better if we just left so she could try to calm him down. I'm at a loss as to how to help mom except to pray for God to help her. Any suggestions on how we or I can help mom with how to deal with dad when the dementia has a hold on him. My brother tried calling his doctor to get him on medicine that might help to calm him down but when he went to get him dad refused to go. Normally when my brother asks him to do something he will do it but not this time and mom told him to let it go. So he called the dr. back and told them dad refused to come and this is the dr. that diagnosed him and they said if he would not come in then the only thing left was for mom to go see the magistrate and have him committed. I don't see the problem with the dr. calling him in a prescription for something to calm him down without him having to go and see her when she (the dr.) knows how he is acting. Any help for mom would be appreciated because I'm at my whit's end trying to help her (as is my brothers & sisters).

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Very good information from all of you. I am almost 80 and my husband is in Stage 4, getting close to Stage 5. My daughter and I visited four memory care homes in our city (although I call it a town)..We are lucky because in our area there are many memory care homes. We live in a town of an abundance of elderly, as Sun City is located here. The one memory care that made a good impression held only 12 Alzheimer patients. The owner, a man, takes a great interest in running the place as his family. He enjoys taking the men out to movies, to eat out, to Home Depot, etc. His sister, who runs the home with him, does the same for the women. All are treated as family and they eat at one table. And anytime I want to bring my husband over there to eat, all I have to do is to call and come. That way I can really see for myself the value of eventually placing my husband there. marymember
I can put his name on the list, and when his name comes to the top, I can say yes or no. If no, his name will remain at the top of the list. In no way am I pushed into admitting him...
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My heart goes out to your mother, and to you children too, of course, but I've been the wife trying to keep the husband with dementia at home, so that is where my first sympathy goes.

It is a very hard road. Most spouses I know in similar situations are not able to make it to the very end. I was lucky. I could. Here is what I had going for me:

1) I was almost 20 years younger than my husband. That makes a huge difference in terms of stamina, energy levels, and perhaps even advocating skills.
2) I belonged to a support group of other people who were also caregiving someone with the same type of dementia my husband had.
3) I read, researched on the internet, attended seminars, and generally learned a lot about the disease and what to expect. This helped me be able (sometimes) to "not take it personally."
4) At first, I used a volunteer agency that sent someone in a few hours a week to give me a bit of respite.
5) Later I sent my husband to a day health program for a few days a week.
6) Still later I had a PCA help me in our home for 32 hours a week.
7) At the end, my husband was in hospice care in our home.
8) The journey covered 10 years. There was only a brief period early on when he was belligerent. I was able to cope with that fairly easily. I would NOT have lived in danger or put up with abuse, even though I knew it wasn't his fault and I loved him. I love me, too.
9) His kind of dementia did not involve having large gaps in memories of people. He knew all of us to the very end. I think that made my role a little easier than some caregivers have it.
10) We worked with amazingly wonderful experts, and many of the drugs they tried worked beautifully for my husband. After the relationship was well established they were willing to work with me by phone or email to minimize the need to bring him in.
11. He knew and accepted that he had dementia. I could "reason" with him during his "good" periods and explain something that bothered him in terms of the disease flaring up.

In other words, I was able to do what your mother would like to do, but not because I was some kind of super-caregiver. Rather I was lucky, I was younger, and my husband's dementia was different (as each case is unique.)

You may be able to help your mother's "luck" a little bit. Can you find a support group for her? Maybe attend meetings with her? Arrange for some respite? Bring in help or enroll dad in a day program? Pursue better medical management? Watch Teepa Snow Videos with her?

I hope that they can remain at home together for a while longer. I think it is only realistic to accept that that might not last forever. It seldom does.

Hugs to all of you.
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I think you children have done all you can; your mother needs real expertise to help her, and I'd start by getting advice from dementia specialists in your parents' area. It could be a geriatrician or a neurologist or a psychiatrist, but if you know of an excellent memory care facility they might have some good ideas too.

Reasoning or bargaining with your father is out of the question. The anger he expresses must be awful for your mother, but he is angry, frightened, lost and frustrated - in short, he has dementia.

At this point, your mother probably does believe that it is much easier to calm and manage your father on her own; but as she gets to know people who have advanced expertise she'll find it easier to accept help. Has anybody mentioned Teepa Snow's videos? Look them up for yourself, then pass them on to your mother.

Your mother is the expert when it comes to your father, but handling dementia will be a whole new education. The really important things to get through to her are that she's not alone and that there are ways to help him that professionals will involve her in and teach her about. Then back her up all the way.

And keep a close eye on them. If he starts to become violent towards her or a risk to himself, you'll have to alert APS and get them to intervene with short-term measures. Best of luck.
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My aunt tried to keep my uncle who had dementia at home. She said that everything was fine (her kids, my cousins live fsrcawsy). One son stopped in to surprise his parents while on a business trip. My aunt, who was then in her 80s was covered in bruises. My uncle ( the sweetest, most gentle guy you'd ever meet) was beating my aunt black and blue to get the key to go out and wander.

My cousin hired a geriatric care manager to work with my aunt to find uncle a suitable memory care facility, where he was placed. She came to see him every dsy, helped him dress, eat, bathe.

The saddest part of the story is that she died of a massive heart attack a few months after he was placed. I have no doubt that she would have lived longer had she not endured the stress of his trying to get out and of being hit, and of keeping her terrible secret.

Uncle outlived her for several more years, happy as a calm in his facility.

Take whatever lesson you care to from this story.
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Missing, Oh boy this is so hard. Last year we closed dad's office down because he had not been able to go in for ages. Him and mom and the nurse went over there to approve what got boxed up. Dad insisted on bringing his old, metal, file cabinet up to the house and mom said no way. They started fighting and got into a tussle. The maintenance man who also parks cars and stuff, heard the commotion. He pulled her off him. It was quite a scene. I was very shaken so was the nurse. My parents forgot it ever happened! The maintenance man must have broken up lots of fights because it was no big deal to him. The ugly file cabinet is their house and dad spends most days rummaging through it.
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Last week when dad jerked on moms arm and balled up his fist like he was going to hit her, she told him if he did she would put him in a nursing home and so dad laughed and said he was just kidding. How do you know when he's kidding or not? The fact that he threatened her at all has me concerned. As for the magistrate, mom will keep him at home with her as long as she is able to care for him. She would feel guilty for putting him in a nursing home since she was able to care for others in the family until their passing, she thinks she should be able to care for dad also. Thanks so much for caring and God Bless you all!!
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I agree, the right meds could help. Maybe need to find a more cooperative doc.

Also, starting looking at the long game here. Dad is already possibly into a moderate level of dementia. Does anyone have POA? What about control of bills and finances? Mom is not young and the kids need to be ready to deal with all the affairs.

Also investigate in home help and/or memory care facility. Keeping someone at home with advanced dementia is not easy or cheap.
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Tell dad- he either goes to doctor or the magistrate has threatened to lock him up
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Get to a good geriatric doctor!!! Amazing what the new meds can do. My mom sounded just like your dad- now she is a sweetheart :')
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