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Stepdad doesn't understand dementia - Carers UK Forum

Stepdad doesn't understand dementia

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I have been having issues with my stepfather regarding her dementia..mum is 84..he is 68..fit & retired. He looks after her personal needs..giving her food ..wash with wipes..helping her onthe commode etc..what he cannot accept is her mind has changed & gets upset & sometimes angry when she doesn't remember him or other things..if she argues he freaks out & says he can't cope with her.He took her home from the carehome she was in after 3 falls etc..
Now he keeps saying he will dump her on my doorstep..he agreed to have her back home & as long as she is quiet & doing everything he says he is fine.when she has a bad day or night he freaks .She sometimes keeps getting out of bed in the night saying she wants to go home(she is home).It is making me stressed as I think he might do that one day..we can't afford care homes etc& it wouldn't be fair on my OH.It's getting to the point where I don't want to go there every other day..he can have a carer in to help but he cancels if mum is a bit down..he has funds etc gets allowances etc they own their house.Can he just abandon her so to speak because of her dementia?
Forgotto say I sit with her for a few hours every other day so he can go shopping..doze..watch tv..etc Am on call as he phones me to go down day or night if she is being"difficult" which I do ..just sit with her & talk gently ..hugs etc which wkrks for a while.I do understand how frustrating it can be..but sometimes I think he just doesn't understand it is never going to get better ..had an Admiral nurse talk to him..he can call them too..GP is brillliant & calls round if asked..she got worse after a stroke 6 months ago..
Sadly, it does sound like your mum has reached the point where a care home is her best option - especially as your beleaguered step dad (who is nearly a generation younger than his wife, don't forget that) can't really understand or accept the full dreadfulness of what dementia does to 'the person' (ie, it destroys the personality and you 'lose' the person you once had).

No, he can't 'abandon' his wife, in that, he can't just chuck her out, keep the house, and live blissfully without her! If they own the house jointly, then HER half has to go towards paying the care home, though as he is over 60 he MAY be allowed to 'keep' her share as well (others here will know, and certainly the team of experts at Carers UK - emailing them is the best), If not, then the council will probably put a charge on the value of the house, and when he sells (ie, when he's finally widowed) he will have to pay the council back out of the sale price of the house for whatever they've spent on keeping his wife in care. If they have joint savings, or she has her own, they have to be spent on her care (her share of joint savings) until she has only £23,250 left, after which the council START to pay SOME of the care home fees, but she will only be able to retain £14k of her money (ie, her half share of any joint savings they have), to pass to her heirs.

Please do NOT let him 'dump' your mum on YOU. That is the very worst, as YOU will have to put her into care! However, even if that happens, the council will still come after HIM, not YOU, for her care home fees.

You CANNOT and SHOULD NOT look after your mum in YOUR home. Your stepdad married her for better or worse etc, and there is NO WAY that he should 'offload' her on to YOU, leaving HIM free to live the life of Riley! Don't let him get away with it!
Has anyone offered him counselling, he might be so far out of his depth he's drowning. It's inevitable that someone with dementia ends up needing specialist nursing care, he doesn't need to feel a failure if he can't cope with her illness. Does he ever talk to you about his feelings? Has anyone offered you counselling?
Your local carers association/support group may be able to point him towards a group of men in similar situation. He may find it easier to cope with if he knows it's not just him.

Then of course there's leaflets you could leave lying around. He must learn that the situation is going to get worse and he needs to start putting proper plans in place, and that abandoning her or dumping her is not an option
Is there are local Alzheimer's Society branch in your area. Where I live, the New Forest, lots of elderly, they have their own community support worker.
My Mum (with dementia) is going to a local support people for people with dementia. Run alongside this is a carers group that is mostly spouses. Maybe there is something like that locally for him? Ours is organised by the elderly mental health team who oversee Mum's care.

If he isn't coping, then perhaps a care home would be a better option? Falls are a fairly common fact of life for those with dementia, so not necessarily the care home that was failing if she was having falls there. And if the previous home wasn't right, doesn't mean another one won't be better? If the house is jointly owned and he is still living there it should be disregarded in terms of care home fees. If your Mum has savings over £23,500 then she will have to pay for all of her care. If savings are less that this she will have to contribute, but local authority will start paying towards her. I think if savings are less than approx. £17k then the local authority pay for all care (but don't quote me on this). YOU certainly shouldn't be paying though. Email the Carers UK helpline and they will be able to tell you the up to date info on this.

It is not an easy illness to live with, so understandable he is finding it hard. But doesn't mean her care should fall to you either,

Good luck.
It does sound, sadly, as if your step dad is still 'in denial' to an extent, not really wanting to accept that the woman he married is 'fading before his eyes'. I know that for many of us we still cling to the hope that we can 'make the dementia reverse' or whatever, by a kind of effort of will. We hate to see it progressively eating up someone we love....

On top of that, dementia is an immensely difficult condition to care for - those with dementia are very, very 'difficult' to manage, because they simply have no idea what they are doing causes problems! They are oblivious to it all - and this is both distressing, and intensely irritating and frustrating. You do need the patience of a saint to cope with someone with dementia, and it can drive us to distraction. Exhausting and scary and exasperating all at the same time. You have to do what the person with dementia wants - there is no reasoning, no 'managing' usually, and they can appear incredibly 'wilful'......