What do you do with a parent with dementia who refuses to believe they need help?

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I am disabled - fibromyalgia, arthritis, disintegrating back and heart disease (heart attack at 53). My childhood was filled with emotional and physical abuse from my mother. She died in January and I feel nothing but relief. My father simply ignored it. I'm trying to be a good daughter but I really want him to go away. My daughter(32) battled breast cancer this past year. She is doing really well but the stress has been awful for us both. Anyway, my father has always been a self centered, always right, domineering so and so. He has been diagnosed with dementia and the neurologist has tried him on the excelon patch and told him he couldn't drive unless he had a driving evaluation at a local facility. He reuses and cancelled the apt we made. He lives alone and is making financial errors with his limited income, forgetting to pay bills, paying bills twice, making poor decisions. His constant and lifelong topic of conversation is how stupid everyone is and how the world is going to h***. he doesn't go to church and has no friends. He will accept no help from me or anyone else. I really wish I could I could disown him but I feel guilty. I have been in counseling (good but can't do it forever) I am trying mightily to trust in God but it's hard. My father is an atheist, on top of everything else. It is so sad when the prospect of a parent's death makes you feel nothing but relief. Has anyone else been there?

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Her Father is broke so quit accusing her of trying to get an inheritance out of this. I came here for answers and guidance and ran across this post, some of you sound like you need to get your head twisted on straight and stop all the bashing.
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I don't understand you joanna56.....
All you talk about in this thread is your self and how you hate your parents. But, yet your POA over your father that you hate so much. If you have so much hate over your father why are you his POA?
(Mother died in January and I feel nothing but relief!),
( I really wish I could I could disown him !),(I have been in counseling!)
I apologize if I sound to harsh.But,with all your ongoing counseling and hate towards your Father you have.What reason, why are you his Power of Attorney?
You stated you hated your Mother and feeling nothing but relief that she is dead.
And you talk nothing but,negative about your Father.Sounds like maybe inheritance is the reason why your his POA.With the hate you have towards your Father and your ongoing counseling.Your not fit to be a POA.Your Father with Dementia doesn't need this stress.Sounds like from what you explained above,all you have is stress.It's not worth the stress for you or your Father.I feel more sorry for your Father then you.You have a choice not to be his POA and you have the choice to walk away or not.He has no choices.You need to tell your Father how you feel.He needs to hear the truth from you.Sounds like your a head check.If you was my daughter I wouldn't be able to sleep at nite knowing your my POA with all that hate.Your Father needs someone else to care for him other then you until you can get your head straight.Is your Father also seeing ongoing counseling?I bet not!
Sounds like your getting the help and Dad's getting the shaft.You need to turn the rains over to another that cares for your Father.You only have one Father and should be enjoying him not hating over him.Sometimes the truth hurts and some are blind to see.Takes a outsider to show the truth.It's easy to hate that's simple to do.Kindness kills as well.
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It sounds like you have as much in order as you possibly can, and have done as much all the research regarding your options. I'd say that yes, the hardest thing about this journey is knowing that despite all our due diligence and good intentions, there are not always solutions. The solution is to live in this very uneasy time with as much peace of mind as possible. Rely on your faith, the support of family/friends, take care of YOURSELF, and know that you're doing everything you can.
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I hate it when I do that...post before I'm done. Anyway, do you think I am a little bitter? He now talks about how wonderful she was and how much he misses her. Sigh. I'm sure he does.
I have read the book you mentioned and it is wonderful. I worry because my father has no assets. The house was reverse mortgaged and there is nothing left. All he has is social security. I've tried the veterans administration and social services including adult protective services. He has just enough income not to qualify for anything but not enough to take care of him. Adult protective services says they don't have staff or money to do anything. I live in TN and all the state programs are woefully underfunded. He is just competent to get himself in trouble. For instance, a year ago he totaled the car. Insurance paid enough for him to get another car. He was 88 at the time and not in great shape. But it's not their job to tell him no. I'm just venting at this point. I do have both POAs but he is still appears reasonably competent and I don't have money for a legal battle. I guess I just wait for something major to happen. But then I'm not sure what...
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Thanks to both of you. I do have both POAs luckily because he almost died of pneumonia a year and a half ago. My mother who had dementia (undiagnosed then) was totally dependent on him so that's when I started caring for her. Gradually he got better and took over again until some of his poor choices ultimately shortened her life (not that she wasn't very sick - she was and it was probably a blessing). I was the one to get her to the emergency room, into hospice. I was the one who sat by her side and held her hand and talked to her and lied about all the people who loved her. I was holding her hand when she died.
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Your father has agnosognosia which is the inability to recognize that anything is wrong with him. This is common to most dementia/Alz patients. Canceling doctors appointments it not unusual either. Usually the caregiver just rebooks the appointment and then takes their parent without mentioning where they are going until they get to the doctor's office at which point the parent will usually go in. Some caregivers lie to their parents and tell then the appointment is for them and they need their parent along for moral support. Unfortunately, dementia/Alz causes people to behave in a manner that drives most people away at a time when the patient most desperately needs our help. I'm not sure if you have medical and financial POA on your dad, but if not, you need to get it or make sure someone has it because your dad needs someone who will invoke the POA's and take over his finances and manage his care. That person needs to be able to act with confidence, arrange the needed care, stop him from driving and take care of the finances and ignore the verbal abuse from him. It is a tall order. One way this could be done is by a court appointed guardian if there is no one in the family willing to take over these tasks. If no one has POA on your father, then someone needs to seek guardianship and that could be someone from APS or some other person. It is an expensive process - about $10,000, but the cost can be payed by your father's estate. If someone is willing to do this, then they need to seek the help of an eldercare attorney or family practice attorney. This will require a court appearance and also your father will need to be examined by several doctors, all of whom agree he has dementia in order for him to be declared incompetent.

Your father grew up in a time when men were expected to lead their families and were seen as the person with all the answers - even though that's not realistic at all. Your father's behavior was caused by these false cultural beliefs. If you do nothing else, for your own sake, forgive him and know that he was trying to live up to an image that was the expectation of the time and culture he lived in, as completely unrealistic as it was. It is hard to know what your father's relationship was with your mother, but the fact that he allowed her to physically abuse you, tells me that he either was abused himself and didn't know better or was afraid of his wife and thought that not crossing her was the best way for him to survive and maintain his dignity as head of the house. Of course, a divorce would probably have been the best option, but in your father's generation, divorce was very stigmatized. The fact that your dad ignored your mother's death indicates that he is ambivalent towards her. It sounds to me like their relationship may have ended many, many years ago. In closer marital relationships the dementia patient is usually very dependent upon their spouse and very distressed if the spouse is in the hospital or gone from the house even for a short time. So clearly, although he may never have said it and may have never acted on it, there was no love relationship there and your father was not depending on your mother in the way a dementia patient who had a good marriage relationship would be.

In a short amount of time, your father is going to require 24x7 care, either at home or in a facility. Seeing your parent dying of dementia is distressing to say the least, even if you don't really love them. It will shake you to your very foundation. There is a book that will help you to understand what you are up against and how to deal with it if you decide to stick it out:

Elder Rage... Take my Father Please: How to survive caring for aging parents by Jaqueline Marcell

The book is available on Amazon.

Finally, I want you to know that God's grace is for everyone, even atheists, whether your father wants it or not.
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You can only save one life, and it would be better if you saved your own. You can't do anything for him until you are healed. Walk away, move out, whatever it takes, and notify APS and his doctors that you are leaving due to his behavior and non-compliance. Report his driving to the DMV. Even God cannot help those who refuse to help themselves. Save yourself, only you can.
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