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Not going to be a pleasant thread this, obviously.

Stats would suggest that some people on here would have experienced Dementia in a family member and I’m looking for a bit of advice.

My old man’s 70 this year and whilst he’s physically in good nick, he’s been starting to worry me over the last few months with his behaviour. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not gone loopy overnight, but he’s showing signs of his memory going off a cliff. I don’t mean he’s rambling on, but whenever I see him he’ll say something to me and then an hour or so later he’ll go through the exact same conversation. Then he’ll do it again a week later, a couple of times per visit. I can handle it when we’ve had a pint and a week later he’ll say something he went thorough when we were half-cut, but when we’re just having a gab and he repeats something - almost word-for-word - in the space of hours, it gets me worried. As it stands I’m nodding along when he’s telling me something, as I don’t want to keep saying ‘you said that an hour ago’, but there’s only so many more times I can pretend it’s not becoming a big problem.

We have a history of Dementia on Dad’s side of the family so it’s always been at the back of my mind that it could grab him, but lately I’m terrified it’s about to happen very soon.

I’ve done a lot of reading about it and everything Dad’s doing is in keeping with the early stages, but one thing I can’t read much about is how to approach him over the subject. He may or may not be aware of it, but the thought of bringing it up to him isn’t sitting well if he’s unaware and it terrifies him. He spent years looking after his uncle Billy whose life was decimated by it, so being the one to tell him he may be next is eating me up.

Does anyone have any advice on broaching the subject with a parent/loved one? Or any guidelines on what else to look out for in terms of behaviour? I’m not looking forward to the conversation but I know I’ll need to have it at some point so we can get him looked after if/when it hits.

Edited by Frankie Crisp
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I can’t help with speaking about, but my Father in Law got dementia and later MND at 53. It was heartbreaking to watch it unfold. Your best bet is to try and get him seen by a doctor, rather then broach it with him directly. Good luck

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2 hours ago, Frankie Crisp said:

Does anyone have any advice on broaching the subject with a parent/loved one? Or any guidelines on what else to look out for in terms of behaviour? I’m not looking forward to the conversation but I know I’ll need to have it at some point so we can get him looked after if/when it hits.

Really sorry to hear about your Dad.  Although a lot of their stuff is more geared towards the individual and post-diagnosis, the Alzheimer's Society have some good general resources https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-support/publications-factsheets-full-list

They also run helplines and support groups.  I still wear an AS Forget-Me-Not pin in memory of someone who had vascular dementia.

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My dad is the same age. He's not showing any signs but I arranged to be his lasting power of attorney in case he can't make these decisions for himself. 

My dad is super practical so he just said 'yep, that makes sense' and did it. Plus he'd seen a friend go through it and could see the benefit. 

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Try and get him to the doctor and go with him if you can. If its caught early, I think they can slow it down somewhat with B12 injections or something. Having had that experience with a relative already, he should be somewhat receptive to attempts to get on top of the situation. My dad was as obstinate as you can get about it, had been properly gone for about a year before my mum was able to sort him out. 

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I’m a care assistant for people with dementia and have done it for 8 years now, seems like some of the symptoms are there but for a starter maybe just ask your dad to book in for a memory test and then if their are signs of dementia they will help you from their it’s hard because there are so many different types of dementia including vascular it’s hard to advise until you start the process.

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My mums had dementia for about 7 years now. Hers was brought on by alcohol abuse. But we all started noticing signs a few months leading up to when we finally approached her with what we thought was going on with her. Had a really long and stressful process getting her diagnosed thanks to a very unhelpful consultant. It was only through convincing doctors to get someone to view her on a day to day basis and not giving her memory tests (which she’d mostly fail at, but they didn’t think anything of it) that we got her diagnosed. 

My dads memory is just as bad. But not through dementia but having a massive stroke four years ago. It’s hard work dealing with two parents who don’t have a clue half the time. 

Happy to answer any questions if you want to send me a message. 

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As difficult a conversation as it is, it's really important to get to see a doctor and get a diagnosis.  It's also REALLY important to do it early enough that you can get lasting powers of attorney sorted out for your old man whilst he still has the capacity to make that decision.  So many people leave the legal aspects until too late, and create extremely difficult situations for themselves and their loved ones.

Go see a doctor, go see your solicitors.  Everyone should grant powers of attorney to people they trust, whether ill or not.

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Pretty much everyone else has listed the best things to do. As to symptom care, there's one thing in particular I always remembered from when my great-grandma had it: when a person repeats themselves, it's often an attempt to compensate for something that loss of memory has taken away, like holding on to their feelings of self and identity, or to communicate something they're finding it hard to express, so, where possible, try to engage with those expressions more than passively agreeing (not that this is bad or harmful, though).

This article goes into a lot of helpful detail:

https://www.scie.org.uk/dementia/living-with-dementia/difficult-situations/repetition.asp

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Thanks for the replies and links. I know I need to do something and it’ll be a really difficult conversation with him, but as you’ve all mentioned it’ll be better to do it ASAP and get him looked at even if it floors him. I genuinely don’t think he’s aware of how regularly it’s happening.

He’s spoken in the past about putting me in control of his finances for other reasons, so I think I’ll go with that as the reason for suggesting he gets looked at then move the conversation on, rather than scaring the life out of him out of nowhere.

I know the replies you’ve all given are mainly obvious and what I’d have done anyway, but I was really bothered by it yesterday after seeing Dad on Saturday; I think I just needed a level of anonymity when getting it out there rather than speaking to people who know Dad before I raise it directly.

Seeing what our Billy went through is something I don’t think I could handle if it happens to the old man, but there’s no point hoping it’ll go away.

Thanks again for taking the time to reply, genuinely appreciate it.

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Guy next door to me (and Mumzie, RIP) had Dementia and it was a constant battle. He kept on saying we were trying to kidnap him and we had the cops actually scour this place looking for him when he went for a wander. I knew he was sick but I couldn't go through that with my own family. It would be bloody heartbreaking . He managed to buy his house as well, so that made it extremely difficult to shift him. He went loopy one too many times for the police, wandering around in his long-johns when the kids were coming out of school that they asked for him to be shifted to a care-home. Wee Mr. Burns looking guy.

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  • 1 year later...
9 hours ago, hallicks said:

@Tamura there was a bit of talk and maybe some useful stuff here. 

Thanks. The general thinking among people involved at the moment is that it's a psychotic episode caused by an infection, which apparently is a lot more common than you'd think. She's on some antibiotics now with a view to tests if things don't improve.

Edited by Tamura
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