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Dad getting violent with me.

(18 Posts)
girlandboy Fri 12-Jun-15 22:28:04

Struggling a lot here. My dad has Alzheimer's and is in a care home and within the last few weeks he has gone from recognising me, but kind of looking "through" me to not knowing me at all.
This is fine really, I know it's not his fault and it's all down to the disease, but he's become really violent towards me and I don't know what to do for the best.
He's gone from looking "through" me and not really seeing me, to glaring straight into my eyes with a look of utter hatred and loathing. He then attempts to hit me or throw something at me. We've had a few sessions of tussling over a full mug of tea or a plate of food that have been aimed in my direction, and I've dodged more than one backhander.
When I called him "Dad" he told me he wasn't my dad and that I was just some nasty woman. And considering I've never heard him swear, he told me that "I'm going to belt you in the f**king face".
My DH is not keen for me to visit my dad if there's a risk he's going to hurt me, and I have to admit that my nerves are getting the better of me, to the point of me nearly vomiting in the care home car park before I go in. My DH is worried about the effect all this has on my health.
I am also trying to time my visits to him so I don't bump into my mother who I am estranged from ever since she assaulted me a couple of years ago, and who I had to report to the police because I was worried what she then might do to Dad.

I can feel the panic attacks returning.
I feel so guilty for feeling like this. I feel I ought to be stronger than I am, because in a lot of things I am quite a strong person. But not with this.

twentyten Fri 12-Jun-15 22:33:42

You poor thing. It is really hard. He won't know you are there-,please protect yourself. Are you happy with the care? Look after yourself. Perhaps consult the Alzheimer's society? thanks

girlandboy Fri 12-Jun-15 22:40:55

My DH has said that if I don't go and visit, my Dad won't miss me because he doesn't remember or know me anymore. He's got a point, but I still feel guilt ridden.
I don't want my whole visit to consist of dodging fists and crockery!

The care home is fine, the staff are very caring and understanding but have mentioned that he's getting more violent with them too.

It's getting to the point where I feel sick and panicky even several days before I go.

Thank you for answering.

whataboutbob Sat 13-Jun-15 19:59:04

This sounds horrible and I feel for you. A couple of years ago Dad started denying my brother was his son. Weird and hurtful, and he just could not be budged from this erroneous belief. No amount of explaining made any difference, it just pissed him off. Somehow, he still recongnises me, which I am grateful for.
You have accompanied your Dad this far, and i really understand the guilt, but you should heed DHs advice and protect yourself. Being around to take his disease induced venom is not in the contract.
I should also add, if he hasn't had a Continuing Health Care assessment (just shout if you don't know what that is) maybe he should have one. Most people with dementia are awarded CHC on the basis of challenging, behaviour, my father was.

FannyFifer Sat 13-Jun-15 20:05:01

Take a break from visiting for a few weeks, it sounds far too stressful for both yourself & your father.
It might also be difficult for staff to settle him down afterwards.

If you are happy with his care then u really must take a step back for now, it's maybe something that will pass again.

Is perhaps his wife winding him up and putting ideas in his head about you, I don't know how bad his dementia is but that could be a possibility.

Theas18 Sat 13-Jun-15 20:10:55

Is this a relatively sudden change ? If so has he got an infection or had a small stroke?

If not I thjnk you need to talk to the home - is he violent to them? If so then. His consultant needs to be involved asap. If it's specific to you then it's probabky chatting to a dementia nurse as to how best to handle it.

Be aware if he's like this with the staff he probably needs safeguarding and they may want him out if the home a especially if he's but safe with other residents sad

Easy steps can be taken to ensure for instance he has no possible missiles to hand -so let the home deal with meals etc and visit him when he can sit across a table in a public area - so he would be more likely to fall over than manage to get it of his chair and hit you.

Ultimately I'm with your dh though if you can't be safe and it's making you feel ill you don't have to go - if no one is gaining benefit from the visit there is no point.

Much hugs.

SecretSpy Sat 13-Jun-15 20:12:41

Is he being cared for in a specific dementia setting or a general nursing home? Sometimes specialist settings are able to provide more suitable activities etc that will stimulate and tire them and that can reduce aggression /agitation.

They may also be more on the ball about making sure that residents are on or off certain medications that may help him.

girlandboy Sat 13-Jun-15 23:13:22

Thanks everyone. He is in a special dementia home and I can't fault it.
Unfortunately because I'm estranged from my mother, and she's the decision maker, I feel a bit "on the outskirts" of everything to do with him.

