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Old 01-20-2007, 04:20 PM   #1
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Any tips for Dad's awkward behavior in public?

So, my dad is finally losing his charm. He's always been a ladies man, and had a good sense of humor, but those things combined with Alz have made him extremely awkward in public. Inappropriate stuff flys from his mouth left and right. Examples of his humor gone awry just from today: He says to the waitress at Olive Garden, "You're name is Beth? That's my daughter's name. You're not as good looking as she is though." ARRGH. I think he MEANT to say that my sister wasn't as good looking as the waitress, but even so, that's not a very nice thing to say about my sister and it puts the waitress in an awkward spot regardless. She just ignored him, BTW. In line at Jo Ann fabrics (my GF and I were buying a bell there that we're training our puppy lab to ring when he needs to go out), my dad says to every woman in line behind us, "Age before beauty. Age before beauty. Age before beauty." And makes them get in line AHEAD of him. So I'm checking out and he's like four people back in line telling the women how beautiful they all are and how theyve made his day. Meanwhile, his halitosis is in full effect and he just finished eating a piece of chocolate which coated his lips and surrounding areas. Also at Olive Garden today, he turns around to play with his new buddy (a three year old at the next table) and he's got an ENTIRE leaf from his salad hanging from his mouth stretching down past his chin. He just smiles away as the three year old tries offering him a napkin.

One problem is, he's an extremely controlling person who's losing control. His solution: when you tell him he's got a leaf hanging, he lets it hang to assert control. When you ask him to stick with you in line, he hangs back further and "flirts" even longer, I'm assuming to assert control. It wears on me. I want to bring him out with me, and he wants to come out, but he doesn't know how to act in public. What do you all do??

THANKS!

 
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Old 01-20-2007, 04:53 PM   #2
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Re: Any tips for Dad's awkward behavior in public?

Next time he acts that way tell him you will not take him out anymore. Stick to your guns on that and I think maybe he will try a little not to do those things. It sounds like he is doing this just to annoy you. I know this sounds odd but I really have found that in my husbands case he sometimes knows more than he lets on. It is very upsetting to be the brunt of their actions.

When I told my husband that I would not go with him to the store anymore he promised he wouldn't act that way and you know what......he didn't for a while!

Hope it works. Can't hurt to give it a try.

Jan

 
Old 01-20-2007, 05:49 PM   #3
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Re: Any tips for Dad's awkward behavior in public?

I finally stopped being embarrassed for Mom. I used to tell myself "none of these people will ever see her again .. who cares." or, I rolled my eyes if I caught them looking at me - as if to say "there is nothing I can do.' People have seen dementia before. I hate to even think of how many people have it. Any kind of childish behavior on the part of an old man or old lady is almost always seen as Dementia by the general public, often long before their doctor sees it! Don't worry about public opinion.

In Mom's case she never could promise to or try to behave better, she was totally unaware of what she had done and thus could not stop doing it. But she must have been a few stages further than your husband is ... I hope he progresses slowly for your sake ...

love,

Martha

 
Old 01-20-2007, 06:34 PM   #4
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Re: Any tips for Dad's awkward behavior in public?

This is a tough call for anybody .. taking your loved one out in public. I might sound a bit harsh, and I don't mean to be but here goes:

Dementia (regardless of which one) takes away our loved one inhibitions. They go, how I say "pure" where they are as innocent as the day they were born. They don't do these behaviours on purpose, but like small children, they just simply 'do' and any kind of response is a reward. Eg: Dad says "Age before beauty" and let's these women in in front of him. He got rewarded probably by something as simple as a smile! Wow!! That worked, I'll do it again. HE'S not affected by his social behaviour (or misbehaviour as the case may be) everybody else is.

You can either take him out and 'hang the consequences' because, really, he's not really doing any harm except embarassing you and being a bit of a nuisance, OR you can isolate him at home and punish him for something he really has no control over any more.

Sorry if that sounds harsh, but your first lesson in this entire disease process is to understand it's not YOUR DAD doing these things that get to you, it's the disease. If you Dad could step out of himself .. he would more than likely be quite horrified at his behaviour

Blame the disease, not the man ok?

I have discovered that our loved ones, as they progress through the disease are unaffected by it. It's everybody else around them that it affects. The one with the disease lives in their own world, it's harder on those watching them .. watching them lose their skills, their memories, their 'grown-up'ness' ... the person who is afflicted doesn't grieve for what they are losing, it's those around them .. that's why sometimes visits by family members are so upsetting, because they behave differently around their loved one, the love one has dementia (they're not stupid) but does pick up on body language and vocal tones ... and that in itself creates behaviours. In 5 minutes after the visit, the loved one is happy and content, but the family go home shaking their heads and grieving for their loss (yes, THEIR loss).

Ok .. I've rambled on long enough.

Hope this helps in some small way

 
Old 01-20-2007, 06:37 PM   #5
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Question Re: Any tips for Dad's awkward behavior in public?

Oh and on a side note:

when I took my ex-charge shopping (because she believed she was perfectly fine thank you very much and didn't need any assistance and would quite frequently, run away from me to prove her independence) ....... I would stand behind her and gesture to the shop assistant who would eventually figure my mouthing "dementia" would not and take another tactic for my ex-charge. It did help that we went to the same shops and people knew us.

I was also advised to make her a 'name badge' which also had on it "Short Term Memory problems, please be patient with me" which I didn't do because she wouldn't LET me (feisty lovely woman she was .. arrrghhhhh)

 
Old 01-20-2007, 07:29 PM   #6
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Re: Any tips for Dad's awkward behavior in public?

I heard of a lady who passed out a "business card" explaining the situation. She would also go out to eat at non rush hour times and try to sit in inconspicious locations. My dh recently got very testy w a cop who stopped me bc I had a tail light out... sigh... And he yelled at our neighbor... I am getting ready to have my cards printed.. My dh urinates in the driveway when we get home, and steps out of the car and urinates where ever we happen to park..

 
Old 01-21-2007, 01:11 AM   #7
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Re: Any tips for Dad's awkward behavior in public?

WOW Joannita, he's totally marking his territory with the peeing thing. The cards might be a good idea actually. I also think it's really important to just visit the places he's most comfortable with, but I am TIRED of those places. I've gone thirty days in a row, literally, to the same place for breakfast. When I insist on eating at home, he'll fake a hunger strike:

Dad: "I don't think I'm going to eat any breakfast today."
Me: "Because we're not eating out?"
Dad: "No, I'm just not hungry. I never get hungry. I don't need to eat. When I was in the army, I went two weeks without..."

Usually, an hour later, he'll eat a couple muffins or a bowl of cereal or something.

 
Old 01-22-2007, 10:11 AM   #8
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Re: Any tips for Dad's awkward behavior in public?

My husband does some of the same things and I hate taking him with me everywhere ,but I have to.

He says "age before beauty" and "excuse YOU" if thinks someone is in his way. If they turn around with an angry look he starts laughing . I do have busines cards I made that say: "Alzheimer's (memory impaired), Please be patient, Please excuse usual behavior." Most of the time I just tell them he has Alzheimers and they will reply, oh, my aunt has that, or my grandmother has that, etc. He can be pretty rude when he wants to, but he has been that way before this disease. At least there is an excuse now so people will understand.

He likes to talk to people and will start saying things that no one can understand. He will purposely walk over to someone, touch them to get their attention and start talking. He has to stop and talk to every child too.

He also has to use the bathroom numerous times everywhere we go and I have to go with him and wait outside the door which really slows my shopping.

Oh, well, I have to remind myself what I put on that card .

 
Old 01-22-2007, 01:18 PM   #9
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Re: Any tips for Dad's awkward behavior in public?

ceedee,

Oh my gosh you just described my husband. He has to talk to everyone and he too cannot make any sense. He cannot get more than one or two words out that make any sense at all and people look at him like he is some kind of maniac! Then they slowly realize that he has a problem. Of course my standing there saying lets get going helps that along a bit. He loves babies and small children. In this day and age when so many children go missing among other things the parents are not always very receptive when he waves and talks to them. I don't blame them at all. I never let him get too far away from me but he walks so slow that I find myself a few feet out in front. I have to keep looking back all the time. It is absolutely no fun to go shopping with him but I too have no choice most of the time. Grocery shopping is really something.....he insists on pushing the cart and of course he doesn't have the best control of it. The other thing, I always insist that he go "potty" before we leave (just like I did with my children) but he has to hit every darn bathroom around. The other thing, he always is looking for something to wipe his nose, even though he has kleenex in his pocket. VERY FRUSTRATING!!!!!!

Jan

 
Old 01-22-2007, 04:02 PM   #10
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Exclamation Re: Any tips for Dad's awkward behavior in public?

For a while my dh would get into a motorized cart at the super Walmart and disappear; by the time (after searching and searching) I found him he would have the basket full of exotic or unneccesary or forbidden items. I learned to move them into my cart and then abandon the cart (sorry Walmart); if I could I would tell an employee. Then I would put my stuff in his cart. He never remembered what he had selected so he didn't miss them. And kids; he thinks he has to harshly reprimand every child he sees... Oh and I left him off at the entrance to the hospital so I could park and he found a wheel chair, boarded the elevator and got lost; it took a while before he reappeared... Life is an adventure. Maybe I should write a book. : )

 
Old 01-23-2007, 07:16 AM   #11
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Re: Any tips for Dad's awkward behavior in public?

I think all caregivers could write a book. It would probably turn out that we all are experiencing the same things just at different times. Humor is a wonderful thing and thank God most of us have one or we wouldn't be able to deal with this nasty disease!
Jan

 
Old 01-24-2007, 07:04 PM   #12
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Re: Any tips for Dad's awkward behavior in public?

My husband is very uninhibited in expressing his anger , self centered view, etc.... and it has been that way for as long as I've known him. I could write an interesting card to hand out that would have nothing to do with dementia, but just his personality... I wonder how the dementia will impact his personality as it progresses. I am hoping for a mellowing. He really is a good person; he just has problems.

One time when walking in an artsy town with the little shops, etc. an elderly man was walking slowly on the sidewalk in his path. I just stepped around onto the grass to pass. DH raised his cane as if he was going to strike the poor man. He gets angry at anyone who slows him down (regardless of the reason) and will make comments loudly, shake his first, etc. He also makes comments loudly in restaurant waiting areas about wanting a weapon to get rid of the patrons ahead of him. I just have to tell myself that I am not responsible for his behavior.

One time before a play, he sauntered onto the stage and layed a brochure on the coffee table of the stage set!!! He thought he was being funny. One of the actors came out and took it off and then came up and explained to him that it would throw them off to have it there! Yes, I was embarrassed!

 
Old 01-25-2007, 07:12 PM   #13
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Re: Any tips for Dad's awkward behavior in public?

What is it about Alz that makes them think they're so funny??? My father thinks he's being hilarious at times that he's being the complete opposite. He's like a sarcastic little kid who hasn't learned where all of the proper boundaries lay yet. Social cues whiz right by him and he has ZERO idea. I feel your pain, needtoescape. With my dad, in situations similar to your incident at the play, it's hard to know if I should step in or just let him do his thing. Most times, if I try to get him out of the situation, he'll ignore me I 'm assuming to assert independence.

 
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