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My dad has Alzheimer's but I'm 18 and at Uni 100+ miles away

Discussion in 'Younger people with dementia and their carers' started by katiemae, Feb 10, 2017.

  1. katiemae

    katiemae Registered User

    Feb 10, 2017
    So I just found out that my dad has Alzheimer's and kept it to himself for a while, possibly a pride thing because he's done it before with Diabetes and other things. However, I'm currently just over 100 miles away at university and can't go home regularly because I don't drive and the train is a lot of money. He lives on his own and my sister (his other daughter) lives in Sweden so she can't look after him either. He has very few to no friends due to his attitude towards people (which has made even some his family not want anything to do with him including me at times) and he has pushed people away. I'm going to see him next time I'm home as I want to patch things up with him after not talking in 4 months. I'm only 18 and can barely support myself and don't know anyone else going through the same thing as my dad is 60 and had me in his 40's so anyone else I know who's parents have Alzheimer's are people older than me (including my stepdad who's mum is in a care home for Alzheimer's). Is anyone else here in a similar situation to me and have any advice?
  2. BR_ANA

    BR_ANA Registered User

    Jun 27, 2012
    Hi and welcome to TP.

    One idea for contact your dad could be Skype or FaceTime. So you can see each other.

    There are some young people here.

    And I've read somewhere about young careers.

    Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point
  3. jugglingmum

    jugglingmum Registered User

    Jan 5, 2014
    I can't help much, but just to say my dad was 48 when I was born, and it was very odd having an old dad when I was a child.

    I think you probably should access the counselling available at the uni, I suspect you need a bit of support, there is nothing wrong in seeking this sort of help.

    It doesn't make it any easier but some of your dad's awkward behaviour to others may have been early dementia signs.

    Please don't let the Guilt Monster get to you, or take anything on you can't cope with.

    Trying to make up with him sounds good, but don't expect too much and remember it is the illness.
  4. Amlama88

    Amlama88 Registered User

    Feb 13, 2017
    Sounds difficult


    This sounds like a really difficult situation and i imagine its even harder when you don't have anyone in particular that you can rely on to coordinate any care your dad might need. I'm 28 and my dad got diagnosed about 2 years ago. It is hard as i don't really feel any of my mates understand how difficult it is even though they try their best and i think it is mainly because people dont expect your parents to have something like alzheimer's before the age of 65.

    Have you contacted your dads local social care team to see what kind of support other peoplein similar situations are entitiled to? Then you know what you may need in future?

    Take care

  5. Oh Knickers

    Oh Knickers Registered User

    Nov 19, 2016
    #5 Oh Knickers, Feb 14, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2017
    Hi Katiemae,

    Bless you, it sounds a tough old situation. May I suggest, and it a big suggest, that you concentrate on your degree? Put all your energy into your degree. There was a lovely suggestion by another poster to use Skype.

    On more practical terms there are organisations you can contact and offload to in addition to your University Counselling Service. However, it is important your plug into your Uni counselling. They may very well be able to facilitate you with some fo the calls you needs to make.

    Admiral Nurses has an excellent helpline.

    Alzheimers Society also has excellent helplines and have local offices. Contact the one nearest your Dad. Alzheimers Soc have good knowledge of how things work locally and will be able to advise you and, maybe, help you have things put in place.

    Hand things over to your father's GP. You have more than enough on our plate. There is, by the sounds of it, going to be a crisis. But maybe, to get the help your father needs (doesn't want - but needs), that is what has to happen.

    I cannot imagine that any of the organisations would expect you to be coping with this as well as coping with your degree. You sound a very lovely daughter. And, currently, totally overstretched. Give these other organisations a chance to give you the support you need. Allow them to shoulder the care your Dad needs but doesn't want. I would assume your Dad would prefer you to put your effort into doing well in your degree above all things.

    Finally, one of the hardest things to learn is that, whilst you may want to help your Dad, he is also at liberty to totally refuse. All you can do, and it is a big learning curve, is learn how to take care of yourself. Get yourself the support you need and that will help you to manage whatever comes down the line.

    Please keep posting on Talking Point and update on how things are going for you.
  6. katiemae

    katiemae Registered User

    Feb 10, 2017
    Thank you for all the support and advice guys, I'm gonna visit him soon and talk to him about what his GP has told him about what needs to be done. I'm also gonna get support from my uni and see a councillor here to see how they can help with the stress
  7. Amlama88

    Amlama88 Registered User

    Feb 13, 2017
    Good idea. I'm going to seek counselling support from work too. Take care x
  8. Oh Knickers

    Oh Knickers Registered User

    Nov 19, 2016
    Good, we!l done! :) And keep posting.
  9. kitkat

    kitkat Registered User

    Mar 14, 2012
    East Devon
    My dad had Alzhiemers

    Hey Katiemae,

    My Dad was diagnosed with Alzheimers aged 46, and I was only 13 at the time. He passed away 5 years later, when I was 18. My grandma was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia 3 months after my dad passed and she is currently in a dementia specific care home. I am now 22 and currently at University in my second year. University is difficult without any added pressures and stress let alone what you're also trying to deal with outside of uni. I agree with other comments, you need to focus on you and your degree, but there is always that guilt you feel for not going home to visit and check up on everything. I am unable to go home regularly to visit my grandma as like you, its too expensive on the train for me.... the joys of being a student!
    Uni counselling does tend to be quite good though, and if you don't enjoy that or it doesn't go as well as you'd hoped you should be able to get therapy/ counselling through your GP at uni. I know a friend who has gone through her GP and they have been really helpful with a lot of things.
    Also at my sisters Uni, there are a lot of bursaries that she was entitled to due to our home situation, it might be worth you looking into what bursaries your uni offers as a bit of extra support with funding at uni would take a lot of pressures off you!
    I struggled for a long time trying to make sure everyone else was okay, and supporting my family, that i sometimes forgot to think about me sometimes, and I've discovered recently how important and healthy it is to just focus on you sometimes and just take a bit of a breather from life every now and again.

    Although my situation is quite different to yours, I'm here if you ever want to have a chat about anything and everything!

    Please don't hesitate to ask me any questions!

    <3 xxx

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