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father's paranoia
Posted: Thursday, March 16, 2023 12:56 PM
Joined: 3/16/2023
Posts: 1

My 88 yr old father has been paranoid for most of his life (I have felt he needed psychiatric care for many years), however now he seems to be experiencing dementia, some hallucinations, etc. He also can't see well, hear well, is living by himself in the country. He can still bath by himself, needs us to buy him food (is not driving). He refuses to cooperate with medical care for the most part. Yet he wants me and my 3 siblings to be at his beck and call. He has always criticized us children to a great deal, but especially me the last 18 months, because I've been helping him with his finances, sold his home, etc. I also remind him of my mother, they are divorced, and he calls me by her name a great deal. 

I've tried everything from ignoring his behavior (name calling, etc), to setting boundaries the best I can.  Have tried to get doctor's letters for incapacitation, called APS, an elder attorney with no success, there is no POA. Most organizations tell me, unless he cooperates, we just have to wait for a crisis. 

The last 2 months, he is accusing me of stealing from him and wanting all his money, etc. He started accusing my husband many months ago. Presently my siblings and I made a 1 week pact, which expires tomorrow, not to talk to him, because he is so verbally abusive and accusing. My 2 questions: 1) if my siblings don't want to extend the noncommunication pact, should I? 2) should I just ignore his paranoia and help him anyway? He is pretty brutal and demanding. His behavior has been this way most of his life, but there do seem to be dementia factors now.  

Posted: Thursday, March 16, 2023 1:30 PM
Joined: 3/16/2023
Posts: 8

Delta Dawn, my heart hurts hearing this. My mom was never verbally abusive, but she too thought I and my son were taking her things. It took me over a year to get her Alzheimer's diagnosis because everyone said it was just normal aging. 

If you know his PCP then I would bring up your concerns and ask for him to have a geriatric assessment. Unfortunately, it sometimes takes them having an accident or episode for them to get the help they need.

As far as extending the non-communication pact, that is entirely up to you. If he is not as verbally abusive to your siblings then I would let them know how you feel and see if they will take over for you until you feel able to help him. 

This is a tough situation for everyone. Your father may be lashing out more than usual because he has noticed the changes in himself and is scared. If he has neighbors or friends maybe have them check or visit him a few times a week. 

Posted: Thursday, March 16, 2023 4:43 PM
Joined: 6/3/2013
Posts: 1273

There are medications that can help with your father’s paranoia. Put in a call to his PCP. Even if you don’t have HIPAA authority, you can give information to his PCP. The office can reach out to your father and arrange an appointment. When speaking with the office, give only the facts - not so much the emotions and family history. The PCP may even prescribe meds without a visit if they know him well and are aware of the paranoia (since you feel this predates the dementia).

Good luck. You’ve got this. Your family should not have to put up with your father’s abusive behavior. 

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