It feels impossible to deal with his behaviour. Please any advice. Getting desperate.


Registered User
Nov 21, 2006
It's Rebecca here again.

I am 30 and my Dad is 70 and he has vascular dementia, which seems to be getting particularly worse at the moment. His state of mind and behaviour fluctuate, though his bad memory problems are constant. He can still sometimes be quite lucid, but also seems to have touches of the paranoia, confusion and aggression that come with the illness.[Though he has actually always had a tendency towards some of these behaviours anyway].

Myself and my sister both live in London and he lives in the Midlands, so we try to care for him at a distance, though we also yo-yo up and down a lot between London and the Midlands.

There are numerous instances of myself and my sister trying to deal with his very difficult, irrational, often insensitive and sometimes aggressive behaviour in public [my Mum is mostly out of the picture on a day-to-day basis as she left him a year ago due to his behaviour, though before he was diagnosed].....but there is a recent issue which is serious and I just don't know what to do.

The issue I'd really appreciate any advice regarding is that prior to retirement my parents'work was jointly running an independent, residential special school for children and young adults. My Father ceased being a Director of the school/business a few years ago and my Mum is mostly retired, but still has some responsibilities regarding the school and some involvement with it, alongside their apppointed management team.

Recently my Dad has been turning up at the school and being demanding and unreasonable about his involvement and money issues and upsetting the staff and opening letters that are not addressed to him and generally being interfering and inappropriate. He does not really even have any right or reason to go into the buliding, particularly unannounced, as he ceased his direct Directorial involvement [though I think he has forgotten this] and he is not now able to behave in a way that is reasonable towards the staff. Though he seems to believe he has the right to give them orders and be bossy.

I think he is confused and trying to assert his presence or authority, but it is completely misguided and inappropriate and he is upsetting a lot of people there, including my Mum who does not know what to do to deter him.
In desperation, she suggested the possibility of getting an injunction to ban him from the building, but as I'm sure many of you know, there is usually little point in trying to enforce anything to reason with someone who is increasingly incapable of behaving rationally.
Also, this would be unlikely to deter him anyway as he also had his driving licence taken away earler this year follwing a serious crash that was found in court to be his fault and he has since got in a car twice and driven it on the roads, even though it is illegal. I didn't know what to do in those situations either ~ I was ready to call the Police, but my sister said not to. Should I call the Police and report my own father? Would he get off on 'diminished responsibility' and is it my responsibility? Am I guilty of negilgence/being an'accessory'if I do nothing?

The driving issue is another problem, but at the moment we need to know what to do to stop him going into the school. He gets people [including a local man he uses as a driver]to drive him to places and they are in a difficult position to refuse him as he can be persuasive and threatening.
Myself and my sister did go to a solicitior with my Dad as he agreed to set up power of attorney ~ though it is not fully in action, it has the clause that it only comes into action when a Doctor signs something to cofirm he is entirely incapable of managing his own affairs.

We now feel desperate. Apart from locking him up/sectioning? [which seems neither fair, nor possible] or sitting with him 24 hours a day to intervene in his actions where necessary, we just cannot keep up, or predict what he's going to do next and if anyone is going to get seriously hurt emotionally or physically as a result of his behaviour. It is out of control. We also know as his illness progresses this is likely to get worse and this fills me with dread.

I am trying to have a life myself and I've been waking up every day feeling sick about what's going to happen. My relationship and career are strained.

I am sorry to write such a lengthy message, but I am at the end of my tether. We cannot cope and am starting to feel like I want to run away and hide and never see my Dad again. I know this isn't necessarily a real solution, and on good days I do care about him. But the good days are becoming less and less frequent.



Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
Dear Rebecca

First off I have to say I have no idea how you can stop him going to the school. Yes they could get an injunction, but as you say, he either won't remember or won't abide by it. Of course, when he breaks such an injuction there will be legal ramifications, but short of locking him up, I can't see what could be done. The car though - that you can/should do something about. He is sometimes driving without either a license or insurance - I have to ask you - why is a car even accessible to him still? It needs to be removed or disabled, and I really think the kindest thing to do would be remove it. If it's still there, it's either a constant reminder of something he can't do, or a constant temptation. As to people driving him there: I'm sorry but somehow someone needs to stiffen their backbone. I have no idea if this would work, but could your mother's solicitor write a letter to this driver. That might work better if there was an injuction in place though (I'm just speculating here) since then it could be pointed out that driving him there is facilitating an illegal (?) act. I fully understand when family find it difficult to say no in this sort of situation but somone outside the family unit: you have to make them more frightened of the consequences of giving way to him, than of him, if you see what I mean.


Registered User
Aug 9, 2007
Hi Rebecca.

What a problem! I do sympathise.

Is there any possibility that you could first of all speak to his GP or consultant and explain what is happening and if there is any medication or change of medication that could help?

