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My 85 yr old Dad lives with and takes care of my 84 yr old Mom. Mom suffers from dementia. She is aware of her world, remembers all of us, but is easily confused and rapidly losing words and memories. My Dad is a depressed alcoholic who has had a falling out with 5 of his 6 children over the past few years. We all have a great relationship with our mother, visiting and calling often up until the past 3 months. My dad has started to poison that relationship. Telling our Mom we did not call, telling her she is more frail than her Dr's say she is, telling her we are being mean to him, telling her she does not need an aide to come in or a life alert bracelet (she's had 3 falls in the past 6 months we know of that have resulted in stitches and/or bruises and black eyes). We need to find a path to deal with his anger so we can keep her connected and healthy. Any moderators or social workers we can call?

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Imho, an alcoholic cannot not should not be a caregiver. He cannot even control his own life, let alone someone else's, in this case - his wife. The falling out with 5 out of 6 of his children is quite telling. Contact the town's Council on Aging elder case worker and also there should be on staff a social worker.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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Get legal advice before installing a camera. There are federal and state laws about such things.
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Reply to Sunnygirl1
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I'd suggest getting Adult Protective Services involved. First and foremost, they will ensure that she is not being physically or emotionally abused. They will ensure that she is eating healthy foods or at least foods that she likes in the amounts that will sustain her physically. If when they speak with your mom separately from your dad, they see that what she is saying and what her children are saying is different than what your dad is telling them, they will likely try to set up counseling. It would be helpful if they had a family meeting with your parents and as many children that could be present as possible. You need to emphasize your concerns about your mom's health and well-being in view of her mental status changes and then voice concerns about your father's ability to care for her. They will take it from there. Your dad may be experiencing some cognitive deficits of his own (particularly in view of a reported history of alcohol use in excess). If they feel that your mom is not safe in any way, they will remove her from her present situation or negotiate with your dad to set up home care and they will stay involved until you are comfortable that your mom's rights are not being neglected, she isn't being isolated, and they she is being adequately cared for. You should talk among yourselves as to whether or not any of you are willing and able to have your mom move in with you and your family or if any of you would be willing to move into their home. With that said, the role of caregiver is burdensome and your dad may just be burned out. He's not getting any younger and he sure has a lot of responsibility now and he may feel that all the weight is on his shoulders. Hopefully they can get a social work involved and he/she can bring the family back together. You may find that your dad needs nearly as much help as your mom. He may be angry because he feels he is losing control of the whole situation and he doesn't know what to do or doesn't want to feel or look weak... Also, though it's kind of late if it hasn't been done already but now's the time to have one or more of you decide about being power of attorney for your parents health and financial needs, choose a healthcare advocate for them in the event of serious illness or injury requiring life support. You might also want to see an elder care attorney either before or after contacting Adult Protective Services. It's not an easy position to be in for any of you. I wish all of you peace, harmony, and good will.
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Reply to AginginPLaceLLC
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I’ve read the majority of these posts to your situation. Some are really we out there. Some makes some sense. I’m just going to say if your father is an alcoholic then your mothers life could be in extreme danger at some point in the future if not already. Don’t let your father do is he’s trying to do and exclude you from seeing your mother. Your entire family needs to be involved to get your mom in a place that is safe. Your father is not qualified as an alcoholic to care for your mom. Stop at nothing to get your mother out. I just buried my mother in September of last year after taking care of her for eight years. I still miss her to this day and always will. But what gives me complete confidence Satisfaction and happiness that I did what I needed to do and took care of my mom is that three days before she passed all she kept saying is I love you I love you I love you. I am an only child I do not have children and I never knew my father but I took care of my mom. Now you And your siblings go take care of your mom rescue her do whatever is needed.
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Reply to DRGnSOCA
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Your profile says you are caring for mom. Do you also live in the home where mom is?

