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  1. #1
    New User
    Join Date
    Jan 2012

    'Caring' for a father who didn't care for me...

    They say that anger is the emotional we feel after denial when confronted with a traumatic situation. What happens if you were angry beforehand though?

    My dad is 58, in July he was diagnosed with Dementia and his mental capacity is rapidly declining. He has been 'unwell' for over a year and half though. Due to the way he led his life, there are no friends around, he lives alone and extended family are minimal. He is divorced from my mum and so that leaves me and my two younger brothers to 'care' for him. I live in London and my youngster brother is in his final year of uni. So most of the daily pressure falls upon my middle brother. I can't bare that. But i can't bare to be there either.

    I don't know that it would be easier if Dad and I had loved, supported and known each other. Perhaps it wouldn't be. I know that it certainly makes it harder to deal with knowing that any hope of a reconcillation and healing of old wounds has evaporated. I am struggling with accepting the inevitable. What a terrible disease.

    It has taken me a while to get on a forum or seek support from others also coping with dementia. I think being signed off work for 2 weeks after a nasty anxiety attack has pushed me to face up to the grief i have been avoiding. I've been good a pretending we are coping.

    I feel obligated to care for him, one human to another, i want to protect and help my brothers but i am so messed up over the past, present and future. He is becoming increasingly dependant and his actions are becoming increasingly unsafe. We know he needs to go into a home. The Psychiatrist agrees. It feels so sad, so hard to make that choice. To take away his last piece of independence even though it is best for him.

    I don't know if i could visit him in a care home, i would out of obligation, concern and necessity. But when he doesn't recognise us, then it will be as if he has left me with the pain and anguish, alone, and he has escaped dealing with it. He has already left me swamped in his unimaginable debt. He will not know, not remember, and i feel i can't talk to him about my fears, my loss. He just repeats what you say to him, a shell of the former man i thought i knew.

    It is so tiring.

    - R

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    west country uk
    Hello R
    This is a hard one for you isn't it?
    If you've had no real relationship with your father having to step into a caring role now must be difficult. I guess though that none of us can deny our parents. My own father wasn't the best parent but somehow I did still love him and more so when he was terminally ill and needed my help, although he didn't have dementia, he had liver cancer and the toxins in his body gave him a sort of dementia. When it was all over I felt glad that in some way I'd helped him, he was, after all my dad. I realised he was the product of his own upbringing and was just a bloke - not the superman we all all want our dads to be, he did the best he could, maybe not good enough but that's how it was......not much help to you I know in your situation - sorry xxxxe

  3. #3
    Volunteer Host
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    hi R,

    There are a number of us on here who did not get on with one or other parent and then have found themselves caring (full time or from a distance) for the parent with dementia.

    I struggled to start with but then got offered counselling with the Princess Royal Trust for Carers. This really enabled me to look at my mum in a different way and I can interact and care for her differently now. I would recommend it if you can access counselling in your area. If you find that resentment starts to build up, please try to step back and find a different way of helping rather than interacting directly with your dad - perhaps providing respite for your brothers for example or helping at their house so they can help with him?

    The way I coped to start with was to say to myself 'I am doing this for my dad, not for her' - can you keep going if you are doing it for your brothers, not for your dad?


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