1. RebeccaB

    RebeccaB Registered User

    Nov 21, 2006
    #1 RebeccaB, Nov 21, 2006
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2006
    I am at the beginning of what feels like it could be a long journey (though of course I don't know for sure how long).
    My Father is seventy and recently his behaviour has worsened. He has always been a difficult person but now his memory is getting very bad, he can be vague, irrational and aggressive, he also seems to have the beginnings of some paranoia.
    A CT scan of his brain has shown some ventricular dilation which we were told could be the forerunner of some form of dementia. His behavioural changes would certainly suggest something in this direction unfortunately.
    His unreasonable and aggressive behaviour in particular has meant that my Mother was sadly forced to leave six months ago (after thirty-five years of marriage) as he had become impossible to live with and was physically violent towards her aswell as being constantly negative and insulting. She had to call the Police on the occasion that she finally left due to physical assault. They also confiscated his shotguns and license as he had begun to get paranoid about burglars and had them out in the house instead of locked in a cabinet. I do not blame my Mother atall for this decision, as she had no absolutely no quality of life whilst still living with him and the situation was beginning to make her physically ill. We did not know catagorically then that his behaviour was due to mental illness/dementia and he has still not had a diagnosis yet, but has been referred to a neuro-psychiatrist, so a possible more certain diagnosis is imminent.

    Now that my Mum has left (and has bought herself a house to live in alone) he is alone and it feels like the caring for him has fallen to myself and my sister. I don't mind too much but I have a great mixture of feelings at the moment, sadness, anxiety, anger, etc. I am twenty-nine and also have issues in my own life to deal with.
    Myself and my sister live on opposite sides of London and my Father lives in the West Midlands, so it is a difficult situation.

    I am sorry this post is so long, but I have really needed to get some of this off my chest, it's feeling quite heavy at the moment.

    I am most grateful to anyone who reads this far!

  2. mel

    mel Registered User

    Apr 30, 2006
    Hi Rebecca
    Welcome to TP ....you'll find it a lifeline and get so much good advice.
    Has your GP refferred your father to Social Services/mental Health team.?
    Is your GP aware of the aggression? I'm having problems with my mum (she moved in with us in April) and aggression/paranoia/hallucinations for which she has been prescibed a drug which calms her .
    I'm sure you'll get a lot more replies soon!
    I understand completely the "heavy heart" feeling.....you're not alone...
    love xx
  3. Norman

    Norman Registered User

    Oct 9, 2003
    Birmingham Hades
    Hi Rebecca
    welcome to this TP family,I am sure you will find lots of support here.
    You need to know the results of the consultants findings and then what help is available.
    Come back when you know the diagnosis if you need more advice
  4. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Hello Rebecca. I`m so sorry you have so much worry at such a young age. You probably also have divided loyalties to both your parents.

    The agressive behaviour is so disturbing, yet if your father does have dementia, in whatever form, if he has some suspicion, he will be trying to fight it and will probably be very frightened too.

    Try to get whatever help you can from Social Services. I know this will depend on how much your dad will accept, but if he is on his own and because you live so far away, he just might accept more help than you expect.

    You can only try.

    All the best. Sylvia
  5. RebeccaB

    RebeccaB Registered User

    Nov 21, 2006
    Many thanks to all of you for taking time to read my situation and for your kind replies.

    It certainly seems like a friendly and supportive forum with plenty of valuable information.

    I am sure I shall be back soon once my Father has been assessed more thoroughly and perhaps receives a diagnosis.

    Best wishes to you all,

  6. Nell

    Nell Registered User

    Aug 9, 2005
    Dear Rebecca,
    My heart goes out to you (and your sister) - this is such a dreadful disease, isn't it? Once you have a diagnosis, I urge you to be assertive in getting ALL the help to which you are entitled. It will be in your Dad's best interests as well as your own. You will know from reading the forum that it can sometimes be quite difficult to access help in certain areas / or from some services. You may need to take the "squeaky wheel" approach! ("The squeaky wheel gets the most oil.")
    I hope the diagnosis will allow you to access the most apprpriate services for your Dad and that you don't have to work too hard to get them in place. Thinking of you. Nell
  7. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    NW England
    Dear Rebecca

    Whilst I agree a diagnosis (as definitive as it ever can be) may open some doors I would urge you not to wait ... start banging on doors NOW - for your own sake as well as your dad's, mum's and sister's and anyone else affected....