If mom has dementia, some of what she tells you will not be accurate and you have to figure out a way to sort fact from fiction. Has dad done anything to keep any of you from going inside the house? Perhaps, after a bad day, he is complaining about not getting any help and she is hearing the complaints of a caregiver's frustrations. I can't really know for sure and maybe you can't either

Instead of entering the debate about what he 'may' have said - when you call, tell her "I called earlier, but dad said you were asleep. Did you take a little nap?" Maybe dad thinks you could call her more often to take the heat off him for a while. Every once and a while, I have to remind my siblings that I EXPECT them to call at least 1 time a day - 4 other kids so that gives her a little chat time. It gets very frustrating when I hear my mom say one of them hasn't called and maybe they are sick or hurt. They don't answer her calls. What I really want to tell her is - they all have their phones glued to their bodies (they are using them when they visit and look at each alert to see who calls) and they CHOSE to not answer your call. But, I don't say it because it's only painful to her, not them.

If you want to know what goes on there - be there. Or install a camera as other have suggested (in several rooms) so you can watch (and perhaps listen) to what is going on. To know for sure, there has to be eyes on the situation.
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Reply to my2cents
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God bless that man. He needs lots of credit for handing what is a very bad situation. Is it your mother who says all these things about your father; did you say she suffers from a brain disorder? I think you give your father disservice. If he was in fact hurting her you would have called the police. Dementia persons can hurt themselves and people tend to see what they want to see. Your final recourse are the courts. Get an elder attorney. Be very careful here...people love to hang their anger on a scapegoat. What is a person with dementia going to do with a life alert? Most men would have put her in a home...that is not a good thing. Her condition will nose dive as unfamiliar places trigger people with dementia to get worse fast and with weight loss. Falls are unfortunately part of the behavior. I highly doubt you have any clue what he's dealing with. Perhaps approach him with sincere empathy instead of attack mode; he's protecting her.
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lealonnie1 May 24, 2020
Wow, what a response! First off, most people with dementia are way better off in a Memory Care Assisted Living environment where they are attended to 24/7. I've seen very few residents lose weight, in fact, most GAIN weight as they start eating 3 regular meals a day and 3 snacks, which they do not tend to eat at home. And for you to say that an alcoholic husband needs 'a lot of credit' for handling a bad situation with HER is absurd!!! SHE is the one who's having to deal with HIS addictive behavior.......do you not see that? What's dangerous here is HIS addictive behavior and comments like yours that put all the blame on a person suffering from dementia and applauding the behavior of the abusive alcoholic who's 'caring' for her and "PROTECTING" her?!!!!!! Holy cow
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Depressed alcoholics usually become depressed alcoholics with dementia. What is stopping you from going over there in person and seeing your mother? How exactly is he restricting your access? If you showed up with doughnuts or some other treat you know he likes, what do you think his reaction would be? If you can get inside, and I would not go alone, you can take pictures and document their living conditions and them. If he gets violent, call 911. If you find your mother in bad shape, call 911 and get an ambulance to take her to the hospital. You cannot do this by yourself.
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Reply to NYDaughterInLaw
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Using your zip code (theirs if you don't live nearby) find EC Attornies at:

https://www.naela.org/findlawyer

Most will give an initial limited free consult (have ALL questions drawn up before any consult.) Check with a few, find out what they might be able to do and what their estimate would be. Most can get an emergency hearing to get the ball rolling sooner, if you are very concerned about her well-being. Although it will cost (atty and court costs), between 6 of you, you should be able to chip in, and if they grant guardianship, they should allow her share of the assets to be used to reimburse you.

Guardianship is not to be taken lightly and requires a lot of effort for seeing to mom's care, keeping records and reporting to the court system, but if you are concerned about her, this is what you should do.

A combination of alcohol and dementia is not a good thing, and there is potential that he has developed cognitive issues as well. Just a normal person caring for someone with dementia can "lose it." Given his history with alcohol, and apparently severing relationships with his children and/or blocking access to your mother, I would be very concerned about her welfare.

