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Dad - Spouse of Dementia person - Mom Needs Help
Hi: Just signed up today. Mom and dad have been living with my husband and I for 25
years. Mom got dementia about 5 years. She broke her femur 4 years ago and
after the operation her dementia got worse. This past April she broke her hip
and once again the dementia is worse. It is a lot of work to care for her
because my dad who is 88 years old can't accept the fact that she has dementia.
They have been married for 63 years. My dad needs help but is convinced he
doesn't. If he didn't get her all wound up caring for her would be so much
easier. We want to keep them at home together as long as we can but this is
taking a toll on both my husband and myself.
The Veterans Administration said they can't help dad because he does
not have dementia (but her really needs help) but I need to get him to a
in-person support group. One to get him out of the house and two so he
can hear what he is not supposed to be saying and doing from a third
party. Hearing it from his daughter is not working.
Anyone else with this type of issue?
Sorry, that sounds really rough.
A support group might get him out of the house -IF he will go, since he “doesn’t need support”.
Learning a whole new way of dealing with his wife of 63 years at age 88? It’s possible but not likely. But yes it might work better from a 3rd party. We daughters, even after many decades of life, don’t know diddly squat, right?
I wonder if it might work even better coming from an authority like a visiting nurse or the PCP? You could do some behind the scenes exploration with them and see if they will play along.
My MIL (late 70s) knew that my FIL had dementia but had difficulty dealing with it, often leading to escalation. Support groups would have been a huge help to her (in hindsight).
One thing to really keep an eye on is your dad’s health, and yours and your husband’s too. My MIL was so focused on my FIL, that she neglected going to doctors and such. One month after we convinced them to move here and got them into new patient doctor visits, they discovered she had stage 4 cancer. She passed away 6 months later. That’s when we took over my FIL’s care.
Does your dad have any friends or relatives who can take him out and do something fun, or just run errands, or talk, and give him and everyone else a break? My husband often organizes trips out with my dad's brother to get sandwiches and sightsee where dad and my uncle grew up. They enjoy reminiscing (and they all enjoy each other's company as well).
For my dad, he also ended up talking to old friends (usually at funerals, unfortunately) and found friends who also had wives with dementia. Them sharing their struggles helped Dad to accept our situation as well as opened his mind to doing more research about it (online) and has recently opened his mind to hiring help. He won't do in-person support (and I don't either), but he's done a lot of online research. But I feel that talking to his friends about their shared experiences has helped him the most.
I also told him about this forum. He was afraid that it was just a bunch of people complaining and badmouthing their LOs, but I told him that's absolutely not the case (of course we vent, but we are typically venting about the disease, not our LOs), and that he can just search and browse without having to contribute if he doesn't feel comfortable.
Something will get through to your dad in a way that's comfortable for him. It's just a matter of figuring out what that is, which is the challenge.
Big hugs and I wish you the absolute best of luck! Thank you for caring for both of them so closely.
Thanks everyone. Unfortunately dad has only one sister-in-law left (she'll be 97 end of this month) and all of his friends have passed. We do have an appointment set up for him to see his PCP. My husband goes to all his appointments and I go to mom's. My husband plans on speaking with the PCP as we can't believe that the VA can't do anything for him. Even if he joins some type of group where he can talk about his military experience and stuff. I did find one in-person support group close to home so we are going to try to convince him to go...with my husband.
My siblings are in Virginia and Massachusetts and they try to visit when they can but they all have families that are having families.
I read the article that harshbuzzed sent and I'm thinking of printing it in pieces in large print so Dad can read it. It was a great article. Maybe that and the support group can bring him around.
My next step is to find something that mom can do. She used to do sudoku and play cribbage but when she attempted to play again she got depressed and angry with herself that she couldn't do it anymore. Even puzzles are getting tough for her. I'm looking for games that maybe we played as youngsters with no math or strategy involved. I have to be careful not to insult or demean but I'm sure I'll find something.
Will let you know how it goes with his PCP in two weeks.