Bill has been a been a good friend for 40 years.
He is the only one of Gary's friends who has made an effort to visit or call since the dementia diagnosis. These two men spoke on the phone every day, visited each other just as often, and shared common hobbies.
Now, Gary doesn't want to see him or talk to Bill, claiming Bill stole some tools, screwed up (unspecified items) and is a no good b*stard.
Should I just ask Bill to stay away, hoping this phase will pass, or should I continue to have Bill come visit?

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Is Bill ok with your husbands false beliefs and rage against him?

if he is, and he wants to continue his visits, let him.

I will say, what is likely to come up next from Gary is that you & Bill are having an affair. So expect that and role play in advance how you will deflect & deal with that conversation. Yeah it goes from he’s stealing my tools to he’s stealing my wife. Dementia is such an awful disease.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to igloo572

This is typical with, you should tell Bill straight-up what's going on and let Bill decide. If it's too painful for Bill (or your husband) after a single visit, then forego future visits. People who are close usually are the ones who take the brunt of complaints and accusations; Bill should know this so he's ready to hear it from your husband when/if it happens. My mother was this way: I was stealing her money; the neighbor/friend of 40 years was stealing her furniture; her brother was no good -- the list goes on and on. It became humorous after a while.

But I do think that Bill should decide because your husband probably won't remember much two days (two hours?) after the visit. Dementia is a nutso disease ... keeping a sense of humor in light of the horrendous things that can be imagined and said by those with the disease is paramount.
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Reply to ArtMom58

It's a typical phase of dementia - and it will eventually pass. I clearly remember taking my father to a family reunion when he was still cognizant. He pointed across the room to his brother and said loudly, "Who is that bastard over there?" When I said, "It's your brother" - my father burst out laughing.

Meanwhile, you probably need to have a chat with Bill and explain that your father is in an angry, agitated phase of dementia right now - and that explains the behavior. Bill may choose to stay away until this phase passes.
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Reply to dragonflower
jacobsonbob Apr 10, 2021
This looks like a case of two people on good terms simply insulting in fun, unless your father actually disliked him and wanted to announce it publicly.
Does Gary seem to enjoy the visits while they are going on? Do you enjoy the visits? Is Gary okay after Bill leaves? Does he even remember that Bill was there?
If all is well during the actual visit and the visits don’t upset Gary, I would let the visits continue.
I would warn Bill that the dementia is worse, he is welcome but be prepared to leave if Gary gets upset.
My DH aunt, 94 with dementia, will speak
despairingly of someone if their name is mentioned. However if that same person appears you would think it was the greatest gift just to see them.
So, I would take guidance from how he behaves face to face with Bill.
And how it affects you.
It sounds like Bill has been a good friend. It really depends on how much the dementia has progressed.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to 97yroldmom
Maple3044 Apr 10, 2021
He does enjoy the visits, even wants to take Bill and his wife to dinner. It's usually several hours or days later that he'll make some remark about how Bill has " done him wrong".
It is no doubt a phase, so perhaps his friend who must be very understanding to have continued his visits will agree to stay away for a few months until it has passed. There will be a bit of trial and error as to when he can come back-I think it is wonderful that he is so supportive of your husband and I am sure he will understand how phases come and go. You are not trying to stop his visits just to manage your husband's response in the phase that he is currently in.
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Reply to TaylorUK

If Bill understands Gary's outbursts and can tolerate them, he can choose whether or not to keep visiting. Do Bill's visits upset Gary at the time or are Gary's criticisms just ranting? Dementia erodes one's social filters, so Bill's visits give Gary an opportunity to express whatever is going through his mind
It certainly must be hard for Bill to watch his friend deteriorate, but if he has the heart to keep visiting in spite Gary it should be his choice. Disregarding Gary's negativity can be a gift Bill can give to his friend.
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Reply to RedVanAnnie

If it upsets him while Bill is visiting, I would have a good honest chat with Bill to let him know he may need to take a break from visiting. Explain the situation. Delusions, false memories, whatever, they do happen. Welcome his calls to you to check in and ask about the situation. At some point Gary may forget this and Bill can resume visiting.

At the very least, Bill deserves to be told what's going on. There's no point in Gary getting riled up or agitated while this is in his head.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to disgustedtoo

I would tell Bill that Gary has entered a new phase of the disease - accusing people of things. Emphasize what a dear friend he has been, but if he can't handle being accused of doing things you will understand if he decides to quit coming for now. Tell him you have to deal with the same issues and you completely understand. It may pass because he forgets that he is mad at Bill or he quits associating Bill to the 'damages'.

It's very possible Gary will mention that Bill hasn't been around recently and you can advise Bill that you'll let him know when there happens to be a good day. It's also possible that Bill is one of those people who can defer him to another conversation, wearing rhino hide, to get Gary on to another subject. It is very difficult to do, but some folks are really good at it.
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Reply to my2cents

I would suggest a confidential phone call to this very good friend of 40 years. Explain that your husband's dementia has progressed to the point that he is anxious, agitated, and accusatory. Explain that he has some issues with their relationship that are not based on truth but are part of his broken brain coming to inaccurate conclusions. Ask him to consider writing letters but not to come in person until you can get your husband's anxiety and agitation under control.

Please talk to your husband's doctor about these outbursts. Your husband may benefit from anti-anxiety medication. Your husband will also benefit from redirecting conversations that stray into accusatory language and agitation.
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Reply to Taarna

I don't understand why Bill would wish to continue to visit Gary if Gary gets upset. I think "my2cents" hit all the right buttons...if visits upset the visitee, why would the visitor wish to continue visiting? Who is the visit supposed to benefit?
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to ShirleyB
TouchMatters Apr 10, 2021
And the focus should be / needs to be on the Dad and how he feels, not the friend.
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