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Me Dad's just been diagnosed-what do I do?

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by PeterD, Apr 6, 2006.

  1. PeterD

    PeterD Registered User

    Apr 6, 2006
    2
    South Africa
    Hi,
    what a brilliant site and organisation thanks to everyone for the solidarity!

    Am working in South Africa and back home on Merseyside my 79 year old Dad was diagnosed yesterday.

    Still in shock and fighting back the tears all day..being 14000 KM away dosn't help. I think its the early stages (he can still order a pint, walk the shops, knows Liverpool footie inside out...but more forgetful, confused with money, talking about the past, getting old pics out etc).

    But now I am confused the doc says that the planned holiday to Spain shoould be 'sooner rather than later' -they were planning to go in July and that 'soon' he should not go out on his own as he is vulnerable. What does this suggest?

    Am petrified he won't remember me soon and have spent most of today crying into my computer (like now) which makes for a messy computer!
    How quick will he change, should I pack up and leave South Africa in the next month or two ? I have the perfect job and lifestyle here (I work in the non-profit sector with unemployed people) but my Dad, well, is my Dad! What do people think? Am so confused.

    Thnaks,

    Peter
     
  2. ElaineMaul

    ElaineMaul Registered User

    Jan 29, 2005
    333
    Hi {{{{{Peter}}}}}
    (Hope the hug helps a little?).
    My initial thoughts are that the doctors are being a little alarmist, although as Nada said, everyone is different in how the disease progresses.
    My father-in-law had a long slow decline over 5-6 years, only being really unaware of who we were during the last 12-18 months of his life.
    My own Dad was diagnosed almost 18 months ago and he is still able to go out in his local area (to stop him would be a form of abuse IMHO ..... but he does have a card on him at all times, with his bus pass, giving his address and phone number just in case). He does get flustered over unusual situations but anyone who doesn't really know him might not realise there's a problem.

    Do you have contact with another family member who can really tell you 'how it is'? Or any neighbours of your Dad perhaps?

    Take care.
    Elaine
     
  3. ElaineMaul

    ElaineMaul Registered User

    Jan 29, 2005
    333
    PS Tear-proof computers? What a brilliant idea! :)
     
  4. maria29al

    maria29al Registered User

    Mar 15, 2006
    426
    Warwickshire
    Hugs

    Hi
    Both my folks have AD. Its scary for those around them. I am planning to move TO Spain next year with my daughter...sounds harsh but you have to live your life. I feel so sorry for you being sofar away from your Dad. But stay strong, keep in touch with other, closer family members and I also think the comments seem very alarmist.

    Lots of hugs and best wishes.

    Marion
     
  5. Amy

    Amy Registered User

    Jan 4, 2006
    3,453
    Hiya Peter,
    Sorry to hear about your dad, it is a shock to begin with, but deep breaths, and stop and think. How long has your dad been exhibiting the signs of dementia that have caused him to go for an assessment? Days, weeks, years?
    Maybe the doctor is worried that dad out on his own may get lost, but if he is going familiar places then he may be OK. I suppose the doctor has to cover himself.
    Do you talk to your dad on the phone - can you judge from the conversations how he is? Having regular telephone contact will help you to gauge the situation.
    When were you next planning a visit home? Maybe a visit in the not too distant future would be a good idea, so you could take lots of happy photos, say those things to your dad that you need to say, and partly to reassure you that he is still your dad.
    Reading posts on here Peter, you will find that most peoples experience of dementia is a long slow decline.
    Hope you are feeling a bit calmer. Take care.
    Amy
     
  6. angelaby

    angelaby Registered User

    Apr 5, 2006
    13
    manchester
    Peter in South Africa

    My mum has been recently diagnosed with alzheimers.Many years ago she said to me that if she ever got like that i should shoot her but the reality is that she feels great and when the doctor at the memory clinic told her what she was suffering from as she had had many tests-her response was-thank god i thought i was losing my mind.I now do everything for her and it is like looking after an 80 year old child.She trusts everyone and enjoys every thing i do with her.I am taking her to Malta in May as her doctor said do it sooner than later and i have persuaded my son to come with us but my mum doesn't know yet and thinks we are going on our own .To be honest part of me is dreading it and i can only pray that it will go well.Good luck for your hol with your dad.
     
  7. rummy

    rummy Registered User

    Jul 15, 2005
    700
    Oklahoma,USA
    Hi Peter,
    Was your Dad put on any medication? We found it really slowed the progress of my Mom's decline. (Aricept and Namenda) She is in the advanced stage now and we figure she has had it for 9 years or so. She still knows me and my brother but gets other relations mixed up.
    If your Dad is in early stage, I don't think he will forget you any time soon but Ad does effect everyone differently.
    You have come to a good forum for support. The people here are like family and so wonderful.
    Take care,
    Debbie
     
  8. PeterD

    PeterD Registered User

    Apr 6, 2006
    2
    South Africa
    Thanks for the responses

    Friends,

    thank you so much for the all the messages of support and hugs!