    Only today my 'boss' said 'Oh, I didn't realise you had a diagnosis now....' (like she thought I was making everything up the last ten months when I've needed some flexibility in working hours????)

    I personally cannot speak highly enough of the help I have had from ‘Age Concern’ (and there are probably lots of other organisations nationwide where you should be able to access help ‘remotely’).

    I’m very local to my mum - but that doesn’t mean I don’t have my own life and other issues to deal with aside from her dementia …. part of my problem is recognising and addressing that too without that ‘mixture‘ of resentment, anger, sadness, desperation… etc etc

    Just to say, you have my every empathy and sympathy … keep posting ….

    Love, Karen (TF), x

    PS: Think Nell’s ‘squeaky wheel’ is brilliant advice - poaching that for myself!!!!!
  8. RebeccaB

    RebeccaB Registered User

    Nov 21, 2006
    #8 RebeccaB, Nov 23, 2006
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2006
    I am genuinely touched by your kindness and sound advice. What you said makes sense Tenderface and and Nell. I know a diagnosis is not necessarily going to be the be all and end all, but today I secured an assessment for my Dad with a neuro-psychiatrist which he has agreed to go to in a couple of days time and even that feels like a relief, like someone else can take him on board and see what's what even for a short time.
    I am really hoping that might be the beginning of him (and us!) getting some proper help and support. I am just (irrationally) scared now that they'll somehow say there's nothing wrong with him, because he does still have periods of lucidity and I know when he goes to the appointment that he's going to try and be on his 'best behaviour' to 'prove us wrong' (he said he resents the fact that my sister and I are "trying to suggest he's barmy".....but we are NOT making anything up or exaggerating ~ he can seriously be like two different people. He can give an impression of being charming and just endearingly eccentric one minute and then aggressive, irrational, rude and paranoid the next. This is why my Mum was finally forced to leave, he had become IMPOSSIBLE to live with and very negative, rude and physically aggressive towards her quite often. Over quite a long period of time it was really beginning to break her spirit and make her ill. I am glad she found the courage to leave.

    All I can trust in now is that a good psychiatrist has ways of assessing what's going on with someone (even if they are trying to give a 'good impression' or cover things up) and that the results of the CT scan done on his head a year ago are taken into account (showing some areas of lucency in different parts of his brain and some ventricular dilation) and advice that he should also have an MRI scan will prompt some action.

    Almost a year ago I was a passenger in a car he was driving and said at that point that his driving was so fast and erratic that I would refuse to go in any vehicle he was driving ever again (and I haven't) I don't think he should be driving, it makes me feel anxious, it really seems like an accident waiting to happen.

    Thank you again for listening. It is very valuable to feel I don't just have to carry these things around with me all the time and there is some respite.

  9. Cate

    Cate Registered User

    Jul 2, 2006
    Newport, Gwent
    Hi Rebecca

    Welcome to TP. You have found the right place for advice and support, even on those days where you feel like a good old rant of frustration, always someone to listen and support.

    I agree 100% with Karen, you really should start banging on doors now, he who shouts loudest gets the action, over the weeks and months to come, you will become an expert in doing this, I think those of us who have a loved one with this awful disease have all been there to some degree on this one.

    How sad that your parents have ended up apart, but all power to your mum for taking the right action for herself.

    It would be helpful to prepare for your dads appointment by writing down all the problems and difficulties, and changes in behaviour your dads has experienced. If you dont feel able to discuss your 'list' in front of him at the appointment, send it to the doctor who the appointment is with ahead of the appointment. You also have to put your faith in the professionals, my mum can sound quite plausable, but thank goodness the professsionals see right through this act.

    I suspect that your dads anger and aggression in some part, maybe due to the fact that at some level he is aware of the changes taking place and is frightened (in no way though does this excuse his behaviour, violence is violence). Thank goodness his shortgun certificate and guns have been removed, however if he was an active field sports person this must have been difficult for him. With regard his driving, I would include this in your 'list' of worries with the Consultant, and seek his/her advice on this one.

