Aging Dad needy, likely frightened

Dear Annie: I am a 57-year-old man with no siblings, and my mother is deceased. My 82-year-old father is physically healthy, but he’s in the early stages of dementia. He has a few hobbies to keep him busy, but for some reason, he has become obsessed with me.

Dad has become rather “needy.” Sometimes he calls me three or four times a day, even when I am at work. He insists that I go to his house every day, even if there is no particular reason.

I know Dad is probably lonely, but still. He doesn’t have a lot of friends due to his attitude and sharp tongue. He has become demanding, insisting I do things immediately rather than when I have time. He also has grown very mean-mouthed and pouts if he doesn’t get his way.

This is getting to me and putting a strain on my family. What do you suggest? – Crazy in Kansas

Dear Kansas: We think Dad is frightened. He knows he is slipping and finds reassurance in your constant presence. Dementia also can affect his personality. Call and visit him when you can. When you don’t have time to run errands, calmly and repeatedly say that you will get to them on the weekend (or whenever), and follow through. Ignore the rants. We also suggest you go with him to his next doctor’s appointment and discuss your concerns. And please contact the Alzheimer’s Association ( alz.org) for information on resources and assistance, because this is likely to get more difficult for you over the next several years.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailbox@ comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.


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