My first post, please advise?

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Jaycie, Feb 8, 2016.

  1. Jaycie

    Jaycie Registered User

    Nov 3, 2015
    I hope that I am doing this right?
    My father is 84 years old and has been diagnosed with mixed dementia.
    I have had a very difficult relationship with him for the last 20 years since my mother died, but things have become worse over the last couple of years.
    I live 2.5 hours away from my father and he does not have any other relatives that visit him so my husband would take me to visit Dad at least once a month plus to any appointments etc.
    The problem is that on a visit to my Father back in August last year (we also had an appointment with his social worker within a few minutes) we were eating lunch and he started to choke so my husband slapped him on the back several time to no avail.
    At this point I saw that Dad's face had turned purple and his lips were blue so I shouted to my husband to "do that thing ( the Heimlich manoeuvre) on him, quick he's dying" and my husband replied "I can't as I'll hurt him" at this point my Dad was not making a sound and thankfully my husband did the Heimlich manoeuvre on him and it worked.
    My father said that he was okay and within a few minutes the social worker arrived and we told her what had happened and that Dad had almost died in front of our eyes.
    Later we went home and I rang Dad to check that he was okay and to let him know we arrived safely and he thanked us for everything we had done.
    The next time I spoke to my Father and ever since he has accused my Husband of beating him up and has said he wants nothing to do with him and he does not want me to visit as I am taking the side of my husband.
    I don't know what to do as I cannot reason with him.
  2. Shedrech

    Shedrech Volunteer Moderator

    Dec 15, 2012
    Hi Jaycie
    sorry you have had to come to TP, but glad you've found this forum as it's a good place to come for support
    it must be so hard trying to care for your father from a both a geographical and emotional distance
    what you describe is a pretty traumatic moment for all of you - I guess that sadly your dad has kept an emotional memory of being physically affected but lost the context so now he knows something was done to him but can't remember why and to fill in the blank of his memory he believes he must have been assaulted and by your husband - it does make a twisted kind of sense, unfortunately
    I really wouldn't try to reason him around - he can't override his 'memory' with your logic and in some ways you trying to talk him out of it is actually reinforcing his belief so to him you're taking sides
    maybe just let the dust settle for a while - if he mentions it make some neutral comment or sound and chat about something else that your dad is interested in
    if you are confident he is safe and looked after, maybe leave visiting for a bit longer and hope he slowly lets go of the bad feeling
    best wishes
  3. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Hello Jaycie and welcome to TP
    What a traumatic event and Im glad your husband knew how to do the Heimlich manoeuvre. I think that Shedrech is right, he can (sort of) remember the event, but not the context and has confabulated a tale to fill in the gaps.
    Mum had a similar thing when she went to have her cataract removed. At the time she was happy about it, understood she was having it done and wanted the op. The following day, though she had this story that she had taken my brother to hospital (I think she was remembering him as a small boy) and while she was there all the doctors and nurses jumped on her and did unspeakable things to her
  4. Grable

    Grable Registered User

    May 19, 2015
    I find that giving my mum positive stories can counteract negative spirals. I wonder if this would work: get the social worker to ask him if he remembers the time when he was choking and nearly died until someone performed the Heimlich manoeuvre on him ... "Now who was it who saved your life that day? Oh yes, it was (your husband) wasn't it?"

    What happens with Mum is hat this then becomes her new story and is the one she will repeat. The story instigator has to be somebody outside the family and in a position of authority!

    Good luck!
  5. Jaycie

    Jaycie Registered User

    Nov 3, 2015
    Thank you so much for your replies.
    Something that I haven't mentioned is that my Dad has been very involved in Spiritualism and healing for most of his life and he believes that he is a "great healer" so he denies that he choked on that day and all of the bruises that he was left with (he didn't have any, someone checked) after his beating ( my husband saving his life ) disappeared as he healed himself.
    Every time I phone Dad, which is about every 3 to 4 days ( I had to cut it down from every day to alternate days and then 3 to 4 days ) the first thing he asks is "has that man apologised yet for beating me up?"
    As soon as I say that my husband had to do what he did to save his life he calls me a lying b**ch and puts the phone down on me.
    I rang him last night as we were going to visit him today and I asked him " would you like me to visit you tomorrow?" and he said " no I don't think so because you are still backing that man and calling me a liar and I cannot trust you"

    I don't know what to do about him as he has driven everybody away with his constant praising himself and repeating things over and over.

    I am sorry for going on.
  6. BR_ANA

    BR_ANA Registered User

    Jun 27, 2012
    If he has dementia try compassionate communication

    I would said he want to apologise to have beaten him. And then change subject. Weather, knitting patterns, songs...
    Every time you phone him and you say the truth, you reinforce his negative emotional memory.
  7. number8

    number8 Registered User

    Feb 19, 2016
    when its hard to reason

    Hi, firstly, of course you (and all of us) are questioning what your doing...that's what will ensure you do your best by your Dad. If I have a stalemate situation with my Dad, I write down in a letter what I want to say to him...It usually works and saves a lot of upset.
    I hope this helps:)

  8. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    I wouldn't argue or try to explain. I would put it down to the illness and apologise and say it was all a terrible mistake. Usually with dementia you have to occupy their world not the other way round and that means going along with the stories, apologising, backing down - all the things we wouldn't dream of doing in the 'real' world. It really makes for a much better happier life :) because dementia always wins
  9. Tiller Girl

    Tiller Girl Registered User

    May 14, 2012
    It's so sad and difficult but once you can get your head around the fact that he's only got partial recall of the event and has made up the rest, then it becomes easier to understand.

    I'm afraid you have to go into their world as they can no longer understand ours, so the next time he mentions it just agree with him and then change the subject. He will forget it eventually if you keep agreeing with him I think as disagreeing is re enforcing the memory.

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