My Dad


Registered User
Jan 26, 2007
I have been reading this forum and felt the need to write a message. I'm a 40 year old male who's father is in a nursing home.He is 77.

I had an up and down relationship with my Dad, often violent on his part, with zero encouragement or, frankly, affection, thorough most of my childhood. He mellowed as he got older, and was extremely bright, with several patents to his name. His Dad was violent and had big problems of his own.

That said, we were not close, and often had huge rows. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's about 8 years ago and is now unable to talk, feed or toilet himself.

I love the old man and feel so helpless, I have two boys of my own to look after and don't get to see him as often as I would like. I miss him for what he was, we used to make planes together, he helped me make a go-kart, and restore my first car. Now I'm a dad I try and do the best I can for my boys but I miss him so much. He would enjoy his grandkids so much, like my father in law does but will miss it, my wife has a real issue with the kids going to the home (which I understand) but a part of my life has gone.

Some of the messages on here have really touched me, and while I'm not after sympathy it's reassuring though horrible to know I'm not alone.


Registered User
Jul 2, 2006
Newport, Gwent
Hi Toby

Welcome to TP.

I was so sad to read your story, such a shame you and your dad were not close, but it sounds as if you have broken the chain by having a good loving relationship with your own boys.

I would continue to see you dad as often as you can, and although your dads ability to talk to you has gone, you can never be too sure about his level of understanding. It maybe nice to take in some photographs of his grandchildren to show him, and you could tell him all about them, I'm sure at some level this would give him some enjoyment.

Whilst it may not be appropriate for you to take your sons to see dad, I'm sure you can over the years talk to them about their granddad, and his obvious achievement, and the good times you shared together during building projects.

Sadly this dreadful disease takes our loved ones from us bit by bit, so we have the grief to cope with, bit by bit. You most certainly are not alone in this.

Enjoy the time you spend with your dad, and as often as you can. Keep in touch.



Registered User
Apr 10, 2006
Hi Toby

Welcome to TP............i'm sure you will recieve lots of help and support here.

I too had a very violent upbringing at the hands of a very violent father...........(had hospital records that would put the social services to shame, had they ever been interested enough to have read them!)
I learnt to be pretty good at covering for him know the one's..........explaining defence wounds as having been peeling potatoes, and the knife slipped!..........or explaining the broken bones or the many, many stitches needed, by having fallen down the stairs etc, etc............i don't have any hang-ups about it, but i do know how you feel.

Toby...........i've no doubt your a strong person, most abuse survivors are turned your life around............what happened in the past doesn't happen anymore...........and now?............well............your dad needs you now!

You managed to find a level with your father and you have some nice memories and its only natural that you'd miss it possible for you to take your father out of the NH for a few hours once in a while so he can spend time with his grandchildren?

I wish you the best of luck
Love Alex x


Registered User
Jan 4, 2006
Hiya Toby,
Welcome to TP.
You don't say how old your children are, nor whether they have had a relationship with their grandad prior to him going into the Nursing Home. My sons are in their teens and when we visit their nanna, we tend to go into the Quiet Room, or into her room, so that we can have some privacy. For teenagers I think it can be very difficult to see the pain that old age can bring, but I also think that it is important for them to know what goes on, to know that just because nanna or grandad has dementia it does not exclude them from the family. If your children are very young then as long as they feel safe with you, then I think that you can take them anywhere - what is it that your wife finds difficult?
What I really think is important here though Toby, is that you do what you feel that you need to, for your relationship with your dad. My kids and husband don't visit with me often - not unless I specifically ask them to - but they all accept that I may be out on a Sunday afternoon, or they may have to cook tea one evening a week because I am with mum - because they know that I have to visit for my inner peace.
You'll work something out.
Love Helen


Registered User
Jan 22, 2007
Hi Toby,

I have a similar background with my father, who also has AZ, and is in a residential home.

My father had insecurities and was very controlling and critical of me and the rest of my family. I always wanted to talk to him about those times that he acted this way, but now I can't have that converstation because he has AZ.

Having said that - I feel closer to him now than I ever have done. Ironically, it's the AZ that has brought us closer, because he needs my support. I think deep down he knows that he has treated people badly, but has seen me helping him through this difficult time, even though he acted the way he did towards me.

I'm so sorry to hear that you have had a difficult relationship with your father. I used to be very angry at my father, but then I realised that he was terribly insecure, and he simply didn't know how to deal with his insecurities - I started to feel sorry for him, and see the good in him. Have you done the same? It's sounds like you may have.

