A concept that I have struggled with for a while is whether dad is aware of what he is doing when he yells and cusses at mom. Now it is true that my dad used to never cuss. I grew up, never hearing a cuss word from either of my parents. Dad seldom raised his voice. Yes, he got mad at us at times and he could be very stern, but he was not a loud person.
I know and understand that dad has a degenerative brain disease that will continue to adversely affect his behavior and his ability to complete even the smallest tasks. What I have a problem with is whether he is venting his frustrations at my mom, as the person that he now has to depend on, or whether he is completely unaware of his behavior. He threw a fit yesterday because someone went down the lane beside the house and back into the woods. Now, both mom and dad had been told that there would be timber cruisers stopping by to cruise the pines to give us estimates on selling the timber. Whether dad remembers that is always up for debate. It looks like whether mom remembers that or not is also going to be up for debate. When dad tried to start his truck to ride down in the field to see who was back there, his truck would not start. By that time he was so upset, he did the unthinkable and he grabbed the keys to mom’s car to go. Now, dad driving down the lane into the field is entirely acceptable, he does not have to go on a state road to do that. But mom’s car does not go down there (until yesterday). So, by the time that mom called my brother, they were down the dirt road with dad frantically blowing the horn trying to get the attention of whomever was there. My brother told mom that it was probably one of the timber cruisers that we had talked about. Mike said that he could hear dad talking in the background, but he was not yelling or anything. After a few minutes, Mike called back and spoke with dad himself. He said that dad was very calm and told Mike that he just would like for whomever came to the farm would stop by the house and just let him know that they were going down there. Very reasonable.
So, my question, does the dementia allow dad to act that differently depending upon who he talks to? Is dad capable of hiding his emotions completely with us? Is mom exaggerating, as she is prone to do? Or is there a fundamental problem between my parents that is manifesting itself at this time? My mom has not handled the situation very well at times. She has little patience with dad and often shows her resentment at having to be a caregiver. Does that affect how dad acts? I am at a loss on how to help either of them at this point. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.