DF with suspected dementia - parents won't accept help(9 Posts)
DS and I are convinced that DF, 73, has dementia.He asks the same question - what time is it? Did we buy a newspaper, does he have a pair slippers up to six times in a couple of hours. He will have received a yes/no answer on each occasion.
He goes out and forgets where he is or what he has gone out for.He forgets my name and that of my DC. It's virtually impossible to have any kind of coherent conversation with him. he has no friends or close family other than my Mum. Extended family members who don't know the background have expressed concern about his behaviour. I'm extremely concerned about this and the impact on my Mum, who has suffered depression in the past. We have begged him and my Mum to take him a doctor -however both refuse, saying there is nothing that can be done if it is dementia. I've tried to explain that this is in fact not the case and there is medication that can help. My DS and I both in our 30s live around 300 miles away with families of our own and busy jobs so it's hard to keep on top of this. My only thought is to stay for a week or so and try and get DF to see GP while I am there and accompany him to get the process started. I wondered if anyone else who has been in a similar position has any thoughts/ experience on what I can do. I have thought about moving parents in with me as we would have space for various reasons. However it is unlikely they would accept. They are very loving parents but not always easy people. Would hugely appreciate some advice!
Contact their GP. The GP cannot tell you anything without your parents consent, but they can listen to you. If you are lucky and they are helpful, they can invite your father in for a routine check and see if they see signs of dementia.
It might be worth avoiding the word "dementia" when talking to your parents, its a scary one. Speaking in terms of medication to help with memory issues is gentler.
Agree it's a good plan to contact the gp. I'm in similar situation. I live several hours away from dm. She refuses to move house. She has mild dementia symptoms. I contacted her gp via email and he called her in for a 'routine check up ' He agreed with me that she has memory problems, referred her to memory/dementia clinic. I offered to take her but she declined and chose not to go to the appointment. Thus proving you can take a horse to water....etc.
But worth a try. The gp was great, can't fault him but in my DM 's opinion he's devious and the devil's work! She doesn't know that it was me who contacted him he kept my confidentiality.
Also contact age concern or alziemers society. They can offer support and advice.
Yy to the Alzheimer's society.
It does sound as if your df is quite a long way down the dementia line - my mum was at that stage 10 years ago - and yes, there is medication but IME it is of limited help - it will slow down the decline and you can also get additional meds to help control anxiety or depression which may accompany it.
Just as important however, see if you can talk supportively and generally to him, and see if you can get him to sign Power of Attorney papers for you. They will make your life much easier in supporting him, and his GP will be able to talk to you, if you have the health and welfare one sorted, as well as property and finance. "We all get forgetful when we get older, Dad. Would you let me help you a bit? If you are happy signing these forms, it means that if you want me to, I can help to sort things out for you. I don't have to do it all, but it does mean I can help out if you are poorly, or if you need me to"
Best of luck. And do ask the GP to check thyroid levels too - they often go hand in hand with dementia.
Sorry, posted too soon -
they often go hand in hand with dementia, and getting thyroid levels right can help to lessen the symptoms.
OP my DS rang my dads GP and eventually got the ball rolling. My dad has recently been diagnosed with vascular dementia. My dads health has really taken its toll on him and my mum. My mum is managing for now but only just. Fortunately we all live fairly close by but it’s still not easy. My mum is completely worn out as dad wakes up in the night is confused, doesn’t have a clue where he is, my mum is scared he will take a tumble down the stairs so she isn’t sleeping and he has taking to sewing in the bedroom all over the place so we have now got him in incontinence pants.
DM refused to seek help for quite a long time as she was worried that a diagnosis might mean losing her driving licence
When I eventually got her to accept a referral to memory assessment clinic with reassurance that she would have to be much worse to stop driving and that there are some meds out there that can slow things down - she was assessed and they said she wasn’t bad enough
All the cognitive tests, language skills, spatial awareness etc she did so well in it negated her non existent short term memory!
That was 18 months ago and DM has got much worse so just asked for a re referral - however the day we visited GP she was having a good day and actually got more of the short term memory questions right than previously!
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