    Keep posting for support Rebecca, and good luck with your first appointment.
  10. tubbie

    tubbie Registered User

    Nov 1, 2006
    Hi Rebecca

    I read your story with amazement, it is so similar to my own. My Dad is also 70, has a troubled past and 4 years ago, after 39 years of marriage, my Mum left him. Since then he has had bouts of paranoia and been very aggressive (but not violent) towards us. The turning point for us, when we realised we had to step in, was when he got pulled over for dangerous driving. As he had just turned 70 but not renewed his licence he hasn't driven since (thank God, he was a real danger on the roads). He is now alone in the world and my sister and I care for him from a distance of about 14 miles each. I have battled non stop with a whole barrage of emotions regarding my Dad, ranging from anger and resentment to compassion and understanding.

    My Dad can also be quite lucid one minute and then away with the fairies the next and from what I have learned to date this is very common. I know exactly what you mean about being worried he'll be on his best behaviour when he goes to the doctor, it is nerve wracking wondering if you've imagined the whole thing! My Dad has seen a lot of doctors since March but he hasn't convinced a single one of them he *hasn't* got a problem.

    There is a silver lining to our story however which is that Dad is now, for the most part, as tame as a kitten and a whole lot nicer to be with. I believe this is for two reasons, number 1 he's on anti-depressants for the first time in his life which he takes willingly because he doesn't know what they are and nubmer 2, Alzheimer's has caused him to revert to a child like state.

    I sincerely hope that you are also able to salvage something good out of all this trauma. In the meantime I wish you all the strength and courage and stamina in the world.

    tubbie x
  11. RebeccaB

    RebeccaB Registered User

    Nov 21, 2006
    Dear Cate and Tubbie,

    Thank you very much for taking time to write. It is so helpful to hear of your experiences (although sad that you have this situation to deal with). Thank you Cate for giving me some things to think about ~ I am trying my hardest to be compassionate towards my Dad and have considered that he must be quite scared and, as you said, aware on some level that changes are occurring. Although some of his behaviour has been terrible, I really try to remember how lonely and scared he must be feeling now and it does break my heart. I do love him and want him to be as happy and comfortable as possible.

    Gosh, Tubbie it does sound like aspects of the situation with your Dad is very similar. I must say, if my Father could somehow be challenged about his driving (and hopefully, though unfortunately for him, stopped from driving altogether) it would be a great relief. In amongst the other upsetting aspects is the fact that I feel it could be quite possible that I'll receive a phonecall any time saying that he's had an accident with his car ~ that alone feels heavy to carry about at the moment.

    My Dad had his appointment with the neuro-psychiatrist today and it sounds like it went quite well. I didn't go with him (or even offer to in the end) as my Dad was a bit reluctant as it was and I think the idea of me 'interfering' would have made him more resistant, so I took a step back.
    Anyway, my Dad said he liked the chap, which is something of a good sign as he has become very suspicious of Doctors and doesn't seem to trust most of them, so if he had some trust in this consultant that is somewhat encouraging. They have referred him for an MRI (of the brain) in January. The consultant will also present a report of the assessment/consultation and hopefully myself and my sister might get some feedback from that as we did approach the consultant with some of our concerns before the appointment, so he may let us know some of his thoughts on the situation now he's seen my Dad.

    We'll have to see.

    Thank you again for listening.

    Although I find him very difficult I feel a bit sad and sorry for my Dad tonight, but better for talking about it and think we are moving in the right direction.

    Best wishes to you all,

  12. RebeccaB

    RebeccaB Registered User

    Nov 21, 2006
    Hello, Me again.....just a quick update as I feel a bit mentally weary myself today and haven't got all the energy required to go into detail.

    The Psychiatrist rang me on Friday to give me a bit of feedback from his appointment with my Dad and, it seemed, to ask me the truth (or otherwise) of some of the statements and claims my Dad made to him during the appointment.

