1. melanie_g

    melanie_g Registered User

    Jun 8, 2015
    Hi there,

    I have some concerns about my lovely Dad and I am worried that he has dementia. I don't live with him - he lives in sheltered housing the floor below his mum (my nan). My nan is 96 and has increasing heart problems and requires alot of assisstance. Dad has been living with nan and helping her with medications and shopping/daily tasks for years.

    Only the other day, he said "Sometimes I think i'm kidding myself that I don't have dementia" and the penny dropped.
    I thought, 'how can I have been so stupid!? How have I missed this?"

    Now he has named it, it all seems to make sense from what I have been reading. He is 75 and very forgetful (which he always has been). However, over recent years and particularly so now, he is becoming worse with his short term memory. He will go out into town and not come home with the shopping (or some items). He will forget where he has parked the car (he even told me the other day that he walked home and forgot that he drove in.) He wanders around like a lost puppy sometimes. We went into town for some shopping for nan the other day and we had to go into the co-op, the bank, boots pharmacy and other places. He looses track of where he is so easily and seems almost disorientated sometimes. He battles with himself and racks his brains trying to remember everything. He makes lists of things he and nan needs and leaves the shopping list at home and then doesn;t come home with what they need

    His flat is a state. He hasn't hoovered in weeks. He had 3 bin bags of rubbish in his flat that were causing a rancid smell. I asked him in a frustrated way why he hadn't taken them out. I have taken issue with the state of his flat before, but he just doesnt seem to be taking care of it and it's getting beyond a joke. Perhaps to him it feels like an insurmountable task? Perhps he doesn't know where to start? I've offerd to help but he refuses and says "I need to go through things in my own time etc" so I back off, not wanting to be the casue of any pressure or embarassment.

    I know that he has alot to think about with nan and it's constant and he is starting to get increasingly irritaed by her (which to a degree is understandbale when you are caring for a person). His long term memory is as sharp as a flint. He was a scientist and he remembers everything about silicones and formulas and machines. He can recite huge long monologues from his school days, word perfect.

    Every time I see him, he continues to tell me jokes that he has told me literally a hundred times before and I have started to get frustrated with him and i'll say 'yes dad you told me that before". And it seems like he just doesn't remember!

    As I am writing this I know increasingly that I must go to the doctors with him to assess all this, but it's knowing how to broach the subject with him sensitively. He needs guidance and help and no-one else but me (in the immediate) will be able to help him like I can. Does anyone have any suggestions for how I might start the conversation sensitively enough but with firmness?

    It's such a horrible thought all of this, I've never even thought that this could be a possibility for him but it's all beginning to add up.

    Thank you.

  2. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Welcome to Talking Point Melanie.
    Oh, I do feel for you - that conversation is so hard :(
    Im probably not the best person to advise you as I tried to have that conversation with Mum when I realised that there was a problem - I didnt live with Mum either. I tried saying gently that I was concerned about things and just got a huge "do you think I cant look after myself?" tirade in which she informed me that she did all her own washing, shopping, housework, etc, when you only had to look around to see that it wasnt true :(

    Im struck by the way he said "Sometimes I think i'm kidding myself that I don't have dementia". Most people with dementia dont use that word until after they have been diagnosed. Is it possible your dad has already been to the doctor?
    Perhaps thats a way to start the conversation? On the lines of - dad, you said this and you seem concerned about your memory. Have you been to see someone about it? That way its his concerns that are the focus, not yours.
    Im sure someone else has handled it better than me and will be on.

    PS - there are other things that can give the same symptoms as dementia, so if he hasnt seen his GP about this it would be a good idea to see him/her to exclude and treat anything else.
  3. MrsChristmas

    MrsChristmas Registered User

    Jun 1, 2015
    Hello Melanie

    I too have just joined this forum and it has been invaluable. I have had so much help and advice from Fred Flintstone, Amy in the US, Canary, Marsaday and Lindy50, to name but a few.

    I am sure that you will get loads of advice, help and support and you might not feel quite so lonely and desperate.

    One of the above did suggest to me about writing to my mother's GP and I duly wrote an email immediately. I only joined the forum a few days ago! Lo and behold, my Mum's GP contacted me last night and they are going to get the ball rolling but making an appointment for Mum to come in on the pretext that it is her 90th Birthday. If they can get her in, they are going to do some blood test and so on and then try and get her to the memory clinic.

    Others on this forum (such great people..diamonds) have suggested trying to get a Lasting Power of Attorney, or least trying to plant the seed..if nothing else. Others have suggested going to Social Services, if all else fails.

