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Dementia and personal safety

(6 Posts)
AyeNon Fri 12-Nov-10 11:04:32

I've gone anon for this. My Dad is in his 60s and diabetic (poorly controlled). For the past few years he has shown increasing signs of dementia, with short term memory loss and confusion. My mother is adamant that this is not the case, and he denies it too, but with far less conviction.

At the last family get together, my Dad groped me as I put dishes away. Properly groped me in a very sexual way. I am certain that he never did anything like this before. I yelled at him, but did not tell anyone else, as I thought my DH would be so furious that we would not be able to visit my family again.

He was also verbally abusive towards my sister in an obscene way. I did not tell her that he had groped me, but was vehement in my warning to her to be careful for her personal safety. Our Dad is a big powerful man, both my sister and I are physically slight.

Now we are meant to all be going there for Christmas. I am very worried. I desperately want to go, because I love him, and I think it is likely that this will be the last Christmas that he is mostly " still there".

Does anyone have any advice? My sister has written to his GP about her concerns, but since my mother denies that there is any problem, I don't expect that we can get him help.

There is absolutely no point in trying to convince my mother to take things seriously - she has never listened to us, ever.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 12-Nov-10 13:19:32


Very sorry to read what has happened to you.

What was the GPs response to your sister's letter?. If no response to date phone their GP. If your Dad's diabetes is poorly controlled then the GP needs to be made aware of that fact.

I would be speaking to Age UK (formerly Age Concern) about this matter. It sounds too like your mum is not coping and is mired in denial of the situation. If your Mum is not prepared to listen then you and your sister need to make a united approach together to Social Services and their GP to get them to do a proper care assessment. Put this issue into the hands of the authorities.

I would also be contacting the GP as well to express your worries. TBH I would not be going to visit for Christmas no matter how much you love your Dad. Your own safety is paramount here and what if he does this again?. This is also something you have kept to yourself, your DH may be wondering that something is amiss. If you have children as well this is yet another reason not to take them to your parents' household.

nightcat Fri 12-Nov-10 13:51:31

feel for you
I was in a slightly similar awkward situation with a family friend and got to the conclusion that in some cases when the brain begins to shutdown, the primitive instincts come to the top and the person in question doesn't take no for an answer and is not able to control the behaviour.
In my case, the man was told repetitively not to do it, but still carried on even when others were around, he has regressed mentally over the years. In the end I had to stop seeing them as I felt just awful and I haven't even told them why. People who work with him have to keep telling him not to do it, but they are professionals so prob easier to keep this business-like.
I hope you can find better advice, hope it's not drugging him up tho.

KirstyJC Fri 12-Nov-10 14:05:17

Poor you - I really feel for you sad.

I see a lot of people with dementias in my work and I do think you need to push this further with his GP, especially if you think your dad might be worrying about it himself. (even though your Mum won't accept it). I do think you should also consider telling your DH about his behaviour - and maybe your mum too, although maybe not yet.

I have seen this sort of unihibited behaviour quite a lot - sometimes the parts of the brain that direct the higher-level thinking are damaged. As far as I know it is irreversible so you and others will probably be at risk in the future. He can't help it, it isn't deliberate behaviour, but please take care. I also wonder if your Mum has seen any odd behaviour too, as if both you and your sister have seen it I think it is likely she has too. She might think she can look after him, but maybe if she realises other people are at risk then she might be more willing to get help? Also, the partners I see are often really scared that their loved one will be taken away and put in a home, so they try and play down the problems. Their GP should be able to reassure her - it's very hard to get someone put in a home these days (costs and lack of places), so if she and others (carers, SS etc) can support him then the plan would always be to stay at home for as long as possible.

If you want to spend Xmas with them, and I completely understand why, then you need to make sure people around you know the risks he might pose.

Good luck.

AyeNon Fri 12-Nov-10 15:59:14

Thanks all for such thoughtful responses.

Thinking about it - pulling out of Christmas is just not an option. Everyone involved would be so hurt, and I do think it will likely be the last one.

My mother and I were actually in the same room when he launched his obscene tirade against my sister - she just cried. I yelled at him again. My mother tried to claim that my sister had provoked it by objecting to him changing the tv channel (they were watching something). And then she denied that it had happened hmm My mother has always been like that. We also went to a pub, and he blatantly leered at a woman nearby. DH and I wanted the ground to swallow us up, my mother seemed oblivious.

My sister's boyfriend, and one of my aunts (my Dad's sister) will also be staying over Christmas. They are both well aware of his short term memory loss and some of his bad behaviour. I only have one child and she is a toddler, I don't think my Dad is any threat to her, though he is very jealous of the attention she gives the dog

AyeNon Fri 12-Nov-10 16:04:26

I don't think my sister has had a response from the GP, I might write myself, and also phone SS sad It is good to know that support may be available. I will also ring Age UK.

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