I would not assume the falls/bruising are abuse, as it can be legitimate. Falls happen no matter what we do, but if he is truly saying these things to her, that IS emotional/mental abuse - regardless of whether she remembers or not.

Question for you:
Are you witnessing him saying/doing these things, or is she telling you this?

As one person noted, people with dementia can say and believe the craziest of things/scenarios. However if you know for a fact that he says/does this, get those consults with EC atty ASAP! The step after verbal abuse is usually physical abuse.

Another alternative, esp if there is delay in getting legal help - if possible, can you arrange to take mom out, under pretense of shopping, a walk, a drive, give dad a break, or something, and take her home with one of you? At least then you could monitor yourself and see how it goes...

P.S. While it certainly can't hurt to report something to APS, I wouldn't rely on them to get this dealt with ASAP. There isn't a lot they can do, and with the virus there will likely be a lot of delays. If he refuses to let them in, they can't "check" on anything and even if he does, unless they see obvious signs of abuse, they aren't going to intervene. I would seek legal advice and go from there, esp if you can't get her out, at least temporarily. They can get emergency orders, which would help to protect her while investigations happen.
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Reply to disgustedtoo
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Get a camera. Hide it where he wont notice it.if he is hitting her you need to know it.have one of your other siblings keep him talking while you put it in.but older people do fall,I pray he isn't hurting her,but you need to know. Good luck.
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Reply to Carolsue
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I would contact the area agency on aging and speak with adult protective services. Since she is falling and he is refusing safety options, that is cause for concern. Are you sure that Dad is cognitively intact due to his long standing alcoholism? There is a dementia associated with chronic alcohol abuse known as Korsikoff's dementia. Another concern I have is that your mom is being emotionally abused by your dad's manipulation of the situation. Call protective services sooner rather than later.
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Reply to Peanuts56
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I know you are angry with your Dad, but consider alternative perspectives for a moment.

In your question you never mentioned Covid-19, but you posted this message during the third month of a global pandemic. Although some places around you may be getting back to a “new normal,” it is more than reasonable (it is smart and advised) to limit visits and reject the introduction of outsiders (such as a caregiver). In fact, many areas remain under a “stay-at-home” order. Anyone who has access to national news should be restricting visits, even from family members. Nationally recognized scientists and mathematicians project that this will continue for many months. It is a fact that both of your parents are high risk based on age alone. Tens of thousands of Americans have lost one parent in the past three months—many were prevented from saying goodbye in person at the end — and many have not been allowed to even have funerals.

Your Dad, as primary caregiver, has lost his “normal.” Not just because of the virus. You may feel that he doesn’t love your mom because of his bad behavior (alcoholism), but the fact that they are still together is evidence of a shared love for one another.

So the person he loves most is losing ground— memory, control, eyesight, hearing, mobility, strength, personality. If you haven’t experienced this as a caregiver, you may someday. Regardless of the diagnosis or label, this is the process of aging. It is terribly painful. I know you hurt too, and feel although you don’t have a front row seat, you still can see this tragedy playing out from where you are. Remember that your dad is sitting in the “splash zone.”

What can you do? Bring a casserole. Offer to get groceries (or arrange for a delivery) help with medications, pharmacies, doctors appointments. Call and talk to your dad. Ask how He is doing. Listen and show interest in his life and concerns. This has been a difficult time for him. Give him a break from caregiving by coming to stay with your mom while he goes out.

A call once a week or even once a day may be your norm, but when a loved one is sick, A day can feel like a month. Maybe your Dad does tell your mom you don’t call often, but maybe that is his perception.

Of course, if your mom is a victim of physical abuse, get her help. Investigate personally to confirm first. Our state public health workers have been complete crises. Don’t call them unless you have a reasonable belief that there is a present danger.

