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My poor old Dad


Registered User
Mar 29, 2014
My Dad is 88 and has had alzheimers for about 5 years. He has been in a care home for about 18 months as my elderly mother couldn't look after him at home. For the last year he has been pretty much stable, able to hold a conversation, have a laugh and look after his personal care. My Mum died in January. His walking has been deteriorating since then, although I've tried to take him out somewhere every week.
About 4 weeks ago I went to see Dad after a gap of 10 days and was shocked at the change in him. Literally in the space of a week, he could no longer wash and shave himself, he has trouble feeding himself, can't remember where the bathroom is (although it's only across the corridor from his room). Apart from meal times he just stays in his room and sleeps. On top of all this, he no longer speaks English. He came to this country from Latvia when he was 21. He seems to understand English, but all his conversation is in Latvian. They thought it might be a urine infection, but the test came back clear so it looks like the alzheimers progressing.
I have another relative in another care home who mentioned to someone that one of the carers there is Latvian, so I sent her a note asking if she would come and talk to my Dad, and luckily she has agreed to meet me there on Sunday so we'll find out if he is talking nonsense or not.
I find it so upsetting to see my Dad like this. I can hardly bear to go and see him, but both my brothers, my nephew and my niece have abandoned him so I feel like I'm the only person he has left. Last week I just sat and held his hand and cried while he talked to me in Latvian.
I know there's nothing much anyone can do, but I just wanted to share this with people who will understand. This is so cruel. Part of me wishes my Dad would leave us, but he's my Dad, I don't want him to go! Then I see him like this and it's like he's left me already.


Registered User
Sep 22, 2014
NW England
Dear Madge ,

This must be so upsetting for you.
I do hope that the Latvian carer is able to understand and speak to your dad.
Sending you a ((( hug )))

Brambles x


Registered User
Oct 18, 2013
British Isles
Hope the visit with the Latvian lady tomorrow helps you to understand what your Dad is saying. She might be able to teach you a couple of comforting phrases you could use for future visits.

Totally understand how hard it is to visit when you don't want to see your poor Dad like this - but how much harder it would be to abandon him. Just holding his hand and letting him talk must surely be giving him some comfort.

Take care, do hope you get a few nice smiles tomorrow to help you cope with the sadness of his decline.


Registered User
May 23, 2015
Hi Madge,

I completely understand what you say about not wanting to lose him but feeling like you have already. I had a conversation with my Mum in the car yesterday on the way home from seeing Dad, and she said "I just wish he would go peacefully now so that he won't be stressed and we won't have to watch the decline".

What she has forgotten is that she also has Alzheimer's and so we have to watch them both go down that road.

It is so hard to cope, and your post made me quite emotional, but actually I feel uplifted because I know that we are not alone and have each other for support.

You never know, when you decipher the Latvian, it might be the most amazing story ever.

Sending you virtual hugs and loads of support from a newbie on here.



Registered User
Mar 29, 2014
Thanks to everyone for their lovely comments. Although I'm sorry for people in a similar situation, I'm so grateful for their understanding.
The Latvian lady was lovely. My Dad was a bit reticent about talking at first, but we went into the garden and had a coffee and he talked to her a little. She said he talks Latvian with an English accent! Some of what he said she couldn't understand either, so maybe he is mixing his languages up. He just made general comments about the weather and so on. He couldn't/wouldn't tell her anything about where he lived in Latvia. But he smiled a lot! When it came time to go he got us out of the difficult situation of should she come again by asking her to come back :)
I had put some money in an envelope for her (after all she is giving up her free time) but she wouldn't take it and said she is happy to come and see him again.
One good thing was that she asked him what my name was, and he got it right!
While I'm still sad to see my Dad like this, I'm glad I got this lady to talk to him as I feel it was good for him.


Registered User
Oct 18, 2013
British Isles
Thanks for the update - I'm so pleased the visit went well. It must have been lovely for you to see him smiling.

You could always buy this kind lady a little gift for next time she visits, so much easier to accept than money.

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