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My dad has dementia. He is probably transitioning from early stage to mid stage. He is forgetful and slow, but basically "with it" and functional at home. No problems with most of his own hygiene or daily needs. Does not drive or cook, becoming more dependent on my mom. He is in pretty good spirits, easy going, but concerned for his future. Dad and mom live in a nice home in the same neighborhood I do. Problem: Mom is losing it. All patience. All decency. She is verbally and emotionally abusive to him - cutting remarks at any opportunity. Just becoming a nasty person. All she does is complain about the extra burdens on her. She complains about driving, cooking, cleaning. She makes him feel guilty that he cannot help more. My dad is about 30 pounds underweight. Now she refuses to cook. She is weight obsessed, and says mean things if he eats fatty foods, even though he is way under weight. I run a small business and work 6-7 days a week. I try to have a happy life and carve out short times of enjoyment. Checking in on them is becoming a weight around my neck. My mom is a highly educated woman (that's part of her problem - she always thinks she's the smartest person in the room). My dad told me today "she lets me know she is superior to me, any chance she gets". It's becoming very sad. I spoke with her about it a few days ago, but it seems she's still doing it. No, she does not have dementia (far from it). She's just an emotionally immature person. Thanks for letting me vent.

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Thanks for the responses! Freqflyer - yes I feel your pain. My parents retired much younger than I know we will be able to. They were able to enjoy international travel for a decade. I haven't left my home state in a decade and actually only get away from my town about once a year. Since I believe there really won't be this great, travel-filled retirement, I would like to enjoy what I have now, today - things as simple as a day away from home/work at a beach or park, or whatever. My goals are much more narrow than my parents were - the opportunities just won't be the same for us. Being an independent contractor is tough with no support system itself. If I had to do it all over again I'd have connected with a government job and at least have a pension to look forward to. The great recession ended my ability to save for retirement (I was a savings addict in my 20s and 30s because I thought the goals were real). Hoping you get a chance to do the things you wanted and hoped for!
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Upstream,
It's a tough situation, but I would get a plan in mind so you can free yourself from constant worry of the situation. If you have a game plan, it won't need to worry you all the time. Getting legal advice might help too.

Just because your mom has always been offensive and difficult, doesn't mean that she's okay. People like her get cognitive decline too. I'd keep an eye out. Not eating, making irrational comments and forgetting things, as you describe with her could be clues or her having some issues. I'd watch for that not just write it off as it being her normal difficult self.

Who is your dad's Durable Power of Attorney? Do you want that responsibility? If you feel you must, I'd explain to dad that you intend to extricate him from that environment as soon as you take over his affairs. Plus, you'll have no choice. If he's not receiving proper nutrition, you'l be bound to place him somewhere that he can get meals and away from negative influences.

And if dad is not on board with it, then, I'd wait and observe. When he is no longer competent, I'd obtain an attorney and take action to get dad out of her care. It might be nasty, but I would fight to keep my beloved dad away from verbal abuse and/or neglect.

Please let us know what happens. If they are both still competent, your hands are really tied.
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08/29/16.... Upstream, I know what you mean. My parents had a wonderful fun filled 25+ year retirement, lot of travel, dining out, etc.... but here I am 70 years old, major health issues from all the stress and my plans for retirement are on hold.... the bucket list changed big time from world travel to "walk around the block".

My parents had no idea what was involved for me [also an only child] trying to help them over the years, as they never needed to care for their own parents. I am an independent contractor and had also worked hard in my career and I refused to give that up as I needed to add funds to my own retirement. My Dad wanted me to retire but I asked him if he gave up his career to take care of his parents.... I knew the answer was "no", so he understood.
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Thank you all for your answers. My parents have been married for a little over 50 years. I always thought my dad took a lot of verbal Sh*t from my mom over the years I lived at home. I've lived on my own for about 30 years now and I guess as they've gotten older, she's dished more out, and he has taken it. It is definitely a pattern. I have had to play referee before. It doesn't help that I'm an only child and they've run off all other family and friends, so are now isolated. It's very toxic in my life and I can only take them in small doses. Boy, and that adds a lot of guilt when days go by and I've not called or visited. Life is short and I've spent 20 years running a business with little chance for fun, vacations, etc. of my own. I know it sounds selfish but this is the time I had planned for me to break the chains of my work and start to live life, before I am too old to do so myself. Anybody else feel that way???????? Like I said before, they are a weight around my (selfish) neck.
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08/28/16.... Upstream, one has to realize that this isn't the type of retirement that your parents had planned. Any type of age related issues can throw a wrench into the best laid plans, and your Mom isn't a happy camper about it.

