Follow
Share

My mom has dementia. She and my dad are 88 and had been living together until a few weeks ago. Mom was placed in memory care because he could not take it anymore. He visits her daily. She begs him to take her home when he leaves. She cries. They live in the same building. She is jealous and thinks he doesn’t love her anymore, she think is he is interested in other women, thinks he flirts with the LON’s that come to dish our pills. I know my dad will ask me for my advice and I don’t know what to tell him. She suffers from Sundowners but he forgets this and visits her late in the day, when she is at her worst. How do we help my dad through this. They’ve been together for 70 years and have never been apart. This may kill my dad.

Dad can be experiencing both guilt and grief. Guilt because he had to place her in MC. He feels obligated to take care of her. But he can't, he reached his limit of caregiving. To go beyond one's limit causes the caregiver to become desensitized to their LO needs. His guilt is misplaced (although saying that doesn't help him). He may feel he didn't do enough for her, when, in fact, he did just what was the best for her. When I placed my wife in MC, I was consoled by the fact that she was safe, had better meds management, and was cared for by people who understood her disease more than I did. I realized that although I wasn't with her 24/7, that I was still taking care her.

Grief comes from seeing his wife of 70 yrs decline the way she is. One only experiences grief at the anticipated loss of a LO. Dad's heart is broken and sadly there's no meds for that or for the guilt.

Mom's suspicion of his flirting is typical behavior. Dad should visit in the late morning when mom is at her best. If he can have lunch with her that might help also.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to sjplegacy
Report
jacobsonbob Aug 21, 2020
I think you have summed all this very accurately with your excellent answer.
(2)
Report
See 2 more replies
Your father has mistaken his words. He is not suffering guilt. Guilt is for reformed felons, who did wrong knowingly and purposely. Your father is suffering from GRIEF, and we often choose guilt in order not to have to face the grief. Guilt indicates there is something we can do. Grief recognizes that there is NOT. This is the most common misapprehension I see on Forum.
Neither is your father a Saint, without limitations in his powers to change reality. Your father has done all he can, and done it out of love. Your father continues to do all he can and that is out of love. Your father is a loving man with limitations. Were he a Saint we would fill him full of arrows, kill him, then pray to him for eternity to fix everything.
Men's minds tend to work along the track of "Something is wrong; I will fix it" and especially for their families. This is grievous pain for your Dad. He has not only the living loss of the woman of his life, but daily must see her grief. And must feel his own. There WILL be grief here, even IF there is perfect understanding, and perfect understanding doesn't happen. There is no way to run from this grief. I am so very sorry. There is quite honestly nothing to be said or done but to say how very sad a thing it is for anyone to have to go through this. Not everything can be fixed. It is almost impossible to grasp that this is so, even as we live it.
If her dementia is very far progressed nothing will help. If it is not he may be able to talk with her on visits of LONG AGO memories, which last the longest, of when they were young, of the children, of trips or gardens or meals or just anything. Often nothing works, and if that is the case, it just is. But sometimes old photos will.
I am so very very sorry. This is so heartbreaking.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to AlvaDeer
Report

Dad should visit in the late morning when mom is at her best. If he can have lunch with her that might help also.

Grief, guilt, sadness.

It is hard to see LOVED ONES wither away. THIS Dementia/ALZ really sucks.

As Nancy Reagan said, It is the longest goodbye. :(
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to MAYDAY
Report
Countrymouse Aug 18, 2020
I think having lunch together is a great idea.
(4)
Report
See 2 more replies
As Alva Deer says, I think your dad is actually grieving for the loss of his beloved wife to this terrible disease. The loss is probably doubly felt by him, as she is no longer living with him as well as her having behavioural changes. I think you can help your dad by trying to explain this to him gently, and to help him understand that it is the disease talking and behaving in this way, not his wife. Help him to see that he has done the best for your mother, and that by placing her in memory care he has made sure she is safe and well cared for, and so has done his best for her. It might help to talk with the professional caregivers, as they will have seen behaviour like your mother’s many times before. They might be able to give your dad some advice about when it’s best to visit and how to deal with awkward questions. Task him with digging out some old photographs to show her. This will give him something to do and might help his visits with her to go more smoothly if they can look at these together. My husband has a good memory of visiting his Alzheimer’s dad with his brother and mother, and laughing over old photos from years ago. It was one of the few times he saw his dad happy at that stage, and was a huge comfort. This is a terrible disease, and you have my sympathy.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to Chriscat83
Report
DIaneAL Aug 21, 2020
Thank you Chriscat83. I have mom and dad’s old photo albums. I will bring him a few of them so he can share them with her.
(3)
Report
You say that they both live in the same building. Does that mean that they both moved out of their house, mother to MC and father to AL? If so, it might help if mother visited father in his AL room, to help her understand that he can’t take her ‘home’ to their old life. I know she may forget, but it gives him something different to say, and it might help.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to MargaretMcKen
Report

Start by timing his visits for earlier in the day. Maybe a morning visit after breakfast that extends into lunch. He should allow mom to go for a nap after lunch and say he is going to get a nap too (at home - which will be the end of the visit). He should tell her he loves her and only her. If she keeps on with the "other woman" conversation, he will need to find other topics to divert their conversations to. If that doesn't work, mom may need some calming medications to help her anxiety.

