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Why can't/won't dad learn
Posted: Friday, June 14, 2013 9:31 PM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 345

Mom and dad are both 80. Mom has severe AD.  For years I have been trying to teach dad how to talk to mom.  He's always asking her"why are you mad at me?" "Come on, smile". "can't you talk to me?" and on and on.  

He is still surprised when she doesn't know someone or remember something.

He is unable to just sit with her quietly and give her comfort.

It drives me crazy.  He actually makes it harder on himself. But at the same time I feel bad for mom.

I wish there was something I could say to make him understand.  A couple years ago I printed something for him to read about communication.  He actually gave it to mom to read.  

Right now I need to pick my battles.  He gets really mad when I "tell him how to talk to his wife". 

Maybe I shouldn't sweat it.  Mom doesn't remember anyway.  But it really bothers me!

Any suggestions?

Posted: Friday, June 14, 2013 9:40 PM
Joined: 2/28/2013
Posts: 134

How is your father's health?
Posted: Friday, June 14, 2013 9:49 PM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 345

He is on meds for High blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis and an anxiety med.   I also take into account how stressed he is having to deal with this disease. 

But come on.  For years he has complained about mom reading a menu and not making a choice.  For years I have told him to order for her, forget the menu.  To this day he gives her the darn menu.

Posted: Friday, June 14, 2013 10:01 PM
Joined: 2/28/2013
Posts: 134

I know how frustrating (understatement) it must be.  Is he showing any signs or symptoms of dementia or do you think he's just CRANKY?  How was their relationship before AD?  Was he a loving husband?  Is his behavior different as time has gone on? Maybe anxiety meds need to be looked at?  You are doing a great job so just step back if you can a little bit & I bet you will figure out what needs to happen with him.  UGH this is all so hard...
Posted: Friday, June 14, 2013 10:29 PM
Joined: 1/22/2013
Posts: 164

Hi  DaughterofMarie, 

At times my father makes it harder to take care of my mom.  Although I must say his response to my mom has improved 60% since we all moved in together (maybe because he knows my daughter and I are listening). He did not fully understand the disease even though she has had AD for several years now. I have taken him to a few support group meetings. He has read information about AD, but he still needs to be reminded about AD. Even with reminders  he still yells at her and talks rough at times. 




I try to remember he is 85 years old and at times he does not feel well, he has ambulatory issues.  I tell myself the same thing, she will not remember. But what I have noticed is that at times his response can cause her to be in an angry mood for a little while. Or it will cause her to feel bad and act sheepish because she thinks she said or did something wrong.

She will say she is hungry. He responds at times by saying harshly, "Don't tell me tell your daughter"! Or if she has asked him the same question twice he says at times, "I told you already,don't ask me again"!  But the one thing that he would say that would really make me mad was, "There you go with that stupid talk again".  He would say that when my mom was sundowing.  But after I gave him a good talking to he stopped. 
So sometimes I intervene.  Sometime I don't. It depends on her mood, and his tone. But It does upset me because she has no control over what she says and does.
So I will be watching your post for the suggestions you get.  Maybe the suggestions will help me also.





*&gt;:D< big hug   *&gt;:D< big hug 


Posted: Friday, June 14, 2013 10:40 PM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 345

Thank you Melissa, for your kind words.

Roses and Thorns, yes, you have the same dad.  We also live together and I suspect he is better than he would be if we weren't here.

The thing is, my mom is so easy.  So easy to take care of and love on.  He makes everything harder.

Melissa, dad has always been a big baby. I think he is jealous of the attention mom gets.  I hate to think he has cognitive issues.  I have a feeling he would not be easy.

