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Stubborn, angry & sad
Posted: Saturday, February 3, 2018 4:33 PM
Joined: 2/3/2018
Posts: 3

Hi! I'm new to this site. My dad has been living with us for just over 3 months. He has Alzheimer's with dementia. His decline had been rapid. We made the mistake of bringing him home last weekend to stay at his house while we took a break to go fishing. My sister stayed with him & made the mistake of letting him drive, which was his life for the past several years. It was the first time he drove for months. He asked her if she would call the cops if he took the truck & ran away from home before we got back & she said yes. We came home Sunday night & he has been mean, snarky, crying or silent. Today was the worst. He threatened to hitch-hike, steal a car and go home (2+ hours away). I explained there wasn't anyone there to take care of him. He said he would find someone. He got extremely angry & said some pretty hurtful things, them went to his room to call my siblings to ask them to take him home.... Of course no one will. HeHe now sulking in his room. Sometimes, it's hard not to take it personally. But, how do we deal with this? We can't take him at his every whim.
Stephanie Z
Posted: Saturday, February 3, 2018 5:09 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 4178

Hi Barb, It helps to validate his feelings. Try putting yourself in his shoes. He has lost his freedom, his home, his ability to drive, etc.  The best way to handle this is to say something like: "I know how much you miss driving dad. Tell me about some of the places you liked to go." Let him reminisce about this for a while and then try changing the topic. For example: You said you liked to go to Pete's Diner to get breakfast every now and then. I've been there and I really like their hamburgers. You know what? I have some hamburgers in the freezer. Would you like them for dinner? I also have some apple pie I made last night. Let's see what is on TV while you wait for me to get dinner ready."

     That is an example, but the idea is to validate, let him reminisce a bit, and then change the topic to get his mind off it.

     As for his driving his car, the best thing to do is to remove it from the premises and when he asks for it, tell him you noticed that it was due for an oil change and took it in, or make up another story. The important thing is to stop him from driving.

     Just remember, however, that when you take something away, you need to replace it with something of equal importance if you can.  

     An example: If your dad liked to go fishing, try finding some fishing programs on the TV for him.

     I just reposted "Caregiver Information for New Forum Members" this afternoon. Look below and find it, it is full of helpful information for you including ways to change your communication with him to help reduce or eliminate his negative behaviors.

Hope this helps, please stay in touch and let us know how he is doing.

Stephanie Z

Posted: Saturday, February 3, 2018 5:40 PM
Joined: 2/3/2018
Posts: 3

Thank you Stephanie, I wish it was that easy. It's like he's not even listening, he's just making the demand to go home. His vehicle is there. I appreciate the suggestion, and when he brings up going home again, I will try it. It seriously feels like dealing with a 2 year old who is throwing a tantrum sometimes.
Posted: Friday, February 9, 2018 7:56 AM
Joined: 2/3/2018
Posts: 3

Yesterday Dad expressed to 2 of my siblings that he feels like he is in prison, living with us. My sister offered to take him out, he declined? Saying it's too cold. 

This morning he was crying because she has to use the steep steps to her bedroom (she's staying with us while the other main caregiver is gone). I reassured him that she is capable of taking the steps to her room and there is nothing to worry about. He's never been an emotional person. Nor has he ever been so unkind....this is hard. 

Posted: Friday, February 9, 2018 8:11 AM
Joined: 6/12/2015
Posts: 1132

Well, first thing I would do to avoid the problems that you found from bringing him home is to stop bringing him home. Take the keys away forever, hide the truck and don't let him drive. Be aware that if he drives and is involved in an accident of any kind and you were aware of his impairment and let him drive anyway, YOU can be sued and held responsible. His driving is dangerous territory that you'd probably rather avoid. If he can't see the truck and can't get his hands on the keys to the truck, he can't drive it. You did these things thinking you were being kind to him and instead it backfired on you and you ended up with more problems to deal with. The best advice I can give is to not do in the future any of the things you did that caused the problems this time.
Posted: Friday, February 9, 2018 9:50 AM
Joined: 6/12/2017
Posts: 236

yes it is very hard, you have found a good place to come though for advice ,  ask questions, to vent or just not feel so alone. It's so unfair to any of us especially our LO's who are slowly but surely dying from this god awful disease . To watch as it slowly takes away little by little the person we always knew and loved and changing them into someone we don't recognize. They are still in there tucked away inside their dysfunctional brain. Because they look and sound the same it's hard to differentiate between them and the disease. It's so hard to let go of the person we knew and accept the person they are becoming. And we as their caregiver take most of the brunt of their situation. We are the one's that are lashed out at,accused of, the all around bad guy even though we have given up most everything to care for them. They don't see it that way. We are the ones denying them, holding them prisoner in there own home though they do not recognize it as the place they've lived for decades. We are taking away their independence as they see it, not letting them do anything, like driving or bathing or taking their meds.They don't like being told especially by their children what they can and cannot do. I would imagine that's how they feel.That's the way I see it anyway. I hope and pray I never get this disease and put my children through this.

Eric L
Posted: Friday, February 9, 2018 3:34 PM
Joined: 12/5/2014
Posts: 816

Sounds like it's time for a fiblet about going home. Tell him that you just got a call from which ever sibling lives closest and tell him "The exterminator just found termites and we have to tent the house. It could take a week or two before anyone can even step foot in the house." It doesn't even have to be that exact sort of scenario but something that you can repeat and he will accept.

He might not even remember that he went home (or at least the specifics of it) but that going home and coming back to your house reminded him that he isn't home and he is fixated on it now.

With the crying and other issues involved, I'd make sure that you mention this his doctor. He might need an anti-depressant. A geriatric psychiatrist is your best bet in this area. Based on what we've noticed with my MIL, the anger and depression don't go away. You can learn how to avoid triggers (like taking him home and letting him see his vehicle), but sometimes you need a little help from his doctor.

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