When you talk with dad, remind him that mom's brain is injured and she is unaware that her thought processes are confused. Remind him that she is getting better care in her memory care unit because she needs a "many person care" approach which is not possible at home. That her jealousy is saying "I love you deeply."
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Taarna
Report

One thing that has helped us in a very similar situation is to write down for dad WHY she is where she is and why this is best for both of them. Point out the positives-they still see each other daily. He no longer has to manage her, but can just love her. he cannot change or fix her. It’s not going to get better-enjoy the good days, move on from the bad. Visit in the morning and when she starts spiraling down in the afternoon, kiss her goodbye, tell her he loves her and he’ll see her in the morning. We wrote all this down-citing God’s providential care in letting them be in a good place with all the help they need, and still being able to be together. We even gave him “scripts” to recite to her when she starts her “oh woe is me.” You are safe, you are well cared for, you are loved. Stay firm. I know he is your dad, but in many ways you have to be the living parent and guide him through how to deal with it. Tell him you are sorry it is so hard, but you have made the best decisions you can.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to DILKimba
Report
NobodyGetsIt Aug 22, 2020
Dear "DILKimba," - Very well said along with great suggestions!
(1)
Report
Thank you AlvaDeer. You are correct when you say he is grieving. He told me he feels like she has passed so the feelings are the same for him. He is working through his grief.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to DIaneAL
Report
NobodyGetsIt Aug 22, 2020
Dear "DianeAL," - Yes, and it is oftentimes called "anticipatory grief" which I experienced two days before my father died Labor Day Weekend in 2004. I just happened to wake up that morning with uncontrollable crying. I called the hospice Pastor and asked him "why am I crying so much when he hasn't even passed away yet?" Even though I had never experienced death before, I sensed it in my gut. The hospice case manager said she thought he would live another four months.

Now, I'm going through it again - I've experienced it about 3 or 4 times since my mom drastically declined in mid-April after nearly dying from severe dehydration and COVID.
(1)
Report
legacy.. I get it. I did paste and post... really..I honestly did because I thought it needed to be seen again. I did admit it... I pasted and posted.. It was not meant to be plagiarizing at all, it was a compliment to whomever posted it in the first place. It needed to be up front and seen again. Truly, and if it was you who wrote it, absolutely, kuddos to you! You done good. and GN
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to MAYDAY
Report
NobodyGetsIt Aug 22, 2020
"MAYDAY," - Yes, you did admit to your pasting and posting down below as well as saying you felt it needed to be read again. So I hope you won't need to feel like you have to apologize anymore for it.

In my case, I may not have had a chance to read all previous posts on any thread I decide to comment on but, when I do I have made it a point to include the screen name of the person or persons who said it first to give them the credit and I'm usually just echoing or agreeing with what they said. But as a caregiver myself, I may not always see word for word what others say prior to my commenting. I do the best I can and that's all any of us can do. Hopefully, we are all like-minded in the sense that we are offering help, suggestions, understanding and words of encouragement to those who are asking for advice. You carry on!
(1)
Report
dear nobody: I am an expert on catching a glimpse of something. Sometimes, or a lot, I don't look at the blogger, which may be the case in this. When I scrolled through, I honestly didn't see the words I "plagiarized". But from one reaction, I "think" I know who it may have been, and that person should feel good about a compliment.
I remember I went to a convention that we were working. An item that we hand made, was absolutely copied, down to the little bumps in the handle. I looked at the person in booth, and I said thank you. They could not come up with something better.. They truly, physically tried and stole our idea. But the quality certainly was not up to our standards. I had a woman come to our shop and said her piece broke. I looked at the pathetic copy, and apologized, it was not our product.. And turned her away..
Sometimes I do see where bloggers will "parrot" perhaps in different words, but the same gesture or meaning. I think it is okay..
As I said in another post.. absorb what you like, and discard the rest.
Anyway, I will not comment on this subject - it's done - GN
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to MAYDAY
Report

See All Answers
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter