80, divorced, possible Dementia?

Discussion in 'Memory concerns and seeking a diagnosis' started by Bay21, Dec 6, 2018.

  1. Bay21

    Bay21 Registered User

    Jul 31, 2013
    14
    Hi everyone,

    I feel like I am in a bit of unique situation but thought I would post on here just in case anyone had any suggestions or was in a vaguely similar situation. My Dad is 80 in a week and has recently got divorced from my Mum. After the sale of the marital home, my Dad has moved in with my family (I am in my early 30's and all he has got) and I really do not know what to do with him.

    I have been concerned about his memory for some time and I am currently awaiting the follow up appointment with the memory clinic. I took him there because, amongst other things, he crashed his car and couldn't remember where it was and had us driving around a completely different area to where it actually was looking for it.

    Since he has moved in, about 3 weeks ago, I have noticed even more so how repetitive he is. He is verging on obsessed with doing the lottery (asking several times has he put on it/can we put it on/when are we putting it on/is it on), he forgets where things are and I have also noticed that he seems to create situations for example he says he has been out for a walk but I know he hasn't left the house because he doesn't have a key to get back in. I have almost convinced myself he has Dementia (my Nan has Vascular Dementia and I can see so many similarities between the two) but also would not be surprised if he is depressed given that it has taken over 5 years for the divorce to be completed and the house to be sold.

    I am in the process of helping him to buy a retirement flat near me but I am very worried that he won't be able to cope. The flat, service charge, rent etc isn't cheap and I am worried, given his age, he will only be there a couple of years if we're lucky and then we will be stuck trying to sell it. It is in a great location, right on top of the high street but it is an area he is unfamiliar with. I have looked into sheltered/assisted housing/private renting but there doesn't seem much available at the moment or within his budget. My concern is committing him to the flat. While I am happy to have him with us on a temporary basis, and as awful as I feel saying it, he can't stay with us long term because I am expecting my second child. The pressure of trying to decide what is best for him and my family along with the guilt of not being able to look after him is quite overwhelming, I feel at a loss and not quite sure where to turn. Has anyone had any experience of buying a retirement flat? Any info would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Fullticket

    Fullticket Registered User

    Apr 19, 2016
    454
    Chard, Somerset
    Don't want to read and run, so a quick gut feeling is: Don't commit to any housing until you have a diagnosis (or, given that might take so long, are more sure that the diagnosis will be dementia). It may be the divorce has temporarily confused him - although this has been going on for a long while - and the loss of his house is taking its toll. This may improve, or then again, may not. From what you say, it certainly sounds like he is on the pathway so maybe the immediate answer is get him to the GP and start making noises on his behalf. I would certainly not commit to the complications of rehousing him long term until you know and have the opportunity to get social services and the council on the case. He needs an assessment (and so do you). This may mean he is in your care for a little bit longer but, ultimately, I believe that you will have less to sort out come the diagnosis than if he signs up to a contract, which you may have to get POA to get him out of.
    Don't feel guilty about not wanting to be a full time carer for your dad; you have your own family to care for and you are a very young person compared to a lot of the people on here. The options are there for him and, if it means a home you may find that the company and activities there actually help him to regain an interest in life.
     
  3. karaokePete

    karaokePete Volunteer Host

    Jul 23, 2017
    4,698
    Male
    N Ireland
    Hello @Bay21, you are welcome here and I hope you find the forum to be a friendly and supportive place.

    Do take a good look around the site as it is a goldmine for information. When I first joined I read old threads for information but then found the AS Publications list and the page where a post code search can be done to check for support services in ones own area. If you are interested in these, clicking the following links will take you there

    https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/publications-factsheets-full-list

    https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/find-support-near-you

    You will see that there are Factsheets that will help with things like getting care needs assessments, deciding the level of care required and sorting out useful things like Wills, Power of Attorney etc.

    The things you describe do sound like dementia but you are correct to be thinking of depression and having your father checked as depression can produce dementia like symptoms but is treatable.

    Now that you have found us I hope you will keep posting as the membership has vast collective knowledge and experience.
     
  4. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    9,079
    Female
    South coast
    I must say that it does sound very much like dementia, but only the doctors can make that diagnosis.

    In all honesty I dont think that he would be able to cope in a flat on his own. I know that there is a member on here whose parents have gone into extra sheltered housing - I gather that extra is important - and she is very happy with the way things are going. Would he be able to rent short term so that you could see how he coped?
     
  5. Duggies-girl

    Duggies-girl Registered User

    Sep 6, 2017
    1,388

    Hi @Bay21 You have described my dad exactly with the driving incident. Numerous dents, driving on a space saver wheel and ultimately losing the car and us driving all over trying to find the car. This was nearly a year and a half ago. Dad also thinks he goes for walks, even jogs believe it not. He doesn't.

    I hope you have managed to stop him driving now. I used the 'losing car' incident to get dad to the doctor and tipped the doctor off beforehand. The doctor told him to stop driving and referred him to the memory clinic after giving dad a quick memory test. Dad was diagnosed with alzheimers by the memory clinic.

    I have managed to keep dad in his own home but it has been hard work, very hard work. I could not have managed if I had small children, It would have been impossible. Don't feel guilty, you have a young family to consider and they must come first.

