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Well, when you all got together and helped us to get out here to Arkansas rather than a shelter in the Bay Area, I promised that I'd write and pay it forward.

Due to working 16 hour nights, I've gotten seriously behind on the 'writing' end of that, but the project is over and my schedule's pretty much normalized now, so here we are.

After the whatever the hell it is that we've decided to call that orange swoopy thing below, I'll catch y'all up on how things are going, or perhaps I should say have deteriorated, with my stepfather.

I've also  been reluctant to talk about this because, well, I  don't want to whine about the person we're out here to help. Cue three paragraphs of me whining about the person we came out here to help.

My stepfather's dementia has worsened. Five words, and I wish I could describe the four months that covers, but I don't have the words. He's fixated on my wife as the Source of All Evil and nothing that she does is enough, everything that she says is smarting off or talking back, and it's becoming unbearable for her.

You see, there's the popular image of dementia and Alzheimer's patients, where they amiably live in some fuzzy past recollection, jovial and compliant if lost and confused.

Well, if you get your information about dementia patients from TV and movies this would be what you'd expect. We, however, have to deal with a hostile, angry patient who continually threatens us and my mother and remembers nothing but that he's pissed off with us.

As I've been working, the brunt of the hostility falls on my wife. She's been cooking, cleaning, and caregiving and she's about done. Lately, the aggression has fallen on my daughter as well.

Look, I understand where it's coming from. The gradual loss of faculties must be terrifying, and with no recourse he lashes out. I get it. I do. But he's calling the cops on us, calling child protective services, demanding we leave or lose our daughter.

Then twenty minutes later when Mom's wondering how to get to her cataract surgery followup appointment, he's telling her that I'll take her like nothing happened. Because to him nothing did.

We're hanging on day by day at this point. We're looking at RVs and apartments with Mom today, and we have friends that have offered us a place to go in Massachusetts. I'm well aware that we're not doing this well, and may be making things worse.

We did manage to get them on Medicare and Medicaid. There's programs that are sending someone to help with his bathing, his medication, and housekeeping and respite care for Mom. We've managed to accomplish that much. But he needs, my parents both need full-time live-in support. And we're the only people in the family willing and able to provide it. So when he drives us out, and he will at this point, the caregivers coming to help will no longer be able to provide adequate care, and it's goodbye backwoods homestead and hello state facility.

So, that's where we are at this point. I'm sorry it's not happier and to be fair this is an outstanding success as I expected this to last about a month.

One day at a time, we press on.

Originally posted to Moody Loner on Sat Nov 12, 2011 at 10:06 AM PST.

Also republished by CareGiving Kos.

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