How can I best help my Mum who cares for my Dad?

Hello all,

My Dad has a condition called MPH but also has vascular dementia which has taken a step up recently. Dad is becoming very demanding and calling the shots at home and leaving Mum very upset, he never says please or thank you and treats Mum like she is nothing to him.

I care for Dad 2 days a week so Mum can have respite and engage in her charity work and while I am around Dad is as sweet as pie, he says thank you and is appreciative of what I do. He treats me well and not at all like my Mum.

Does anyone have any tips on how I can get Dad to be nicer to Mum and what can I do to let Mum know it’s not personal and it’s the dementia talking not Dad? I know things are likely to get worse as time goes on and this scares me a lot.

How old is dad?
When did mum last have a Carers Assessment from Social Services, and dad, a Needs Assessment.
Does mum have Power of Attorney?
It’s so important for everyone to realise that as the dementia deepens, outside help is accepted.

How well (or not) did he treat your mum before he became ill? I think it’s important to consider whether his attitude towards his wife has changed fundamentally (ie, become so ‘horrible’) or whether it is only the way he’s always treated her, but much worse?

Hopefully it is the former, and then that surely should help your mum realise that his ‘nastiness’ now is because of his illness (ie, not ‘real’)(that if he could see how horrible he’s being, he’d be appalled at himself).

But if it’s the latter, then, really, there isn’t much sympathy for him at all, and really your mum needs to develop a thicker skin for a man who has never been a ‘good husband’ in the first place…

Dad is 80
Has attendance allowance and direct payments for a few hours paid care each week.
Mum has had a carers assessment.
Dad has always been a caring and loving husband (and Dad) which is why it’s so hard to see him being so dismissive of my Mum. They have has a happy married life with great respect for each other. It’s so strange that he is so nice to me and every one else but treats my mum like she is staff.
I understand that it’s the dementia talking, but why just with my Mum?

Ah, that’s much more reassuring - that he has always been a warm and loving husband.

I know that makes it harder for your mum in the horrible change, but at the same time, she knows that this behaviour now is not the ‘real’ husband…it is only the illness ‘taking over’…

As for ‘why’ he is like this, and ‘why’ it’s only towards your mum, I wonder if he is simply thinking your mum is someone completely else?? This is all too common, alas - one of our forum members recalls how she was addressed and assumed to be her own long dead aunt…

The trouble is, with dementia, you yourself can say till you are blue in the face ‘Dad, please be NICE to mum’…it will be unlikely to make any difference at all. His dementia will prevent him understanding anythgn at all now. It’s a horrible, horrible disease.

The only thing to look forward to is that as the disease ‘moves through’ his brain, his behaviour can change, so what you are seeing now may well not last. I do hope so.

It’s all so upsetting.

My neighbours husband thought his wife was an enemy soldier and kept attacking her. He recognised his daughter’s though and was pleasant to everyone else.
As others have said you won’t change him now, and realistically must plan in case it gets worse. My neighbours husband had to go into a residential Home eventually as she was unsafe.

Maybe show Mum some of the posts in the dementia threads on here to help her understand it’s the disease, not him, but not to put herself down or be guilty about something that is not her fault and that she can’t change.

My in laws had been married for 60 years, MIL spent her last few months in a secure home. It was an incredibly sad day for FIL when MIL took off her wedding ring because she didn’t remember that she had been married. For me, it was the day she thought I was my sister in law (I’m 7" taller!) but strangely she always remembered her son, my husband. Always called him by name.
I always said she was the best MIL anyone ever had, never a cross word between us in 34 years. So sad when she started forgetting her grandchildren. The last time we took her to my niece’s for Christmas, her much loved only grand daughter, MIL said what a nice girl she was, “did she have any family?”. Dementia is so cruel.