Father with Alzeimer's - Advice needed?

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Rainbows18, Oct 13, 2019.

  1. Rainbows18

    Rainbows18 New member

    Oct 13, 2019
    2
    Hi everyone,

    Looking for some guidance and advice about my dad (68) who was diagnosed with mild Alzheimer's officially about a year ago but who has clearly been suffering with the condition for around 5 years now.

    Over the past couple of years he has become more and more reserved and less confident, even more so over the last 12 months. Unfortunately, his wife has in my opinion been really unsupportive. I totally understand that this must have a huge and upsetting impact on her life as well, but quite often she belittles him and ridicules him highlighting his memory loss.

    I live in a different city so have limited access to see how they are on a day to day basis, but the rest of my family and I agree that something is a miss here. I now have reason to believe she has taken his bank card away from him to become completely in control of his finance and restrict his freedom. They are struggling financially and she has complained about him getting taxis back from his regular pub ( the only time he leaves the house weekly to be social) saying he should take the bus. However, she recently took the decision to have a new bathroom fitted, which was an unnecessary expense.

    I really want to make sure my dad is being treated well. I'd also really like to help him out financially so he can enjoy his life to the fullest of his ability, but I'm worried that she is manipulating him and control all of his finances and he will never see the benefits of this.

    With this being his wife I don't have any rights, but was really hoping someone could give me some guidance or advice as how to help my dad. It's breaking me and my siblings hearts and we are at a loss.

    Thanks in advance,

    Hannah
     
  2. MaNaAk

    MaNaAk Registered User

    Jun 19, 2016
    1,368
    Essex
    Dear Hannah,

    Does your dad's wife have Power Of Attorney? I think you should go to Citizens Advice and ask for information on benefits for your dad and his wife. Otherwise if anyone here can remember the number for the Alzheimers Society helpline could they please post it to Hannah. If you become concerned about the way his wife is treating him then contact Age Concern. Have you approached his wife with your concerns? Also are you sure she's not suffering from memory problems as well?

    Good luck

    MaNaAk
     
  3. MaNaAk

    MaNaAk Registered User

    Jun 19, 2016
    1,368
    Essex
    Has anyone else got any ideas as to how to help please?

    MaNaAk
     
  4. Louise7

    Louise7 Registered User

    Mar 25, 2016
    1,312
    #4 Louise7, Oct 14, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019
    My thoughts are that it is difficult to make a judgement about what is going on if you aren't involved in the day to day caring like your father's wife. You won't potentially see how bad or good your Dad is coping or what symptoms he is displaying because those with dementia can go into what's known as 'host/ess mode' where they make an effort to appear much better than they are when friends/relatives visit. The fact that your Dad has become more reserved and less confident - which is quite common with dementia - is not necessarily an indication that his wife is not treating him well.

    With regards finances, his wife may have power of attorney, enabling her to deal with your Dad's finances on his behalf. Managing finances becomes increasing difficult for those with dementia and if they have a joint account / joint finances then it wouldn't be unusual for a partner to take over managing the finances and household budget, even without power of attorney. You say that a new bathroom was an unnecessary expense but for those with dementia having a shower/wet room rather than just a bath will be a huge help to them both as the condition worsens. When a diagnosis of dementia is received then people do start planning ahead, and if they are already struggling financially then it is understandable that 'luxuries' such as taxi's might be stopped.

    Although you perceive that your Dad's wife has become controlling over finances, is manipulating him, stopping him from enjoying his life and possibly mistreating him the reality may be very different. Don't jump to conclusions without knowing the facts. She may seem to be belittling/ridiculing him with her comments but it is how your Dad feels about what she is saying that matters, and it's difficult to know what type of relationship they have when you are an outsider looking in. She is likely to be suffering from stress herself, trying to cope with day to day changes and worrying about what the future holds, and struggling financially will add to the worry.

    I would suggest that when you visit you offer to take your Dad out somewhere nice, giving him a trip out and his wife an opportunity for some time to herself so that she has a break from caring. You can check that they are receiving all the benefits that they are entitled to, for example depending on his level of care needs your Dad may qualify for attendance allowance. If they are over pension age then they may qualify for pensions credit if on a low income. Supporting them both, visiting regularly, and helping out when you can will help your Dad and also help the family to get a better idea of what is really going on, rather than jumping to conclusions. You don't mention how the relationship is between you and your siblings and your Dad's wife but family dynamics can result in skewed perceptions.
     
  5. MaNaAk

    MaNaAk Registered User

    Jun 19, 2016
    1,368
    Essex
    Buses are cheaper but as dementia progresses he won't be able to use a bus on his own. Would someone from say a daycentre or a friend be able to give him a lift? Your local Salvation Army maybe able to help with lifts to day centres.

    MaNaAk
     
  6. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    10,712
    Female
    South coast
    As your father has had Alzheimers for about 5 years I would guess that he is no longer in the early stages.

