Opinions please on my dad!

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by snowtree, Jun 14, 2007.

  1. snowtree

    snowtree Registered User

    Jun 14, 2007
    My dad is 71 and has been the lynch pin of our family all of his life. He has built a large family business with my mum and they still go to work everyday. Mum is of healthy mind and body! In the last few years dads memory has progressively got a worse and worse. It started with him not being able to spell words he used to spell easily then, as time went on, he would forget things like where he was in his conversation etc.

    A couple of years ago the house next to mum and dad came up for sale. Due to the nature of the purchase my dad handled the financial side of things. (i mention this for a reason)

    Ok so in the last year he seems to have got worse. He starts sentences then cant remember what he was talking about. Although he never had many hobbies, always absorbed in work, he did grow tomatoes and do a bit of this and that at home. He doesn't do any of this now and sleeps an awful lot. His personality seems to have changed and before he could manage to juggle many things in his head at once now he seems to struggle with one thing. He is infinately worse when he is stressed out. He sends random letters to people that make no sense - the accountant gets these regularly! He chaired a meeting the other week and people phoned me after to say he wasn't making any sense. Most people who know him have expressed concerns regarding his mental health. Its rather like someone has messed up his mental filing system and when you talk to him you can see in his face he is searching his brain for what he wants to say and yet can't find it.

    I managed to get to see his GP and explained my concerns. He said next time he went in he would do a cognitive test. This happened some 5 weeks ago and he scored 29 out of 30 - and the doctor said he was fine nothing to worry about. So as a family we felt downhearted as we know something is wrong yet to get him to the doctors again would be difficult. In the meantime he received a letter from the bank - nothing serious but quite longwinded with lots of figures in it. He became very stressed and couldn't handle it. He came to see me that evening and said he needed me to remortgage my house so he could raise some cash to repair a roof at the business. I said that he had sorted out the house purchase and deeds etc and so, although i didn't mind raising the cash against my house i felt there were other ways to do it. He had absolutely no recollection of buying my house and all the financial work he had done at the time.

    A couple of days later he came to see me again in a terrible mood. He said he wanted all my money from the business partnership - a considerable amount which is all tied into property - the next morning as the business was going to go bust. I said i didnt know what he was talking about and lets go and talk to mum next door. He said he knew what i was trying to do to him and didnt want me to talk about it in front of her. I managed to get him home and explained to mum what he had said. She said lets sit and talk quietly to which he replied i was stealing from him and thats where i got my money from. He then said i should give him all the money from my till everyday and then he collapsed to the floor. Like a fuse had blown. I called an ambulance. His heart rate and breathing were normal but he was out for about 10 minutes. He went to hospital and they gave him a quick once over and sent him home.

    As we knew we had to get him to seek further treatment my sister wrote to the GP and said he had given him the all clear when clearly everything wasnt ok. Fortunately the letter worked and he went back to the GP yesterday morning. He did the cognitive test (5 weeks after the first) and this time he scored 13. Straight to hospital where they have performed numbers of tests including a brain scan. He is still in tonight. As far as i can gather there is nothing untoward with the brain scan but we have yet to see a consultant.

    So these are my questions:
    1.Could he have dementia/alzeimers and nothing show up on the brain scan?
    2.What will they do next - if there is nothing on the scan will they do some other test
    3 any advice!!
    4 i do not think he has set up a power of eterny (spelt right?) and if not does anyone have any advice regards the business side of it
    Thanks for reading :D
  2. Áine

    Áine Registered User

    hi snowtree

    sorry that things are so difficult for you. it's hard enough when there's a diagnosis but before you know what's actually wrong i think it can be even more difficult.

    There's lots of things that can cause memory loss, stress not being the least of them. I don't know all the medical ins and outs of tests and things. One positive thing (a big positive) is that the GP took notice of your concerns and re-assessed things.

    There's some experts around here on power of attorney, so i'll leave them to answer that.

    Advice? well, for one thing, keep talking with your mum and your sister (and dad too of course). If dad is going through a suspicious phase it's important that you're all able to talk to each other and don't get drawn in to not trusting each other.

    It sounds very alarming that dad's memory test score dropped so far in such a short time ...... a horrible shock for everyone. Make sure you take some time out to care for yourself and your own feelings. Grab all the support you can. Stick around TP ....... there's some great people here who wil be able to help.
  3. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    Hi snowtree and welcome to TP.

    There is a saying on this board "when you've seen one Alzheimer's sufferer yourve seen one Alzheimer's sufferer". The disease progression can be so variable that it's hard to say it's one thing or the other, nor, to be frank are any of us qualified to make that determination.

    However, with those provisos I think it would be fair to say this is a fairly atypical presentation: the speed of onset would give one pause if nothing else. Unfortunately though there are other conditions that cause dementia which can come on very quickly. You might like to have a look at this fact sheet http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/Facts_about_dementia/What_is_dementia/info_dementia.htm which gives a brief rundown of possible causes.