    I agree with @Fullticket wait and get a diagnosis because your father may need more care than you can give him. Keeping dad in his own home takes two visits a day from me, I do all of his shopping and deal with everything else as well because dad is unable to. It is very hard work and will take over your life completely if it turns out that he has dementia.

    Wishing you well.
     
  6. Sirena

    Sirena Registered User

    Feb 27, 2018
    1,081
    Female
    I think your instincts are right - it would not be a good idea to commit him to buying a flat which may end up being sold in the near future. If you want him to move out short term perhaps he could find a rental, then you won't have the problem of trying to sell a flat, and his money won't be tied up in property when it's needed to fund care for him. If he does have dementia there is no predicting how quickly he will deteriorate, and you need his accommodation and funds to be flexible so you can react to his changing needs.
     
  7. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,409
    I'd like to second the "extra care" aspect. That worked very well for us until the point my mother was basically bed bound. And the "extra care" aspect meant that I could manage the situation even though I was 3500 miles away. But to be fair, my mother wasn't a wanderer - that would have made it much more problematic.
     
  8. Bay21

    Bay21 Registered User

    Jul 31, 2013
    14
    @Fullticket thank you for replying. I've got an appointment with the Dr at the memory clinic on the 19th but its at the signing contracts stage, hoping to eeek it out but conscious of the fact someone is trying to sell
     
  9. Bay21

    Bay21 Registered User

    Jul 31, 2013
    14
    @karaokePete thank you for your reply and the warm welcome, I'll definitely have a good look at the links.
     
  10. Bay21

    Bay21 Registered User

    Jul 31, 2013
    14
    @canary @jenniferpa thank you for your replies, I'll do some research as I hadn't heard of extra care
     
  11. Bay21

    Bay21 Registered User

    Jul 31, 2013
    14
    @Duggies-girl Dad runs twice a week too apparently. They seem to be quite similar in their behaviours. Luckily Dad drove into post and didn't injure himself or anyone else. The insurance wrote the car off and I have left it at that, thankfully he hasn't mentioned getting a new one.
     
  12. Bay21

    Bay21 Registered User

    Jul 31, 2013
    14
    @Sirena thank you for your reply. They are my thoughts exactly.
     
  13. Izzy

    Izzy Volunteer Moderator

    Aug 31, 2003
    58,596
    Female
    Dundee
    @Bay21 what a difficult situation you find yourself in. I hope you find sharing it on the forum is helpful. I agree with others in relation to finalising the purchase of the flat. I hope you find a solution for both your dad's and your family's sake.
     
  14. Bay21

    Bay21 Registered User

    Jul 31, 2013
    14
    @Izzy thank you Izzy. Dad was diagnosed with Alzheimers just before Christmas. I pulled him out the flat purchase and have found a flat for him at the top of my road. We were put in touch with someone from the Alzheimer's Society and I feel much more equipped to deal with the situation now.

    This forum was a great help, I am very grateful to all who replied as not only did it help me it opened my husband's eyes, up until I showed him the responses I got he was very pushy to get Dad in the flat despite my reservations.
     
  15. Izzy

    Izzy Volunteer Moderator

    Aug 31, 2003
    58,596
    Female
    Dundee
    @Bay21 thats good news! I hope things go well for you.
     
  16. Norfolk Cherry

    Norfolk Cherry Registered User

    Feb 17, 2018
    285
    Female
    There is lots of great advice above, I'd add that, in a very similar situation ten years ago, I embarked on the option of supporting my mum in her new home close by. Last September I gave up as she became unable to manage the periods alone between four carer visits. This is where you will likely end up. Looking back, I wish I'd persuaded her to go into a residential home (rather than a dementia unit) from the beginning. The advantage in your situation (whether or not your dad has dementia) is that residential homes have lots of older people without dementia, and often more stimulating activities as a result. If you wait as I did, you may end up having to place him in a home where people are all at middle or late stage dementia. This has proved completely traumatising for my mum as I'd kept her in a bubble of 'normality' at great cost to my own children and my own life I now realise. Look around at what's available, they will assess him and may not deem him suitable, but it's worth trying. Look at some dementia units too. Reading lots of posts on here really helped me understand what was happening and how to move on, also how to deal with the feelings of betrayal. Don't underestimate the enormous impact on you, your partner and your children of trying to support your dad. As someone has said above, you are too young to give the next ten years to this, you will never get them back. It wasn't until my mum went in to a care home that I realised how depressed and quite weird I'd become. It was all I thought about, it was all I could talk about. Take care.
     
  17. Bay21

    Bay21 Registered User

    Jul 31, 2013
    14
    @Norfolk Cherry thank you for sharing honestly your experience with me, it has definitely given me a lot to think about. I know deep down I can't support Dad how I would like to think I can.
     
  18. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    9,079
    Female
    South coast
    Do bear in mind that if you start off in a residential home (rather than a dementia home) then you will get to the stage where you will have to move them - usually once they start to move out of the early stage. We get lots of posts from people whose relative has been given 28 days notice and they have to find somewhere else. The difference between a residential home and a dementia home can take a bit of getting used to.
     

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