    Even for a top consultant he said to me that the appointment with my Dad was: "a difficult hour to spend" which (perhaps perversely) makes me feel a bit better(!) i.e. that it is not just me not coping with my Dad's behaviour or finding him difficult because I am emotionally close to him and the situation; he is genuinely a difficult person who talks and talks at you in rambling and tangental ways and makes exaggerated as well as wholly untrue statements and claims.
    He also said that he felt some underlying hostility from my Dad towards him (and the medical profession in general) because he was a doctor and also because he was Irish and my Dad's various prejudices are another thing that have become more magnified in the last few years (which can be quite embarassing on occasions when he has made some public, very indescreet comments about people of different races, etc.)

    Anyway, the general upshot at the moment seems to be that it has been suggested he has an MRI scan of his brain in January to pinpoint any specific deterioriation of the brain. In the meantime his behaviour continues to worsen and he is harrassing my Mother who now lives in a house alone. He has rung her a lot and turned up on her doorstep ringing the doorbell and shouting through the letterbox on a few occasions.

    I am dreading Christmas and it is my 30th Birthday on 21st December and I know it is going to be a non-event, so that is quite depressing because a few months ago I had big ideas for a party and now they've all fallen by the wayside and I haven't got the inclination or money to do anything about it. :(

    I am sure it will be fine, I suppose I am just having an 'off' day.

    I am trying my hardest to keep my own life full and positive. The current situation can just feel like quite a strain sometimes and when I feel negative it just feels like it is likely to get worse.

    There was me saying I'd be brief!

    Thank you anyone for listening.

  13. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    Dear Rebecca,

    Your post definitely hit a spot with me. I think it's an entirely reasonable response to feel relieved that someone else (a professional yet!) has seen in your father the things that you see. Having gone through this one of my children (he's ill, he's not ill, it's psychosomatic, we don't know what it is but we can't treat it, to finally, it's this and this is how we're going to treat it) I know how much of a relief it is to finally get someone else to see what one sees.

    I can also, unfortunately, relate to the prejudices coming to the fore, or at least speaking patterns that had been buried. My mother has spent a lifetime judging people by their actions rather than their skin colour or nationalities, but suddenly things have reverted to the patterns of her childhood. It can be mortifying, not just for me, but also I know she'd be very upset if she realized what she was doing. Oh well.

  14. RebeccaB

    RebeccaB Registered User

    Nov 21, 2006
    Thank you Jennifer.

    Anther thing I'm thinking just now is that it's all very well the psychiatrist saying my Dad will have an MRI scan in January, but how are we supposed to cope with his behaviour in the meantime?
    I know it's not too far away, but on a day-to-day basis I still don't feel like we've got much support and that his behaviour is too much to expect us (myself and my sister ~ and my Mum, even though she has left and now lives on her own, trying to have some peace and quality of life) to deal with alone.

    What else can I do? He wouldn't go to see his GP or the consultant psychiatrist at his local (older person's) mental health team, so it is difficult for them to intervene.
    In cases like this apparently the local psychiatrist will usually make a visit to the patient's house, but according to my Dad's GP the psychiatrist refuses to in this case because of the mention of my Dad's violent behaviour. Which I find a bit pathetic (sorry, but I am a bit angry) on the psychisatrist's part ~ as if he's saying "I won't go and see him, he's mad" Then what is his job for goodess sake??

    Why does it have to get desperate and/or dangerous before they'll help?

    I think I must follow the advice I was given by a member here and start doing some more 'knocking on doors' to get him (and us) some more immediate help.

  15. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    Or, in fact afterwards. Even with an MRI, even with a definitive diagnosis, you're going to be in much the same situation as you are now, so you have to start the knocking on doors bit now (but you already know this).

    I don't know about pathetic - it would make my blood boil. Too dangerous for the psychiatrist to deal with, but not too dangerous for his family to cope with? That makes for inspiring reading. :mad:

    If he's going round to your mother's place and banging on doors, he's already, IMHO, reached the point where danger is an appropriate word to use. I realise it's easy for someone on the outside to say this, but really, when he does this your mother should call the police. Hard to do, I know, but it's what I would do if it was a neighbour experiencing this kind of harassment. Let's face it, this isn't a temporary abberation - he's not going to get "better" whatever the diagnosis is, nor is this behaviour under his control. It's not his fault, but it doesn't change the situation. Have you contacted social services yet? Have you told them that the psychiatrist refuses to visit because of your father's reported violence? I really think you're going to have to lay it on with a trowel.


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