Would you also be able to chat to the staff in ths school and explain fully the problem to them? This is a difficult one as it may breach a confidence but it may also help them to deal with your Dad and be more understanding, as I think that you are probably right and that your Dad has forgotten that his work with the school is over.

It is often difficult to know how to approach the problem but if people are aware they are often more able to help although sometimes quite a lot of education can be needed to help them understand that this is not your Dad but the dreaded disease causing the problems.

Hopefully some of the others may have more ideas foe helping you.




Registered User
Nov 21, 2006
Thank you both very much for taking time to reply. You are right Jennifer, it would be best that he doesn't have any access to cars. This is partly where the power of attorney potentially comes in, as long as he's got access to money he does whatever his instintcts dictate. He totally destroyed one car in the crash he had and has since bought two more.....even though he lost his licence, he bought one for the driver to drive him around in. Your point about asserting the terms of the injunction to the driver aswell as my Dad is a good one. I will perhaps encourage my Mum to persue this.

It just feels like we are trying to tread a very difficult balancing act between respecting and caring for my Dad and his quality of life and independence, but also trying to consider other people and ourselves. We are very aware that some of his behaviour could have serious, if not fatal consequences [prior to his accident/driving ban I refused to go in a car with him as his driving was getting more and more erratic. His eyesight has also deteriorated, yet he refuses to wear glasses.]

It is one thing trying to be compassionate and care for my Dad who is ill with the best of intentions and to the best of my abilities.
It is another [that I do not feel entirely qualified to do] trying to have some control over a large, agressive, single-minded man ~ at 70 he is not small or frail, he is still a large, physically strong, ex rugby playing man who has been violent towards me and other people in the past.....and however much 'backbone' you try to have, a fist coming at you is not easy to deal with.....and why should we have to?

It is my understanding that the type of power of attorney arrangement we set up can only come into action if a doctor writes a letter saying he is incapable of dealing with his finances.....and at the moment, my Dad would argue with this.

An added potential issue imminently is that the house my Mum and Dad lived in together, until she left, is in the process of being sold and when the sale does go through my Dad will get a big chunk of money which he could do anything with. He has already lost two big chunks of money this year paying rent for flats around the country that he hasn't stayed in ~ one was a flat in London that he paid six months rent in advance for and only spent a week in. The other is on the south coast and he told us he's paid six months rent again for it, but hasn't set foot in it at all.

Thinking about it, I actually have no desire to be responsible for his finances,etc. as I just feel that I don't want to deal with it all and him, but also don't want to see him throw his years of earnings down the drain, or for some person to come along and take advantage of his situation, which at the moment could quite easily be done.

Anyway. I'll sign off now. The issues just seems endless.

Thank you very much again.


Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Dear Rebecca,

I`m really sorry for the predicament you find yourself in, but one point in your post surprised me. Doesn`t the school have a conbination lock on the front door?

So many schools have them now, in view of certain recent events, to ensure the safety of the pupils. I thought this was particularly so in Special Education. If the school does have such locks, all it needs to do is change the combination.

If your father continued to make a niusance of himself, the school could inform the police, and behaviour problems or not, a firm but friendly warning might be all that`s needed. I really don`t think he would be sectioned.


Registered User
Sep 27, 2006
Your dad is used to having authority in the place he still considers to be his workplace. I find with my husband's dementia that the characteristics he had before he was ill are still there but in an exaggerated form. This seems to be the case with your father. I appreciate how harsh I sound mentioning this but do you think the time has come to get the Consultant involved in having him sectioned in hospital for a while? He could cause havoc for many people the way he is now behaving and potentially if he decides to drive again could even kill someone. Perhaps a family conference is needed between you, your sister and your mum. Sorry to sound so hard hearted. Believe me I'm not xxTinaT


Registered User
Mar 6, 2007
Wigan, Lancs
Hi Rebecca,

My Dad is similar in that for many years he was the senior partner in the firm and what he said went. Now I think he feels unimportant and useless and want to reassert his position by going back in to the office.

He too lost his driving licence in May but still finds ways to get there, for example last week he went to a meeting in Liverpool by taxi but told the driver the meeting had been cancelled and that he should take him to the office instead, which the driver duly did but had the presence of mind and the care to ring my Mum.

Fortunately, unlike your Dad he seems to just want to see the staff and is not aggressive or intrusive. The staff there all know his condition and I do think that you should tell the staff at the school about your Dad's diagnosis if you feel able.

I know it is difficult but I think you are going to have to take a hard line with your father and report his driving to the Police and let the staff call the Police if they feel threatened. I don't believe your Dad would be sectioned but perhaps he might listen to the Police?

By the way my Dad is still a big guy at 82 and if he decided to hit me I would come off second best.

