Dealing with the Memory Loss of Aging Parent

by Janet
(Virginia)

I do not resent being the only one (out of 4 children) who is doing everything for my father. I made peace with it a long time ago. I have now lost my job and knowing I can't get another one because I have to be there to help him and a new employer is not going to stand for me missing time off - yet I still don't mind.


But I am having a great deal of stress on how to deal with my fathers memory loss. I have learned that he does not want to be corrected when he has his facts mixed up so I have stopped correcting him. It really is not important anyway.

But what is important to me is that he thinks my husband stole from him and he didn't. This has been going on for over 5 years now and I am at the end of my rope on how to deal with it. Nothing, and I mean nothing, I have suggested for a solution will work. His doctor has said that my father does not want a solution. He is unhappy about losing most of his eye sight and that's the real problem.

My father even called the police (after threatening for years) and that did not work to his satisfaction. I was actually glad when he did get the police to come because I thought that would end it but no such luck. They immediately realized he had memory problems and did nothing. And he now resents the police.

When he goes off on this he becomes a different person. So violent that I am actually afraid of him sometimes. His facts make no sense and he does not hear you when you try to reason with him. He accuses me of stealing and lying to him when I haven't. While it hurts very much I know deep inside that it is his memory fading. But this makes it harder for me to do what I need to do to help him.

He refuses to accept he has memory loss even though his doctor has talked to him about it and he knows he is taking medicine to help with memory loss. It has gotten so bad that now he thinks I am stealing his stuff to give to my husband and the violent outbreaks are even worst than before.

I have tried to walk away and leave when he starts but he will continue when I come back the next day to check on him. This can go on for days and days in a row. Even when he is not talking about it you can tell it's on his mind 24/7. It really is a total obsession with him.

I have searched on the internet on how to deal with this situation but have not found any help and I am afraid of the toll it is taking on my health not to mention my life.

My Dad is 86 and has survived 3 different cancers and does not have any life threatening ailments right now. I expect he will probably live another 10+ years but I won't. He will never voluntarily go into assisted living and he will not let anyone else come to his house to help him. He trusts no one.

If anyone has any suggestions on how to deal with this anger from him I would be most appreciative. Like I said, sometimes I actually get scared when he is having a flare up.

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To Karen
by: Janet

Karen DO NOT give up your life for your Mother. I have been doing this for 8 years and last year my husband died. Do I have regrets. You bet. Not for what I do for my Dad but because I always thought my husband would outlive my father.

I regret all the times my husband wanted to go somewhere or do something and I had to say no because of my Dad. I want those days back more than life itself and I can't have them. He is gone and not coming back.

The biggest lesson I have learned is that life does not happen the way you plan it. So don't put off things you want to do now - go and do them without regret. You now have a chance to be happy so put him first and be happy. As you said you can't make your Mother happy so stop trying and stop feeling guilty about it. Good luck.

My Dad just turned 87 and is in the final stage of kidney failure. You can't tell it by looking at him because there are no painful symptoms.

After 3 months of in-home healthcare it did not work - really it sucked the life out of me because of the stress of dealing with strangers in the home and not doing what you are paying for. I have now moved him to assisted living. It is in a home environment. I found a company that purchases homes and turns them into assisted living. There is more attention given there because there are not so many patients at a time.

Does he like it? NO - keeps asking when he can go home but I know he needs more time to adjust so I am just waiting it out.

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Difficult Mom
by: Karen

I am 100% responsible for my Mother. I moved her down to live near me in an assisted living center because her doctors said she could no longer live alone. She had been having memory problems for at least two years but denied it whenever I broached it.

Finally, following knee surgery, her memory problems escalated so I had to place her somewhere. My Mother has always been extremely self centered and had few friends throughout her life because of it. She also distanced herself from me and my sister because she felt her 'job' was done once we became adults. She has never worked and was left plenty of money by my father.

After his death she had several long term relationships and each one ended because she alienated their families. Now that I am taking care of her, she acts resentful about everything I do, even though I am doing everything possible to help her.

I placed her in a gorgeous facility that is very expensive and she receives lots of attention, but it is never enough. I have been divorced since I was 27 and finally, at age 56 I am engaged to be married and living with my fiancee. Mom expects us to have her over constantly. She expects (demands) that we take her out when we go out to dinner or out to watch a football game. It has taken over my life.

She will call complaining that I am not doing enough because she forgets that just the day before we had her over for dinner and even had her spend the night. When she is with us, it is all about her. She must be the center of attention. My fiancee is having difficulty with the situation because even though he is bending over backwards to be supportive to me and to her, he misses the life we had before all of this happened.

He thinks she expects to much. His mother is the same age but her husband has advanced Alzheimer's and she is caring for him at home 24/7. But I if I don't give in, she threatens me and screams at me to the point where it takes me days to get over it. I am rung out and unhappy! What can I do?

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