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Dramatic change in Dad's behaviour

Discussion in 'Younger people with dementia and their carers' started by MJFinch, Jul 7, 2015.

  1. MJFinch

    MJFinch Registered User

    Nov 6, 2014
    2
    Hi all

    I have considered posting on here several times before but never really had anything specific to say. I still don't really, but with things taking a little bit of a turn this last month or so, I just wanted to talk.

    My dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer's at the age of 53, he is now 62. For a long time I would always say to people that he was 'steady', and it was just mainly a gradual decline in his memory, but in the last 12 months, he is now struggling more in communicating and find the right words to explain himself, with daily tasks like dressing and showering and

    And all of a sudden, in the last 2 months, his behaviour has started to change dramatically. He started going to Cognitive Stimulation therapy at about that time and although it is meant to help him, I'm not sure if it is having the opposite effect. He seems very sceptical of our motives for taking him there, sometimes refusing to go to 'that place' and sometimes returning in a foul mood.

    Whenever my mum takes him out of the house anywhere, he seems to think he is being taken there and a dark mood comes over on him which has meant they have had to come home from shopping trips etc.

    He is also seeing things that aren't there, in particular he complains of 'all these people here' (which we think is a reference to the people at the CST) and has bolted out of a shop because he thinks has been his mum or gran.

    He has become very fearful and paranoid, has tried to leave the house or thinks that my mum is going to leave him.

    I think he is very aware of the fact that he is not well (says he doesn't want to be like this) and becomes very easily upset if we talk about his condition with him. He is a lot more emotional than he ever used to be and just as equally as the bad moods, he is a lot more apologetic and affectionate with my mum, almost knowing he has been difficult.

    He has always been a quiet man, which makes it even harder to communicate with him now. It might be just my perception, but most other sufferers I have come across seem really chatty and outgoing and I think we would cope with that easier even if it was nonsensical just to know that he is content, rather than the mostly one-way awkward conversations we have.

    He never used to have many hobbies either so it is a struggle to keep him entertained, even more so now because I fear that if he is left too long to think about things then his mood could change.

    Amongst all of this though I still cling on to the brief moments when he chips in with a comment or a joke, especially when I think he's not following a conversation, or his smiling and whistling when listening to his favourite 60s songs.

    I am under no illusions that overall he will get worse, but I am surprised at how quickly this behaviour has come over him, although I have read that the high heat could be a factor, so I am hopeful it will calm down soon.

    Like most people, I am also worried about the effect this is all having on my mum who is his main carer. She's not one to talk about emotions and I'm sure she is bottling a lot of it up and trying to put a brave face on it, although this week has brought it out a little.

    I know there is general advice out there for changes in behaviour but any specific help would be welcome.
     
  2. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    10,566
    Female
    South coast
    Hi MJFinch and welcome to TP

    Its a bit complicated because the cog stimulation therapy is involved, but TBH I am wondering if its a red herring

    All the things you describe - difficulty with finding words, problems with dressing and personal care, extreme mood swings, delusions, suspiciousness and paranoia are all common in mid-stage dementia. My mum has Alzheimers and it was only when she reached this stage that I realised that there was something wrong as before that she just seemed a bit forgetful. Within 3 months she had reached the stage of not being able to care for herself. It seemed like every day there was something new.

    It may have nothing to do with the therapy, but if he does not like going and it doesnt seem to be helping, does he have to go?
     
  3. MJFinch

    MJFinch Registered User

    Nov 6, 2014
    2
    Thanks canary

    I don't suppose we have to go, we just thought it might be good for him, if only to get him out the house and meet new people and do some new activities. He always says he's bored at home and it would give my mum a break for an hour or two.

    He has actually said he has enjoyed one or two of the sessions.

    I'm not 100% convinced that this is what is causing it, or whether we have just reached that next stage, but we're willing to persist with it as we are over half way through
     
  4. CHEZA27

    CHEZA27 Registered User

    Jan 8, 2015
    29
    I can really sympathise with you as my mum acts exactly the same way. Her decline was very quick, over the last 6 months my brother and I noticed that her cognitive behavior was getting worse and they've since stopped mums meds as they said it's having no affect on her. Mum gets very agitated and frustrated if we go out somewhere, she thinks that we are all trying to kill her. She's said to me several times that everyone wants to hurt her. We used to take mum out loads but it's proving to be difficult now as I can't fit see what she's going to do. It's really tough but like you said you know that it's part of the decline and I suppose we just have to adapt. Personally I would reconsider whether the classes are having a positive effect or not, of you think not then it maybe a case of knocking them on the head.

    Good luck and keep your chin up

    Chez xx
     

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