I was holding my mom’s hand once when she fell in a parking lot and I could not have possibly stopped it. She had two black eyes from the pressure of the fall. It was safer when she was at home, but she fell there too. Declining eyesight, medical issues such as blood pressure, decreasing mobility and general aging were all contributors. So are many medications prescribed to geriatric patients, with dizzy/confusion side effects. People fall in nursing homes too.

if your mom winds up in a nursing home, that may not make her safe. You also may not be able to visit your mom there due to changing (Covid-19) restrictions. When your area is completely clear, another wave may come. Regardless, nursing home visits may never be as free and easy as they once were, before this national health crisis.

There is no perfect story when someone you love is getting older. Try to help your dad solve the problem first before rushing to complicate things at an already stressful time.
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Reply to ACaringDaughter
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disgustedtoo May 24, 2020
I question this statement:

"...the fact that they are still together is evidence of a shared love for one another."

Sure, it could be, but there are plenty of situations, with or without dementia or alcohol where people stay together regardless of how they are treated. Given dementia on at least one side and alcoholism on the other side, I would be VERY concerned. He's also severed relations with 5 of 6 children, and most likely is blocking access?

Personally I would NOT consider this 'staying together because of love' a reason to delay exploring what is really going on.

Although some have questioned if the bruises might be abuse rather than falls, others have chimed in saying falls can indeed result in these kind of bruises, BUT, one should NEVER assume, especially when it appears they are being blocked from access and/or he has severed relations with most of them. At NO time did OP imply dad was causing the injuries, but the question that he *might be* should be explored. Someone who is an alcoholic very often can become violent. If they can't get to see/help their mother, they need a way to get her out to take care of her.

Also, no one said they wanted to remove her from the place and put her in a NH (I've said it many times - NHs are for those who need specialized nursing care, not just a safe place because of dementia. Some NHs have a MC section, but I would think the same applies - they have other medical issues that require a nurse, not a CNA.) Without knowing what the mother's other current conditions are, it isn't clear she would even qualify for NH. Also, it sounds like the kids might be willing to take mom in....
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It sounds like both of your parents need help. Have you talked to his doctor about his anger and alcoholism (you may need POA or permission to talk to his doctor)? Try to get the paperwork in order (POA, will, medical directives, etc.), for your father and mother, in case your father declines. It's good to get an attorney specializing in elder issues. I say this because I know an actual situation where the caregiver passed away before the person who was being cared for. A nephew then had to then figure out how best to care for the survivor.
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disgustedtoo May 24, 2020
No block in talking TO the doctor, only getting information FROM if there is/are no POAs. If there aren't any already, I wouldn't hold my breath about getting ANY of those documents done. Given that the father is already shutting everyone out, not likely he will agree to or sign anything and if mom is too far down the dementia path, she can't.

Skip APS and doctors, go to https://www.naela.org/findlawyer and use your zip code to get a list of EC attys (or their zip code, if you live too far and/or in another state.)

The EC atty should be able to start an emergency hearing to at the very least get mom into a safe place and evaluated. If you question his condition, they may order testing for him as well. Mom needs your help now!
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Seems that their is some abuse in your parents' relationship. Please talk to her doctor about what you have observed. Or, report suspected abuse to the local authorities.
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Reply to Taarna
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Has he been tested for dementia ? Sounds like my mom. Can't get along with anyone. Had her tested and she has Alzheimer's.
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Reply to Flowerhouse1952
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How do you know that your father is making the false claims to your mother? Is it based on what she has told you? I'd try to get it confirmed, because, people who have dementia often report things that are not true. They may believe it is true, because, of the dementia.