    It is very difficult to know exactly what is going on and it may be that the things that concern you have a much more innocent explanation

    Dementia is a whole lot more that just becoming forgetful. Becoming reserved and losing confidence is, IMO, par for the course as everyday tasks become harder. One of the first signs in my OH was the loss of understanding about money. He would buy ridiculous things over the internet (clothes in the wrong size and cheap and tacky jewellery/cuff links for example) and also gave a lot of money away. I once caught him just before he transferred £3,000 into the bank account of a scammer. So, you see, I had to restrict his access to our money and prevent access to our savings. Another of the early signs was that OH regularly accused me of controlling him, belittling him, taking him over and telling him what to do. It was not actually true. The problem was that he could no longer do things, but was not aware of this, so thought that it was due to me. It is very common for the person with dementia to blame their main carer for everything.

    Another thing that happens with dementia is incontinence - and very few people talk about this. This may be the reason why your dads wife has installed a new bathroom. Even is he is not incontinent now, it is almost certain to happen at some time.

    I must say that hearing that his only social activity is going to the pub rang some warning bells with me. Alcohol and dementia really do not mix and there is often a problem with them drinking too much.

    So you see, I am not saying that this is what is happening, but it is quite possible. It is certainly clear that his wife is not coping - and this is very true of most spouses with dementia. We are learning on the hoof, with no instruction manual, grieving for the partner that we are gradually losing and having to deal with so many things that we dont know how to do.

    Have you sat down and talked to her in a non-judgemental way to find out what is happening from her viewpoint? Dont go in from the standing that she is at fault and be prepared to hear things that you might not want to believe, but please be prepared to accept that they may be true. You might suggest to his wife that she joins this forum for advice and support.
     
  7. Lawson58

    Lawson58 Registered User

    I think Canary has offered you some excellent advice and as I was reading your post, I couldn't help but wonder if your dad's wife is feeling pressured by his family.

    No one knows what happens between a man and wife even under normal circumstances and when dementia raises its ugly head then a whole lot of other issues arise, ones that you could never begin to know. We ourselves have had all sorts of struggles over the years and I wouldn't wish the experience on anyone.

    And of course his wife controls the money because he is unable to do so. I have been managing everything for years and have had to intervene at times to prevent my husband revealing bank details to unknown persons on the other end of the phone. Initially, my husband started having trouble accessing online banking and now he struggles using a PIN, passwords etc.

    I would also say that money has created enormous tensions between my husband and his children to the point that they no longer have any contact. So I would like to suggest that you go about this very tactfully, bearing in mind that none of this is easy for any of us.
     
  8. Louise7

    Louise7 Registered User

    Mar 25, 2016
    1,312
    Just to add to Canary's comment, alcohol is also not a good mix with some dementia medication so this may also be a reason why your Dad's wife is trying to reduce his visits to the pub.
     
  9. MaNaAk

    MaNaAk Registered User

    Jun 19, 2016
    1,368
    Essex
    Dear Hannah,

    I really should have seen things more from your dad's wife's point of view especially as I cared for dad before he went into the home. If possible try contacting your local dementia friends group and ask about activities in your area. I think a daycentre is a good idea and try talking to your stepmother about these activities.

    Also apart from Attendance Allowance and Carers Allowance is she aware of Pension Credit, Council Tax deduction and other possible benefits. Dad and I also benefitted from Care Cars that used to give us lifts to the hospital.

    MaNaAk
     
  10. Rainbows18

    Rainbows18 New member

    Oct 13, 2019
    2
    Hi everyone,

    I appreciate your kind words and advice.

    I completely appreciate it's impossible to know the inner workings of their relationship, dementia or no dementia. It's difficult going in without prejudice knowing her personality type and other context to think the best of her in this situation. But I do understand. She has made a few attempts prior to him agreeing to the POA to him changing his will to benefit her and her children including sentimental pieces from our childhood so it has rang some alarm bells.

    His best friend, my eldest sister and his wife all currently share POA.

    I agree the daycare would be great for my father, unfortunately his pride is stopping him from agreeing to take part in anything like this so far. Hopefully with positive encouragement this will change over time.

    I think you're all right in saying a calm conversation none accustatory with my step mother about my concerns for my father is the best next step. It's obviously a difficult and hard conversation for all parties involved, but I just hope she like us just wants him to be as happy as possible and can see our concerns are coming from a place of love for our father.

    It's frustrating and difficult for us to watch the way she speaks to him at times it's very uncomfortable, to the point where our kids who are only teenagers are becoming defensive over him, asking "why can't she just be nice to grandad?" Also in our limited research we've seen that there are lots of little things you can do to aid people with dementia around the house and none of these things have been put in to action to help him.

    It's clearly an emotional time for everyone involved, but hopefully we can come together to provide the best care and support to my dad, who really is an amazing man. I don't mean to offend anyone who is a spouse of someone with dementia, I can't even begin to imagine how hard it must be and my heart honestly goes out to everyone.

    Thanks for the advice it's been reassuring just to get a steer from people who have experienced similar situations.
     
  11. MaNaAk

    MaNaAk Registered User

    Jun 19, 2016
    1,368
    Essex
    Do you receive the Alzheimers Society Shop brochure if not, go to the website and have a look? You and your stepmother could browse together and decide what's needed.

    Good luck

    MaNaAk
     

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