I think it's important to continue to see you Dad - he is part of you, and always will be. I can understand your partners reluctance to let your children see him, but maybe it's up to them? After all, he is their Grandad.

I wish you all the best, and I hope that I have helped in someway.


Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Hi Toby, Welcome to TP.
I also had a very poor relationship with both parents. When my father was ill, my mother and sister were there for him, so I opted out. When my mother developed Dementia, there was only me, as my sister didn`t want to know. I couldn`t abandon her, so took on the role of carer. That period of caring for an unloving, selfish mother, gave me more insight than I could ever have expected.
When Alzheimers or Dementia strikes, the playing field levels out. Bullies, very dominant people and the most peaceful and even timid, often end up with comparable behaviours and symptoms. This made me realize that the Power some people have is not permanent, and they have no control over its`durability. Somehow that reduces the impact and makes it easier to see the real person and understand the need for that Power. For me, it was so much easier to become objective about my parents.
I hope you get as much quality time as you can, with your father, to compensate. Is your wife being protective of your children in finding it difficult to let them visit?
Regards, Sylvia
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Registered User
Nov 24, 2006
Hi Toby Just in regards to your kids visiting the home to see your dad, my kids are 17 and 20 but I use to take them to visit different elderly aunts and a cousin who was mentally and physically handicapped from the time they where both very young about 2 and 5. They were expossed to people with a range of problems and I think it was a very good thing for them both not to mention the elderly residents who's day it brightened up. They learned not to stare at other people just because they may be different and I,m sure that is why they are so comfortable with visiting their grandmother now because it's something they grew up with. all the best Ann

Tender Face

Account Closed
Mar 14, 2006
NW England
Hi Toby (and Rob!)

I think it's fair to say that any relationship affected by dementia obviously has to cope with changing dynamics .... but I so empathise with the backdrop of 'less than ideal' parent/child relationships .....

I struggle with allsorts about mum's dementia .... but I get REALLY floored when she is loving, appreciative and affectionate :( ..... for me, there is additional grief about the loss of something you never had ... or was there all the time but just got buried.....???? (Some of Sylvia's and Rob's words just sent huge shivers!!!)

As far as your children visiting .... why does your wife have an issue? (Not expecting you to answer!) Is it because of his illness or because of what she knows of his/your past? I don't think you mentioned what age they are ... but I recall my mother denying me access to my grandfather as a young teenager (she had what she thought were valid reasons) and all that achieved was fuelling the power struggle/resentment between me and her...... thought along exactly the same lines as Sylvia - perhaps this is a 'protection' thing .... even about 'the home' and nothing at all to do with your dad per se ..... perhaps you even share some of her concerns???? Some wonderful words of wisdom already shared here ... so I'll stop rambling....

Love, Karen, x


Registered User
Apr 30, 2006
Mum was always undemonstrative with her affection and quite cruel with her tongue at times.......i was always eager to please her and I craved cuddles as a child:( but of course i still loved her).......... I must say our relationship has changed so much now.......I love her and I am fiercely protective of her. At first I found it a bit uncomfortable being showered with kisses, cuddles ....but i return them.....and that gives her a lot of comfort.....

my kids are 18, 16 and 11........the eleven year old has visited nanna in hospital a few times....... my 16 year old a bit less.....the 18 year old never.......they have the chance to go with me every day but feel uncomfortable with it......I will wait and see how things develop when mum is in the Nursing Home


Registered User
Jul 13, 2005
We too look after MIL in spite of a rather difficult background, she threw hubbie out when he was 16 to live on the streets because he wouldn't cut his hair and conform! Oh those long gone hippy days!!!!
We only ever made "duty" visits, but being local when the dementia took hold it was us she turned to, having alienated all her close neighbours. You just don't realise until it becomes obvious do you?
In some ways, I think it's easier as you can be more detached and objective, she never was the kissy cuddly sort, and neither is my husband!!! It became easier to move in together, we couldn't cope with the constant running back and forth when she got worried.
We never look back at how she used to be with regret, because she just didn't exist like that for us. Still, as has been said, how can you walk away, even without the guilt?


Registered User
Jan 26, 2007
Thank You

Dear All

There are some really helpful and comforting answers and comments that you have posted, and I'm grateful, it has given me some food for thought, and a chance to reflect on different opinions. I have taken a while to reply back because I printed them off to read in a quiet place!

I am going to take the boys to see their Grandad, although he doesn't recognise me now, let alone them.

Thanks to you all