Stellar Daughter-In-Law
Posted: Friday, June 14, 2013 10:48 PM
Joined: 12/21/2011
Posts: 280

It sounds to me like these issues are long standing personality traits of your dad.  And that at 80, he likely is not going to change.  I am the last person to preach positive thinking, but in this situation I am going to do so.  Focus on what is working well in this situation: Your mom doesn't remember the irritating things he says to her. And, your mom is easy as pie, which is a blessing.  I would find a way to let your dad's garbage go in one ear and out the other.  It sounds impossible, but I have become masterful at tuning out BS from cranky old folks.  Just in the same way you would agree with an Alz patient who is being irrational, do the same with your dad.  If an Alz person is going to say something that doesn't make sense you just agree with them because they cannot help it and are just confused.  You'd never clarify or correct.  You just let it be.  Try to do the same with your dad.  Know that he has his own problems, wants attention, and you can just let his verbiage wash over you while focusing on the love for you mom.  I don't know if this is attainable or even sound advice, but it is just what popped in to my head at the moment.  Family dynamics are hard!
Posted: Friday, June 14, 2013 10:57 PM
Joined: 2/28/2013
Posts: 134

I was wondering if you felt he may have some cognitive issues.  Maybe his meds need to be looked at?  Poor mom & it must make you furious to have to watch.  I imagine it effects your own family too?

Could you get him to the doctor?  Good grief, the juggle you must be doing.  

I called the Alz hotline early on & they were amazing.  Maybe start there, they have heard it all and may be able to guide you to a solution.  I don't have the # memorized but look on this site!  YOU are your mom's best advocate just like I will be my dad's. We do our best everyday so keep trying & you will get this figured out!  

Posted: Monday, June 17, 2013 11:33 AM
Joined: 6/17/2013
Posts: 7

I don't know what you can do, I can only tell you I share your frustrations. My mom's live-in boyfriend of 12 yrs is really dense sometimes. She's in the later stages of ALZ and yet he continually tries to correct her about things that really don't matter. "No, that wasn't yesterday, it was Tuesday", "No, you didn't like the pants because they didn't fit" "That happened at dinner not lunch" and  so on. The way I see it, heck, at least she's talking about things that really happened--why quibble about the details! And the other day he was quite belittling to her because she doesn't know how to use the phone system he installed (which is probably a good thing). He made a show of demonstrating how simple it is to make a call .... but he couldn't do it either!  Anyhow, he's always been that way, it's part of his personality. I know it causes him difficulties in handling my mom, though, and that he makes things so much harder for himself, especially when she is having an episode of being in that other world of memories and imagined events. His contradicting of her makes her extremely anxious at those times.


Mom's Baby
Posted: Monday, June 17, 2013 12:02 PM
Joined: 12/19/2011
Posts: 1159

My dad (now deceased) was always correcting my mom too. He passed away when she was Stage 4 or 5. She was always saying that he had never told her this or that and getting very upset and agitated when he said, "Yes I did tell you!" And then of course, he would get worked up. The whole situation, in retrospect, was awful. 

I wish I'd known then what I know. My dad wasn't in the best of health at the time (obviously), and I just think he was too darn tired and worried about himself to try and "retrain" himself on how to talk to this completely different person who used to be his loving and complacent spouse.

After Mom was diagnosed, I used to tell him, "Dad, you need to tell me if she gets to be too much for you." He said he would, but course, he never did. He'd only say, "She likes to argue with me so damn much....she never used to do that." 

They were inseparable for 57 years of marriage. Rarely went anywhere without each other. I think it was just too hard for him. He could have made life easier by agreeing with her, but he didn't know that, and I didn't know enough to teach him. Bottom line, I do think that even cognitively intact people of a certain age have a hard time adjusting to this change in their spouses, and they seem to think if they keep treating them the same way, everything will work itself out. 

Posted: Monday, June 17, 2013 4:14 PM
Joined: 2/7/2012
Posts: 98

Learning how to communicate with someone with AD is difficult for many of us, no matter what age we are.  But I think it's like learning a new language. Young children pick it up much quicker than adults. The older you get, the more difficult it is to learn a new language.  For some people, maybe you can pass an age of where you are able to learn anything new. I guess there's something to that saying: "you can't teach an old dog new tricks."
Posted: Monday, June 17, 2013 4:53 PM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 345

Thanks for taking the time to respond.

It is so frustrating.  Mom is currently in a nursing home for PT after a hospital stay.  Dad is always "sad because mom holds a grudge that I won't take her home".  He projects all his guilt and own emotional issues into her.  

But talking to him doesn't help.  I almost dread her coming home because the stress level will go sky high again.  And she's not the one causing the stress.

I'm not surprised so many of you can relate to this.