1. squeak

    squeak Registered User

    May 19, 2006
    2
    hello
    i have never used a forum before but desperately need to talk to talk to someone outside of my family.
    i am 24 years of age and my dad was diagnosed with vascular dementia about a year ago. i feel incredibly selfish as i feel i have not given my mum the support she needs. to be honest i am finding it incredibly difficult and i avoid visiting my parents as much as possibly because it absolutely breaks my heart. i have been in denial for some time but recently my sister got married and i realised the extent of his illness. After giving her away he repeatedly asked "who got married today then?"
    unfortunately he has always had a problem with alcohol. after a spell in hospital he gave it up but over the last few months he has started drinking again in large quantities. obviously this doesn't help his condition and it certainly doesn't help my mum. she is beside herself with worry. i didn't realise how much things are getting to her until tonight when she phoned me up sobbing. she was uncontrollable for over half an hour, just saying that it is all getting to her. the problem id she refuses to accept any outside help as she feels she is letting him down. sometimes he is very "with it" and other times he is extremely confused. she feels that he is not at the point where he would allow anyone outside the family to help. i have tried to persuade her to find a support group in order that she meets people who are in the same situation ( she suffers in silence most of the time for fear of upsetting the family).
    i really don't know what to do! i would like to help her more but if i am honest, his illness really scares me!
    What can i do?
    I am worried for my mum's health!!!
     
  2. rummy

    rummy Registered User

    Jul 15, 2005
    700
    Oklahoma,USA
    Hi Squeak,
    I really hurt for you. Your Mom does need help but you can't force her to get it. Even though my parents are older, they too were resistant to outside help for a long time. It finally got to the point though that my Dad had to let go and now my Mom is in a day care and they have a house keeper. It is a step in the right direction as there will be many more needs ahead.
    Your Mom too will come to that conclusion. What you can do is compile the information for her. Find the agencys she needs, the respite info, the financial info and if you can possibly do it, go over and give her a break from time to time. She probably needs that more than anything right now. I know it is hard for you but try to imagine living with it 24 /7 like your Mom is.
    Educate yourself as much as you can about your Dad's illness. There are alot of good books and the Alzheimer's web sites are a wealth of information. There are many others on TP that will help too.
    Come back often and let us know how you and your parents are doing.
    Take care,
    Debbie
     
  3. Nell

    Nell Registered User

    Aug 9, 2005
    1,170
    Australia
    Hi Squeak!
    Don't give yourself a hard time over not being around your Mum as much as you think you should be - the fact that you are now aware of how hard it really is for your Mum and your desire to help will be enormously pleasing to her.

    I thought the suggestions by Debbie were great. Also I suggest you ring your Mum (or visit if you feel you can and it is possible) a couple of times a week. When you do visit, give her some little "treat" to help her feel better - whatever you know she likes and you can manage (a back rub, a new magazine, some flowers). I think your Mum will feel much better if she knows you are really thinking about her and caring about her welfare as well as your Dad's.

    Deb's idea of giving your Mum some respite is a good one too. If you can "look after Dad" for a couple of hours, she can use the time to do whatever she wants - go shopping, have a rest, read a book. Perhaps your sister (are there any other siblings?) could also help out when her honeymoon is over. . . . .??

    As for managing your Dad, Debbie is right when she says it has to be your Mum's decision, but you can help her feel less guilty about it by letting her share her concerns with you. If she feels she has someone sympathetic who will listen to her it will be a huge help.

    I find one of the hardest things is when my Mum (with AD) is acting and behaving "normally". I feel like I must have misunderstood her diagnosis or that she isn't as bad as all that - I guess your Mum feels the same. The "up and down" nature of this illness is very unnerving.

    Perhaps your Mum will feel (a little) better about your Dad's alcohol consumption if she looks at it as a self-medication. He feels bad and therefore uses alcohol to blunt the bad feelings. Not ideal, but understandable perhaps.

    Remember not to get overwhelmed by all this yourself. It is very admirable of you to want to help your family, but take time to keep yourself healthy and happy too. (Easier said than done sometimes!)

    Thinking of you and wishing you well for the times ahead.
    Nell
     
  4. Kathleen

    Kathleen Registered User

    Mar 12, 2005
    639
    West Sussex
    Hello Squeak

    I watched my Dad go through hell when he refused to get help with Mum, he was totally exhausted both emotionally and physically even though my sister and I were there every day. He felt he was letting her down by not doing everything himself, they were married for 54 years when this cruel disease shook their world apart.


    Does your Dad have a consultant who you could contact on their behalf? Sometimes advice from a professional is listened to more than a family member. We did this for Dad and on the next visit with Mum the consultant spoke at length to Dad about looking after himself too, he listened for the first time.

    Your Mum has to be the one to make that call for outside help, all you can do is as rummy says, gather together the information and make that first step easier for her.

    On a personal note, my husband was an alcoholic for 12 years, now free for 15 years thank goodness, but it does bring with it a sense of shame and huge stress for the rest of the family, your Mum is probably affected badly by that too, alongside his vascular dementia.

    All you can do is offer advice and help, let your Mum know you are there for her but so are many others, making herself ill will only add to everyone's burden.

    Thinking of you all,

    Kathleen
     
  5. squeak

    squeak Registered User

    May 19, 2006
    2
    Thank you to everyone who took the time to reply to me. I am touched by your kind, sympathetic words and will certainly take your advice on board!

    Off to mum's for Sunday Lunch tomorrow so will let you know how it went.

    Thanks again!!

    Squeak x
     
  6. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    10,824
    london
    squeak

    You bring back memories, when I was first looking after my mum & my daughter was doing heath & social care, she had visited a care home & brought back lots of leaflets about how to get out side help, but I new in the back of her mind she wanted mum to go in to care home full time , all my children did at one point, as they thought I could no cope with mum.

    So in excepting outside help was one big hard step for me

    I felt guilty & that it was my own reasonability to care for my mum, even now I only just got a care worker to help me in the morning to wash mum & can’t get use to someone helping me am finding it had to except & guilty that I am not doing it & then more positive in not having to do it .:confused:

    You’ve been given some great advice as that what my teenager use to do for me & when they did look after mum I was worried that they would not cope, but they did , they did complain sometime , but they just got use to seeing this different side of my mum , my son who is 25 is still in a bit of denial in what is really happening to my mum he keeps away a lot & is more concerned about me then mum ,he can’t get a grip with it ,when one moment my mum seem normal the next she acting strange ,he keeps saying she does it on purpose , I wish he would educate himself on AD , but he does ant , his just there when I need a shoulder to cry on
     

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