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is my father also developing dementia or just stressed by mother's?

(6 Posts)
Standandwait Tue 31-Oct-17 18:16:49

My parents live in Canada. My mother has dementia and has been in a care home since early May. None of us children lives even on the same continent, so my father was her sole carer for several years, refusing all help, till basically the police and social services had to step in and take her away from him, not once but twice, because he was getting violently angry with her in front of doctors and neighbours. However you view that otherwise, it's been terribly, terribly stressful for him.

Anyway, in the past two or three months I find, both when I visit and on the phone, he repeats questions over and over within minutes -- "What time did you say we would ?" He seems to be losing his grip on time completely day of the week, even month, time of day, moving memories by whole decades into time frames that a moment's thought would show are impossible. But perhaps that's normal in aging, especially when retired and living alone?

Most concerningly, he seems to be becoming paranoid. But perhaps that's natural given how my mother had to be taken from him, and given that he's now living alone in a large house that he refuses to sell but can't really keep on top of. (Please don't think I'm unsympathetic, btw. I can SEE how hard all this is for him.) He accused me of talking to his doctor in secret about his medical needs. Not true, but he changed doctor and said he would report her to the medical association. (Fortunately he seemingly isn't organised or energetic enough to carry through. Fortunately too he still lets me visit every two months or so to cook and comfort and visit.) Now he has sacked the only home help he had, the cleaner who's been coming in for a few hours every other week for 30 years. He accuses her of stealing things he can't find that have no real value -- a winter hat, most recently a white china vase of the kind florists often give free with flowers.

From 4000 miles away, with my next visit scheduled for December 20, I'm not sure how worried to be, still less what to do. Do any of you think this could be signs of dementia? And if so, do I have to wait till he, too, falls into a crisis that will bring in the police and social services? Is there anything I should try doing before December?

Christinayangstwistedsista Tue 31-Oct-17 18:20:30

Is there a local support service that you could contact and ask them to visit?

Christinayangstwistedsista Tue 31-Oct-17 18:22:23

Losing whole chunks of memory are not part of aging. Is he eating and drinking properly, any signs of an infection?

EllenJanethickerknickers Tue 31-Oct-17 18:46:28

I'm sorry OP, but the repeating questions and especially the paranoia sound a lot like my mum's dementia. Even being uncharacteristically impatient with your mum could be signs of dementia. So difficult when you are far away. Do you have anyone you know locally to your dad that you could ask for help?

Standandwait Tue 31-Oct-17 19:13:44

I guess I do know the social workers who helped with my mother. But based on past experience he will not let them in sad

DontMentionTheWar Sat 11-Nov-17 02:55:55

I have to be honest this sounds like text book early dementia to me. My relative’s first symptoms were paranoia, the loss of huge swathes of memories and repetition in their speech. ☹️

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