Caring for my dad

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
Karina_1707 wrote:
jenny lucas wrote:Karina - what you've said changes my answer. It may change other posters as well.

If your mother is attacking your father, eg, by hitting him, however frustrated she is, then this is assault and I fear that a 'safeguarding' issue is happening.

I think you need to see your father's GP straight away, and tell them what is happening.

I am not necessarily blaming your mum - looking after someone with dementia is an immense strain - but as you know, telling your father not to put his hands into his pants is completely pointless. He has NO reasoning left - that's the dementia! They are 'beyond reason'.

So he can't understand his wife's instructions, can't remember them, and is completely helpless. She might as well be telling a baby that if he does it again she'll rub poo in his face.

So, I think, from what you say, it's time your dad's care was not left to his wife alone at all.

What other options are there do you think? I can see why are are willing to pitch in, and yes, this might work IF thigns can 'settle down' with your mum. But have you considered options like residential care for your dad? The time, sadly, may have come for that....

Finallhy, does your brother know about what you've told us about your mother hitting your father and making those threats to him? If he doesn't, tell him immediately.

As I say, this situation cannot continue - it is 'elder abuse' EVEN IF one totally understands where your poor mother is coming from, and why she is so, so fraught.

I wish you as well as can be, but right now, something has to change. Your dad needs, first of all, to be safe. It doesn't sound like he is at the moment.
Yes, I told my brother about how my mum is with my dad, he's even witnessed it like my sister. This is something she only does is front of me and my siblings, never anyone esle. My brother wanted to put my dad in an assisted living facility. I was shocked by this given that I told him how my mum treats my dad physically and verbally. I couldn't understand why he'd want my dad to be alone with my mum in an assisted living facility. Given how she is with my dad I didn't feel it was safe for my dad to be alone with her in such a facility. Thankfully this isn't happening.

With regards to what my dad does with putting his hands in his incontinence pants I've tried explaining to her he doesn't understand. She said he does, I said he has dementia and he doesn't understand. She said he said he does understand. I said not in a funny way that doesn't understand him saying he doesn't mean anything due to his mental capacity.

Sometimes when he is bed during the day having a nap cos he feels tired she will grab him round the neck to get him out of bed. He tells her she is hurting him but it doesn't stop her.

That is one of the major reasons why I decided to care for my dad more because the way she is towards my dad can't continue.
I appreciate it is hard for her to care my dad, however I don't feel it excuses her treatment of him. I know she is acting that way out of frustration/stress but at the same time it isn't fair on my dad because the way he is now isn't his fault.
jenny lucas wrote:When did your mum last have a break away from caring?

She sounds like she is at the end of her tether - even if she won't admit it.

I'm wondering if you and your brother can arrange for her to have a break away -eg, a short holiday, going to stay with relatives - while you/your brother take on your dad's care for a week.

Not being to take a break is one of the real 'killers' of caring.
She hasn't had a break since becoming his carer, she was in hospital recently due to her asthma and having a mild attack whilst in there. I offered to look after my dad so she could on a hoilday with my aunt whilst I'm on holiday from work in August.
Hi Katrina

As others have said, your Dad has more advanced Dementia than I imagined form your initial post and safeguarding is now top priority to protect Dad and also mum from herself and the distress she must be in.
Why not make an appointment for yourself and when you are sat alone with the express all your concerns and explain mum is out of her depth pushing her to these extreme actions.

I'm still not clear if Dad is self funding but it certainly sounds as though any Needs assessment for Dad would give you some choices, either allow carers to enter the family home and assist with incontinence and general things or time for Dad to go into a care home. I think assisted living would be inadequate given all that you have said. The support they offer is very limited and they would not provide one to one personal care for continence.
When you speak to GP, say that think Dad needs an urgent reassessment and that you think he needs more full time care. You could always ask the GP to be discreet if you are worried about your family being cross with you . They need not know why a new assessment is being done.
Back to your own circumstances, sadly Dad could have declined even further byt eh end of September so I wouldn't make any sweeping long term statements to your employer, just explain how hard things are and Dad is not yet in full time care. I am sure once this is sorted your mum will relax and family can settle down again and visit dad often.
Just another thought- have you seen the Alzheimers Society's web site- they do a lot of very useful information leaflets on all aspects of dementia- not just Alzheimers but covering all the other types as well. You can read through yourself and then order or download a copy if you want to show any to mum, brother or sister. ... _full_list

