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The couple I care for has a vast family support system (12 children [they both had children from previous marriages] and one younger sibling). The man of the house is 90 yo with dementia and is very abusive toward his sweet wife aged 75 yo, who also has dementia. Unfortunately, there is quite a bit of strife between the adult children. I don't know how long this abuse has been going on, but I've noticed an increase lately since I began working there 5 months ago. He is becoming increasingly controlling over minor things. Who do I talk to about this? I am not a mandated reporter. Her daughter is a nurse who is the most involved family member in their care. I could talk to her about it but she is so burdened already and I wonder if her being a family member would make it hard for her to be objective.

If it’s worse don’t forget that UTIs are always lurking to cause havoc. Might be time for a test.

I love your observation Holiday
“Being retired 35 years is just too long. In the house together, day after day.”

My inlaws had a contentious relationship. So difficult to be around. Their kids just took it in stride having been around it all their lives. I always wished for MIL to have a few years w/o FIL.
Sadly she died 1 month and 1 day later than he did. To seal the deal the one daughter put “Together Forever” on their memorial, while I was thinking “ Free At Last!” would have been more appropriate.
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Reply to 97yroldmom
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Robree maybe the thing to keep an eye on is that you say the husband is becoming increasingly controlling about minor things.

Sniping at his wife is one thing, it sounds as if they're both just used to that. But actual changes or worsening of his behaviour do warrant attention - I wouldn't hesitate to report that to whoever is the nominal care lead in the family (probably whoever hired you?).
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Reply to Countrymouse
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Thank you everyone for your input! Another one of their caregivers assures me that the family is very aware of the abuse and it has been going on for many years. The couple never had children together, only by their previous spouses, but there is affection there, I am told. The couple is very much against the idea of living in a nursing home, and are wishfully thinking that they will be moving to their winter home in Florida from NY this fall (mobility is a huge issue for him and moderately for her). I agree that if they ever do move to a nursing home, separate rooms would be best, but, of course that is not my call. I hope the abuse never becomes physical. Maybe then their children would intervene!
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Reply to robree
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Oh! You say one daughter is an RN? Perhaps mention it to her. I’m a retired RN and we live in reality as a rule. She’d realize it’s the dementia (or not?). Anyway perhaps that’ll be better than reporting them to the elder abuse people right off the bat.

You’re in a situation. I sympathize. But before it gets physical ( hitting or pushing between them) something ought to be done.
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Reply to HolidayEnd
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I agree with holiday. My dad had moderate dementia and mom mild dementia when I finally got them into assisted living. They shared a small,apartment.

They had always had a loving relationship but with both having dementia it created all kinds of stress and agitation. Mom died in April. I realize now that we should have put them in different rooms. Dad is in a memory care room now, by himself, and has calmed down considerably.

It’s instinctive to us to keep elder couples together but it’s not always for the best.  
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Reply to Windyridge
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I would imagine the couple have an adversarial relationship and always have. There are 12 kids so I’d think it was a passionate relationship too!

My parents are like that. It just about ran me crazy as a kid and now that all of us are old, our nerves are worse.

My mother has dementia and started sabotaging and being spiteful to my dad. He wasn’t too friendly to her either. Since that’s always been status quo for them, it took me a while to really notice things were out of hand. Plus my mom would hide from him all day so wasn’t getting fed or groomed properly.

I decided they needed to be separated. They needed some ‘room’ away from one another. Since mom has more difficulty with ADL and the dementia, I felt she needed to go to assisted living. Dad stayed at home.

All in all, I feel the result of this separation was good. They gradually warmed up to one another and are quite affectionate. Then he heads home around 4 pm and she has her own room at AL to do what she wants. She gets good care too. Dad didn’t know how to do caregiving! If only we’d all known a little space makes you appreciate your loved one more.

Being retired 35 years is just too long. In the house together, day after day.
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