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My Dad is my child


Registered User
Sep 16, 2005
I wanted to post here to mention how I've noticed a child's relationship with their parent changes in what can feel very strange ways when that parent has dementia and thus why such horrible misunderstandings such as what happen to Shakey Steve can happen.

At first when Dad started to need really high care, I kept getting confused because I'd find myself thinking things like 'my poor baby' and these days I hug him and kiss him (on the cheek) and rub his back a lot, things that if he were my 'Dad' Dad I'd never do (I mean a quick hug here and there, and a kiss on holidays was how we were before). In other words I have found myself treating him like I would if I had a small sick child.

Even though I have recognised this, I still find myself in mid-hug sometimes thinking this is weird, but its like a natural instinct to protect and care that comes out and it does appear to be what he needs.

There has been a whole role reversal and I'm not going to even go into the shock to the system when you see your father's private parts, something you never imagined you would have to do! :eek:

Has anyone else found this is how they felt? I'm also thinking that perhaps this sensation is more shocking to those of us who are younger, still feel like a child, and haven't had our own children yet, to recognise the feeling immediately??


Registered User
Nov 2, 2004
I totally understand what you mean, i recently had to take mum (with dad) to the hospital for an eye test, (she is blind in one eye and only has 12% vision in the other) how she manages to look after dad at home still is amazing....

anyhow, while we were at the hospital, mum was in seeing the specialist and dad came out with 'i need the loo', bless him he babbles most of the time and ony the odd word comes out when he's feeling very frustrated or annoyed. He's been wearing pads for what seems like an eternity now but he was having a moment of being 'here with us' and how could i not take him to the loo as he was requesting? a simple request........... i'm a support worker for people with learning disabilities so taking him to the toilet wasn't a problem............. nothing i haven't seen before...... i also have two children so i know what to do, BUT pulling your fathers underclothes down for the first time and trying to keep his dignaty in front of me his daughter (remembering that he hasn't really known who i am for aslo what feels like a lifetime, but is having that all important 'being here' moment) was very tricky, more for me than him i guess, or was it? We managed it with no problems, i put my professional head on.

We never know as to how much people with AD knows inside but have bodies that just won't work any more. Somehow i like to think that my dad is there inside and still knows me and mum but then i think 'oh my god' i hope he doesn't know a thing because it will be like he's trapped inside a cell and that would be just awful. I would love to trade places with him sometimes just to understand exactly what life is like for him.

We all do what comes naturally to us, care and nurture for those who we love arround us, none of us like to see a loved one suffer in any way and yes life turns round..... we the children turn into the parental role our parents once did for us.

Take care everyone


Registered User
Sep 16, 2005
Going to the loo


I think you are right that they might still be in there, at least sometimes, I do know that Dad used to get quite frantic about going to the loo and on a couple of occasions I had to take him, but then he would get quite angry with me, I suspect because he felt embarassed.

The other day I had to help out at the home as there was no one else available and this time I only had to help out, keeping him still. I found that by telling him to keep looking at my eyes and pointing out that they were not looking down, he didn't get angry this time and I appeared to be a comfort rather than making the experience something he was ashamed of. Nice to bring some comfort sometimes.


Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
small consolation, but in what you are doing, you are experiencing the closest relationship with your Dad that it is possible to have, barring being married to him [and in some people's circumstances your relationship is closer than that].

This is not something we would have chosen to do, nor would they have expected us to have to do it, but where their need is so great, in a way it is a sort of weird privilege to help them in their time of greatest need.

Funny old thing is life.

Nutty Nan

Registered User
Nov 2, 2003
What is reality?

Personal care is one of the trickiest things, and it is not easy to help someone in the bathroom, however close the relationship (or perhaps the 'closeness' is the very problem?).
On many occasions after helping my husband, he later refers to 'that lovely lady who helped me earlier - she didn't even charge me!'. I know he doesn't always recognise me, but I suspect some of this warped reality might be a bit selective .....


Registered User
Oct 9, 2003
Birmingham Hades
He is in there be patient and they appear from time to time.
These are the times when we wonder is there anything wrong?Is it all a big mistake,a wrong diagnosis.
I find that the caring between Husband and wife becomes similar to when we looked after the kids.
The difference is not to "tell" your partner what to do but rather suggest what to do.
The difference of course with many happily married couples is that they have no embarrasment with bathing,dressing etc,they have been through intimate situations many times before this horrible illness arrived.
I too can understand the" poor baby feeling" the passionate love has gone now for us but in it's place ithe deep,caring enduring love and the strong protective feelings have taken over.
Norman :)
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Registered User
Aug 10, 2004
Dear Nat, I care for my mum in law and we never used to get on at all we just tolerated each other.I have been caring for her 24/7 for the past 3yrs and slowly over time iam glad to say i love her plus i understand more now why she used to be the way she was,i like to think that she understands she is safe and loved i think she does because she is a lot more loving and she accepts loving gestures of stroking her hand etc were she would never let you near her even to her own sons she showed no outward emotion.I find that caring is easier now we are in the last stages and yes i do tend to be protective of her like you are with your children and ifeel ican kiss her and say i love you its so sad that we didnt have this closeness before,i think A/D is just like returning to childhood she now has the skills of a 3yr old and so i suppose its natural that i treat her that way and it seems right because she responds in return. STORM