My father (68) was diagnosed with having vascular dementia after suffering a stroke (we presume in his sleep, or when my mother was at work) early last year, and for about 12 months things were manageable. Work days reduced, conversation minimalised, day trips shorter and easier, limititations narrowed. However early this year my dad had a nasty fall at home, resulting in a month in hospital. Tests proved inconclusive but the evidence was clear in his behaviour, memory and physicality- he had declined at an alarming rate, and it was heart breaking to see him in the hospital bed; all at once confused, vacant and agitated. There was a day or two when the doctor told my mum that his time may be ending fast. I was incredibly sad and tearful all the time, but I felt ready, the person that my Dad had become was not the man I once knew as my father; independent, introverted, intelligent, irritable, and with a great sense of humour. Despite everything I felt ready. But my Dad got better, was discharged and sent back home. My mother has become a full time carer and despite some hours of respite from social services. She now seems to exist purely to look after him. He cannot walk or use the bathroom unaided, and simple tasks (holding a cup without spilling a drink, eating without a knife and fork) prove to be difficult. Someone needs to sit with him constantly in case he gets up and falls over. And what breaks my heart is that he wants to go out by himself still. My mum is resourceful and strong, but I worry for her constantly. She is an only child (my dads brothers and sisters are both dead) and we have many extended family who exist only on the periphery- to make small talk with at weddings and funerals and to exchange Yuletide greetings in Christmas cards. No one in short, to help my mother with the burden. She's still very young to be going through all this. When I think about the future of my parents all I feel is depressed, helpless and scared. Scared about what will happen to him, worried for my mothers isolation, and worried about how long this will go on for. I love my Dad, but I don't want a care home to be his future (which I can't help might be the case one day- he's too heavy for my Mum to lift without help.) I want my Dad to die with some scrap of dignity left. And I don't even feel guilty for thinking that.