Just to give you a quick insight into what she's like. We had a row and she tried to throttle me, punched me in the chest and finished up by kicking me in the stomach. She told my DH that she pitied him being married to me (nice). She has delayed telling me three times that Dad had been admitted to hospital for several days. Once was for food poisoning, another a broken hip and the third was a fall. She discharged him from one home he was in and I didn't know until I turned up to visit him that he'd gone. Anyway, that's by the by.

I did cut my last visit short (when he swore at me and tried to backhand me) because it was obvious that the visit wasn't doing either of us any good. I was upset, and my presence obviously wasn't doing him any favours either, probably because he didn't know who I was. This all takes place in the communal lounge area where there are plenty of people.

I did wonder if my mother was inflaming the situation? One of the carer's did tell me that she'd been shouting at them too on her last visit, and had also been questioning the staff as to what I talked to my Dad about?! They said they didn't know, but it seemed just like general chit chat, which it is. So basically she's checking up on my visits.

He's been very bad for months now, but he has only stopped recognising me for about the last month. He's in a pitiful state really. He usually just sits in a chair with his chin on his chest, drooling. He can't stand or walk anymore, doubly incontinent and getting thinner. But still surprisingly strong in his arms and hands. To be honest, I can't imagine that he'll carry on much longer and that'll be a relief. He shouldn't be suffering the indignity of this anymore.

And no, I don't think either of us are benefitting from the visits. But it doesn't stop the feeling of guilt that I've abandoned him. Even though I know he's well cared for.

I really appreciate everyone's input into something that's not your problem. Thank you.

CamelHump Sat 13-Jun-15 23:22:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

girlandboy Sat 13-Jun-15 23:27:03

Right, I've come to a decision.

I won't go tomorrow, but I'll go next Sunday when it's Father's Day. I'll see how it goes, and then make a decision from that.

This disease is a terrible thing sad

girlandboy Sat 13-Jun-15 23:29:25

Thanks Camel.

Sometimes I read to him from a favourite book. Sometimes we play music or have an old film on the tv.
Unfortunately I don't have any photo's of him and me when I was little because they're all at my mother's house.

Thanks for your kind words.

CamelHump Sat 13-Jun-15 23:29:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ImperialBlether Sat 13-Jun-15 23:34:10

Well, you can care for him in other ways than visiting him. You can phone up his home every week and speak to someone about how he is. You can drop off little gifts for him each week - just a bar of chocolate or something else you know he likes to eat. Seeing him is upsetting both of you.

flowers for you. It must be really hard.

griselda101 Sat 13-Jun-15 23:36:26

girl - sorry to hear it, sounds incredibly distressing for you

as others say I would leave it a while before going again, and if it's bad next time maybe cut it out as far as possible in future.

You don't want your last memories of him to all be bad, it might taint your view of him, so maybe it's best to pull back at that point, for your own sake and so you can still have have nice feelings when you remember him.

The key is being kind to yourself at this point. He's somewhere he is being looked after. There's no reason you can't keep in touch with staff and get updates from them, maybe pop in once in a while.

But don't make it regular if it's that painful for you. And don't feel guilty about it. Are you able to contact a carer's centre? Also I think you can get talking therapy about this kind of thing which might be really helpful. There's no need for guilt though, you need to have more self compassion, and it's clear you have compassion for your father.

girlandboy Sat 13-Jun-15 23:42:05

Yes, you're all right. There ARE ways of caring that doesn't involve a tense visit.
I feel a little better now thank you.

I'll go on Father's Day, and I'll inform the staff of my intentions. If they tell my mother that I intend to visit less frequently then undoubtedly I'll have to field a plethora of unwelcome shouty phone calls from her. Fortunately we have a phone that gives a caller display so I needn't pick the phone up. Unfortunately she can leave a message on the answerphone (which we need for our business) but that can be deleted. Even seeing her name pop up on the phone can make my knees buckle. I think she's affected my nerves in a bad way.

But anyway, yes I can do what you all suggest. You've all been most kind.

ImperialBlether Sat 13-Jun-15 23:44:33

But then you speak to the nursing home about your mum. Tell them she's unstable. They will be careful what they tell her.

I don't understand, though - does she want you to visit or not? Or does nothing make her happy?

girlandboy Sat 13-Jun-15 23:51:17

I have absolutely no idea what she wants. I should think she wants me to visit; she did yell down the phone some time ago saying "this is your Dad you know", so reinforcing the guilt I already felt over not seeing him so often.

She's fallen out with every member of the family over the years, and I was the last one left who would put up with her. Until the throttling and kicking. I can't live my life around her moods anymore.

I should imagine she's extremely unhappy. But she has Church to go to, and the people there to talk to, but she's on her own in the house.

CamelHump Sun 14-Jun-15 09:40:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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