I have just started full time care for my dad. Mum died 2 weeks ago. Dad is 86 and has Alzheimers but what was once referred to as Senile Dementia. I don't know how you tell the difference. He is physically very fit and well for his age. Its the classic scenario; he can tell me everything that happened in the war but not what he had for breakfast. His short term memory is almost nil. I had to keep telling him over again that mum had died every time he asked, which could be several times a day) and each time was the first time he had heard the news. This is getting better gradually. I don't know if I am doing the right thing by becoming his live-in Carer. I have just returned form a 2 year stint in Africa as a volunteer aid-worker in the African bush, working with AIDS affected orphans. I came back a year early because I knew mum was getting frail. I came back in February with no home or job but started to build up my life again. I was lodging in a room in a friends house while I waited to get my own longed for little home. I also started a full time job at the hospital which I was very lucky to get and enjoyed it. If I decide to do this then I must give up the job and my independence. Dad lives in sheltered accommodation which only has 1 bedroom. I sleep in the lounge on a fold out bed. The services involved have been very supportive. We are on the transfer list for a 2 bedroomed place. Dad can't be left alone for a minute.I am praying for a little garden. I was closer to my mum than my dad. I have brothers who are as supportive as they can be and have promised to take dad every Sunday to give me a day off. I have just started introducing dad to Age Concern's day centre for a few hours a day to socialise him. He cared for my mum who was very physically disabled but mentallu very alert. She was the thinker, he was the do-er. I still try to give him little chores which make him feel useful but he has been programmed by my mum after 64 years of marriage. His mood swings are quite dramatic and he goes from sweet old dad to a miserable, grumpy, swearing, cursing monster in 0 to 60. Physically I don't have to care for him as he is pretty much self maintaining. He got quite skinny so I am feeding him up. He has a good appetite. We go for walks. We talk about the war. But he has a very short attention span. We can have a nice walk which he enjoys but within a few minutes has forgotten he's been anywhere. I love it when I make him smile; I know what he likes and his ways; if he goes into an EMI unit they would not know all these familiar things and I am afraid he would turn into grumpy old misery-guts all the time. I would feel like I was pushing him off a cliff so I can go back to my job and single life which I was so looking forward to. My brothers would not blame me if i did not go ahead with this, they admit they couldn't cope with him.All I can do is give it my best shot and try to get him used to the day centre and evetually a respite unit. If he deteriorates he would have to go anyway but he could go on for another 15 years or so. I don't resent doing this, no one is putting a gun to my head, but I really don't think there is a choice. I would never physically lose my temper with him as I am placid person but I do get cross with him. He is partially deaf(although some of this is habit rather than genuine - he can be very manipulative and feign things)so each time he asks the same question, even simple ones, you have to repeat the answer at least 3 times, so I find myself avoiding conversation which is not good. It makes me feel like a terrible person. This is very early days I know. Is there anyone else out there in a similar situation with an elderly parent? I honestly don't know if I am up to this, yet I know how awful it must be for people who care for spouses, especially if they are younger. I have cared for people before but not this level of mental care with someone I know so well. My GP and dad's GP are wonderfully supportive but are both tactfully trying to get me to go for the EMI unit option for my own sake but they don't know dad as well as I do; although he lives in the NOW, thoise moments can give him pleasure, even if they are short lived. Any advice would be very welcome.