My dad is taking care of my mom, who has dementia. She's a person who likes to comment on others, and insisted my dad can't do certain activity and stripped away his freedom. Is there any ways to deal with this? I don't want to see my 72 years old dad live unhappily with her. Can we just ignored whatever she suggest and do it our way?

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If your mum has dementia and needs to be cared for by another person, whether this be husband, children or other relatives, then the person(s) doing the caring need to have respite. Your mum is obviously trying to exercise control over the person she knows she has to rely on because she is aware of her own vulnerability. This is common in dementia, my mum does this with me. However, by submitting to such demands the carer only sinks into depression and is ultimately unable to give the care which keeps the person with dementia out of a residential facility. So it's all a question of what the most sensible thing is and in your case I would say that your dad should reclaim his freedom, he should continue with his own activities, but at the time when he does this, you or a sibling if possible should stand in for him so that your mum doesn't appreciate he's not around. Eventually, she won't know whether he's there or not, but if he waits until that time, he may not himself have the energy or health left to take up his hobbies again. I wish you luck with this.
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Sorry Pam, I have to disagree with you. If my Mom was making life miserable for my Dad due to dementia I would definitely step in. Burnout in a 72 yr old caregiver is going to happen under those circumstances! Think of her as drowning, just because she is the wife doesn't give her the right to take him down with her!
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You didn't say whether she ALWAYS controlled your father earlier in life. If so, he's never going to stand up to her, even if you kids try to get him to do so. If this is new behavior, then by all means just humor her, but do what you want. Nobody should have the right to control others, especially if they are helping her stay at home.
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EvaLynnPearl: I feel the need to comment on one aspect of your post:

"I can't begin to express that it is very important to personally contact me for the VA information vs calling the VA in your area. I may be able to help get this information processed much quicker."

I can't begin to express my confusion and outrage at the audacity of someone trolling for business on a forum like this. Obviously you're not going to be doing this for free, or are you? It's my understanding that those who solicit potential clients to allegedly assist with VA applications cannot charge for doing so.

While you may actually have an altruistic interest, the concept of contacting and providing highly personal financial information to someone who uses a online forum like this is ludicrous.

That kind of assistance is offered for free at county VA centers, and by some veterans' organizations. Why in the world would someone contact a complete unknown, via an internet connection, and provide personal and confidential financial information? And what are your qualifications? Being an Advocate means nothing - it's merely your own statement of your alleged qualifications.

I find your approach distasteful and insulting if not exploitive.
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Your mother is likely stopping your dad from doing a specific activity because she relies on him and is now afraid to be without him due to having dementia. I think the smartest thing to do would be to begin bringing in professional caregivers a couple of days per week. When the caregivers come in, at first your dad should stay home, but he should not do anything for your mom. The caregivers will work to build a relationship with your mom so she will come to rely on them. Don't be surprised if your mom becomes angry about the caregiver or wants to fire her. As the adult child, you must exert benign dominance over your mother because this is for her own good. That means you agree with what your mom says, but the caregiver cannot be fired and it is a permanent thing. Over time, your mom will become friends with her caregivers and rely less on your dad when the caregivers are there. Once that happens, your dad should leave the house when the caregivers are there without announcing what he is doing and go do his hobby (such as go play golf.) It is all too easy for the main caregiver to get swept up in caregiving to the point that they have no other life. As the adult child in this situation, it is up to you to make certain that your father DOES have his own life and still CAN participate in the activities he enjoys. Your father may at first refuse to do this, but as he gets to know the caregivers and trust them, he will finally be able to leave the house and do other things from time to time. You may have to enlist the help of your father's good friends in order to get him out of the house or even set a date for you and your father to take him out of the house to do something. Once your father knows he can successfully go out, and your mom is safe at home with her caregivers, things will start going more smoothly for him. It is sort of like leaving your baby with a babysitter for the first time. You father needs to feel confident that the caregiver CAN handle any situation that arises and that your mother is safe.
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At what stage is your mom with her dementia, does she still have total memory or muddled. In my parents case, my father was a selfish person, so would leave my mother at home and go off to enjoy his game of bowls and get away for several hours per week.
Can you get your mother to go off to some day care facility to give him a break. and in that time , get the chores done that she claims are not being done properly.
IF she has progressed sufficiently to be constantly complaining but not really remembering then I guess its that game of agreeing with her, but doing what you feel is best. So I guess its time to 'ignore' your mom and concentrate on your father and see that he gets a break, either by other members relieving him several times a week, or being a companion for him at least. or organising the break
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My mom is the same way WITH FAMILY, STRANGERS,and NON FAMILY she's more passive/kinder.I was LETTING her take charge.I just told her the way it is and it's definitely changed things.Don't be afraid to take charge.We let my mom be in charge because she's our mom, and were her children, thinking that's how it's supposed to be.I wouldn't ever take away my mom's dignity, I'm not letting her be mean or disruptive. Take Charge! :) God bless, it's so so hard
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First let me say that for the past 10 years I have been a Care Giver. Recently I have become an Advocate Speaker for the elderly and their families and Care Givers. Only through my personal experience can I provide information to help the elderly and for those who are taking care of them.

