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My dad is getting agitated with his wife

Answered by Karen Garner

June 23, 2016

My Dad -92 constantly talks about how is wife of 15 years is leaving him or getting a divorce. One minute he says he knows he says terrible things to her and the next is "she doesn't care anymore". He becomes so upset & agitated. How do you handle these types of conversations?

My first question to you: Have you spoken to your Dad’s doctor about his hallucinations and agitation? If you haven’t, I recommend this discussion.

My next question is to ask you if your father is able to be distracted? Can you change the subject easily or even with a few visual aides…looking at picture books, going for a walk, putting together a puzzle, watching a show, listening to music, doing artwork, playing with a pet…?

If you aren’t able to sidetrack him, are you able to soothe him with calming music or have a trusted person visit…a pastor, good friend, neighbor, etc? In the end, you may not be able to change his thought process, but sometimes you can redirect the agitation so it isn’t so hurtful to loved ones such as yourself and his wife see here. His physician may prescribe something for the agitation, but please be fully informed of any possible side effects and if the drug they recommend could cause a decline with the disease.

Most of all, it takes a lot of patience, and I recommend getting breaks as necessary. Everyone needs help so please make sure you are all taking care of yourselves while you take care of your Dad.

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