    As to the scan results: they're getting better at diagnosing AD throught the use of scans, but the base line is that there is no way to be certain that the diagnosis is correct without physical examination of the brain (i.e. post mortem). Much of the diagnosis of AD (and other dementia causing diseases) is clinical in nature: i.e. this symptom and that symptom leads to diagnosis. It's as much an art as a science, and often people will start out with one diagnosis which will be ammended later. If nothing has been found on the scan (and that's a big if) there are various other tests they may perform. However, this will depend on the consultant. I do not think you need to be concerned that they will say "oh, nothing there he must be fine": It's clear that he is NOT fine.

    With regard to the enduring power of attorney (EPA): it may be that your father will have periods of lucidity and this could be set up then. Also, it's fairly common for a business to have a structure that takes in account the possible failure of one of the business parties. Your mother should know. If she doesn't, she needs to talk to the solicitor for the business ASAP.

  4. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    I could not find it on the fact-sheets , but I have also read that thyroids , stress , depression can show up like AZ , not dismissing your worries .

    Just wondering if the hospital have done blood test for thyroids ?

    Yes as only the consultant can tell you the real results of the brain scan , please post back in what the results are
  5. Helena

    Helena Registered User

    May 24, 2006
    Given the experience with my Mother I would be asking very awkward questions of the doctors

    I would suspect that either its Hypothyroid causing your dads problems or more likely Vascular Dementia ........this without doubt causes wild fluctuations from normality to crazies within same hour/day/week

    while at the same time being perfectly able to score well on cognitive tests

    A Ct brain scan should show infarcts or cerebral atrophy

    but its possible that the damage is not yet showing up

    Certainly with my Mother we can trace her problems starting suddenly 8 years ago but the real presentation of them was only in the last year of her life
  6. snowtree

    snowtree Registered User

    Jun 14, 2007

    I would first of all like to thank everyone for their replies. As yet we havent had a response on the brain scan. I did check out the vascular dementia information leaflet and all the listed early symptoms are the same as my dads.

    I spoke to my sister and she is still very upset about the whole thing. Somehow i feel somewhat "detatched". I have seen his decline over the last two years and been telling all family members he is not well....not "right". I think i did my sadness for (in one way) the loss of my dad - as he was - some time time ago. Does that make sense? I think i am becoming the lynch pin of the family now. Very strange feeling.
  7. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    That makes perfect sense, snowtree. We all go through stages of grief, sometimes more than one time. With (or in fact without) a diagnosis it's an intimation of mortality. I mean, we know our parents aren't going to be there for ever, but any kind of health issue brings those thoughts to the fore. Also we tend to think (or perhaps hope) that a parent's death will be Bam, they've gone, but many of us find that that's not the case: it's a process rather than anything else. In your case, you've known something was wrong for sometime, so you're less surprised that something IS wrong. This is not to say that the reality of the situation won't hit you again down the road: it's fairly common to think that you've come to terms with a situation only to find some small thing sets you off again. It can be a major deterioration, it can be a song on the radio, but it will be unusual if there isn't something.

  8. snowtree

    snowtree Registered User

    Jun 14, 2007
    Actually i watched best of british talent last night...no one was shouting so it was an ideal programme choice! The guy who was an opera singer sang a song...hope someone will remind me of it on here...nudge nudge...and that made me have a tear in my eye for my dad. So yes! songs do remind me :eek:
  9. snowtree

    snowtree Registered User

    Jun 14, 2007

    Well thank you for your kind support once again. The consultant has said that there is a little bit of ischemia in the brain but nothing marked. He has called in the neurologist to check him out on monday and then all being well with the neurologist a psychologist will be called in. He thinks its more than likely vascular dementia. So how does one deal with vascular dementia, is it slow or fast onset (or is that how long is a piece of string!) and how can i help my mum? Thank god i live next door....
  10. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    The primary thing about vascular dementia is that it has a stepped progress: things go along the same for a while and then there's a downward turn. These often coincide with a TIA (transient ischemic attack) aka a mini-stroke (which may have been what happened when your father blacked out). So there's not much treatment apart from keeping any other underlying causes under control (most often hypertension or a heart condition). But apart from that, you're correct - it is a bit "how long is a piece of string" sort of thing. As far as I'm aware "ischemia" when it comes to the brain means that some of the tissue has died due to a low oxygen state: I'm not sure how the consultant defines a "little bit" since any amount of brain damage is too much. However, I suppose he means that your father hasn't had a major stroke.
  11. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    SW Scotland
  12. snowtree

    snowtree Registered User

    Jun 14, 2007
    Thanks for your reply jennifer...all things considered i think vascular dementia - which would explain the blackout. Its so good being able to run things by people on here and when i read what others are going through my heart goes out to them. It must be very difficult being a full time carer. I maybe should find the time to raise money via the sponsored walks etc! :)
  13. Cate

    Cate Registered User

    Jul 2, 2006
    Newport, Gwent
    Hi Snowtree

    I'm so very sorry that things are difficult for you, but thank goodness you seem to have the medical profession on side now.

    Just wanted to echo what Jennifer has already said re: the EPA, espcially as your dad has his own business. I really would not leave this too long, it could cause you and your mum huge problems along the way if you dont have one, and you may only have a small window of opportunity now. Things will be difficult enough coping on a day to day basis without this added worry.

    Keep in touch..


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