How do I get my dad who has dementia to understand that mom needs to keep her neck brace on?

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My 92 yr old mom broke her neck last week. She is wearing a neck brace that is imperative that it not be removed. My dad, who has dementia, only understands that mom is in pain and has taken off the brace in the middle of the nite to relieve her pain, despite the fact that we have wrapped it with packing tape, tied scarves, and anything else we can think of. Any ideas?

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someone with demential should not be a caretaker.
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I agree with you and was assuming the dementia was a new onset. Many homes have two parents with dementia and it is never easy. My heart goes out to you and each household and family decision-making is different.
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Um, Janet, just how would you see this working in this situation.
Family: "Dad, we'd like to put up some reminders about Mom's neck brace. Where would you like them?"
Dad: "I don't need any reminders. I can take care of my wife, thank you!"
F: "Well it would make us feel better. Would you do it for us?"
D: "If you have to, put it on the front of the refrigerator."
F: "OK. And we'll put one in the bathroom, too."

Middle of the night:
Mom: "Oh, I'm in so much pain. I hurt so bad."
Dad: (Does not go into the kitchen or bathroom. Does not look at any notes, even if there is one in the bedroom.) "Oh, honey. I'll take that dang brace off and you'll feel better." (or, alternately) "This bottle must be pain pills. Why don't you take three or four."

Here is the bottom line: No matter how many reminders are posted about the house, A PERSON WITH DEMENTIA SHOULD NOT BE TAKING CARE OF SOMEONE ELSE!

I lived with my husband's dementia for more than nine years. I loved him with all my heart, and I know he loved me unconditionally. He would have done anything for me. When he was well I could trust that intention and his intelligence to take care of me when I was sick. But after he developed dementia that was a whole different story. His love and his intention were still present, but his judgment, especially in the face of seeing me in pain, just didn't qualify him to take care of anyone else (or himself, for that matter). The few times I was sick I always had someone else come in to help out.

My husband would not remember to look at a note when it was appropriate. If he read a note in passing he would not remember it when it was applicable.

Janet, I just don't see reminder notes as overcoming the impairments of someone with dementia. Been there. Lived that. Doesn't work.

If this is temporary -- if Mom is going to gradually recover -- then a temporary solution, such as hiring in-home help, perhaps overnight, to look after both Mom and Dad might work. If Mom is getting frail and may need care even after her neck heals, then a more permanent solution is needed. A care center or 24/7 in-home help should be considered.

Do what you have to do to keep your parents safe and comfortable, allieboy. My heart goes out to you.
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Usually I recommend that families write reminder notes and get the permission of the caregiving parent as to where to place it in the home. Janet Gilbert, MS, CCC-SLP
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The comments above are correct. It is time NOW to move your parents to get the care they need before something tragic happens. Talk to the social worker at an assisted living home to see if this will meet their needs. They may need skilled nursing or dementia care. We are all going thru too much. Keep yourself well and strong. Many hugs. Corinne
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Amen to that...this is a wake up call that your parents are not able to live by themselves. Several years ago, my aunt fell ; my uncle, with Dementia, pulled her around the house on an area rug for several days before anyone in the family realized that my aunt had broken her hip and needed surgery. Get your mom the help that she and your dad need.
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The dementia will always override reason. We had the same problem with mom and a wound bandage. Fortunately, that's why we had to move her to an assisted living facility. I say fortunately because now that the dangerous wound has healed we realize that this change was necessary. It has solved so many problems I had encountered when she was living by herself.
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