New to Forum - Not sure what to do - Does this sound like the start of dementia???

Discussion in 'Welcome and how to use Dementia Talking Point' started by Moors Bear, Mar 4, 2015.

  1. Moors Bear

    Moors Bear Registered User

    Mar 4, 2015
    5
    York
    Hi All,
    Grab a cup of tea and settle down for an epic! I apologise in advance for the long thread but I thought I ought to give you some background info. I've just joined TP as I'm sure there'll be some experienced carers on here who can offer some advice. I'm fairly sure that my Dad is starting/has started with some form of dementia. Last summer Dad has his 2nd brain bleed (cerebral hemorrhage) in about 5 years. The first bleed (approx 5 or 6 years ago) was very serious in the early stages and it was touch and go as to whether or not he would survive. Luckily he pulled around and was back home within 6 weeks. The only change we noticed was that he wasn't quite as well organised as he used to be. He kept himself fit by walking miles each day (some days at least 5+ miles) ... not bad for someone in their late 70's. Dad was well enough to decide that he should put a Power of Attorney in place so that my brother and I could help organise affairs if it happened again and he didn't get better. Three weeks before the second bleed, he had a fall whilst out walking. He hadn't felt well and had lost his balance. He had also commented that he kept getting tingly feelings in his legs. When the second bleed happened, it took the use of his legs but mentally he was aware enough to pull himself to the phone and call an ambulance. We were away on holiday when this happened and when we got to the hospital, the following day, we were pleasantly surprised to see him sitting up and looking quite well. He could tell us everything that had happened, although he did keep repeating it. Over the next day or so he was moved to a 'half way home' hospital when they helped him with physio and managed to get him walking again. However, Dad's personality was different. I never knew what I was going to find when I went in each day - some days he was in a great mood and other days he was totally confused and talking about committing suicide. I would go as far as saying he was depressed. The staff in the hospital didn't take my concerns seriously until he tried to escape from the hospital one night and lashed out at a nurse. This was totally out of character - Dad has always been the mildest natured person I've known. At one stage Dad was convinced that it was a conspiracy between me, my brother and the nurses to keep him there on purpose. Dad's car had been kept at my house since his second bleed - not for us to use but just because we knew that he would be wanting to drive too soon. (He had a car crash after his first bleed and wrote his car off after going off the road. He managed to go across the other lane and into a ditch on a perfectly straight bit of road on a beautiful summer's day - he couldn't explain what had happened at the time. Luckily there hadn't been another car coming the other way or he would have hit it.) About two months before Christmas Dad started nattering to get his driving licence back. He's always loved cars. When he went to the doctors, they didn't seem to be doing any real tests to see if he was fit to drive but my brother and I had concerns because there was just something that wasn't quite right. There was still some confusion. We queried it with the doctor and they didn't seem very helpful. In the end we were so concerned that we contacted the DVLA to say that we had concerns. We were very unhappy about the lack of tests being done on Dad to see if he would be safe on the road seeing as some of his cognitive skills seemed to be impared. About November time, Dad turned up at my house out of the blue asking for his keys. I asked him if he had received his licence back and he said not. I then asked how he was going to get the car home - he was intending to drive it. I refused to give him the keys. He accepted this at the time but on the build up to Christmas got more and more anxious and aggressive with me. He's told all of his friends that his two children are evil and have stolen his keys (failing to point out that he hasn't got his licence back yet). Eventually, after much nagging, we put the car back on his drive but fitted it with a steering lock. When I went back a couple of days later, the car was in a different position and the steering lock had been removed. He had been driving the car - he later confessed and one his friends later told me that he knew he had been driving but didn't realise he hadn't been given permission from the doctor or the DVLA. I took the keys back off him when I found out. He has had various rants at me and my brother ever since. There have been all types of threats ... threatening to smash my car windscreen, threatening to phone the police, threatening to cut us out of his will, threatening to cancel his power of attorney etc. He seems to be worse in the last two months. He can't remember some conversations we have had, he's got very confused with days and months (he thinks what he did on Christmas Day is what we did for his 80th birthday two weeks ago), he can't be reasoned with, he's sent and said some very nasty things to me and told me on numerous occasions that he never wants to see me again. He is currently being assessed by the local Community Mental Health Team. After their initial meeting with him, they've said they would like him to go for a scan. I don't know if this means they think something could be wrong or whether it is routine. I telephoned Dad's doctor yesterday and today to ask for advice but they still haven't called me back. The problem is now that I don't know how to deal with Dad. He won't tell me when the scan is. He certainly won't tell me if they diagnose him with anything. I've never experienced dementia before so am not sure what I am dealing with. How can I help someone who will hardly speak to me and can't understand they are not the same? Sorry again for the long post. :(
     
