This is probably one of the hardest posts i've ever written.
I think my dad may be in the early stages of dementia. He's 77, lives quite independantly on his own about ten miles away from me and is otherwise in good health.
I've seen a gradual deline in him in the past month He doesn't remember when my birthday is. He has forgotten conversations we've very recently had. He forgets what he's doing often. I had occasion to call to his house last week when he was out and happened to go into his fridge to get milk out for a coffee, and i noticed that all of his food was out of date - some as much as three weeks. I'm conccerned about his eating - he'll have maybe one potato and half a pie for his dinner in the evening, and that is it. Friday just gone, it was my wedding day - and he stayed over at my house the night before. He forgot his belt to his suit, so wanted to go home and get it, but couldn't find his car keys. My FIL gave him a lift home to get his belt. When he got back here, he'd found his car keys - in the pocket of his suit, and didn't have a belt, despite going home for it.
I've spoken to him about it, and he shrugs it off as part of getting old. I think it's more than that though. I've convinced him to make an appintment with his GP on Thursday which i will go to with him. He thinks i'm being silly. I'm really worried.
Do you think i'm worrying over nothing? I admit i don't give my dad as much time as i should, but i've four, sometimes five children and its hectic. I do speak to him daily on the phone, and try to see him at least three times a week.
I work in dementia care. All of the things you have mentioned could be the start of dementia but it is important to rule out other causes as well, such as stress, anxiety or physical causes such as anaemia. The GP should organise some blood tests and carry out a quick memory check. He should also ask about concerns re his memory. The thing re history is to highlight changes for example if he has always been disorganised or forgetful I would be less concerned than if he was previously very organised. Ask the GP to refer to the local memory clinic. Your dad may try and play down any concerns but try to gently explain that it needs checking out like any other health concern