Newbie....My Dad has Dementia

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by SpiderMam, Apr 28, 2008.

  1. SpiderMam

    SpiderMam Registered User

    Apr 28, 2008
    8
    Hi

    My dad is 84 and has dementia but we don't actually know what type. My mother who is 81 is his full time carer but we all (5 children) take turns in spending time with them. At the moment, it is heartbreaking because he sometimes doesn't even remember my mam but asks about his brothers and sisters. He is not sleeping properly through the night and we have to bath/shave/dress him etc.

    Now here comes the hard bit to admit, we realise he is going downhill but are all too frightened to ask if there is a time limit for him?

    I don't mean to sound selfish but I think we need to face reality for his sake and my mother.
    Thanks
     
  2. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    10,824
    london
    No one really knows that & you’re not being selfish as we all would like to know also, but a dementia is not like Cancer where they can tell the life span of it or if it’s gone into remission .

    Someone else will pop in soon & explain it better then I. Welcome to TP
     
  3. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,438
    Hi and welcome to Talking Point.

    You pose a difficult question and one that we've all asked ourselves. The problem is, none of us have a crystal ball and there are too many variables. Your father is 84 - with or without dementia his life expectancy is "probably" less than 10 years (unless you come from a long lived family). He may have other health issues: many people do not die of dementia but of things such as heart attacks and cancer.

    Probably the most important thing is to make the most of however much time he has left. Is your mother getting any assistance from social services? Has she had a carer's assessment? Is your father getting attendance allowance? One of the most difficult things when someone is caring for a spouse is to help them have a life that isn't entirely made up of caring, but it is very important that they do.
     
  4. SpiderMam

    SpiderMam Registered User

    Apr 28, 2008
    8
    Hi

    My mother does get an attendance allowance for my father and the attention they have had from the local NHS/Social Services is excellent.

    I love my parents to bits and it is so hard watching him at the moment. They celebrated 60 years of marriage in December and we are thankful that he still "remembered".

    For an instance, I stayed at my parents home on Saturday evening (in order to give mam a rest) because he isn't sleeping well through the night. We put him to bed at 10 pm and I sat with him holding his hand and reassuring him that he wasn't alone. (He's frightened at the moment although he doesn't know why) I gave him at least 3 glasses of water from 10 till 1am and he just wouldn't settle down. In the end, I almost chastised him for being petulent but then felt guilty. My bro and sis will not accept that he has dementia, they keep saying he will get better and that he's never going into a home etc. but they aren't with him 24/7 (niehter am I, I have a hubby and 2 children at home who are being so understanding over my absence at home). I'd hate a family rift as we are all very close, but we are starting to niggle at each other.


    any recommendations?
     
  5. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    10,824
    london
    That does seem to happen its normal to feel like that when they lots of different of options over worry stresses in family over a love One who needs high level of care .

    What does your mother think of your father going into a care home?
     
  6. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,438
    As Maggie says: it's not at all uncommon when a long-term illness inserts itself for the stress to get quite loving families bickering. I'm an only, so take what I say with a pinch of salt :) I think it would be helpful if you, your siblings and your mother could sit down and try to discuss this calmly (this may be a bit "pie in the sky"). It's all very well one part of the family saying "never a care home" but what if something happened to your mother? It's not uncommon for an elderly spouse to have their own health issues which mean that they can no longer care in the home. It's not, I'm afraid, entirely unknown for such spouses to end up dying first. Your mother's health and well being have to be as much a priority for you all as your father's, and I'm afraid that doesn't always happen. In fact, it might be a good idea to have a meeting without your mother so that you can be brutally honest about what could happen. I think black and white thinking when it comes to something as variable as dementia is never a good idea: guilt is not uncommon anyway so there's no virtue in saying "I'll never do this" and setting yourself up to really feel guilty when you don't know what the future will bring.

    A lot of people also have misconceptions about 1) care homes (some good, some bad) 2) what the local authority will provide (variable) 3) what sort of support is available (also some good, some bad). While many people do manage to keep their family member at home until the end, you do have to expect any or all of the following: wandering, aggression, nocturnal disturbance, immobility, incontinence, inability to feed themselves, inability to swallow. Don't get me wrong, some people will never get to this stage, but dementia is a terminal illness so these are things that can happen.
     
  7. Lynne

    Lynne Registered User

    Jun 3, 2005
    3,433
    Suffolk,England
    This may not be a practical suggestion if your bro & sis don't live nearby, but how about THEM (singly or separately) spending a night doing what you did, for your Mum's sake. Realisation of the truth might be quite dramatic, if traumatic for them. You will probably have to 'create' such a need for them to get hands-on though, since they expect you to do it. Perhaps one of your children could have a sudden attack of 'sickness' at short notice? They need to realise the truth if they are to influence decisions about your parents' care.
     
  8. SpiderMam

    SpiderMam Registered User

    Apr 28, 2008
    8

    My mother won't hear of it at the moment Margarita but I'm so worried about her because she really thinks she's still a young woman. (she plays hockey every Friday).

    Lynne,

    My bro and sis are really good with Dad. Sorry if i've given the wrong impression, we are all hands on and have all spent time with him at night it's just they think he'll get better with our help
     
  9. SpiderMam

    SpiderMam Registered User

    Apr 28, 2008
    8
    In a Home

    Hi Everyone,

    It's a long time since I posted with regard to my wonderful daddy. (April 08) My dad has since been taken into care, initially it was for respite for my mammy but it was decided that he couldn't be cared for at home any longer. He has been in care now since September and the care home workers are lovely. Within a couple of weeks, they had his medication and eating sorted. He is on a liquid only diet now. We have been through many emotions because sometimes he knows who we are. (That is the hardest part). However, over the last couple of weeks he has started to become aggressive and has on a few occasions lashed out at the carers. Last night the home had a singer in to entertain and just before we got there my dad lashed out at the singer then when the nurse was moving him, he turned round to him and said he should "f off and die"..........this has upset my mother deeply as we have never ever ever heard him swear (in fact we were surprised he knew the word :eek:). He is stuttering a little now too.

    Basically, I'd like to know if he is heading for a "worse" state. Thanks Helen xx
     
  10. Sam Iam

    Sam Iam Registered User

    Sep 29, 2008
    3,151
    WEST OF THE MOON
    Hi Spidermam,
    you post is much more positive than it was back in April.
    With regards to you Dad , when my Mum was diagnosed in September the consultant said that it was Alzheimers but invariably its never dementia that kills the sufferer but a related illness, ie pneumonia, chest infection etc.
    It does sound as though your Dad has entered another phase of dementia, have you spoken to the doctor who attends to your Dad ? they would be able to be specific with your Dad's health.
    Best wishes xx
     

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