  2. LeedsLass

    LeedsLass Registered User

    Oct 13, 2014
    107
    Essex
    Hi Moors Bear don't apologise glad you've found TP but sorry about what you are going through with your dad. A lot of the things you describe can be symptoms of dementia but I'm guessing could be related to any brain damage your dad may have suffered? My husband had a brain tumour and had many similar symptoms that my mum with late stages alzheimers is going through. Hopefully the scan might reveal a bit more. Hard to know what to advise, just try keep calm and patient around him. I'm sure there will be plenty of good advice and support on here for you. All very difficult.
     
  3. Moors Bear

    Moors Bear Registered User

    Mar 4, 2015
    5
    York
    Thank you LeedsLass. I'm so pleased to have found this forum. I think it could prove to be a godsend over the coming months.
     
  4. Adcat

    Adcat Registered User

    Jun 15, 2014
    290
    London
    Hi Moors Bear. Do you have power of attorney for health and welfare? If so the GP is likely to communicate with you. Otherwise medical confidentiality is a huge barrier at this stage. I suspect your dad is being referred for an MRI of his brain. This will enable an appropriate diagnosis. Vascular dementia or alzhimers can be formally diagnosed this way.
    Right now all you can do is be a patient and kind as you possibly can. Your dad is probably going through all sorts of emotions and may we'll be very frightened. Not being able to drive is devastating and from your post your dad seems to have no insight into the danger he presents. Try not to take his outbursts personally. He needs you know more than at any time.
    Take care and keep posting
     
  5. Moors Bear

    Moors Bear Registered User

    Mar 4, 2015
    5
    York
    Hi Adcat,
    Thank you for your post. So far as I remember we had a Lasting Power of Attorney which I think (not sure) was just to manage his finances. I'll have to try to check. The only problem is that during the last conversation with Dad, he said that he had changed his Power of Attorney. I'm not sure whether to believe him or not as there have been a lot of things he has said recently that aren't true. He also said that he's buying a different car so that he can have the keys. Fortunately, I know which garage he was talking about and so I phoned them. Sure enough, he's been in looking at cars. I've mentioned to the sales manager that he doesn't have a licence so must not be allowed to test drive anything. I've explained that it's likely to be at least May/June before he has a final diagnosis - I know he has a doctor's appointment later in May with one of the main guys at the Community Mental Health Team. I did try to put him off by suggesting that he waits until June and then celebrates getting his licence back by swapping cars but he just couldn't see the reasoning. I would feel awful if he somehow manages to get behind the wheel of a car and hurt himself and someone else.
     
  6. Adcat

    Adcat Registered User

    Jun 15, 2014
    290
    London
    Good morning!
    If the GP doesn't phone you back, write them a factual letter stating your concerns for your father, include these posts. Then you have done all you can to protect him and others.
    It's a tough time but like I said, your dad needs you and you must try the love and understanding with oodles of patience stance. It's here hard, I know.
    Take care
     
  7. Moors Bear

    Moors Bear Registered User

    Mar 4, 2015
    5
    York
    Thanks again Adcat. That's a good idea. I'll see if the doctor gets back to me either today or tomorrow. If not, as you say, I'll write a letter over the weekend and send it in to them. It's so hard dealing with the personality change. I've been married 19 years this year and my husband commented that it's the first time he's heard my Dad raise his voice. Unfortunately, I think some of his friends and neighbours are losing patience with him as he is being awkward and lying to them too. Sigh ... I'll keep battling on and try to keep calm.
     
  8. Cath59

    Cath59 Registered User

    Jan 23, 2015
    46
    Just a thought. If he won't tell you when the scan is do you think he will go? If he doesn't drive how is he going to get there? Probably worth mentioning that to the doctor as well. It'll be important that he's properly assessed to have any chance of any support or treatment that could be useful.
     
  9. Moors Bear

    Moors Bear Registered User

    Mar 4, 2015
    5
    York
    Hi Cath59,
    He said that he can get there via an ambulance service that will pick him up. I know they do offer this service. I'm fairly sure he will go but might check with the Community Health Team just to make sure. Thank you.
     
  10. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    9,331
    Female
    South coast
    In my neck of the woods ambulances are not organised by the hospital, but have to be requested by the patient/family through the GP - and you only get it if the person is not physically able to get into a car.
    Definitely needs checking - I suspect that he is just assuming thats what happens.
     

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