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Dad is desperately in love with a lady in his care home - but she's married!

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by lizholt, Aug 6, 2015.

  1. lizholt

    lizholt Registered User

    Dec 28, 2011
    2
    Swansea, Wales
    Hi all, I'm just wondering whether anyone has any tips on how I can help my Dad. He was diagnosed with Alzheimers a few years ago, but lived happily at home with my Mum and together they managed. She was almost blind with macular disease, and he was her 'eyes', while she gradually became his 'brain', controlling their every day home life, as his dementia became worse.

    Then, last October, Mum suddenly developed metastatic cancer from a melanoma, and within 3 weeks of being taken into hospital, had died. The shock was enormous for all of us of course, but it sent Dad into a complete tail spin. After a few weeks, even though we had carers calling in once a day, I was coming home to find him sat staring at the wall, cold and with the house in darkness. He wasn't eating anything unless I put it in front of him, he wasn't drinking fluids, he became doubly incontinent, and wouldn't shower or change his clothes. And then one day I had a call to say that a carer had found him soaking wet in bed, covered in vomit. We called an ambulance and he was taken into hospital with an acute U.T.I.

    Since that day, he never came home. His Alzheimers has got slowly worse, and after several months in various hospitals, we found him a place at a care home which is just ten minutes away. He is settled, likes the nurses there, has got to know some 'friends', and is well cared for. However, my main dilemma is that, having almost completely forgotten my Mum, he has developed a complete fixation on a female patient at the home. This lady is in a fairly advanced state of dementia herself, barely speaks, and just sits and stares, terrified, at everyone who passes. She is also in her eighties (Dad is 87), but he is convinced that she is a 'young girl' of about 16! They sit and hold hands for long periods. Dad believes, most of the time, that he himself is in his twenties, but still worries about the 'age gap', and asks me if I think it's going to be a problem. (He thinks I'm his sister most of the time) He is completely besotted with this lady, talks about her constantly, even when I take him out, and spends all his time either with her, or looking for her.

    Initially, once I had got over the disappointment of Dad having forgotten about my Mum, I was just happy for him that he had found a close friend. She does seem to have developed a fondness for him, and is always calling him to sit next to her, and holds his hand. I was rather uncomfortable when he started talking about how she slept in his bed with him, and put it down to another of his delusions until, one night, this lady came into his room in her pyjamas and got into his bed! But still, I thought, they're adults. I went to see the senior nurse, to check if this 'relationship' was causing any problems, and if they were comfortable with it. She told me that it was fine, and not causing a problem, as long as this lady's husband didn't mind!

    I then found out that the object of Dad's devotion has a very nice husband, who has increased his visits lately, and is there most days. Now, often when I call after work, I find the three of them sat on the sofa together, Dad one end, the lady the other end, and the husband in the middle, keeping them apart! Dad is convinced that the man is the 'girl's father', who doesn't approve of him. On a few occasions when the husband is visiting, Dad has gone into a sulk and refused to leave his room. On one day he said he had a bad back, and lay in his soaking wet bed all day, refusing to be changed or washed, or to eat. I noticed then that his 'girlfriend' was sitting with her husband on the sofa in the lobby. When I managed to divert Dad's attention, he forgot all about any bad back, allowed me to get him up, and sat up and had his tea.

    This situation has gone on for several months now. I've tried explaining that the lady's 'father' is actually her husband. I've also tried to divert Dad with photograph albums of him with Mum and our family. Sometimes there's a little flicker of understanding, but then it's straight back to 'I held her hand this morning', 'I think I'm getting somewhere with her', 'where is she, I can't see her', etc, etc. Her husband is very kind and patient, but I feel awful, it must be very hurtful for him to see his wife behaving like this with another man. He is pleasant and smiles, but I haven't had a chance to discuss the situation with him as we're always with Dad and his wife. Does anyone have any ideas as to how I should deal with this, please, or should I just let it run its course?
     
  2. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    4,665
    Salford
    Wow Liz, that's a whole huge story. On one level I'd say the human heart needs love and it will find it where it can irrespective of ones mental health, on the other hand the fact she has a husband who comes to visit her, well, that just adds a whole new dimension. I'm actually lost for something to say, you're mortified, her husband no doubt feels the same way, how do you move on from that?
    There is a tendency to "blame the man" but in truth it's just 2 people looking for affection in their world.
    I hope someone can be more helpful, great post Liz.
    K
     
  3. 2jays

    2jays Registered User

    Jun 4, 2010
    11,481
    West Midlands
    I can really sympathise as a similar situation happened with my mother.

    My mother was a carer for both my father (in her 30's) and my stepfather (in her 70's) and when my step father died, that is when it became very apparent that mum had dementia. Step father had been protecting us.


    Long story short.. Mum moved to a care home. Her carers button was still active. A gentleman took a shine to mum, and initially she took a shine to him and she started to feel responsible for this gentleman's life. He has Alzheimer's mum has vascular dementia. He was further down the road than mum at the time.

    She would tell us he came into her room at night, but she said " as I don't want "funny business" I punch him"

    We put this down to confabulation, assuming the carers were keeping the close eye on the pair as they promised. They were not. It was happening. The bruises on the gentleman that mum proudly stated "I gave him that one last night" also made us think long and hard about the carers and care home mum was in. But these two did seem to enjoy each other's company most of the time, so we didn't rush....

    Then mum started "rejecting" this gentleman during the day. He took to his bed regularly after some of her rejections....

    Mum then began to get aggressive and agitated with everyone, especially towards this gentleman. Mixing him up with my father and step father, she was convinced/ insisted she had to look after him, but she didn't want to..... Trying to keep long story short.... We eventually moved mum to another care home as we felt the carers and care home were not able to deal properly with the situation.

    A silver lining for us all. Mum is now in a much better care home, a place where she feels safe, secure and is very well cared for. Any "funny business" that may occur between residents is dealt with tactfully, but it is dealt with, without any, or too much, upset to the parties involved.

    I'm not saying that you need to move your mum.... I'm just letting you know of my experience




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