Tender Face

Account Closed
Mar 14, 2006
NW England
Recently my Dad has been turning up at the school and being demanding and unreasonable about his involvement and money issues and upsetting the staff and opening letters that are not addressed to him and generally being interfering and inappropriate.
If he is upsetting the staff what might his behaviour be doing to vulnerable children and young people who may be merely witnesses? It should be the duty of those staff to consider their (ie the children's interests) first and on the back of that should be taking the initiative.

Absolutely not being unsympathethic towards your dad's or your situation .... but this is one area where this is clearly an element of social responsibility to be expected from other people - and maybe, just maybe the responsibility is not entirely yours to handle this matter ......

It just feels like we are trying to tread a very difficult balancing act between respecting and caring for my Dad and his quality of life and independence, but also trying to consider other people and ourselves.
All I can say to that is bravo! Well done for articulating that ...... that is the very fine line we all tread perhaps without ever being so aware of it .......

The issues just seems endless.
Couldn't agree more ..... try a list, prioritise it and tackle them one at a time ...... (and don't get too down hearted by the length of the list :()

Love, Karen, x


Registered User
Nov 21, 2006
Very many thanks for all the kind support and helpful advice.

Part of what's prompted me seeking help now is that myself and my sister usually try to deal with this situation between us, but now she is finally buckling under the pressure and has recently been waking up at 5am every morning with pains in her chest [probably, hopefully just stress-related]and says she has stepped back temporarily to to try and look after herself, which is fair enough; she has done an immense amount this year to try and help my Dad [often an unhealthy amount actually, in my opinion.]

It has been a hellish year though, lurching from one crisis to the next with my Dad.....and Far from being a time to enjoy, Christmas just feels like the unwanted icing on a miserable cake. :(

I do hope people here are able to have some sort of rest and/or enjoyment at this difficult time of year.

Thank you again, and I hope when I'm feeling a bit better that I can return the offer of support/any advice to any of you if I can.



Registered User
Jan 5, 2007

My goodness Rebecca, I just read your post. what a situation.
And you sound like such a thoughtful person, when you wrote 'how you hope people here are able to have some sort of rest and/or enjoyment at this difficult time of year.'

When was your Dad diagnosed with Vascular dementia. What were the reasons for your father giving up as Director. What has your father been doing for the past few years.

Seems like your asking for help on how the School should handle this, surly there are other board members who know what and how to handle over bearing people, who come uninvited.

Was your Father always bossy when working at the school, maybe He’s trying to gain some resemblance of what was normal in His life. But, why are you so alone in this.
You need some professional help, with all these issues you are facing.

The Dr. Who diagnosed your Dad needs to be contacted, then set up an appointment with Him, write down all the times your Dad has been out of control, either fax it to the Dr. Or go see Him.
You should not have to be the one who makes decisions like this, The Dr. has already diagnosed the disease, now you need the Dr. To intervene, with what ever help He offer’s . Maybe the Dr can phone the school, or a letter from the School supervisor describing your Dads behavior should make your power of attorney active, then with the Dr’s approval you both should come to a decision for the safety for all concerned. It may be as simple and changing the medication, but let the Dr. Advise you.

How come your Mum isn’t more involved, especially as the school is the place your Dad act’s inappropriately.

The nerves tend to get shredded after our parents are in someone else’s Care, for all sorts of reasons. You must be a strong person to be able to write and explain what has gone on, and ask for help. I’m glad you did. Please keep us all posted.


blue sea

Registered User
Aug 24, 2005
Hello Rebecca
So very sorry about your challenging and stressful situation.
I think you would find it eased your stress to write down all the problems/ dangers in a list and to arrange an appointment with your dad's GP. If social services aren't already involved, then your GP could arrange this. A referral to a Community psychiatric nurse would also be supportive. You dad may refuse to co-operate, but that doesn't mean no-one can help. It could be that he has to be sectioned for a while, if matters continue to deteriorate and he puts people ar risk, but that would be a last resort that was carried out for the safety of himself and others. You cannot carry all the burden for this yourself. Essentially it is a medical problem that your dad is suffering from , and he needs help. The medical and social agencies do vary in how good they are (as TP members all know from this site!) but if you insist on the urgency of the situation and describe the effect it is having on everyone, you will get help. Your own GP is also a good person to confide in - you need support too.
Keep us posted - there is much practical and emotional support here. I also strongly recommend contacting the Alzheimer's Society helpline.
Blue sea


Registered User
Oct 15, 2007

I think if a doctor was fully aware of your dads uncontrollable and dangerous behaviour he would be obliged to intervene, whatever that might mean. I think it likely he would enforce a compulsory treatment order, usually a 28 day stay in a locked unit while his problems are addressed. He would be asked to go willingly but if he refused he would be forced.

You can appoint some else appointee for his funds, in the care house I work in the manager is the appointee for one tenant as his next of kin is known to steal from him. I'm not sure how this all works out practically but it's something to think about.