    To respond, yes they have put him on medication to slow it down. He joked about Mike Baldwin on Coronation Street saying 'the Dr didn't say I have that did she?' To which my Mum replied (words to the effect of, 'no don't be daft your memory is just not as good as it use to be'...so she has made the decision not to tell him, its her partner of 56 years so we have to respect her wishes.

    It seems the key is to get him out more and interacting socially so we are working on that now. My best mates Mum has had it for 6 years (getting it at 59) so he has been very supportive as have other mates who ring me all the time anyway and now I have all of you and you have me!

    Thanks once again.

    Peter
     
  9. Shakey1961a

    Shakey1961a Registered User

    Nov 7, 2004
    111
    Southport
    #9 Shakey1961a, Apr 7, 2006
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2006
    Peter, the first thing I'd say is to try and calm down. You dad has only just been diagnosed with it and, without wanting to sound harsh, he's not going to drop down dead tomorrow just cos he's been diagnosed with Alzheimers.

    He might drop down some of those big holes in Liverpool they're doing at the moment though!!! (I live in Southport btw!)

    My mother started with her problems about 10 years ago. While she is now in a nursing home, has difficulty talking she still recognises me and gives me a kiss, and she seriously eats more than I do. She's go an appitite like a horse, and for a lady who's 4ft 10 and about 7 stone she does very well.

    I also think the docs can be a bit overdramatic. They have your dads best intrests at heart and it probably would be a good idea for him to be accompanied when out just in case he has a mental block and can't remember where he is for a second or two.

    It's like a birthday one day you're 39 then at midnight you become 40. The dreaded 40!!!! But your body has not suddenly packed up in the space of a few seconds before midnight and a few after.

    You dad is lucky in that they're putting him on medication and that will slow it down, Mum wasn't that lucky and it made her sick, BUT she's still able to laugh and giggle.

    At least the docs know about it now and can keep an eye on it.

    By all means come back, but you don't have to drop everything immediately and come back.

    The shock factor is worse to you than your dad having early Alzheimers.

    Hope you feel better.
     
  10. May

    May Registered User

    Oct 15, 2005
    627
    Yorkshire
    Hi Peter & Welcome
    Sorry to hear about your Dad, it is a shock when you get a diagnosis. DON'T pack up and leave your life in South Africa just yet......what does a flight take, 12 hours from Cape Town ( don't know where you are in SA)? So if need be you can be home inside a day. Shakey got it right when he said,


    Come home for a visit if it would set your mind at rest, you can maybe help Mum & Dad organise as much help as possible at an early stage. As Nada said everyone's journey with this d....d disease is different.
    My advice would be try and deal with the practicalities of now, one day at a time. But one thing I would recommend sooner rather than later is getting enduring power of attorney sorted, I've attached a link to the government website for info and there is an excellent thread somewhere on the boards here, (can't find it at the moment) lots of discussion recently on this.

    http://www.guardianship.gov.uk/theservice/enduringpower.htm

    Hope your keyboard's not rusted, :eek: come back and post to tell us how things are. Take care.
     
  11. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    5,379
    NW England
    Hi Peter!

    Peter, I am so glad you have found TP - and hope it makes you realise the world really is shrinking! You are not as far away from Anfield as you might think (Ouch! hurt me to even type that as a 'different' Red!!!:D )

    One thing I was 'taught' as a parent some years ago was the premise 'roots and wings' - and the importance of giving children both.

    Sounds like that is exactly what your dad has done for you - and why your initial reaction was 'back to roots'. Dare I ask if dad has been proud of your work and lifestyle and how you have 'spread your wings' to be where you are and doing what you are doing?

    How, then, might he see your return, if that's what you felt you had to do? For his sake, and yours?

    Soz. Not prying or even expecting answers. Just know it's hard to think rationally at times like this and hope by turning a question 'on its head' (i.e. looking at it from your dad's or someone else's perspective, not yours) might help you.

    If it's any consolation, I am 5 mins drive from my mum and have panicked about giving up job/moving house etc etc (how pathetic compared to you?!). This is tough, tough stuff. Go easy on yourself. It must be hard. But you have lots of support here!

    Love, Tender Face, x
     
  12. Kriss

    Kriss Registered User

    May 20, 2004
    513
    Shropshire
    Hello Peter

    as others have already said, everyone is different and there is no way of knowing what lies around the corner. The same applies to you and me. Having lost Dad following a relatively short period (2 years) of him being diagnosed (his heart let him down) and now watching his sister with the same symptoms on the memory side, I am constantly reminding myself of the philosophy "I could be run over by a bus tomorrow".

    Your Dad wouldn't want you to chuck everything away for his sake but then again you may be left struggling with the worries of the what-if syndrome if you don't. Somewhere in between there will be the right level for you, take deep breathes and keep standing back whenever you are tempted to act on impulse. Your Mum is going to need you more than your Dad strange though it may sound just now.

    For the last 5 years of Dad's life I knew our time together was limited and as much as the repeat stories could get very wearing I used to savour them. The stories of watching Billy Liddell from the Kop in the 50's are ingrained in my mind forever (unless this ruddy disease gets hold of me)! If your Dad starts to struggle with the short term stuff then try switching to the olden but golden era it might give him the opportunity to feel in control of something.

    Good Luck
    Kriss
     

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