1. kiwi8

    kiwi8 Registered User

    Jul 25, 2007
    #1 kiwi8, Jul 25, 2007
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2007
    I am a newbe to this site and thought I'd tell my story to hopefully make the best decision.
    My dad was diagnosed with early onset alzheimers four years ago at the age of 63. My parents are both retired so mum takes care of dad. After living way from home for 7 years my wife and I moved back to be close to my parents and to support them.
    Mum has done an amazing job looking after dad but lately I've noticed that she has been finding it hard to deal with things.
    My dad is at the stage where he cannot drive and finds it hard to do the most simplest of things. He gets frustrated easily and mum cops the verbal abuse that is associated with alzheimers patients.
    I have 3 older sisters, 2 of which live in my home town.
    The decision that I am faced with is that my wife and I are going on our OE next year in january. I am worried about what may happen in the next 5 months to dad. Will he go down hill fast or remain the same?
    I feel bad that I'm going to be leaving because I want to be there for mum.
    I'm 26 years old and want to see the world with my wife but at the same time love my parents and want to be there to support them.
    Do I stay and regret later on that I didn't go or do I go and face the possibility that when I come back my dad won't recognise me???What about mum??
    Am I being selfish about the whole situation???:confused:
  2. jackie1

    jackie1 Registered User

    Jun 6, 2007
    #2 jackie1, Jul 25, 2007
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2007
    My instant reaction is to say go. No one can predict how the disease will progress. Give as much support between now and January as is feasible in your personal circumstances, give your mum a break so that she can have some time to herself to recharge her batteries.

    Is it possible to arrange for carers to come in while you're away? So that it doesn't all fall to your mum. Contact all the support services in your area and see what is available.

    Stay in touch with your family regularly while your away maybe a phone call every few weeks, I know it will be expensive but I'm sure your dad would love to hear your voice. Take lots of photos to show him when you get back.

    I can only imagine what a tough decision this is for you and your wife, you can only do what you feel is best.

  3. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    SW Scotland
    First of all, let me welcome you to TP, and say that I think it's wonderful that you and you and your wife have moved in order to help your mum and dad.

    Young onset damantia is so hard to deal with, it means missing out on so many things for the whole family.

    It is hard. I care for my husband, and sometimes I feel at the end of my tether. But like many others on this site, we carry on because we love our partner.

    I'm sorry, I don't know what OE is. But I'm afreaid no-one can tell you what will happen in the next five months. All AD sufferers are different, depending on the area of the brain first affected, and the rate of progression.

    I think this is a decision only you can make.

    No, I don't think you're being selfish. Everyone has the right to their own life. You have family who can take over from you, and keep you informed. Presumably you would be able to get home if you were needed.

    It depends on how you would feel. Would you be able to relax and enjoy yourself if you went? On the other hand, how resentful would you fel if you cancelled?

    It's hard, I know. I'd say, go, if you can rely on the family to help your mum and keep you informed. But not if you were just going to worry!

    Good luck!
  4. lizzie2596

    lizzie2596 Registered User

    Jul 3, 2007
    Have you considered your parents' reaction if the AD wasn't there and you were planning this 'once in a lifetime journey'. They would be excited for you and your wife to have such an opportunity. They wouldn't want you to sacrifice it for them would they?

    How much help do your sisters give to your Mum and Dad? Surely they would be able to fill the breach between them while you are away. You won't be gone forever.

    Liz x
  5. sue38

    sue38 Registered User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Wigan, Lancs

    My Dad is considerably older than your Dad at 82, but there seems to be some similarities in the stage they have reached with their illnesses. Also my Dad lives at home with my Mum as the main carer, who cops most of the abuse. I am the youngest of three sisters, and I and my elder sister live in the same town as my Mum and Dad, but my other sister moved to Athens some 18 months ago, before my Dad was formally diagnosed, but whilst clearly all was not well. She had lived in London for 20 years prior to moving to Athens.

    My sister is also considerably older than you at 43. She could probably give you better advice than I, and I know she visits this site (and will be mad if she reads that I have posted her age :) )but has not posted as yet, so I will speak for her.

    She has felt extremely guilty about being away whilst the rest of us manage my Dad, but none of us, including my Dad would want her to give up her opportunities and stop her from living her life. My Dad says 'I don't know where the other one is, or what she's doing, but I'm very happy about it' :D

    She telephones my Mum once or twice a week (she can't really speak to my Dad as his speech is not the best) and comes home about 3 times a year. My Dad has no problem remembering her as we talk about her to him. She is due home tomorrow for a month and will be able to spend quality time with my Dad which we find difficult as we all work full time (including my Mum at 77 :eek: )

    Without being too pessimistic, as your Dad is only 67, he may have many more years ahead of him when things may get considerably worse for your Mum. If you put off the trip now (I'm sorry I don't know what an OE is either!) it may be even more difficult to go in the future when you are needed more.

    Five months is not for ever and it sounds like there is plenty of family support, but do talk to your Mum and your sisters.

    Just my thoughts.
  6. Tash

    Tash Registered User

    Jan 8, 2007
    London, UK
    Hi all,

    I very much feel for you, kiwi8, but know the others will be able to offer better advice than me based on their experiences.

    But I can say that OE most probably stands for Overseas Experience. Are you are kiwi, kiwi8? It's definitely a term used in New Zealand (where I'm originally from) to describe an extended overseas 'holiday', usually with periods of working mixed in with the travelling. Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong about this.

    New Media Support Officer
    Alzheimer's Society
  7. Kate P

    Kate P Registered User

    Jul 6, 2007
    Hi Kiwi8,

    Well, I'll be emphasising what everyone else has said - I also have no idea what OE is - you'll have to educate us on that!!

    It is very difficult and I do feel for you - my mum also has early stages dementia (she started at 56) and I am only 29 with a young family and all sorts of things I want to do in my life.

    I have recently been wrestling with the idea of another baby - I may have good news for you all in a few months!!!;) - but I worry how I would continue to manage to look after mum on my days off with two toddlers and two babies (I'm not a human breding machine but I look after my sister's children on my day's off as well!).

    However, I figure that it is better to do these things now when mum is still managable so that I will be better able (and willing) to help out more when things start to get really difficult - as you'll see from other threads on here if things are managable you're winning!

    I would also agree that your mum and dad would really want you to take this trip. They didn't give birth to you so that you could be their carer - they gave birth to you so you could live and see the world - who could say they don't want that for their children?

    Would it help if you spent the next few months getting as many plans in place as possible for your mum, dad and sisters - carers, benefits, financial arrangements etc and then you can go knowing that they'll still be okay. You can still keep in contact with them daily if needs be in this wonderful world of technology.

    However, as everyone else has said only you can know what is right for you and your wife.

    I wish you all the best - let us know whether it will also be bon voyage!!!

    Kate P
  8. kiwi8

    kiwi8 Registered User

    Jul 25, 2007

    Thank you all for your thoughts, its good to hear everyones opinions and experiences.
    Firstly OE stands for overseas experience (must be a NZ thing).
    Secondly I am from New Zealand, hence kiwi8.

    My journey overseas is a one way at this stage with no date of return thus making it the hardest decision. We will after 3 month of travel end up in the UK to work. (looking forward to living there)
    I guess all will depend on the next 5 months until we leave. Will keep you all posted on whats going on.
    Thanks for the helpfull advice. I hope to give advice to people in the future who are going through what we all are experiencing.

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