Registered User
Sep 17, 2003
Hello everyone,

Very thankfull this evening that I have found this forum! Briefly, my father who is 63 years old has been diagnosed six months ago He and the rest of the family knew for nearly two years that it could be the case.

The hardest thing to cope with has been a major change in personality. He's quite aware of what's happening, which has understandably brought about some depression (for which he is on medication)

He however is very self absorbed and self aware, which means any little ailment is blown out of proportion, recently I took him to casualty on his insistance, when I knew that he was having a panic attack, yet only reassurance from a doctor would suffice.

We sometimes feel, (here comes the guilt) that he is "playing up' my mother recently went on a much needed holiday, and he was quite down and had alot of 'bad days'. On her return he let her know just how he hadn't coped with her being away. I felt that was selfish when I, my sister and a family friend rang rings around him in her absence( I know he can't probably help saying it)

Is anyone having a simillar experience? Any ideas on how to motivate someone into activities that might take their mind off their ilness. I just feel while he is lucid now, its important he has a good quality mental health.

He complains of lack of energy, shivery legs and a raw feeling inside he is on Aricept. Initially it seemed to be working very well, I wonder if any others have noticed these type of symproms.

I just read this back and it seems horribly unsympathetic!

I love my Dad so very much, but finding it hard to see a once very independant man feel so worthless and give up.

Looking forward to your replies.


Registered User
Jul 9, 2003
South Coast
Dear Trinity

Welcome - so pleased that you have found this forum as it does help to share your concerns and feelings with others who have gone through or are going through the same experiences.

First of all - we all feel guilty at times and we must believe that it isn't justified or necessary as we are all doing the best we can for our loved ones, even if they don't understand this.

Secondly - this disease does seem to make the sufferer very self obsessed, presumably because it takes away the insight and ability to read the signals that tell us what others are thinking and feeling. The self awareness is a real problem - my husband who is aged 60 and who has had the disease for at least 8 years now is still very aware at times that he is unable to think or remember things as he used to and this leads to depression and recently in my husband's case to alarming behaviour such as shouting in the middle of the night, banging on the front door which I have to keep locked as he wanders and has got lost on several occasions, and very recently to throwing things (anything that's handy!) with some force, I think as an expression of his frustration that he can't go out on his own when he chooses (again often in the middle of the night).

In fact he had to be admitted to a secure geriatric ward last week for assessment as I felt I couldn't cope, especially with the lack of sleep. They are reviewing his medication etc to see if things can be improved. Don't know what the outcome will be, but you can imagine how guilty this can make one feel!

Sometimes it feels as though the person you know and love has gone out and a stranger has come in - but then again there are still times when the real person shines through and you have to hang on to those moments if you can.

As to activities - I've only got a couple of ideas that work for
my husband. He has found reading more and more difficult but still likes to look at poetry books - a good one seems to be a BBC book based on the "Poetry Please" series (can let you have the details if you want). If he's not a great reader, perhaps a tape of poetry would be good - the rhythms can be calming and the attention span needed for a short poem doesn't have to be great. John Betjeman's poetry is also good read out loud, and I'm sure that is on tape or CD.

My husband has always enjoyed all sorts of music, so just playing tapes or CDs is something he usually enjoys - for example just recently someone gave him a CD of piano music which has a very calming and relaxing effect on him when he is restless or distressed. (I can let you have the details if you want). He enjoys all sorts of music, so its a question of what he might enjoy at the time.

We go out for walks though they are not long enough for him - he used to go on two week long hikes with his mates, so an hour or two isn't enough, although it is plenty long enough for me! (he is very fit physically).

He enjoys seeing visitors even when he can't fully participate in the conversation (all our friends are very understanding and thoughtful, thank goodness), but only in small numbers and for a limited time as he gets confused with too many people and tired if things go on for too long.

The problem with someone in this age group is that in most areas the facilities for day or longer respite care just aren't appropriate as they are organised for much older and usually more physically incapable people, but you could ask your father's Community Psychiatric Nurse and Social Services. Has your mum had a Carer's Assessment? - she is entitled to it.

I know this may not be much help but at least you know someone else is going through the same difficulties and is thinking of you.

Kind regards



Registered User
May 28, 2003
I can only assure you that your Dads behaviour is quite normal. Its quite like the saying we "hurt those we love the most".
Your Mum is your Dads safety blanket and when she isn't around, he feels more vulnerable. But please encourage your Mum to have these periods of respite.
I wonder how long your Dad has been on the medication for his depression? Maybe it hasn't kicked in, or he needs to have the doseage increased, or changed, that is it may not me helping enough.
Also the time he has been on Aricept? The same may apply. I havent heard of shivery legs. The raw feeling inside may be because of the anti depressants and that they arent working well.
As for motivation, I believe the above factors may have something to do with this.
I would suggest you talk to the consulatant about your concerns
good luck