My Mom was in denial that both she and Dad were in their 90's and still living on their own. I remember Dad calling me on the phone asking me if I could help him change a light bulb on a light up on a cathedral ceiling... I had to tell Dad that my ladder climbing days were over, as I was a senior citizen myself. He would need to call the electrician. Well, my Mom wasn't about to pay anyone to change a simple light bulb.

After my Mom had a fall in their home, I hired caregivers from an Agency, and after 3 days my Mom shooed everyone out. The Rep called me saying that my Mom was arguing with everyone, especially with my Dad, and that wasn't good for him.

So, I wish you luck with your parents. Chances are there won't be anything you can do right now. Usually it takes a major situation to have chances made. If your parents had saved big time for a rainy day, maybe they could look at moving into an Independent Living facility that offers Assisted Living options for down the road. No more mowing the lawn.... housekeeping comes in once a week, changes and washes the linens.... and usually one meal is served in the main dining room.... the facility offers transportation to grocery and big box stores... even to doctor appointments.
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Your parents have an unhappy marriage. I'm sure the dementia plays into that but I doubt it is to entire cause. Sometimes older couple endure this unhappiness because it is familiar. Perhaps they can't see any solution that doesn't put them in a bad light or they don't believe in breaking their wedding vows. In a way the ALZ can help with this because it gives everyone a plausible reason to change things without putting blame on either one. Sounds like dad would be happier and better cared for in assisted living, and mom will be able to stop resenting him for her loss of freedom.
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Upstream, mom may decide to leave dad. Your visits shoyld not cause any sort of additional stress especially for dad. If you are fighting with mom, dad will be effected. Talk to him about finding a more peaceful place to live. Assisted kining does not mean dad is feeble, there are many that are in assisted and live independently. My only suggestion, stay away so you will not get sucked into the dysfunction. Do not allow yourself to become the referee. Dad sounds capable of making his own decisions, now he is choosing to stay where he is regardless of the stress. He has lived with it for many years and is accustomed to it.
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I can kind of understand the way your mother feels. There are a lot of emotions and words I make myself swallow. It sounds like your mother is not swallowing them. I feel sorry for your father, because I can imagine what your mother is saying or doing. I hope my own feelings don't bubble to the surface like this too often. There are times when being open and honest serves no purpose except to hurt feelings. It would be better to replace those bad feelings with good ones. I wish you could make her see that. Having those bad feelings are also poisoning her inside. Even if they are covered up, they are still chewing at her inside. It's better to replace them with something good. Only she can do that, though.

People these days are getting into yoga and mindfulness. I think it is to put the positive back into themselves. It would be sweet if your mother would consider some yoga and meditation classes. Somehow I get the feeling that would be hard to get her to do it. But maybe...
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No, my profile must be wrong. He is at home. Dad can still do almost everything on his own, he just can't drive and not safe for him to be cooking (he was always kinda scary in the kitchen!!). He can be left alone while mom goes shopping or out to lunch with a friend. He's not confused or a wanderer. I would suspect he will be with us for another 5-10 years. They both say "no" to any help, including a house keeper. My mom has always had a horrible attitude about everything. I think her daily verbal beatdown is causing my dad to get worse faster. He is nowhere near far enough gone to qualify for a nursing home or ALF. Heck, we went for a walk at the park this morning, honestly they each walked for an hour. A whole hour. And both can still push mow the lawn. They are by no means feeble. My mom has had a sour attitude all my life (I'm 49). I could never live with her again. I get maybe 3-4 days a month away from my business and that is spent cleaning my own house and tending to my own life. I can't envision myself staying down at their house, just simply for the sake of keeping the peace. Thanks for your quick reply!
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Your profile says dad is in assisted living. Is that the case?
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Time to find a place for dad to live away from your mom. She is overwhelmed and taking it out on dad. We all have our breaking point. Maybe a caregiver to come in to help? Neither would like that I have a hunch. Caregiving is a burden and it sounds mom has had enough. It is having an effect on her healty now even though it may only be emotional.

It will not help for you to talk to mom. She has had quite enough. Maybe you shoyld stay with dad a couple of times a week to see if that will help your mom. When a parent has dementia it needs to become a family effort to care for that person. Nobody can do it alone without having times when they are to your mom's point. And it is not mom's fault. Look how much she has done for years.
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