Here are some of theie other helpful links- why not give them a call and speak to an expert ... ine_advice
and here is their forum
From what you say, the time is fast approaching when, regardless of who does what at home, dad will need to move into permanent residential care. Dad needs round the clock care, and as his condition gets even worse, it is a case of when, not if.
I know this is not what any of you want, but honestly, what you want in this sort of situation isn't relevant. Obviously what you want is for dad to be back to the person he used to be. From now on, it's what dad NEEDS that has to take priority.
Mum is clearly at the end of her tether, and I'm not surprised given the level of care she has to provide. For you to be there more might help in the short term, but not in the long run.
Where you go from here depends to some extent on your parents financial situation. Do they have under about £46.000 in savings? If so, then dad's care would be partly or fully funded by social services.
The more help mum is prepared to accept, the longer dad can stay at home. It's not a sign of her failure to need help!
You mention a social worker, no support at all from the NHS. Have you spoken to dad's doctor at all? Could you ask him to consider referring dad to the Community Psychiatric Nurse (CPN). When did the social worker last do a Needs Assessment for dad and a Carers Assessment for mum? Draft copies should have been sent to mum for approval and signature. If this never happened, then it should be top priority that they are done asap.
I'm now 65, my eldest son is 40, a really down to earth reliable person. He always gives good advice, sometimes he can see things more clearly than me, but other times, I just don't feel he understands my feelings on a particular subject, because we are a different generation.
Maybe mum needs someone like the CPN to tell her that dad's dementia is getting worse and she won't be able to care for much longer?
My own mum had physical, rather than mental problems, but the time came for her to move into residential care because she needed nursing help to get to the toilet, manage her pain relief and her catheter, any time of the day of night. It wasn't what we wanted, but it was what she needed.
For the time being, back off from changing your hours etc. Have a heart to heart discussion with your brother, show him our messages, agree what mum and dad NEED then make a plan of action to support mum to find the best possible solution for your family. I'm sure she's not a bad person at heart, just really, really struggling.
There are no instant fixes, it will take time. In the meantime, tell mum to tell you what she wants you to do, since she didn't like your plan.
Karina - couple of things.

You say your mother only assaults your father when only family members are present. I think it might be a good idea to film her on your phone (ideally without her noticing, but even if she does, keep filming). Then show the film to the GP. I think the GP needs to see the degree of safeguarding your dad needs now.

It should speed things up in terms of 'separateing' your dad from your mum, however this is done.

Secondly, I do agree that probably the only 'viable' solution now is for your mum not to have any more caring duties for your dad at all, as she is (way past!) breaking point (whatever she might protest about that).

The only question is, how to achieve that separation.

Is there any chance your mum could 'live somewhere else'? Or, at the very least, stay for a while with your brother/your sister, physically away from your father? (If absolutely nothing else she MUST have some kind of respite break away from him!) (Has she any other relatives, eg, siblings of her own, she can go and stay with for a break?)

If that can be arranged (ie, getting your mum out of the house!), then you could, if you wanted, give it a go and lookg after your dad solo/with help from care workers (even, maybe, with your mum 'coming back' for 'brief' periods, but not to live in, just to visit) (and only to 'keep company', not to do things like change his pads etc), you might try that for a while.

But, sadly, at some point, your dad will almost inevitably need residential care.

If that time is already here, and if, say, there is no where else your mum can go to get her away from him, then it would be best to place him in residential care straight away.

Now, what I wanted to say was this. Just because he's in residential care, doesn't mean he can't come home sometimes! I am a big fan of advocating what amounts to 'weekly boarding' in care homes (IF the caree can cope - which your dad may not).

But, if he can cope with changing accommodations, then why not have your dad in the care home during the week, but coming 'home' for the weekends? If your mum (and you) have the weekdays 'off duty' then it could be that you could both (or even perhaps just her??) manage to look after your dad at home, over the weekends.

I did something along these lines with my MIL a few years ago, when her dementia was not as advanced as it is now. When she was at her first care home I would go and fetch her twice a week (I wasn't up to a whole weekend, preferred two single nights to break up the week), and take her back to me, for a 'sleepover'. I felt it wasn't too bad a compromise. She got some 'home life' again, but I wasn't 'on duty' the whole week, and had enough time for my own life.

I feel this 'sleepover' option is an acceptable 'half way house' in many instances.

Wishing you all the best, but whatever happens, your mum CANNOT longer have sole charge of your dad - it's now out of the question. Whatever she feels about it!!!!!
PS also just to say, it could be that your mum's insistence that your dad 'does understand' about the pants business is actually down to her desperate hope that he does! As in, it's part of her own 'fight against his dementia', a form of denial in a way, not necessarily because she wants him to 'take responsibility' about his behaviour, but because she wants him to be 'not with dementia', she wants her husband back.

Remember it's much, much worse for her that your dad has dementia - this is the man she's married to, her life partner, her 'equal' and to watch him deteriorate is, I would argue worse for her than it is for you.....

(Not trying to lessen the distress it causes you, just to say that, in the same way, for example, that losing an elderly parent is worse than losing a spouse, so the amount of distress your dad having dementia is almost bound to be worse for her because he's her husband....)
Hi karina,
Welcome to the forum!
Having experienced this very same scenario myself i feel your focus is more on the allowance side of things than your dads wellbeing and health, please do not take this personally but when i was in this situation my main focus was my mums health and insuring i read up on forums like this to get the best advice on how to potentially care for her.
From your post i am under the impression you still live with both your parents? If your mum is already receiving carers allowence then is that not enough to cover you while you work part time and focus on getting your dad sorted?
There are some brilliant companies and forums that will give you advice on how to perhaps support your mum more in this difficult time.
I hope you see that your focus should be your dad than the money and arguments with your mum, perhaps step back and allow your mum to do it her way and intime she may reach out for more help wether it be you or professional carers as in time he will need residential care.