Care Givers: Our parents have always taken care of us. It is now our turn to take care of them. This by no means is going to be an easy journey. It is very important for a person to leave their guilt and personal feelings at the front door. A child or family member may wish to take care of their elderly parent. Even though this may be a very kind and thoughtful idea, this decision normally does not work. I would highly suggest visiting Care in our area and hire a Care Giver. There are well experienced individuals on this particular site that can be hired between $10-$15.00 per hour. What must be learned through this process is that a child or family member must now become a very good "little friend" to the elder and not just a member of the family. Think back to your childhood and how you and your little friend had a lot of good times together.

Dementia/Alzheimer's: This is a very difficult time for any elder who knows they are in the throws of loosing their independence. A person's brain that is experiencing dementia mostly remembers things that have happened in their past. It is very hard for their brain to remember immediate things that are happening or that has been said. The beginning signs of knowing that a person is entering the world of having dementia begins to start falling and they find a hard time finding words to say. Sad to say but this causes an elderly person with dementia to become very irritable, suffer stress, depression, become uncontrollable, combative, and lash out in anger. What I suggest is asking the elder's PCP to give a referral for a General Adult Psychiatrist. Tell the elderly that they are being taken to a specialist to review the immediate medications being taken. Even though the Psychiatrist will ask the elder various questions, be prepared to provide the answers not the elder. Only as a suggestion, ask if the following medicines can be prescribed for the elder to take: Ramron, Aircept, Trazadone. It is important that the lowest dosage is first prescribed. These medicines can be increased as needed. These medicines work like a miracle in calming a person where they are more loving and not so controlling.

Assisted Living: The worse thing to do is not to do anything. I highly suggest that you start doing a research for Assisted Living facilities in your area. The problem is that most of us know that this time is going to come. When this matter is delayed, there will be a very strong rude awakening. You are now in what is called the "sandwich" group. You are going to be between trying to live your life, trying to take care of your loved one, and constantly trying to figure out how you are going to manage all of this. When an elderly couple is primarily entering the world of dementia leading to Alzheimer's, one cannot basically take care of the other. I can't begin to highly stress enough -- research, research, research -- don't wait until the last minute.

Assisted Living - There are kinds of AL. It is very important to have a list of questions to ask such as: What is the "Daily Plan", Amenities Available, Staffing (RN and DR on board 7/24), Nutritional Dietician, and other services such as Hospice, Wheelchair Accessible Showers, Aging in Place, Respite Offered, Complimentary Transportation, and Resident Parking. What is highly important to ask is if daily vital signs can be taken for the elderly including Blood Sugar test.
Note that an elder's PCP can request Home Health Care to visit every other day or 1x per week to process the Blood Sugar test.

Medication List & EMS: What I would highly like to suggest is that the elders have typed for them the following information. This information needs to be given to the elder's PCP. A copy of this information needs to be tacked by the entry door of the home to give to EMS. If this information is not provided, the elder is given whatever medicines the doctors at the hospital wish to give them. If the wrong med is given to an elder, it could kill them.
1) List of all medications they are taking, dosage, and how many times per day.
2) List of all medications that they are allergic to.
3) If an elder who is experiencing Dementia or Alzheimer's who is living in their home, a Medical Alert System needs to be in the home. These systems are not expensive and they are life savers.
4) List of all important contact phone numbers.

EMS & Hospitals: Always phone EMS to have oneself or elder taken to the hospital. Otherwise, it could take up to 24hrs. to be admitted and seen by a doctor.
When EMS takes an elder to the hospital, ask if there is a unit for the (elderly).
The elderly are seen more quickly in this special unit.

VA: If your father was active in the military service, there may be a possibility of the elder to receive "Spousal Financial Assistance". There are certain policies and procedures that need to be followed and met. Please note that an elder must already be living in Assisted Living. I can't begin to express that it is very important to personally contact me for the VA information vs calling the VA in your area. I may be able to help get this information processed much quicker.

Please note that I can only share my experience with you. It is up to each of us what we decide to do for the elderly and loved ones. It is very important that a person taking care of a loved one take care of them self through the process. There will be times that taking care of a loved one can be over-whelming. This can all be successfully done by putting things in order and in place.

My prayers are with you and your family.
Sincerely, Eva Lynn P.
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EvaLynnPearl, you mentioned that since our parents took care of us, we need to take care of them in return. We need to remember that when our parents were carrying for us as children, they were usually in their 20's or 30's..... not in their 60's and 70's, which is a HUGE difference. In fact, I wouldn't hire a caregiver who is my age.

krayon, I am curious what *instructions* does your Mother imposes on others? Could it be that Mom did all the work and caring inside of the home, and now that she needs to be cared for, your Dad doesn't know what to do?

My Dad is clueless around the house.... I know when I bring my parents' groceries to them, Mom hurries as fast as she can to put the groceries away, apparently she is afraid Dad will try to help and put things where she wouldn't find them ;) For 96 years old she moves pretty quick !!! She's trying to get Dad to learn how to do the washing/drying, and trying to do simple things in the kitchen. Too bad she didn't do that 30 years ago when Dad first retired, but the house was her domain for all those years while Dad was at work.
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Um ... do you think we could now get back to the concerns Krayon has, about the relationship between his parents and how he might help his father?
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