    My story is similar to yours. My mother is widowed, 90, pre glaucoma, athritis in her hands, very deaf and has swollen ankles. She still continues to drive (nightmare) and had an accident about two months ago when she hit a parked car. She has become forgetful but can remember things from years ago but cannot remember what I have told her in the last few hours. It doesn't happen often these odd things, but, as you know, when they do happen it is quite disconcerting! The list is endless, small things, petty things that don't seem right but when added up to do point to something very wrong.

    When I read your post it was so similar to Mum. She is okay in her home environment, pottering around but anything out of the ordinary throws her.

    Examples of Mum's memory:

    She is reading a book but can't remember the title.
    She goes out with friends but cannot remember what they talked about.
    Mum has trouble writing cheques and cannot remember the date without looking at a newspaper.
    She forgot her wedding anniversary - the first time in 60 years.
    Mum accused me of having a row with my neighbour over a hedge..not true.

    Anyway, my thoughts are with you and I am going through the same thing and will not rest until Mum is diagnosed and she cannot drive anymore.

    Try writing/emailing your Dad's GP....just a thought.

    Kind regards

    Mrs C
  4. eve67

    eve67 Registered User

    Jan 23, 2015
    I had something similar with my hubby forgetting recent events like his son's 40th birthday party, where he'd parked the car, forgetting to take his credit card out of the machine, recent holidays we've had etc. Made some notes and went to the dr with him. Dr was very good, said we should book a double apt with him asap. This we did, and dr gave hubby a memory test. Hubby failed memory test and from there an apt was made - there was a 12 week waiting time - to go to the memory clinic for another test where it was ascertained hubby had early stage alzheimers. He is now on what they call memory pills which help to calm him a bit. If I was you I would take your dad to the drs. It might not even be alzheimers as a lack of vitamin b12 can cause similar symptoms so your dad will prob have to have blood test and maybe brain scan as well.
    Hope this helps.
  5. Fred Flintstone

    Fred Flintstone Registered User

    Aug 28, 2014
    S. E. England

    This is Talking Point, the forum of the Alzheimer's Society. So we tend to make assumptions.

    Apart from possible dementia, your father may have a treatable condition which resembles it. One possibility is pseudo-dementia, which is a set of symptoms which shows up when an elderly person is suffering depression for the first time. Or perhaps a failing thyroid, possibly complicated by diabetes. Vitamin deficiencies, etc.

    I suggest the first thing you do is to ask his doctor for some blood tests to screen for some possible physical conditions, and perhaps a trial of an anti-depressant, such as Sertraline. It will take next to no clinical time/expense to do this, and would have to precede any referral to a memory clinic or equivalent in any case.

    If he can't get to his GP's surgery, s/he may well be prepared to authorize a visit by the District Nurse or one of the Practice nurses.

    Such non-dementia causes of dementia-like symptoms do sometimes occur, I'm not sure how often, but I believe the first thing they always do is to rule them out.

    Best wishes,
  6. melanie_g

    melanie_g Registered User

    Jun 8, 2015
    Thank you so much for your replies - how humbling to read these and I am sorry to hear that you all are oging through worrying times.

    Canary, I went about it the way you suggested and he took it very well actually! He seemed to be pleased more than anything that I'd taken the time to broach it with him. It's hard to know whether it it dementia or just severe distraction. He's seeing the doctor next week to talk about it.

    Mrs Christmas, thanks for your reply. If Dad hadn't agreed to talk with the doctor about it I would have definitely written to his GP - amazing that your mums GP got back to you so quickly. I hope that you get the diagnosis you are looking for so that you can start getting things sorted and have less worry.

    Eve67 and Fred - thanks for your comments too. IT's interesting becasue Dad is suffering with 'hot feet' at the moment and he has had his bloods done for diabetes (negative). He has a low platelet count which he will be discussing at the doctors next week so perhaps that will shed some light onto it. And you are quite right, maybe it isn't dementia. At least he's getting it checked so we can rule it out or get a diagnosis.

    It's a real life changer, isn't it. Thanks so much for your helpful replies, i'll let you know how he gets on! :)

    Best wishes,

  7. exhausted 2015

    exhausted 2015 Registered User

    Jul 5, 2015
    stoke on trent
    Hi Melanie I understand your concern I had similar with my dad he's 91 I spoke to his doctor and he agreed to come and see him and afterwards he had a private word with me and then agreed to refer him to the memory clinic once at the clinic they explained to dad that his doctor wanted him to have this little check up. They were vary good and dad does not know that I initially voiced my concerns
    Hope this helps
    Good luck xx

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