Do you know if he is keeping caregivers from her? Is her care suffering, other than what you have stated in your post? I'd likely seek a consult with an attorney about the options. I'd inquire if you have a case to petition for Guardianship, which, would place someone other than the husband in charge of her care. I'd get legal advice on what evidence you need and if it is an option with the present situation. Was any explanation of the falls given?
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Reply to Sunnygirl1
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What bothers me about what you're saying here is that your dad is 'poisoning' the relationship between you, telling her bald faced lies to upset her, insisting she's less able-bodied than she really is, and that she doesn't need an aide or a life alert bracelet in spite of taking multiple falls. Something is wrong with your dad, mentally, here. Alcoholism often turns into alcohol related dementia which can cause him to become abusive...........both emotionally AND physically. It sounds like he's acting uncharacteristically odd and 'off'..........and therefore, that is cause for worry. How do you know for certain that your mother's bruises and black eyes were due to falls? You are saying your dad has a lot of anger issues so ask yourself how possible/probably it is that your mother is being physically abused here?

Dementia can turn ugly in a heartbeat. Brain damage can turn the nicest person into a mean and nasty person, especially when adding copious amounts of alcohol into the mix.

I'm sure you must be extremely worried about this entire situation (as I would be if it were my folks) and my heart goes out to you. I think you've gotten some good advice here about calling APS, etc. If you see your father even raise his hand to your mother, call 911 and get him shipped off to the hospital for evaluation. If he's deemed to have dementia, you may be able to get him placed that way, and to get a social worker involved.

Wishing you the best of luck and sending you a big hug and some prayers for a good resolution to this whole mess.
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Reply to lealonnie1
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Please talk to APS - they may investigate (or not) and support you seeking guardianship. This is a little more complicated than a POA, in that you have to make annual reports to the court in my area that include visits and finances. But it gives you absolute power over where she lives and who is serving her. You would be able to rescue her from this difficult situation legally.
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Reply to surprise
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I had two black eyes from falling on ice and breaking my nose. DH recently developed a shiner from having a window frame cosh him on temple (he is on blood thinners).

I also had an aunt who was being beaten black and blue by her previously lovely and gentle DH who had developed vascular dementia.

In any event, it no longer sounds like a safe environment for her. Please call APS.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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I’ve never known someone to get a black eye from a fall alone. That is worrisome. Physical abuse might be going on.
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Countrymouse May 22, 2020
I certainly have. My mother looked like she'd gone several rounds with Mike Tyson after a straightforward fall onto her bedroom carpet, but you should have seen the accusing looks I got from passers-by in the waiting room at the doctor's.
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I think you want this website: https://officeonaging.org/aps/

This is the link for APS for your county (assuming that's also where your parents live?) and to judge from their introductory page I think you'll find them a tremendous source of advice and support.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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CAtoOH, do you or any of your siblings have durable PoA for your mom? If not, your only course of action is to call APS (Adult Protective Services) at their county's social services (Dept of Health and Human Services). This will get her on their radar. You and your siblings can pursue guardianship of your mom through the courts and your father (if he is not her PoA and is neglecting her) won't be able to stop it. Do you know for a fact that your mom received her stitches and bruises from an actual fall? Just have to ask this very difficult (and disturbing) question because your dad may have tipped into dementia himself (and exacerbated by his alcoholism, or dehydration or UTI) and doing things that are amplified or uncharacteristic of his typical behavior.

I'm going to guess that your dad has probably not assigned a durable PoA for himself. If so, please try to impress upon him that this means the county will eventually pursue it and his family will have no control over his care or what happens to him. I wish you all the best as you try to help them, and peace in your heart that you are doing all you can.
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Reply to Geaton777
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dogparkmomma May 22, 2020
Completely agree. I would be very afraid of physically abuse. My FIL had vascular dementia so he presented as being really together but his judgment and problem solving and exec function were really altered. As he was caregiver for MIL with dementia we were worried. I doubt that he can be reasoned with. I would discuss with APS and elder care attorney to see what options are to protect her and once you know, maybe it could be presented to him what your concerns are and what action could be taken if he does not allow unrestricted access to her. If that does not work, you will have to get guardianship which will likely be a terrible process. But which may be the only way to protect her.
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